Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Space, and the Magic of Place

Before 7am this morning Randall Bogle was bulldozing the last section of the Japan loop, winding up the hill from the road he cut two days ago, to join the road from the old Sunny Slope entrance, negotiating rocky outcrops and sturdy trees, and maintaining where possible a gentle gradient. We retraced the whole route back to the house, dressing it up a little. I am not sure whether google earth can see what we did. But it did feel like drawing lines on the landscape with a very big brash brush. At the moment it is all very raw, with broken and wounded trees everywhere, dislodged rocks, and random piles of earth. With wind, rain, gravity and the action of countless living things, this harshness will heal.

We need benches by the road, meditation sites. I talked to Donald at the CC Arts Center about a bench competition for local artisans, with follow-up installation. Must look up some images on google. And in head.

Magic: YB can increasingly become magical both in itself (moonlit paths) and also as a canvas for magical activity and designation. Space turns into place, and the next step is magic.

The Way to Japan, and Beyond

Yesterday Randall Bogle cut and restored the 'old road' to what was once a small house on the NW end of Yellow Bird, and is now evidenced only by a stone chimney, and a stone fence surrounding a more or less circular plot. The mystery is that only parts of an old road were at all obvious, and we had to forcibly invent bridging sections. I have ventured there a number of times, and a few years ago planted bamboos both on that site and further down the wet weather creek. Two huge osage orange trees had fallen down, and, with some roots still feeding the fallen giants, it had shot up again vertically with new trunks. I had thought to accommodate these monsters artistically, but the dozer-power we had was too much to resist using and Mr Bogle lifted and drove these hulks off-site, with much splitting, crunching and crashing of limbs, and huge branches waving their protesting green tops in the air. We had thought that cutting the road might involve compensating for immoveable rocky shelf by moving soil around, but in fact there was good soil depth everywhere and the dozer work went very smoothly. Buoyed-up by our success I resolved to plough on, and we opened up a way through the strip of bottom land, below SS Rd, and on through. Tomorrow, I will ask Randall to bulldoze up the hill at the far end and reconnect to the road inside the entrance to Sunny Slope. This will give us an entirely new walking/4-wheeling-off-road driving loop, and some beautifully different scenery. I call it Japan because of the bamboo I planted down there. [This conceit is stolen from Osgood Mackenzie's Scottish Garden at Inverewe, Ross-shire, carved from windswept moorland on a rocky peninsula beside Loch Ewe, one section of which is called 'Japan' (another 'America'!)] Bogle says it's ideal copperhead country, but I have yet to see these snakes. And now there will be a 9' clear path through the area, with bamboo leaning overhead. The old house site, which Joe D recalls was deliberately burned after becoming derelict in the 40s or so, will make a perfect place for a pagoda, and a particular quality of peace. There is debate about whether this is the house in which a young boy died in the tornado in the 30s, or whether it was across the road I must ask Louise Melton, who was born on YB, and whose long-term memory is as good as her short-term is bad. There is said to be a spring on the corner of the plot. Who would build a house without a spring!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Goat arithmetic

Molly was one of the missing, part of the reduction of numbers from 13 to 10. A day later who should turn up again, but Molly plus two new guys on the block. Here they are. Back to 13.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Berzerker in memoriam

This morning Tom Bean's dog Pinto killed Berzerker in the far corner of the basement where B had sought refuge under boards and wire and other material. Tom said Pinto hated cats and had killed two already after once being scratched on the face by a cat. When I found B he looked fine, eyes open etc. But he was already a little cold, only five minutes after his last plaintive miaow. I wonder if he had died of shock - he still seemed in one piece. I attach a post mortem image, scarily bright. I can only imagine the snakes, the squirrels, the mice, the birds, the moths, the lizards all celebrating tonight at the demise of the Feline Stalker* But he was MY small animal killer, and my friend, and I will miss him.

Yesterday, I went to see the goats, still reduced in numbers from 13 to 10! Where was Zip? He was over by the shelter on the left of the lake, where the goats often hang out* When I got close to him, he ran off to join the goats. I found one dead goat, middle-sized, exuding a noxious stench. This morning I went looking for a saw-mill, and found again Robinson's mill. Could not help recalling meeting Mr Robinson, still bent double after a childhood accident in which a tree had fallen on him and broken his body. What revenge to have started a sawmill. Anyway he subsequently died, and his mill is now just a buyer of timber.

Steely Dan Thoreau, my not-very-feral barn cat, wants to be with me, even waiting on the bank plaintively while I swim* Two 'moral' dilemmas: 1. Can I bring him down from the barn to the house so soon after B's demise? Would that not disrespect the memory of Mr B? 2. Should I really separate him from his companion/brother? Should I bring both or neither? I could bring both, and then get more feral cats (always in need of a home).

I am worried I am getting immured to death as it is happening all around me. At 9am Berzerker was stretched out next to my laptop, interfering with my hand on my mouse. At 9:30am he was gone, saved at least from terror, furry but getting cold. RIP Mr B

Friday, July 16, 2010

Death mat (2)

Visceral Offering (Cat Art)

Death mat (1)

Remains of the day

I washed squirrel hair and bones
Off the death mat at the door
And left it on the deck to dry
With Berzerker looking on

Later in the day I found
Seven blue butterflies
Feasting on death's nectar
With Berzerker looking on