114 thoughts on “The Necklace

  1. Hi Linda:

    To be candid with you, I don’t know much about poems and their structures. But if you are its creator they must be magnificent.

    I know a little bit about photography, and let me say that this one is a darling. Keep them coming.



    1. I’m not sure I’d go with “magnificent,” Omar, but I am fond of this little poem. As for the photo, I was delighted to find the vine the same day I discovered the butterfly, hornets, and such. I saw it as a necklace from the beginning, and thought it deserved a few words.

      Thanks for your kind words.


    1. Truth to tell, I’ve never imagined you as either of the Stanley Kowalskis. But I know the feeling. Sometimes it lurks when I’m reading Eavan Boland, or Billy Collins.

      I’ve always enjoyed this observation from Collins: “While the novelist is banging on his typewriter, the poet is watching a fly in a windowpane.” One isn’t harder than the other, but they’re different, for sure.

    1. And just think, Jeanie: there wasn’t even a gardener or an interior decorator involved in creating this necklace.

      I’m glad you were able to visit Southern Exposure again, and that you saw something similar. Autumn’s more than pretty leaves — as beautiful and heart-stopping as those can be.

    1. Thanks, Jean. When I wrote about the amethyst drupes, I was thinking about the beauty berry. I’ve never seen it “in the flesh” until this year, and now I’m wondering if it’s the color of your boots. You need that purple — see how cheery it is? Maybe we should call the plant the Bling Berry.

  2. Exactly like a beautiful necklace :) Without image I can imagine this necklace; without words I can see the poem and you translated us dear Linda, so beautiful. Thank you, love, nia

    1. Nia, that is wonderful. I love that you could imagine the necklace even without the photo that brought the poem into being. And wouldn’t the vine-necklace be perfect for an autumn party? I hope it brought you a smile, and some enjoyment for the day. ~ Linda

  3. Such a perfect photograph of the most lovely jewels I know, made specifically by His hand, to accompany the poetry. A beautiful, simple post which speaks to me. xoxo

    1. Beauty, simplicity — and a shimmering red which, I suspect, would translate perfectly into a lipstick for autumn. I’m glad you found both the photo and post resonant, Bellezza. A happy ending of October to you.

      1. Yes! It would be a perfect lipstick shade (for me!). You are such a good remember. Blessings to you this end of October, and the thankful month to come.

    1. Isn’t it, though? I thought of you the other day when I found another berry I’ve never seen, or don’t remember: that of the lovely dwarf (?) or Texas (?) palmetto. I’ve learned some lessons already about plant identification, and a little more exploration is needed before I decide which this is, although I suspect it’s the dwarf. The berries certainly look like these. What I am sure of is that it isn’t saw palmetto.

      The good news is that, whichever it is, I didn’t see a single bug on it!

      1. That is cool!

        What you need is a good field guide to carry around with you. Calpoppy and I were just discussing field guides on her WU blog. I use the internet to ID a lot of stuff but there’s just nothing like a good field guide.

        1. I’ve got some good field guides, Gué, but I found that carrying them and looking things up while I’m out and about isn’t very satisfactory. For one thing, more often than not what I’m looking for isn’t in one book, but is in another. And of course you need a book for flowers, and one for grasses, and one for sedges, and one for trees… Better to spend my time photographing, then sort things out at home, where I can combine the books and the online resources.

          One great resource we have is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. My goodness — the riches of that site just can’t be believed. There are other sites that are really good for coastal plants, including one at Clemson. And there are a couple of wildflower photographers whose archives are helpful beyond words.

          Like any kid with a new toy, I’m having a tiny bit of trouble keeping myself focused on other, equally important aspects of life. Work comes to mind!

        2. Linda, Gué, & CalPoppie, While it’s not a “Field Guide”, per se; have you ever tried searching the database on pfaf.org for botanical information? Founded by a couple from Britain, it is truly a wealth of information on “useful” plants
          For instance, is this “your” snailseed, Linda? http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cocculus+orbiculatus

          Here you will find why, for a myriad of reasons, humankind has dragged plants along as they travelled around the globe.

