scarecrows

Aug. 13th, 2018 09:50 pm
asakiyume: (misty trees)
I saw a scarecrow today--I thought it was a person, standing very still. It was a very realistic scarecrow.

Today was also a rainy day, so there were no shadows, no direct light, confusion of air and water as rain misted down, confusion of earth and air too, as hills and trees melted away into clouds. A good day for summoning ghosts . . .

You can do that, when the rain brings ghosts up near the surface of the earth. Sorcerer farmers trap them in old clothes like helium in balloons, and make them wander the fields, scaring away anything that trespasses, until the bright light of an unclouded day frees them.

Yeah, ghost scarecrows only work when the summer is wet. In parched farmlands shriveling under an unrelenting sun, I'm guessing sorcerer farmers rely on phantasmal illusions of sparks and flames to terrify intruders away.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I'm a copy editor by profession, but even though I can see copyediting errors in other people's work, I still make those same mistakes myself, and it's much harder to catch them in a reread of my own work than it is in others' work. That's natural--when it's your own stuff, you know what it's supposed to say, and that's what your eyes or mind tends to see.

Same with beta reads: I can notice things about narrative flow, voice, character--whatever--in another person's work and be much too close to my own story to see those same difficulties.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can have someone reading your work who wants it to do exactly what you want it to do, who seems right in tune with the story--and they can point out places where you've skimped or wandered off course, or been unclear, and it can be so eye opening. (Other times people offer you suggestions that are just ehh, well, maybe, or that are wrong-headed for what you're aiming for-- though even those can tell you something--but when you get the good kind, it's wonderful.)

I beta read something for someone recently--not anyone I know online--who'd given me that kind of a beta read. I very much wanted to do the same for her, but you never know! Will I have read the story with the right eyes? Will what I say make sense? I'm happy to say she seemed as pleased with my comments as I was with hers.

In her work, she mentioned the full moon at the summer solstice. Her story takes place above the Arctic circle, so the full moon at the solstice would be sharing the sky with the unsetting sun. I was curious about what it would look like, and I found this cool photo, taken by Birgit Bodén in Sweden.

Full moon at midnight, summer solstice


(Source: EarthSky)
asakiyume: (misty trees)
The starlings over the cornfields of Hadley, Massachusetts, sometimes achieve murmuration levels--I saw them do it Saturday, them moving together like a great whale at play. It was breathtaking. I went back yesterday with a camera but came too late in the day, and then again today, and was only a *little* too late, or they weren't in a mood to all rise (ALL RISE) and swoop, and then settle.

Also, maybe if I had turned the phone sideways it would have made a wider video? I am very new to the ways of the smartphone. (Video is 38 seconds)



Although I didn't catch the murmuration yesterday, I did get a photo of the sun like a pearl in the shell of the sky...

golden sunset

And then another of all the many colors sunset sky is heir to...

red sunset
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
First, let me tell you what the parking lot at the supermarket was like, around 5:45 pm, on my way home. There was a smell of cinnamon, maybe from someone's discarded gum, and the sun was at the edge of a tide of rain-colored clouds, and there were goldfinches somewhere nearby--you couldn't see them, but you could hear them.

Now let me show you what the sky was like closer to home, about an hour later.

DSCN6500

Juracán

Jun. 1st, 2017 12:06 am
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






Here's something I just learned:
According to some of the chroniclers, particularly Pané and Las Casas, the Amerindians from Hispaniola recognized the existence of an eminently benevolent being. His name has been spelled in different ways, but in Puerto Rico it is commonly written as Yuquiyú. There was also a furious and malevolent being known as Juracán, from whose name the word hurricane is derived, which denotes the Caribbean's extraordinarily destructive storms.
--Fernando Picó, History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of Its People (Princeton: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 2006), 17.

Coincidentally, we had some fantastical clouds prior to a thunderstorm today. The clouds looked Jovian:

wild clouds

clouds
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






Something gold, something fiery
slipping from a sky-cast net
peeking through pines
flaming, molten,
along the line of the hills
sunset

sunset

sunset

sunset


asakiyume: (glowing grass)
I've decided to walk to work, even though I work at home.

On my walk today, I stepped in all the large potholes on my street. They are the footprints of some creature whose weight affects the asphalt the way mine affects wet sand. A winter-weather beast, a very large dinosaur or lumbering mastodon. Some kids once tried to charge admission to see them--the potholes, I mean--as a way of raising some quick money, but no one would pay because these dinosaurs and mastodons get everywhere. (No, I'm making that up; no kids ever did that, or at least not on my street, or at least not while I was paying attention.)

