Friday, October 28, 2011

Im Nebel

Well, that title surprised me. Why do these minds of ours pull up things that haven't been thought of for years?

"Im Nebel" ("In the mist/fog") comes from my freshman year of college, best I recall. I was taking a German class. Poetry was not part of our class, but somewhere I had come across Hermann Hesse's poem in German and was working on translating it with the help of my kind professor. All I really remember about it is that at the time it seemed quite depressing to me. I remember thinking that Hesse must have been a lonely man. (The poem was all I knew of him at the time, I believe.)

Seems that early impression was right from the bits I've learned since then about his life, but I also read that he was greatly helped by therapy at one point, so that was good to learn.

At any rate, here are some pictures from a walk earlier this week, followed by Hesse's poem.

The fountain, barely discernible through the fog. Interesting that "im nebel," dark things show up better than lighter things.

Lamb's ear soaked in a foggy cloak.

The fountain's continuous splash was like fog for the soundscape.

One of my favorite trees in this park, and a favorite duck-gathering spot.

Do spider webs work when they're wet? Does anything fly around in the fog?

Feathery cypress, so green in all the gray.

The bench that seems somehow sacred and is definitely set apart, out on a little jutting peninsula that feels far away from houses and traffic, though it isn't far geographically at all.

You have to enlarge this to see the beauty of the fog condensed onto the branches. And the ducks swimming around.

At this point, it began to actually rain,

so I stopped under a cypress tree for a while.

Could such beauty come from randomness and chance?

Before I saw them, I heard them. Loud, blaring honking broke into the quiet morning. They came,

and came,

and continued to come,

seemingly out of nowhere, hidden by the thick fog until right above me,

and zoomed down to settle on the little lake, between forty and fifty, by my counting.

Dear Mr. Heron and I see each other fairly often, but he is very reserved and does not like his privacy invaded for very long, so this is the first picture I've been able to get.

He can often be found in the water near the gate to the secret island, where only official bird-sanctuary workers are allowed.

The thickest spider web I've ever seen.

my friend Jay said about walking in Florence, Italy, "Don't forget to look up!"

Good-bye, geese!

Good-bye, prairie dogs! (Oh, wait, those are cypress knees.)

Good-bye, ducks!

Good-bye, fountain!

And back into the people world, with smoke rising from the chimney of this newly-shingled house which smells so wonderfully of cedar each time I walk by.

I do find walking in the mists quite wondrous.

In the Mists

Wondrous to wander through mists!
Parted are bush and stone:
None to the other exists,
Each stands alone.

Many my friends came calling
then, when I lived in the light;
Now that the fogs are falling,
None is in sight.

Truly, only the sages
Fathom the darkness to fall,
Which, as silent as cages,
Separates all.

Strange to walk in the mists!
Life has to solitude grown.
None for the other exists:
Each is alone.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Lycoris squamigera is their Latin name, but I have always known them as surprise lilies. They pop up practically overnight and bloom so quickly as to seemingly defy nature.

This particular specimen was a super surprise. It came up before I realized or saw it, and while doing some work in the area, I accidentally stepped on it so hard that it was horizontal on the ground and looked to my eyes as if it could not survive. I felt terrible when I saw it and felt I should complete the detaching and give it a proper burial, but I was pressed for time and left it there for later.

And lo and behold, that amazing energy that makes it grow so quickly must also have restorative powers, because even with its stalk partially crushed, it straightened itself up and bloomed, as you can see!

Tonight I look to the lily as a symbol for my blog. Not giving up, despite the thin tissue holding it together! Rising once again to surprise those loyal readers who inform me occasionslly that they've checked and not seen anything new for a while.

Some things in life are calming down a bit, so I hope to find a new rhythm for writing. Time will tell.

Lycoris squamigera. Never underestimate the power.

(And, no, I have never actually had a burial service for a deceased flower. I just love surprise lilies so much and felt so bad for stepping on it that a little goodbye and apology seemed in order.)