Friday, May 29, 2015


"All day long, in that slightly too bucolic residence, which looked like no more than a place for resting between walks or sheltering from a downpour, one of those houses where every sitting room looks like a conservatory and where, in the bedroom wall-paper, either the garden roses or the birds in the trees are brought vividly before you and and keep you company, in a rather isolated way -- it being of the old-fashioned sort in which each rose was so clearly delineated that if it were alive one could have picked it, each bird so perfect that it might have been caged and tamed, without any of the exaggerated modern decor in which, against a background of silver, all the apple trees of Normandy are arrayed in profile, Japanese-style, to turn the hours you spend in bed into a hallucinatory experience; all day long I stayed in my room, which looked out over the fine greenery of the park and the lilacs by the gateway, over the green leaves of the great trees shimmering in the sunlight beside the water, and over the forest of Meseglise."

Finding Time Again, Marcel Proust, Ian Patterson translation, opening sentence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


If I hadn't been up early and gone for a walk I never would have learned the satisfying news that numbers of Baltimore Orioles had arrived in coastal Maine the day before the Preakness.
I make no apologies for the blurry photo of an Oriole in an apple tree that I took early one spring morning:  after all, we had lived in Maryland for decades and rarely saw them. The seed store lady said that she had never heard of anyone successfully feeding them.  You'll hear that Orioles like grape jelly, which is probably why I never had any luck:  I would never feed a creature of nature any human food.  But more than once I did precariously climb our pointy Hawthorns to nail orange sections to the branches to lure them closer to us.  However, a bird knows that Hawthorns produce bitter red berries and not sweet fruit, so they were not fooled and we never saw them. 
     Our neighborhood in Maryland was a cul-de-sac shaded by plane trees and tall tulip poplars that formed an amphitheater all around and over us.  For a short period of time in the spring the Orioles moved around the treetops singing their wonderful songs until they inevitably went silent for the summer.  It was as disappointing a time as when the Wood Thrush in the forest did the same thing a month later.