“To The Artist There is Never Anything Ugly…”

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SkinnedElbow-BW“If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary.”
– Brassaï

AnOldStare-BW-1179“Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected.”
– Federico Fellini

Drowning-BW-5628“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.”
– Auguste Rodin

SilkenContemplation-BW-0674“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”
– Albert Einstein

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How I Wish There Were No End to Rain

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Ocean-bw-8404-BIII loomed beneath a dark feathering of sea-oats, pointed tips glazed with recent rain. I listened to the subdued murmur of little waves. The fetid and russet beds of sea-wrack had been washed away, leaving the sand barren and strange. A forlorn gull loitered at the swash line, analyzing the crinkling water as it fizzed in and out.

Beach- bw-8456-BDistant lightning lazily branched from the moody-blue squall-lines and spidered across a sullen sea of herbal green. Coy ghost crabs emerged, removing dark masses of dripping sand from drowned burrows. They built little, lumpy mounds around the entrances to their small, black holes.

The storm was leaving me. How I longed for it to stay.

Beach- bw-8441-BI was tortured the other night, seized with the memory of my little Siamese cat squeezing her eyes tightly shut for the last time. How swiftly she was gone, her soft, cinnamon cheek resting upon a colorful, flowing blanket that masked the metal slab beneath. I had never seen an animal euthanized, before. I understood, logically, that it ended the physical misery of her little, bony body.

Yet, how troubled I am by that last image of peace…of life tenderly released.

Beach- bw-8742-BMy mum died of a similar ravenous kind of disease. I remember that final image. Her face waxen and unreal, her mouth a small, black hole. She did not tightly close her eyes. She was not escorted quietly, through a warm wash of sleep, into the darkness beyond. Yet, I was not so disturbed by her image in death. And how vividly there lacked any look of peace…

Beach- bw-8752-BI do not know what that reveals about me.

But I wish the storm would never leave. I want, forever, to hear its screams over this cold and fleeting sea of herbal green. How I wish there were no end to rain. Just as there seems to be no end to Grief.

Ocean-bw-8411-B“Darkness settles on the ground
Leaves the day stumbling blind,
Coming to a quiet close
And maybe just in time”
– From the song God Only Knows by Joe Henry

“As the wet surface extends its clear broth…”

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“Ah! the wet surface extends its clear broth!
The water fills the prepared beds with pale bottomless gold.
The green faded dresses of girls
make willows, out of which hop unbridled birds.”
– Arthur Rimbaud, from the poem Memory 06-19-15 Water-4861B”Clear water; like the salt of childhood tears”
– Arthur Rimbaud, from the poem Memory06-19-15 Water-5020B“Prairie roses, two of them, climb down the sides of a road ditch. In the clear pool they find their faces along stiff knives of grass, and cat-tails who speak and keep thoughts in beaver brown.”
– Carl Sandburg, from the poem Memoranda
06-19-15 Water-5068B“A lacrymal tincture washes
The cabbage-green skies:
Under the drooling tree with tender shoots”
– Arthur Rimbaud, My Little Lovers 06-19-15 Water-4841B“To-day, let me be monosyllabic….a crony of old men who wash sunlight in their fingers and enjoy slow-pacing clocks.”
– Carl Sandburg, from the poem Monosyllabic
06-19-15 Water-6532B“Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”
– Carl Sandburg

Thank you for oozing by.

– Smiling Toad

The Swamp May Claim My Body One Day…

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00The Swamp may one day claim my body. This past weekend I was found sinking into the muck, yet again. I never mean to deviate out into those gurgling and gushing, reedy and thrillingly mucid marshlands but something always draws me in.

In this case, it was vultures…

A great cluster of black vultures descended right in the middle of the great sprawling mire below and I just had to go tumbling down after them.

They wheezed and grunted and hopped about in a frenzy as I sloshed near. Then in a great charcoal gust they fluttered up and adorned the palm trees above, their crinkled heads bent with sharp, bilge-water brown eyes studying me, looking like dark-frocked, feathered judges scowling down at me.

02I sifted about looking for a corpse. To no avail. Disappointed, I continued on. I was soon slopping along in happy oblivion until the mire became a river and the reeds turned into mangrove trees; and even then I ventured further. A tiny gator slipped away and a flurry of silver bodies slapped the surface of the water as they swam away in a fast flash. Little black minnows danced in the golden, tea-stained waters bathed in warm sunset.

04Suddenly I remembered that I do not live in the Swamp and that these ruddy parks always have a blasted time-limit. I turned and squished back toward the great sprawling knoll where the path was. I clambered and crawled up through an impenetrable green fog of knotted grass. A merry wind casually chucked vulture feathers, globs of yellow pollen, sticks and burrs into my wild, tangled mane as I clawed along like a blind bear.

