Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wind, Water, Cloud-filled Skies and Rain

Though I am still thinking about tree rings, 
the spinning of time and spirals, 
life has taken me on other adventures. 

My last weeks of summer break started with well 
challenges. The above photo is what ended a 
week of very little water use in the house. 
Thank goodness for the privacy of many acres 
of forest.... what DO city folks do if their 
indoor facilities are not in service? 

After a summer with almost no rain, 
my twenty year old water pump decided it 
had had enough. Most of the plants in the vegetable 
bed had to be dug up in order for the small tractor 
to dig out my well. When the men and heavy 
equipment moved into the center of my 
garden, I did my best... 
which wasn't very good!

Once the work had finished, I still had to use the 
well sparingly and wait for the chlorine to flush out
before drinking. I've been visiting a friend up the street
to fill water bottles, and taking very short showers, 
but luckily I am no longer digging little holes in the 
forest floor to use as my outhouse. As of today, 
I think the water may be safe to drink again.... yipee!

And with the start of the school semester, it was days 
before I got into the garden to repair the damage 
caused by clumsy men's feet and the huge tractor wheels. 
Finally last weekend, I graded, re-edged, spread topsoil 
and copious amounts of mulch. In the house, 
I am speaking my gratitude to the water 
as it pours from my shower, and appreciating
the quiet click of the water pressure tank 
 that replaces loud growls 
and roars of the old pump.

sprial post along the trail at Moore State Park, Paxton, Mass

Out and about in the world of teaching, 
classes are in full swing, and two days a week 
I am pulled away from RavenWood and forced into 
much more social interaction than I've had all summer!
My class, Exploring the Natural World, visits numerous 
parks, farms and ponds to draw, photograph and collect 
materials for mixed-media work. 


Yesterday was a breezy, cool fall day for our drawing
trip to a nearby state park. I walked the "Enchanta" 
trail from the parking lot through the forest to the pond. 
Looking up, the damage from the ice storm a few years 
ago is still very evident and many piles of limbs and brush 
sat on the side of the trail. These higher elevations 
were severely damaged in the storm and what used to 
be a relatively thick stand of trees is now open and airy
because so many trees were so severely thinned. 

At the end of the trail, a lovely pond where I became 
obsessed with photographing the clouds reflected in 
the gently moving water. 


I was mesmerized by the undulating surface of 
the water and the changing patterns 
of clouds forms. 


I thought of Monet's huge water lilly series and found 
myself longing for a smooth wood panel and oil paint. 

On the way back along a road, 
I thought this tree was painted with orange. 
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that it 
was hollow and the blaze of orange was 
sunlight reflecting off the interior.

It was really quite magical....
a tree filled with late afternoon sunshine. 

Back at our meeting place, 
a stand of American Chestnut hybrids 
is growing nicely. I've been watching 
the progress of this important project 
for years now.  Most of the native 
American Chestnuts were killed by
 disease years ago. These trees 
are a hybrid with a European Chestnut, 
I believe, and finally this year look more 
like trees than small sticks with 
big ideas.  

I'm happy to report that while I write, 
the rhythm of raindrops taps away 
on the metal roof, the first serious rain 
in weeks! I am hopeful that the garden
might last a few more weeks now. I
haven't been able to water, and 
felt horrible watching things wilt and 
dry up. Thank goodness for 
cloud-filled skies


sue said...

hello, this was so lovely to read, had me smiling all the way through and chuckling at the little holes dug..i've been there lol. your gardens looking lovely, and i know that appreciation too.. for the water when you've gone without.
beautiful serene, looking at the tree tops gave me the impression of spinning below them.. watching them spiral above:)

illustration poetry said...

this is for the clouds reflected in the gently moving water:
i don’t know your name but i know you are from the pond. I can see the scales of fish reflected in your eyes.

Valerianna said...

sue - yes, that is exactly the feeling I had taking the photo looking up at the tree tops, glad it translates!

Sympathy - There sure did seem to be all kinds of pond-cloud beings in the water that day!

Tammie Lee said...

wow, you have had quite the week!
water is such a treasure and you really know this.
I love love love your cloud photos! gorgeous!

