Tuning the five string harp


From Listening Below the Noise, Anne D. LeClaire: “…when I was teaching a creative writing workshop in Kenmare, Ireland, I learned an Irish phrase, tuning the five string harp, which means opening the five senses and bringing them into alignment so they work in consonance.”

After a long, cold winter, I’m feeling itchy to emerge into spring. But a nor’easter is howling outside, lengthening my hibernation. I’m adaptable — I’m going to welcome the opportunity to listen, to tune the five string harp. It’s the grounding I need.

The wind is roaring (March comes in like a lion…). I see the trees from my living room window bend and sway. They have deep roots. (Less fortunate trees with shallow roots have already been chain-sawed into firewood, or –lean, and wither on the lawns of snowbirds.) If I was a tree (not like Daphne, whose father imprisoned her in a laurel tree), I would be a tree that flowered in the spring, provided shade in the summer, splashed my leaves vibrant in the fall and exhibited bare, naked texture and interest in the winter. Oh, and my roots would be thick and gnarly, like the hands of an old woman who has created, among other things, joy — while clutching and kneading the fertile underworld.

I visited the Cahoon Museum’s exhibit, “The Magnificent Splendor of Trees,” with my new friend and artist, Ruth Leech the other day. A visual treat and inspiring. I want to visit the 100 year old weeping beech in Yarmouthport. Maybe write for a few minutes under its branches, or just listen….

Recommended: A Film on Art

Just had to share this:  If you’re interested in viewing a wonderful film on the artist within, check out The Cats of Mirikitani (2006 DVD, I got it from the library). See more info: http://www.thecatsofmirikitani.com/. The film tells an incredible story of a Japanese artist, Jimmy Mirikitani, who was born in Sacramento, CA, and placed in an internment camp after Pearl Harbor. One of the things that shouted at me during the film was Jimmy’s continual affirmation: “I am an artist.”

Have you done your art today? 🙂


The Absolutely True Story of the Great Blue Heron, Part 2

Once upon a time, I made up my mind that I wanted to get a photo of a great blue heron.  I have a nice camera, a Nikon, but haven’t had the time to learn how to use anything but the “AUTO” mode (I will, I will, the Dummies book from amazon.com arrived yesterday).  Anyway, if you read my last blog, you know a great blue heron showed up in the pond, with the swans, in my last attempt (in Sandwich, on 6A).  The photo was blurry.  I did not give up.  Today, my husband and I took another drive to the Cape (we LOVE the Cape) and drove to Scusset Beach (where it was very windy and FREEZING), over the Sagamore Bridge to the Sandwich Boardwalk.  We parked the car beside the boardwalk, and saw something bigger than a seagull moving in the marsh.  I’m not an ornithologist (look it up) but I thought maybe it was a Little Blue Heron or a baby Great Blue Heron.  I didn’t care if it was an ostrich.  I just wanted a good photo.  I used my 55-200 mm lens, which is a little wobbly even without the ferocious winds that blew today, but I tiptoed into the marsh and took a bunch of photos — without my tripod (how can you set up a tripod in a marsh???)  Anyway, when I got home and put the photo card into the computer I was VERY happy.  Isn’t she/he beautiful? 


Chasing the great blue heron

     Yesterday my husband and I drove to West Falmouth to take photos.  We passed the marsh on Rte 28A, just after the West Falmouth Library, and I spotted a great blue heron.  It’s been a goal of mine to get a photo of a great blue heron.  My husband turned the car around, parked across the street from the marsh and I rushed out with my camera (no tripod — god, how can you quickly grab your tripod and attach the camera when the bird is right there — with wings?)  So I tiptoed as quietly as I could to the other side of the street and before I could turn the damn camera on, the heron flew far enough into the marsh to foil the capability of my long range lens. 
     [I read last week’s Falmouth Enterprise and learned a flock of them were spotted — in flight — by the nature columnist, Mary Richmond, at Hemenway Landing, Eastham.  Jeez, Louise, I live over the bridge.  Do you know how far Eastham is from my house?]

     As a special treat, my husband and I had lunch at the Dolphin Restaurant in Barnstable (my favorite) this afternoon.  We traveled along the shore, eyes peeled for a great blue heron — and other photo ops.  We had a grand day, drove to Barnstable Harbor, then down 6A to Yarmouth, walked around the Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary and took a few photos of Sanctuary Beach.  Gorgeous.  (Windy.  Brrr.) On the way home, north on Rte. 6A in East Sandwich, I spotted 2 swans in a little pond; no parking, of course, my husband pulled over as far as he could off the road. I got out with my camera (I should have had my tripod.  Damn, I should have had my tripod.  Next time I’ll bring my tripod….)  I wore my red jacket, figured traffic coming south wouldn’t hit me (praying traffic wouldn’t hit me) and I took a few photos (for god’s sake – how could I manage to walk on that side of the road with the damn tripod?)  So, with my long range lens that is a bit heavy (I should have had my tripod), I shot a few (less than perfect) photos.






When I edited the next photo in Picassa (I’m learning Photoshop;  it’s not user-friendly!), this is what I discovered.

P.S.  I need to revise my goal.  “I want to take a few clear, close-up shots of a great blue heron, or two, some in flight, before the end of 2012.  Please and thank you.  (I promise I’ll use my tripod.)”