Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elm Spring - Part 1

We take frequent trips to the area in central Missouri, the Ozark Highlands, where my husband grew up.  He is a proud Ozarkian (aka Hill-Billy). This summer we hiked part of my father-in-law's property in Mack's Creek, Missouri.  We were on the hunt for a spring that he had shown me the year prior.  We found it!  And explored its entire two mile length...

Luke and Joshua hunting along a likely washout for Elm Spring.

Abby helped us find the spring.  Good job, Abby!

Elm Spring.  This right where the water bubles up from the ground.  It is crystal clear, drinkable in fact, and very cold.

All along the creek that flows out from Elm Spring is breathtaking green.  The lushness of the green makes the creek stand out against the rocky brown Ozark terrain. 

Will and Josh try reenacting the trek to the spring that my Father-in-law's family did daily for water before they had indoor plumbing or even a well!

The water is so clear!

Beautiful oasis in the otherwise dry, woodland hills.

The explorers: Olivia Rose, Josher, Willy-Beast, & dear ol' Pa.
At some points the creek spread out over its rock base.
At other points, Elm Spring creek cut deep into the soil.

Here you can see the depth of the surrounding topsoil.

Livy found a good luck charm.  I wonder how old that horse shoe is.

My favorite spot - a little waterfall.

Will found his own place to relax.

Eventually we came to the confluence of Elm Spring Creek and another un-named creek.

The two creeks together make a nice little pool to dip in.  The children were very surpised just how cold the water could be.  In fact, the water temperature seemed to cool down the air temperature right around the creek - you can feel the difference by walking only a few feet away.

Come back soon and see what we found when we explored a bit further! 

And check out other amazing blogs celebrating Outdoor Wednesday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Light at Night

Now that school has begun and the freedom of summer has passed, I enjoy looking back on the adventures of the last hazy, hot summer months.  As the grass browns and the leaves change colors, summer memories take on a dream-like quality...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Father's Walk in the Woods

Welcome to Outdoor Wednesday!

We have a tradition in our family to go for "walks" to celebrate days and events that are important to us. Father's Day 2010 was a perfect reason to go exploring. We choose the Parkville Nature Sanctuary in Parkville, Missouri.

Daddy's Little Monkeys

It was a beautiful day on a beautiful trail.

We found interesting little creatures.

And we even saw a deer (look closely).

We followed the creek...

... to an amazing waterfall.

There was lots to see: a grass-lined stream,

prairie flowers,

quiet woods,

... and fun places to play.

Happy Outdoor Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Without Such Absence

A "middle" twin of mine, Benjamin Vogt, has just published his second book of poetry,
 Without Such Absence.  

I am not surprised it is receiving wonderful reviews.

Benjamin Vogt’s Without Such Absence is a book filled with unanswerable questions, as if plenitude – of world, or body, or love – can be felt only framed by loss. Vogt loves the natural world and makes us love it, too, especially when he gives formal gardens voice. It’s his wit, and terror, and delight that frame these fine poems, finally, that speak the stories behind the old photographs in all our albums.  
-- Hilda Raz, author of All Odd and Splendid and What Happen

‘No one remembers unless they have a souvenir,’ writes Benjamin Vogt. In Without Such Absence, poems themselves become souvenirs. These are photographs of a lost America—wooden schoolhouses, clotheslines, faded flags, and strange gardens—a poetry so polished and formally rigorous that we cannot forget the places Vogt has captured. 
-- Jehanne Dubrow, author of Stateside and From the Fever-World

Here is a couple of Vogt's poems to enjoy...

Suddenly, Autumn

Is it here at the window where we truly see
the brown-leafed oaks, the drying grass,
the bulge of clouds that darkens asphalt roads?

Is it within a frame of measured faith and chosen
color, relief of temperatures in flux—the southern
wind that fishtails from the north in thirty minutes,

sun spots glancing blows through tattered canopies?
How everything is almost everything we feel?
Loosening cold clothes from our tired limbs,

the quick friction warming us against the air,
then against ourselves, between our knees, our
arms and torsos, bone and streaming lungs.

Is morning like hot tea gripping at your chest,
flooding down and through you like some
revelation, incantation of the perfect pitch,

choral song of waking, sparrow, passing cars?
Will emptiness feel as bold, will the space
our body’s voices leave be sacred words

that vision won’t speak, that sound won’t touch—
a place the mind can’t frame without such absence?

Japanese Garden
Enter through the hedge like wind slipping from itself a stained earthly veil. Step forward with calm to find a stone in your path—all flowers open slow. Beside the tea house rinse your hands and mouth to show you walk from rivers. Speak softly in shade, smell cool dew against your feet, hear nothing but light. Yatsuhashi leads across calm water, trains stars beneath the surface. Beside a black pine one stone looks up, one over; something speaks inside. Waves of sand move still around three green islands, yet mountains cry within. Weeping willows trace the arc of my back like clouds—one leaf trembles. Lotus in the pond; we must rest here awhile like wonted stones. As the sky, gravel; as rivers, flesh of peony; without me, you.

You can pre-order this volume (by September 3rd) and shipping is only $1.  Check it out!

Happy EOD Day!

EOD: Entry On Duty.

Today is the 2 year anniversary of my first day at work for the government. 2 years? -Not big deal in and of itself except that I have now successfully completed my internship period. I came to government work through the FCIP (Federal Career Internship Program) after I graduated with my MA. Bit of an irony that I am celebrating this worklife accomplishment while on vacation!

Be True to You


There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
from The Life and Work of Martha Graham

Monday, August 2, 2010

6 Months Gone By...

Working in front of a computer for 8 to 10 hours a day, generally means that I really, REALLY don't feel like sitting down in front of another computer in my off time.  But, in the spirit of a grand "Mulligan." I'm declaring a do-over.

This is what has happened since I posted last...

1 wedding as matron of honor
3 babies born to dear friends
6 family birthdays
1 10th anniversary (mine!)
2 new house bought (not mine)
3 vacation trips to the farm
1 stay-cation due to tummy flu
4 case of tummy flu
1 ear infection
4 baby teeth lost (1 more dangerously loose)
3 dozen easter eggs found
1 set of car keys "misplaced"
26 jars of jam & jelly made
2 dog beds destroyed
16 inches cut from a little girl's hair
1 donation to Locks of Love
too many grandma tears to count!
2 wins at Scout Derby car races (1 for son, 1 for dad)
14 fencing lessons
1 soccer trophy
1 football trophy
4 boy scout patches
1 crazy tween girls sleepover
multiple grown-up sleepless nights
3 boxes of bandaids
dozens of Mama-make-it-better-kisses
"several" time-outs
... and lots and lots of LOVE!