At the end of the week I’m ready to kick back with a bowl of popcorn with a remote in hand.
As much as I need to read, there are times when settling back to watch a movie is the ticket to totally unwinding from the week’s stress.
I have discovered I have lost my interest in films that are steeped in human dramas—maybe it’s because I’m living my own. Big, raucous CGI flicks, like the Marvel world offers, are okay for mindless escapism. What I discovered that engages my interest most are nature documentaries. I subscribe to PBS mainly for their Nature program.
Our library carries an impressive array of DVD and Blu-Ray offerings, especially in nature shows. Browsing the stacks one day I discovered an amazing series:
From the library catalog description:
Narrated by David Tennant, this exhilarating adventure was filmed over four years and forty countries with help from camera-carrying birds, drones, paragliders and remote-countrol microflight planes. This wondrous aerial spectacle will make your spirits soar!
It is indeed exhilarating to be so up close to birds in flight and to witness behaviors not easily accessible by humans. The dedication and ingenuity of the film crew is certainly impressive.
As a Whovian, it was an added bonus listening to David Tennant’s Scottish-infused narration. I half expected the Tardis to be spied among the migrating flocks of geese.
I suppose there is some therapeutic aspect to watching the life and times of animals, especially birds. There is wonder and appreciation for the natural world. The joy and satisfaction of knowing there is so much beauty and marvel in the world that is available with a click of the remote is indeed a welcome balm after a long, long week.
What is your animal of choice to watch?
Our once busy front yard bird feeder has grown silent. Usually there is a mix of winter residents such as nuthatches, chickadees, and other feathered friends who visit. Not this year.
Starting late summer we noticed decreased bird activity. Daily sightings dwindled until only ground feeders like the doves would appear. There was a flurry of pine siskins at one point but they are long gone.
We have missed our birds and are perplexed by their disappearance. Research shows bird traffic in some areas has diminished. Are birds deciding to isolate as well?
My solution? A faux bird. It permanently perches at the feeder and almost fools me that our birdie friends are somewhere out there.
Anyone else missing their usual mix of backyard birds?
Spates of good weather have beckoned me out into the backyard where much needed work is required: weeding, thinning, raking, mulching. All those -ing type of tasks that result in another set of -ings such as lower back spasm-ing.
There was one surprise -ing:
I planted some bulbs last year in my patio container and “whoa!” I exulted upon this sudden blooming. No weeding, mulching, raking required. Just appreciating.
Now, that’s my kind of garden-ing.
The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
where the salvias, hard carmine,—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.
I am smitten with a new-to-me word.
Let me first preface the unveiling of this word with a personal disclosure: if I were suddenly transformed into a flower it would be a sunflower. Their unique talent of keeping tuned in to the sun, turning their faces towards light, and following it throughout the day is something I understand.*
*sunflowers apparently follow the sun only when in the bud stage–once open they tend to face east, and this is attributed to protecting the seeds from the stronger rays of the south exposure (that is a smart flower!)
Here is a confession: I crave light. I revel in basking in sunlight. I have been accused of being a sun goddess (did not sound complimentary at the time), and I panic at the thought of being in a room without windows for a great length of time (my first year of teaching involved such a room). As long as I have daylight in some form I am content. Oh yay for my Happy Light.
I’m not keen on laying out in the sun for the sake of bronzing, yet I will do so, just to absorb the warmth, that therapeutic solar embrace. The tan is a by-product. I’m basically striving to store up remembrance of the sunlight for when winter hits my region. One student recently defined our winter as “except July and August”–slight exaggeration, but winters tend to be a solid six months around here.
Around October I wake up in darkness and finish the school day with the last rays setting. One teacher went to part-time because teaching in an interior room meant she never saw any light and it created havoc in her health. I have two windows in my present classroom and I am blessed and thankful.