Gwen Buchanan said...

There is no taking water for granted is there.. you have it or you don't ... having it is better.. glad your water problems are all over now...

Lovely reflections.. and garden!!!

ArtPropelled said...

So glad your water is back on and your garden is peaceful once again. We've had days of plumbers stomping in and out of the house and in the ceiling trying to find a leak. Did you know that a thirsty invisible rat could gnaw through copper pipe? After all the disruptions I'm looking forward to a quiet peaceful few days of carving .... after the weekend that is. I'm soothed by the walk through your forest and cloud gazing at the pond.

Penny Berens said...

Oh, yes, when the well mechanics fail, we realize how dependent we are on pure, simple water and of course the manmade pumps that drive it.
Your photographs of the cloud reflections are indeed mezmerizing.

Jo Potter said...

This is a lovely post. I always enjoy seeing your photos and reading about your life at Ravenwood. :-)
The cloud reflections in the water are beautiful.
Monet was the best painter for creating reflections with oil on canvas.
Good to hear you have some water back. Very dry Summers are not good. Enjoy the rain now it has finally arrived. ;-)

steven said...

valerianna this gorgeous post - well there are breathtaking moments and spaces in it - is incredible not only in itself but also for the simple realization i had while looking at it and that is that this represents one very tiny little part of our world and yet look at the extraordinary variety of life and colour and form. steven

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

I love your cloud photos...fantastic!
Your classes sound really great, I hope you enjoy teaching them, I'm sure your students must get a lot out of it...

Jasmine said...

Hurray for rain! I can see how mesmerizing the lakes woulds have been after your ordeal. Lets hope next year is milder and kinder to Ravenwood.

Acornmoon said...

You sound like a very resourceful lady coping with the elements in the depths of the forest. Your rain must be so welcome, I hope you get it in good measure.

We have chestnuts and horse chestnuts here, the later supply us with dark brown conckers; not for eating but for threading with string and having contests with. This game was very popular in playgrounds in Britain when I was a child.

Valerianna said...

Tammie Lee - Its nice to get good feedback from such a wonderful photographer, thanks! And, yes, I learned how precious water is when I lived in Greece... I was without it for many months.

Gwen - I'm in a bit of sunflower envy this time of year with all you full-sun folks... I really push my plants here in the clearing. And the soil isn't great either, but luckily most of my plants are kindly and do relatively OK... save last year with too much rain, and this year with soooo little!

ArtPropelled - wow, a thirsty rat, eh? Who knew? Hope you have a good, quiet week of carving ahead...

Penny - yes, I'm STILL mesmerized by those clouds, I might have to find another pond on a breezy day when there are clouds in the sky!

joanne - it seems we have gone back to warm and dry after the rain the other day, though some rain might come tonight, fingers crossed!

steven- yes, sometimes that concept just blows me away!

Swan Artworks- thanks, glad you like the cloud photos... and I do love teaching... haven't gotten totally into it yet this semester, it takes time, mostly to build the kind of community I want within the class- and some intimacy with students. I think of teaching as mentoring, and that takes getting to know each student individually...

Jasmine- Yes, let's hope! Last year we had a summer season with only rain, metled, rotten plants and mold everywhere, this year drought. Praying for balance as the season moves ahead.

acornmoon - what exactly does one DO with threaded chestnuts in a contest? Sounds intriguing....

Reading Tea Leaves said...

I loved this post Valerianna. From your hard work in the garden to the ethereal images of water and sky - pure joy.

What a relief for you to get some much-needed rain at Ravenwood, a commodity we take very much for granted here in the UK. Your new well will be indispensable!


Rhiannon said...

Oooh water, precious water! Your garden looks back to normal...and here I was shaking a fist at my son and his friend for stepping into my fern patch to retrieve a basketball! I can't imagine the damage all of that did to your garden but water is a nice thing to have around ;) heehee! Your pictures are stunning, loved your post.

Lorna said...

an eventful summer and a beautiful post, you weave words into magic and I wish I could visit you in your forest!
I am so glad the rain has finally put on his hat and come to visit!

all my autumn love, you lady of pure and fresh forest magic!