          1. That’s a unique site, Deb, The world’s filled with interesting and beautiful plants with a variety of uses, that’s for sure.

            Since I’m interested primarily in Texas natives, and since there’s a wealth of information to access, I’ll probably not add that site to my go-to list. My biggest need right now is to develop my observational skills, and a more critical use of the materials at hand.

            The snailseed you found differs from ours, which is pictured above.. Ours is known as Cocculus carolinus. If I’m reading the USDA map correctly, Cocculus orbiculatus doesn’t exist as a native in the continental U.S., let alone Texas.

            I have to say, one of the biggest problems we have is the fact that humankind has been dragging plants along as they travel the globe. It’s been quite a revelation to me that many of my favorite plants — trees, flowers and shrubs — actually are invasives that are wreaking havoc on the natural environment.

            One of the favorite trees around here for fall color is the Chinese tallow — a very demon of a tree. The pretty water hyacinth is clogging waterways, along with hyrilla and alligator weed, and depleting oxygen as they go. There are many, many examples. Some have caused so much trouble, they ought to have their photos in the post office.

            Even after I made a conscious decision that I only wanted to use native plants on my blog, I inadvertently used an invasive sedge as the header photo in my previous entry. I need to find a substitute, and change photos — however attractive the sedge may be. I’m happy to learn about them — I just don’t want to promote them!

        3. This cracks me up. I’ve been laying in bed thinking about the other side(s) of some points I made, and when I get up to add them, I see you commenting down the page.

          What occurred to me is that, first, the “divide” between native and invasive isn’t so clear. For example, I just learned last night that one of my favorite Texas wildflowers, a little beauty sometimes called wild cowpea, is related to the black-eyed pea, which came from Africa. So, that supports exactly what you said about the value of people carrying food plants from one place to another.

          The other thing that came to mind is that education about invasives is terrifically important. Rather than leave them out, I need to include them, too, and perhaps do my tiny part to make people at least aware of the issues involved with them.

          Now, I believe I’ll go get some coffee. Thanks for your great addition to the conversation.

    1. We’re doing just fine, Sammy. We’ve had around 8″ rain total, but it’s come as steady rain, not a deluge, and without any particular wind until today. By tomorrow, I suspect it will have moved on to the east, and we’ll be in line for some clear and cooler.

      The rain ought to perk up some of our autumnal jewels. It was getting a bit too dry here, and they were languishing. It will be fun to see what else emerges.

  4. I always love it when you treat us to an etheree! Sitting here in my brother’s breakfast nook here in beautiful Clayton California with its own autumnal delights. The rolling hills are parched with furry beige grasses and a few trees clinging to the landscape. Seeing the lone trees with a patchwork behind them reminds me of your Red Tree artist friend.

    1. I’ll bet you haven’t realized that there’s a Shore Acres up on Highway 4, between Concord and Antioch, just a few miles due north of Clayton. You’re in my old stomping grounds, Judy. For a year I came past Clayton every weekend, on my way up the Delta to Rio Vista. No wonder you wanted to take a bird camera with you.

      Those grasses are beautiful, aren’t they? Well, in this drought they probably aren’t as beautiful as I remember them, but the gold of California hills can be something to behold. And yes, indeed: that particular combination of hills and lone trees is very much in Gary’s style.

      Enjoy your stay. It’s all rain and wind here now, but the forecast looks good.

    1. Well, snowbird, at least it’s different. It’s my autumnal take on that old lemons-and-lemonade saying. Since life didn’t hand me brilliant maple trees, I decided to string a few berries. I’m glad you found it charming — that’s a very nice compliment.

  5. Simply delightful, Linda! You see why I say I’m NOT a poet? I’d have never thought of describing these multi-colored berries and leaves on a vine as a necklace — yet how appropriate!! Much like stringing words together like pearls.

    I’m glad you’re starting to see signs of Autumn, too. Guess it’s a good thing you captured this beauty before Patricia blew through with her wind and rains!

    1. Debbie, for someone who doesn’t feel herself a poet, you certainly have been writing some very nice verse. I always enjoy your work, that’s for sure.