Sunlight in winter. That’s a wonderful day. The snow can be up to the windows. The temperature can be dipping to stingy in warmth, yet if I can have the sun shine down and kiss my face before the cold requires covering, spring seems a reasonable distance I can bear.
Apricity: the warmth of the sun in winter.
According to Merriam-Webster.com:
n. Apricity appears to have entered our language in 1623, when Henry Cockeram recorded (or possibly invented) it for his dictionary The English Dictionary; or, An Interpreter of Hard English Words. Despite the fact that it is a delightful word for a delightful thing it never quite caught on, and will not be found in any modern dictionary aside from the Oxford English Dictionary.
Another source defines it as:
“the feeling of the sun on one’s skin in winter.”
Katie Williams,Tell the Machine Goodnight (2018)
And that is why this word from yesteryear needs a campaign to retrieve it out of the archaic word vaults and pin it up on the contemporary lines of expression.
To feel the sun on my skin to offset the challenge of winter
Apricity: the bestowing of the sun’s restorative kisses, to bring warmth and sustenance to the gates of that bleak city called winter
An offering. A reprieve. A promise.
I did not experience the solar eclipse, but I am content with the strange sorta kinda dimness that I thought I was the eclipse. We do not live in the pathway and we hadn’t considered making the seven hour drive to witness the two minutes.
I did experience some type of eclipse in college during the eighties, can’t remember what type. I do remember a group of us signed up for an adventure excursion trip. We jumped into a van and drovehalf a day with no real plan. At the eclipse approached someone in the van yelled, “Pull over here!” We stopped at the top of a hill overlooking a vineyard. Slowly it grew dusk, cars on the ribbon of highway below began turning on headlights, but none stopped driving. A dim shadow quavered through the vineyard momentarily transforming it into an Ansel Adams time lapse print of grey landscape tones. Quite surreal.
This time around, I missed out due to being preoccupied with my mending broken wrist. I did virtually share the wonder of the event through NASA.gov with millions of other non-pathers and was genuinely happy for the crowds. Maybe next time I’ll plan it better. For now I’ll be humming Donovan:
The Perfect Eclipse Tune
How was solar eclipse experience?
I do like moon poems.
To the Moon [fragment] by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth,—
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
Nope. This is no expose on Mick Jagger. We’re looking into semantics today.
Did you know when you are picking up souvenir rocks at the beach you are actually picking up stones? Truly.
Rocks from morguefile
We may only think that “rock” and “stone” are interchangeable. They technically aren’t, yet like most of our language, we throw actuality out the window and go for ease of saying.
Rock: Usually large, immovable natural material made up of one or more minerals that is hard or soft in composition.
Stone: Most often a harder, smaller, moveable mineral matter.
A rock is comparatively larger.
A stone is comparatively small.
A rock is not usually moved, being it is part of the earth as in The Rock of Gibraltar.
A stone can be picked up as in gemstones.
A rock can be hard or soft in material composition.
A stone is hard.
Now–how does that transfer into everyday expressions?
We say, “He’s solid. He’s a rock of strength. He’s immovable, and can’t be swayed.” And right about here is where the Rock of Gibraltar is bandied about.
Looking over the checklist of facts, it looks pretty good, metaphorically speaking.
Let’s move on…
“She’s got a heart of stone.” This is not a compliment. To be solid as a rock is considered a positive attribute; however, your heart should not be hard and it should be movable. Wait, stones are movable. Wouldn’t that mean that person could change her outlook?
Or doesn’t it follow that a rock solid person would have a heart of stone because the heart is a part of the body and is smaller and can be moved more easily?
Bookmark that thought.
A. We collect rocks along the shoreline to perhaps add them to our rock garden.
B. A diamond is a precious gemstone and set in a ring it’s touted as “quite a rock.” [right for gemstone, wrong for rock]
C. Loud electronic music is considered “rock” and some will enhance the listening experience by being “stoned.” [not sure]
Now that you know the difference, be sure you don’t get caught between a rock and a hard place in your terms.