Valerianna said...

Jeanne - Thanks! It is quite unusual for us to have soooo little rain. Its usually always damp in these woodlands, dark, shaded conifer woods with mosses and pools. Never seen anything like this.... scary. Hope its just a fluke and not a new pattern...

Rhiannon- Thanks, and, luckily, not too, too much damage to the garden. The veggies weren't doing great anyway in the drought. So, digging them up wasn't terrible. They were kind of "mobile plants" for a few days as I moved them here and there to avoid drying out roots and such. Strange! But got me working and re-organizing, and, if it weren't for the HUGE bill, it was mostly good.

Line Lorna- Yes, the US and Norway do seem very far away, don't they? I, too, would love to wander in your world.... and follow some traditional Norwegian folk groups around - love the music! Autumn blessings back to you.... hope you are harvesting your garden in abundance!

Laura said...

Good morning, I found your site through Jasmines today...what a lovely place to visit-both your blog and the woodlands you have shared here with us. I'm glad you have water again in your home and on the thirsty earth as well.

gentle steps,

Valerianna said...

Hi Laura - welcome here... and thanks, I'm very happy to have water again, even though its still a tad brownish!

Unknown said...

Hello, great post! First off, I can sympathize with the well issues, we had to replace the well pump earlier this year and the septic tank last year (thank goodness we live in the woods too).
Then I got to your lovely photos, I can see why you obsessed, I would too (thank goodness for digital, I can take as many as I want). All in all, I really enjoyed this post, I will be back for more.
Nice to "meet" you,

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such amazingly beautiful photographs.
I love how the blue sky sits in the water.

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

All your photo's and the amazing home you have.
The clouds are beautiful.x

Anonymous said...

So glad your water is running again!
LOVELY photographs in this post - I enjoyed it very much!

Valerianna said...

Hi Kat - Nice to "meet" you, too. Ugh...yes, all those maintenance things one must do. I just had the chimney swept, the plumber here again for the toilet, and the septic tank pumped. It all started with the well work, I'm starting to feel like getting things serviced here is all I do! Glad you liked the post and my obsessed photo shoot!

Pamela - yeah, the water and the sky were really one, it became a bit "trippy"!

Kayla coo - thanks for your enthusiasm!

Zuzu - thanks, and, yes, I'm SOOO glad to have running water again, such a luxury!

Less is More said...

Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinner , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .

Debrina said...

Oh it's very nice to find you! What a magic place you live in. You seem sympathetic to nature and close to the earth. I love your garden. Blessed be, lady. :-)

Valerianna said...

Less is More - I think decorating a garden is such a personal thing... but it seems like you're on the right track- choosing decor that you like - like a garden spinner, wind chimes, etc. I have a very eclectic garden with all kinds of stones and animal figures tucked in here and there, a few bird baths and wind chimes for sure! I'd say just find things that fascinate you or bring peace and beauty. What does it for you might not for someone else... good luck!

Debrina - I do feel close to the earth, and moved here to be more so. I feel it VERY close now as I finish stacking all the wood to heat me this winter.
Very different from turning the knob to raise the heat, but wood heat is the best kind of heat as it heats to the bone and provides warm stones for cats to stretch out on - and a few limber people as well! Thanks for stopping by.

(Karen) Lisa Daley said...

Yikes!!! There's nothing worse than having well problems - been there too but at least there's nothing planted around our well. What an enormous amount of work - glad all is right now. Gorgeous photos!

Valerianna said...

Lisa - thanks! And, yes, lots of work, but thankfully water flowing again and a much better situation than having to drill a new well!

Unknown said...

Hi Valerianna,

I happened to find your site when I was looking for a water image that has cloud reflection on. And I found your series of such pictures!!! They look like abstract drawing but still photograph of movement. I love them.
I have wanted to have such image printed and hang in my room. Would it be possible to ask you sell me these images? I am not familiar with how to communicate using blog, I opened up a Google account. Hope this works out!

Valerianna said...

HI Miyako. I;m glad you like the cloud/water photos. We can surely work something out. Send me your email to my email on my profile page and we can have a conversation.