Up in the sky, wind has unearthed (... un-sky'd) the white vertebrae of an even larger beast that swims up there. Or maybe it's just that its sky is so thin that its bones are visible through it. I didn't catch it on film but you've seen skies like that--large backbones and sometimes ribs laid out across them.

But now I've arrived at work and should begin. Here's a skunk cabbage from last week, consuming its daily meal of sunlight.
asakiyume: (far horizon)
This morning it's a planet full of atmospheres. Birds are rising and falling in the long grass and others are declaiming from high up in the trees, and some are swimming in the gauzy sky.

cloud gauze

Small Farms Institute


asakiyume: actually nyiragongo (ruby lake)
Yesterday at the blog The Blue and Green House, they talked about the year without a summer--1816, the year following the massive eruption of Mt. Tambora. In my neck of the woods, snow fell as late as June and as early as August--across Europe there were famine conditions from failed crops. Wikipedia says that there was so much aerosolized material in the atmosphere that sunspots were visible to the naked eye.

Later in the day, out of the blue, [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori started telling me about one of the most powerful eruptions in recorded history, which he'd seen tweeted about. "Oh, maybe it was the eruption of Mt. Tambora," I said--fresh from my reading. He looked at me strangely and said, "Yeah, I think that's the one."

We both mused on why, in two separate venues, two separate people should have happened to talk about Mt. Tambora.

... And discovered that yesterday was the bicentennial of the eruption. Well then!

Meanwhile, on Twitter, people were tweeting humorous thoughts for new Hugo Award categories, and Nisi Shawl suggested, among other things, an award for Most Dramatic Pie.

So I decided to make a volcano pie--surely dramatic--to commemorate the bicentennial of Mt. Tambora's eruption. Behold the Pie:

Lots of red-lava chunks



clouds

Nov. 13th, 2014 07:35 am
asakiyume: (far horizon)






I hadn't gotten the photos off my camera in a while, and I discovered these clouds there:

first this...
clouds, earlier

then a few minutes later, they had moved a little....
clouds

There's a circle of brightness on the leaves at the top of some trees in that one:
clouds, spotlight on leaves

I found those pictures when I retrieved my camera from the car, to take the pictures that will be in the next entry...


asakiyume: (Kaya)
On this day in Pen Pal, Kaya wrote to Em and told her it was too dangerous to continue the correspondence--from this point, the story enters a new stage. There won't be more posts between now and the day the story ends, but at the end I have an idea for a special post. And I might post something between then and now, if something occurs to me.

Meanwhile, here are neither lava nor waves, and yet it might be both:




asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
It's not foam on the crests of the waves in the sky ocean tonight: it's fire. White-hot fire licking the edge of the long wave as it breaks on . . . what shores do the sky waves break on?

the crest of the wave afire



asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






I will have a this-day-in-Pen-Pal post for you later, but first I want to point you to two wonderful posts. One is by [livejournal.com profile] mnfaure, and features the work of an amazing poet and spoken-word performer, Anis Mojgani--it is here. And in case you are click-aversive, here is half the wonderment of that post:




But you must go to her post for the link to the other poem, "Shake the Dust," which is equally good.

And the other post is by [livejournal.com profile] sovay, and is a description of a truly wonderful-sounding movie. It is here, and I don't have a visual to tempt you with, but consider this:

What it reads most like is a version of Beauty and the Beast in which each of the lovers takes both parts in turn and the story plays fair with them . . . And the film never, not once, claims that love fixes broken people. All it underscores is the importance of loving people for who they are, not who they used to be or who you hope they'll turn into.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Sometimes the most ordinary of places is beautiful. This parking lot, with those big clouds, in fresh after-rain light.

It's just a parking lot, but there's a big sky up above it and trees on its margins, and even its asphalt seems . . . all right.

(It's another phone picture. My phone takes impressionist paintings. My phone's name is Cezanne.)


I had to pick up the healing angel from a friend's house. On our way home, we passed a bus-hive. All the school buses were there, all yellowy-orange and black, like fancy hornets. We thought we might see the queen, but we didn't; we only saw the worker buses. (A queen, as you probably know, is just a worker bus that has been fed royal petroleum jelly.) I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture, but this picture, though it's from more than a thousand miles away, has something of the feel.

Bus-hive in Ann Arbor, Michigan


And hey, while I was searching for appropriate bus-hive pictures, look what I found: mini edible school buses made out of Twinkies.