At last I popped onto the trail, adorned in Swamp.

03I was surprised when I heard a squeak pierce through the meditative hum of honey bees that I had just walked through as they danced from flower to flower at my muculent feet.

I began to concoct a haphazard smile, realizing the squeak had issued forth from a wide-eyed dog-walking lady that had been startled by my sudden appearance. I guess she had no idea someone had been crawling around in the somnolent mire below all this time. She rapidly gathered up her canine companion and shielded the small and thoroughly fascinated terrier from my ghoulish and slovenly sight. The pair darted away as I said with a stumble, becoming entangled in some gigantic weed I hadn’t noticed, “Lovely time for swamping, eh?!” She didn’t reply…I don’t think she heard me…

01I immediately became distracted by the lake on the opposite side and soon found myself in the water, yet again, joyfully fiddling with the camera. Time was forgotten yet again as the sun was swiftly hoovered away and squeezed to rust. The phone deep in my pack tootled but I couldn’t be bothered with attempting to dig it out, so I continued to film as I slowly made my way back.

Then I heard a great booming cry warble across the glimmering waters glazed in purple dusk, “PARK CLOSING!”

05It seemed to be coming from a tiny dancing dot on the shore across the way…where the park entrance was…

Oh dear…THE TIME!

I tried to assure the little black dot (that was an irate ranger) that I was hurrying as I called out, “I AM COMING! DON’T WORRY! BE RIGHT THERE!”

He was miles away…well, perhaps just one mile.

I wasn’t very near and the wind was probably erasing my calls, so I gesticulated wildly in order to encourage the ranger that I was hurrying. He continued to hop up and down.

Then I started splashing back as quickly as possible.

And then I crouched down in the water to film a rock.

“PARK CLOSING!!!!! PARK CLOSING RIGHT NOW!!!” came a very jarring, caterwauling cry.

I decided I should put the camera away…this was a very difficult chore as my arms suddenly weighed about 18,000 lbs.

I managed to make it back and even avoided being pounded by the red-faced, snowy-mustached ranger as he crammed me into the car and Sir rapidly peeled away (well, rapidly for a tortoise, that is, as Sir is a very sedate, I mean careful, driver- to the outraged ranger’s dismay…). I was able to obtain enough footage for a few wee videos featuring some minute creatures. Here is one below, shot at Pine Island Conservation Area in Merritt Island, FL. Thanks for drizzling by,

Smiling Toad

Un-Ring in the New Year With Sir

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Ring in the New Year, you say? More like UN-Ring in the New Year…

Blazing New Year01

What’s my New Year’s resolution this year, you ask? To lose this parasitic clicking proboscis snapping in my face…

She’s at it again…

Every day feels like a battle…

“You’re a real fashion model, now, Sir!” the terrible Lens-Slinger squeals through a series of gleeful snaps as I attempt to flee into the swamp…

(Lovely Frilled Lavender Scarf Design by local artisan: Barbara A. Alexander, who does custom colored shawls
E-mail:  Barbara10172002@yahoo.com
Scintillating super-model for scarf: Sir)

I try to hide in the soggy reeds, but the Lens-Slinger has no fear of cotton-mouth snakes, giant spiders and quick-sand mud riddled with hissing alligators. I, however, am terrified of these things and find I can no longer move as I begin to sink deeper into the muculent mire…and I still hear that persistent sound, clicking, in the brambles somewhere…

Even when I slip and fall on the slick and moldered green board-walks she marches me onto after dragging me out of the gurgling marsh, still NO stopping for a single drop of sympathy. Just an endless symphony of clicks buzzes over me as the great Black Orb winks at my corpse in complete lack of remorse…

With a cumbersome sigh I contemplate yet another year ahead…2015…I could just cry, attempting to fathom another 12 months of this incessant, photo-snapping torture…It’s not easy being a full-time super-model living in an endless slideshow-nightmare…

Happy 2015 to all from a wee Smiling Toad and a slightly disgruntled Sir!

“The Sun the Color of Pressed Grapes…”

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Prelude to the Monody“He opens his eyes and stares directly into the morning sun which wallows up from the misty sea like some bloated, dying fish. The sky is gray and immobile, a dome of lead. A cloud hangs mute and dark over the western horizon. High up, barely visible, a seagull floats on motionless wings. Its cry is weird and restless.”
– Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal

Chewing Sand“I had forgotten that time wasn’t fixed like concrete but in fact was fluid as sand, or water. I had forgotten that even misery can end. ”
– Joyce Carol Oates, I Am No One You Know

Liquid Binding“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road