      I’m really fond of the necklace image. Once I got past the urge to begin “Bead by bead” and changed to “Seed by seed,” things started to click. It’s an occasionally strange process — in the sense that things just “come to mind” — but I enjoy it.

      And I am glad to see some autumn sights. This year, I decided that, instead of focusing on what we don’t have (maples, for example) I’d focus on what we do have. Not every sign of autumn has to be orange!

      1. Thanks for the encouragement — you write so beautifully that I consider you an excellent judge (and I’m humbled!)

        You’re so right. Orange isn’t exactly my favorite color anyway, and seeking for nontraditional signs of the seasons makes a more astute writer (and a more educated reader!)

  6. Since you introduced me to etheree poetry I have written many for my own enjoyment. This one describes autumn perfectly, and the photo really does look like a ruby red necklace.

    Re the camera bag on a table. It was outside the farmhouse home that had belonged to my great-great grandmother. I had been on my family tree search, and the lady who owned the house now let me visit to take some photos. You have a great memory!

    1. That’s right. That was the reason for your travel. While I have a fairly good memory, it’s also true that you tell your stories exceptionally well, Sandi. It makes them easy to remember. And, of course, your photos often capture some memorable moments, like the one of Max flying through the air above the kitchen cabinet. I still laugh when I remember that one.

      I’m so glad to know that you’re writing some Etherees, too. I’m glad you like this one. In a way, these poems are a way keeping a moment. They’re a different sort of snapshot.

      1. Yes, that’s a perfect description, a snapshot in words, not pictures.
        I might send you a couple to check out, you being the expert, in a mail:-)

  7. I like Almost Iowa’s comment…I read all your posts a few times before commenting. Aside from it taking me more than one reading to digest all you have written, I feel the obvious effort merits a few.

    This poem is full of wonderful visuals. A lovely and most appropriate image as well.

    1. I do the same thing, Steve. Especially with photography blogs, it can take me a few viewings to figure out what it is that’s catching my attention. Figuring out why I like something — or don’t — is a great way to begin thinking my own approach to photography. I’ve no desire to Be A Photographer, but I do want to be able to take good photos: not only for my blog, but for my own pleasure.

      I love that you found some good visuals in the poem, too. The hardest part was finding berries I knew I could identify to use in the poem, even if only as images.

      1. One of the best ways to learn photography is to study the work of others so your repeated viewings is one of the good paths. Unfortunately, I am afraid that repeated readings will not make me a poet or successful writer of prose.

  8. How funny, indeed, that we both post a poem with “content” on the same day! At any rate, I am content with this shared yet different content. I must agree with the photographer above. This really is a lovely photograph and matches the equally lovely poem so well!

    1. You’ve reminded me of something that’s a fine point, Allen, but it’s interesting. Sometimes, I choose a photo or illustration after I’ve written a piece. But with the poems, the image — a representation of an encounter with reality — always comes first. The photo and poem fit together because the poem is a result of the experience represented by the photo.

      Perhaps all art begins as a response to the world: to nature, events, relationships, constellations of belief, and so on. Thoughts like that are a little elevated for Etheree-making me, but there still is something there which seems important.

      For the time being, I think I’ll just be content to let the big questions alone, and keep on with my more modest projects!

    1. Despite my fondness for Morris, and my admiration for the Kelmscott Press, I’ve not come across his “Life and Death of Jason,” or the quotation. If I frequented the sites of jewelers, or Pinterest, I surely would have. It’s everywhere. Even a jeweler in Dubai uses it prominently on their page. And of course there are necklaces which display the words.

      When I went searching, I was amused by the variety of sites which Google surfaced for the quotation: an encyclopedia of jewelry-making through history, a book of inspirational quotations, a dragon-keeper’s handbook (that includes instructions on how to release a weaned dragon back into the wild!), and Sophia Loren’s book titled “Women and Beauty.”

      In any event, it’s a wonderful and appropriate quotation. Life’s jewels are abundant, and I was delighted to find some strung near a path for my enjoyment — and yours.

      1. I encountered the quote some months ago and wondered about its context. I was quite surprised to find that it belongs to a poem about Jason which was a best seller in its time. It seems that the quote has superseded the poem in popularity.

