Saturday, November 09, 2002

Some months back I linked to Michael McClellan's pictures of monks and monasteries. Here is an equally luminous gallery of black and white photographs from a monk-photographer at the ancient Valaam Monastery in Russia. The monastery, vacant from 1944 until the fall of the Soviet state, is now being restored and repopulated by Orthodox monks. The monastery's web page is here.
Morning Light and Shadows, A View of Hogback Mountain

Today was one of those rare days where you cannot turn your head without seeing something beautiful. A warm breeze better suited to September than November, leaves past their peak, but still a riot of color to be seen.

Seated in fallen leaves
watching mountains from the
bank -- Indian summer

Kodojin (1898) (Trans. Stephen Addis)
Buck Mountain 11/09/02

Llama Update

Tippy and McKenzie did it again. The morning after I blogged about their last adventure, they found their way back to Browntown Road. They were snoozing on the lawn when I woke up on Wednesday. Later that morning, as I was walking the dog, I looked for them and they were nowhere in sight. Immediately heading for the road, I heard to my horror a long, steady honking car horn. As I got to the end of the driveway, they were leaping back across the cattleguard, ahead of a kind soul who was herding them back with his pickup truck. The pair are now banished to a field with no road access, behind the barn. Their replacements in the front field are Avery and Leroy, both white with brown spots. At night, they look like ghosts walking in the moonlight. So far, they have shown no signs of itchy feet, or an urge to see foreign parts.
I was out walking Skid, our border collie, last night after the moon had gone down behind Buck Mountain. After a week of much needed rain, the skies were clear, the band of the milky way shining in an arc over my rooftop. To the east, the constellation Orion was just sliding up over Skyline Drive, tilted sideways. The sight brought to mind a favorite poem by Robert Frost, The Star-Splitter, which begins;

You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney
To make fun of my way of doing things,
Or else fun of Orion's having caught me.

Being a part-time farmer, too much of my work gets done at dusk, or after dark. Sometimes the warm house is so much more inviting than the cold barn that daylight escapes while I linger, changing from coat and tie into mud-spattered denim. Today was blessedly, unseasonably warm and, being a Saturday, chores were done in time to enjoy, rather than race, the setting sun.

Looking the the archives of my weblog, I ran across this entry about a cold, but clear night this April where Frost's poem made another appearance. If you are interested, you can click here and scroll down to Sunday, April 7.