Photogen & Nycteris

So G is off to Steinbecktown again, (we told her to bring us some souvenirs) and I for one really need the time off. I love her fit to burst, I know that, I know that, but every now and then it's good to get the space from her, so I can remember how much I love her, and what a gift and a blessing is my daughter.
I think it's been hard because of the heat. It's been in the triple digits and so we've stayed indoors, cowering in our little cave, trying to ward off the furnacey air currents that blast in every time we open the door. The lights are off, and the curtains drawn. B says it's to shut out the heat that seeps through our single-pane windows, but I think it's to hide from neighbors who want to come over and talk about how hot it is. I can't even hear anyone over the roar of the box fan anyway, and my plants are seriously thinking about folding up shop and going home to the Happy Garden in the Sky. There's a water ration, so we can only water before 9am and after 6pm. This feels like my new hobby, trying to manage everything around me that is affected by the heat.

And it's just been so dry as well. Last night it was too hot to cook dinner so we went downtown with friends.We stumbled around for a while looking for somewhere cool to eat before we gave up and flopped, rumpled and dispirited at Taqueria Vallarta with all the other too-hot patrons. I was somehow spoiling for a fight, like a character from Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, although in a much less "Chuck D-gold Jewelry-ghetto" sort of way and more of an "Environmentally-perturbed-at-the-effects-of-global-warming-on-my-dinner-plans" sort of way.

Of course, the most disconcerting thing is that while still reeling from the last two local wildfires earlier this month, another fire broke out in the southern part of the county; alarmingly near the home of our pastor, and one of my most favorite old apple orchards in the county. Mr. Eleven got some crazy pics taken from West Cliff: calm, blue water with little white sailboats bob-bobbing along; except behind them across the bay is a mushroom cloud of smoke, which is apparently punctuated by exploding propane tanks and burning eucalyptus trees. Oh-and File Under Bizarre-o: today the heat turned into a very strange storm complete with lightning that struck in the same locality as the wildfire! Weird! Very weird!


Night walk at the MH creek with the Elevens It did a lot to sort of soothe my soul, or at least cool it off...as we sat on the sandy white beach, glowing in the moonlight, listening to the sounds of pebbles, sticks and handfuls of sand thrown variously into the dark water; I was reminded somehow of a passage from George MacDonald's Photogen & Nycteris. So here it is.

It's gorgeous, and I wish I could write like this. It feels cool and shady just to read it.

"Before her was a very long and very narrow passage, broken up she could not tell how, and spreading out above and on all sides to an infinite height and breadth and distance-as if space itself were growing out of a trough. It was brighter than her rooms had ever been-brighter than if six alabaster lamps had been burning in them. There was a quantity of strange streaking and mottling about it, very different than the shapes on her walls. She was in a dream of pleasant perplexity, of delightful bewilderment. She could not tell whether she was on her feet or drifting about like the firefly, driven by the pulses of an inward bliss. But she knew little of her inheritance. Unconsciously, she took one step forward from the threshold, and the girl who had been from her very birth a troglodyte, stood in the ravishing glory of a southern night, lit by a perfect moon-not the moon of our northern clime, but a moon like silver glowing in a furnace-a moon one could see to be a globe-not far off, a mere flat disc on the face of the blue, but hanging down halfway, and looking as if one could see all round it by a mere bending of the neck.....

As she knelt, something softly flapped her, embraced her, stroked her, fondled her. She rose to her feet, but saw nothing, did not know what it was. It was likest a woman's breath. For she knew nothing of the air even, had never breathed the still newborn freshness of the world. Her breath had come to her only through long passages and spiral in the rock. Still less did she know of the air alive with motion-of that thrice blessed thing, the wind of a summer night. It was like a spiritual wine, filling her whole being with an intoxication of purest joy. To breathe was a perfect existence. It seemed to her the light itself drew itself into her lungs. Possessed by the power of the gorgeous night, she seemed at one and the same moment annihilated and glorified."


Anonymous said...

I got the chance to go down to Watsonville and take some close up shots of the fire from the side of Hwy 1. It's amazing how fast a wildfire can move and how quickly it can completely engulf a structure. Equally amazing is the dedication of the, already, almost completely exhausted CalFire and local strike teams. We watched two helicopters make probably 5-6 drops in the span of the 10 or so minutes we were on the side of the road. I know a couple of the Felton guys ate least are pushing almost two weeks without a day off after the Martin Fire. Wow!

rosa said...

Yeah, one of my friends is with Felton FD, and it sounds like they have really been working hard these last 2 months or so. Some friends want to have some fire safety awareness in MH-you want to join us?

Colleen said...

In case you haven't already made up your mind to never go there, I think this is further evidence that you do not belong in Arizona. Many of my childhood memories include driving by burned desert in the summer, not riding bicycles, because it was too hot. XX, The other

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.