        1. I made a run at the Jason poem, but gave up. I did find it interesting that the original was even longer. What I most enjoyed was looking at some of the illustrations from the Kelmscott edition. What beauty.

          It’s good that the line has survived, and maintained its popularity. Quite apart from the truth of the observation, far more people know about Morris’s poem because of it than otherwise would.

          1. Ha! My run at the poem only lasted till I found the quote. :D The illustrations are beautiful. I remember attending aWilliam Morris exhibition at our art gallery many years ago and drooling over the books. (Well, not literally of course!)

    2. What’s interesting to me as someone who has occasionally tracked down quotations is that the version of this one on so many websites is not correct. You were good enough to provide a link to the source, where we can confirm that the line originally appeared as:

      “Nor on one string are all life’s jewels strung.”

        1. My guess is that it happened fairly recently. When I searched for the altered quotation in books.google.com, I got 10 hits. One was from 1989, but because the hit offered no view of the quotation, I couldn’t confirm that it really was in that book (Google sometimes makes mistakes). The other 9 hits were all from 2003 or later.

            1. I think that’s quite possible. Of course, in this age of Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, one person mis-reading “not” for “nor” is all it would take for the quotation to begin showing up on posters, greeting cards, inspirational blog sites, and pages devoted to collections of “quotes.”

              What intrigues me is the increasing use of quotations for all of those purposes. We keep reading about shortened attention span, and the sound-bite culture. Maybe that explains it: the quotation as a variety of sound bite.

      1. Looking around, I discovered several books from the early 1900s that quoted two lines, and in one way or another made reference to the context:

        ““Behold tomorrow comes, and thou art young,
        Nor on one string are all life’s jewels strung.”

        One worthy Methodist went on to point out to his readers that they no longer were young, the string was broken, and the beads were making for the corners of the room. Realistic, I suppose, but not quite as comforting as the crone’s words to Jason.

        1. I, too, noticed some quotations of the line(s) in the early 1900s, and then no more till the better part to a century later, in the incorrect version. It seems as if someone rediscovered the line but then quoted it wrong, after which other people copied the flawed version.

          Leave it to the Methodist to inject a note of realism. Tennyson had done the same in “Ulysses,” which ends:

          Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
          We are not now that strength which in old days
          Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
          One equal temper of heroic hearts,
          Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
          To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

          1. There’s a good example of the way a mistake in reading can lead to a mistaken attribution in a recent Quote Investigator post. The example is current enough that the trail hasn’t faded away.

            The older I get, the more that Tennyson quotation rings true. It’s always good to read it again.

            1. That’s a good example of a mistaken attribution due to the contiguous appearance of two quotations by different people.

              I was preparing to send something to Quote Investigator a couple of days ago but I ended up finding the answer to the question myself. I may incorporate my findings into a post on my other blog, even though no etymology is involved.

              Ah yes, the Tennyson. It’s as good now as I’ve always found it.

      1. Years ago, Linda, I became convinced that every corner of the world has some type of beauty and something of interest. So far, I have never been disappointed. Few people do such a great job of capturing it as you do. –Curt

        1. Part of my motivation is knowing that the day will come when the Grand Tour and the wilderness hike no longer will be possible. As our world becomes more circumscribed, being able to find these smaller beauties becomes more important. There’s a reason two women from the nursing home across the street make their way to the sidewalk bordering our property every decent day, and spend their time watching and reading under our trees.

          1. Life is short, Linda. I certainly realize that at my age. We need to appreciate it as much as we can. I still don’t know whether it is better to go out kicking and screaming, wanting more, or go out peacefully, recognizing all that we have had. And good for the elderly women who sit under your trees. –Curt

            1. Lol, you two; personally, I’d take either (way of being) as preferable over the hurry-scurry “busy-ness” of one appointment after another and no time to watch your foot-fall except on city streets): Beauty is everywhere, if we only take the time to notice (or use our “Photographer’s Eye”, hey Linda?; )

  9. Fall is a beautiful season but always sad to me, marking the end of the most luscious growth. The fall beauty is for such a short time – then it’s just dead.