Photo by Kendra Arch; recipe at "Stop Lookin' Get Cookin'"


asakiyume: (glowing grass)






Two days ago, Writer's Almanac quoted Marjory Stoneman Douglas, eulogizer of the Everglades, who said of them,

Nothing anywhere else is like them: their vast glittering openness . . . the racing free saltness and sweetness of their massive winds, under the blue heights of space . . . the simplicity, the diversity, the related harmony of the forms of life they enclose . . . it is a river of grass.

(vast glittering openness
sweet massive winds
blue heights of space
a river of grass)

One day I'll see them. For now, here is my own Everglades, waiting to be reborn.

my own everglades

Nearby a male turkey was displaying for an only moderately interested crowd.

turkeys

One more picture, this from yesterday--the turbulent sky ocean

turbulent skies


asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)
Mt. Kablaki is not the tallest mountain in Timor-Leste; I think it's the third-tallest. But it's a sacred mountain, like Mt. Ramelau, the tallest--and it's visible (and hike-able) from Ainaro.

Mt. Kablaki

kablaki


One of the students asked me when American independence day was, and I told her it was July 4th and asked when Timor-Leste's independence day was. May 20th, she told me. Then I told them the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It's a myth, but it encapsulates values we'd like to think our first president had. Then I asked them to tell me a story about Xanana Gusmão, their national hero and current prime minister. One of the students told me how, during the resistance, local people hid him on Mt Kablaki.

I've also read that he got a protective amulet there--the sort that lets you move unseen past your enemies.

I've also heard that he could transform himself into a dog. There are many many dogs running around loose in Ainaro, so that would be a good disguise. I asked one girl if she had any dogs, and she said yes, four or five. I asked what she fed them, and she said rice, or rice gruel.

Later, when I was rinsing rice for dinner (and in Timor-Leste there's much more reason to do this than there is in America, because in Timor-Leste the rice contains lots of bits of chaff and hull), I went to pour off the water in the yard, and one of the local dogs came trotting over eagerly. Aha. Rice gruel, I thought.

neighborhood dogs

dogs at Olympio's


But back to mountains. All the mountains roundabout Ainaro are beautiful.

dramatic skies

Here's dawn over the pre-secondary school, across the street from where I was staying.

dawn from the Teachers' House



asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)






There's a strong wind out there, pulling out the teeth of the night by the sound of things, and tugging at roof shingles and pushing at walls. I wonder what daylight will look like.


asakiyume: (shaft of light)
It's calm, not a whitecap in sight, and there's sparkling manna everywhere, turning the grass to silver. The light is morning light, not dawn light anymore, but still long, and golden. Silver-golden. The long, silver-golden light of an inhaling, not the rose-golden light of evening, which is exhaling. Golden light has two sides? Morning and evening? Maybe that's it: the two sides of golden light are morning and evening. Or: golden light is a signpost, and one arrow points to morning, and the other to evening.

This golden morning light, with the leaves just so, and the road cool beneath my feet, is a place I inhabited first in dreams, but I come here often, now, and as I think about it, I'm glad we have three dimensions or more in which to give (and receive) directions, because some maps are hard to make, otherwise.

. . . And--an extra thought--when you inhale, like morning, your feet may come off the ground. Not that mine have, except in leaps, except in dreams, but they may. It is both permitted and possible.


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
birds beneath a battling sky

The birds sit on the wire, shoulders hunched, while overhead the clouds and sun fight for mastery of the sky. It's like they're the battle's foot soldiers (wing soldiers?), too battle-worn (except for that one on the left) to take to the air.

Below, there is a bright and narrow road. You walk balancing on it, poised four inches above the earth, almost touching it. Almost. Like a ghost, not quite through the veil into the living world.

the straight and narrow

Bible lawn signs )


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

crow and tangled branches
Originally uploaded by inatangle.
Yesterday, in clouds and rainy weather, Little Springtime and I went to help celebrate my grandmother's 102nd birthday**. Both on the way there and on the way back, we heard "Time after Time," once the cover version by Quietdrive and once the Cyndi Lauper original.

It seemed a good theme song.

You say go slow
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds


And then these lines that I find supremely comforting

If you're lost, you can look, and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time


The sky ocean on the way home looked like this:
sky ocean after storm

We listened to the radio and sometimes sang along.

**I should note that my grandmother shares a birthday with the Shôwa emperor, otherwise known as Hirohito, and so her birthday is a national holiday in Japan. He was born in 1901; she was born in 1906.

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