    Your photo and poem resonate my feeling.

    1. I’ve often felt the melancholy of autumn, Oneta, and I’ve already read posts from bloggers in more northern climes who are beginning to dread the onset of winter. Here on the Gulf coast, milder winters temper our dread, as there’s never a time when we can’t find some green, and even blooming flowers.

      Still, there is something about the shortening days that causes reflection: the dimming of the light is such a perfect metaphor for an experience we’d all prefer to ignore. One day, all of those green fruits will become red, and then? They’ll darken, shrivel, and drop.

      Of course, what drops is the seed, for new growth.

  10. So much loveliness here: in your photo, the words you chose to shape around it… *sigh*

    I am so very glad that you “thought it deserved a few words”, Linda. Thank you for sharing them.
    (And thank you to everyone else for sharing their equally wonderful reactions – so much beauty flows here!)

    1. Isn’t the variety of responses great, Deb? I’ve learned over the years that there’s just no predicting what sort of reaction a given post will arouse in various readers. From time to time, there even have been readers willing to express disagreement or dislike, and that’s particularly wonderful.

      I’m especially glad that you found some loveliness here. In a society that tends to prefer and promote spectacle, I’m happy to offer up a few words now and then on behalf of the half-hidden and transient.

    1. Out of curiosity, I did a little light searching, and believe me, Kayti: I couldn’t find anything at Harry Winston or Van Cleef & Arpels that I liked any better. Besides, I have places I could wear this one. I’ll bet you do, too.

  11. Your words befit such a beautiful image.
    Despite it being supposedly Spring Downunder, it feels like autumn with a ‘lazy wind’ – that is, a wind that goes right through the body, and not around it. I dare not go out in case I get blown right away!

    1. Thanks, eremophila. I really was tickled to find such a “necklace” hanging in the woods.

      I’ve never heard your expression about that “lazy wind.” Very descriptive. We’ve had tremendous wind the past two days — first from the south, then from the north with a frontal passage — but it seems to have laid. I hope yours does, soon.

    1. Who knows, Sheryl? Maybe all those years of stringing cranberries to decorate the Christmas tree helped me to see the vine as a necklace in the first place. I certainly enjoyed imagining Autumn as a woman beading a necklace — especially since she was the one who got to wear it.

      I’m glad you thought the image and words worked togeher well.

    1. At least you’re getting some extended time to enjoy the color — and H is getting some extra time to do all that digging and planting.

      It occurs to me that things like this beaded vine are like your little lamp. They shed a little light on the season, but it’s enough.

  12. Lovely poem. A season soon leaving. Autumn has lingered and glowed during the days of our dry and unusually warm weather. But now it’s raining and tomorrow it is supposed to rain hard. The leaves will be beaten off the trees and we’ll settle into the season of browns, grays and long nights. It’s not as easy to be fond of winter, though I suppose the season is no less deserving.

    1. It looks like the rain already has made it from our area to yours. We took some minimal damage from the winds that plagued us the past couple of days, but our “green season” may even be extended because of the moisture.

      I’ve come to appreciate winter in a new way since I started thinking of it as the fallow season. Just as your fields need to lie fallow for the sake of future productivity, so do we. It’s one reason I prefer to follow the church calendar through the Advent and Christmas seasons. There’s nothing in the commercial push and the social frenzy that encourages lying fallow.

      I’m looking forward to going out and about with the camera, to see how nature decorates for the holidays.

    1. It’s interesting, the difference between autumn as turning, and autumn as descent. The very fact that you capitalized descent evokes myth and larger meaning. However we interpret the changes, I’m grateful that such beauty does exist.

      I suspect you’ve descended a bit more than we have. Enjoy the season! And by the way: it’s Dylan Thomas’s birthday. I think you might also enjoy this.

  13. Such a lovely gem of a poem and accompanying photo. I am glad to learn what the red berries are called as we have some in our yard. Glad to hear y’all fared well in the recent rains; it was a much needed blessing! Looking forward to more this weekend. As long as it is steady, we can handle it.

    1. Lucky you, to have such a pretty vine decorating your yard. From what I read, this is another one the birds really like: it’s pretty and useful! And I’m glad you liked my presentation of it, Becca.

      There are a lot of people happy about the rain. The mets here are saying we may get this next batch over a shorter period of time and with some downbursts, but there’s been plenty of time for the bayous to drain. The ground still will be saturated, but we’ll cross our fingers.

      Happy week!

    1. They really do pop, don’t they? We have some that will hold berries even after their leaves have gone. What I didn’t know until today is that migrating blackbirds adore the tiny black dates from the palms planted around here. I watched a flock come in and strip a palm of its fruit is about three minutes. Maybe less. I’m sure all that flying made them hungry.

      Glad you enjoyed the photo and poem!

  14. It’s marvelous the way this poem spirals down to that poignant last line, “for the love of a season soon leaving.” And so it is here, too. Mom and I, during her visit just ended, marveled at how our lone sugar maple held on to its brilliant leaves during the whole of her visit, just starting to drop them toward the end. And now, just two days after her departure, the tree is bare.

    1. I love the thought of you and your mom being able to share that tree throughout her visit. Do trees hold and drop their leaves intentionally? I don’t think so. On the other hand, it’s a lovely conceit, and happens often enough to at least raise questions.

      The same thing happened when I took Mom’s ashes to Iowa for burial. The photos I took at the cemetery that day show bright blue skies and wonderfully colored autumn leaves: red, russet, and yellow. The next day, the wind and rain arrived, and they all were blown away. Sic transit gloria mundi: poignant, but true.

      I hope you still have some autumn delights to enjoy. Winter will come soon enough. By the way, I have another Prokofiev coincidence for you. I’ll leave the details on your blog, in case someone else might be interested.

  15. “For the love of a season soon leaving” reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkins, whom I think I may have quoted here once:

    Spring and Fall

    to a young child

    Márgarét, áre you gríeving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leáves like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! ás the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By and by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you wíll weep and know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It ís the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.

    1. I love this poem of Hopkins so much, it surely (though subconsciously) influenced the last line of the Etheree. Originally, I wrote, “for the love of a season unleaving.” As soon as I read it, the ghost of Hopkins arose, and I decided to revise. But if I do put together a little collection of Etherees, I’ll go back to that original line. What is, is fine, but I think the original’s better.

    1. Thanks, WOL. And if you want to enjoy a mental double-take, check out the etymology of “leave”. I found that the meaning, “to depart” developed around the 13th century. Before that, the Old English meaning was “to let remain; remain…”

      Giving the leaves leave to remain could leave Autumn quite transformed.

    1. Maybe it’s Mother Nature trying to coax us to give her a second look. They say that accessories make the outfit, after all.

      Speaking of accessories: I took my first ride ever down Lighthouse Avenue today, all the way to the No Trespassing signs, the chained gate, and the dismal, ugly landscaping. I wish I hadn’t. Good grief — is someone going to accessorize that place any time soon? How have they left it like that? It’s so unlike the rest of the neighborhoods — it could be so beautiful.

      1. The island’s been sleeping like that for over 3 years…sold by South Shore, guys started well with trees protected, installed all streets and lighting, then foreclosed, next owner was told by engineer that the ground couldn’t support highrise/condo – sold to this guy who bulldozed the entire thing – stripped it bare (rescue group captured the deer barely in time) and now it huddles waiting the next blow: a few too tall townhouses and apartments despite city ordinances – the neighborhood is furious at elected officials who are being threatened by lawsuits by owner if they don’t agree to let him build what he wants. Meanwhile the cheap bulkhead collapses and the hills erode.It used to be such a lovely place with the big trees. I think even the bunnies got discouraged and left.
        Mother Nature left the shower on! I think she’s just smug and showing off before she cruises off – making sure “you’ll miss me when I’m gone.” Really nice poem.

        1. What’s ironic is that, in the case of the lighthouse, my third-story view would beat ground level any time. I suppose there are treasures to be found on the lighthouse grounds, too — but all of those “you’ll be arrested if you even think of coming in here” signs aren’t exactly an invitation to explore.

          1. Need to be cautious if you’re exploring there. The signs were desperately needed. Drug deals, odd cars parked, people sleeping in cars, campers…. The neighborhood has been driving the city crazy trying to get them to stop all the illegal activity. The owner knows but shrugs. He could put up real gates fence at the edge of his property (instead of so far back) and secure the road and bridge. Maybe some cameras to capture license plates and activity. At least there are signs now.Poor island: paradise lost!

  16. And of course welcome to the rank of snailseed enthusiasts and interpreters.

    I just did a search for “Ode to Snailseed” (without quotation marks) to see what might turn up. The first hit was for a blog post by someone who hates snailseed:


    The third hit was to your post. I didn’t find anyone who’s written an ode to snailseed, but your Etheree serves the same purpose.

    1. My, goodness. I can understand not wanting snailseed to take over your land, but she seems to be experiencing the plant as a personal affront.

      A bit further down in the search results, I found RAWHIDE, part of the Texas A&M Texas Natural Resources Server. It’s aimed at ranchers and land managers, but one article titled “Popular Approaches to Quail Management” caught my attention, since it included an Ode to Broomweed. The fellow who wrote it has a distinctly downhome approach, but the article was filled with wisdom like this, from a talk he gave to ranchers:

      “Next I teased out the buffalobur. Hardly anybody knows it by that
      name; to most it’s just that yellow sticker weed. I harp on the importance of being able to name the plants below one’s feet. If you can’t name them, you never see them.”

      Isn’t that the truth? I’d “never seen” any of the creatures in my previous post until I got my camera, but can there be any doubt they were around? Of course not. And after years of reading your blog, I see things while driving around that I never would have seen before.

      He went on to say, “I bemoaned the fact that every County Agent has posters hanging on their office walls depicting “Common Weeds in Pastures” and how that poster might appropriately be renamed “Top Quail Food Plants.”

      Here’s his “ode,” and a bit of verse devoted to the prickly pear:

      “I pledge allegiance to common broomweed,
      and to the cover which it provides.
      One canopy, overhead, continuous,
      maximizing usable space for quail.”

      “Many ranchers do declare,
      they’ve got too much prickly pear.
      It’s a thorny plant that they despise,
      but it sure looks good through a quail hen’s eyes.”

      I’d be happy to sit through one of his lectures.

  17. Beautiful poem. And yes, I got the subliminal suggestion: Christmas tree time soon. On another note. I think it’s here on your blog that I read about ‘raining acorns’. And in my NE road trip, I had experienced it. Well not raining, maybe just a trickle but still, that was my first time actually seeing acorns fall, picking them up from the ground and actually holding them in my hand.

    1. Arti, that’s just wonderful, that you got to experience an acorn fall along with the lobster and leaves. And yes, I did post about The Great Acorn Storm of 2013. I’d posted about acorns even earlier than that, and every fall I know when the “acorn rain” has begun, because that post begins getting hits. This year, I even had this search term pop up: “why are so many acorns falling from my trees?”

      I’m glad you liked the poem. It’s still transition time here. We haven’t really moved into full autumn. But it’s coming.

      Speaking of the holidays, I was interested — and delighted — to see that REI, one of the big outdoor stores here (and maybe in Canada) is closing down the day after Thanksgiving, to allow their employees an extra day for family and outdoor activities. Step by step, as the saying goes. Of course, it’s good marketing, but so what? If they sell more because of giving their employees time off, I say good for them.

  18. I am humbled by your writing. Does it come naturally or did you hone your craft in school? Master’s degree? I’m just worried about becoming more proficient with WordPress, and if I have the money someday I’d be on my way back to school for lit and writing. You inspire me. Debbie

    1. I’m glad you enjoy my writing, Debbie. The answer to your question about whether it comes naturally, or whether I honed it in school, is “Neither.” I’ve not taken any writing classes or workshops. And, when I began this blog, my stated intention was to use it as a vehicle for learning to write. Now, after seven years, it’s starting to come.

      Honestly? The writers I most admire all offer the same advice: learn to write by writing (and reading). John McPhee, in an interview with Paris Review, added, “”Writers, with very few exceptions, grow very slowly.” You can read the interview here.

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