One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hawthorne "Clips": England's Lake District: Windermere

In the evening, just before eight o'clock, I took a walk alone, by a road which goes up the hill, back of our hotel, and which I supposed might be the road to the town of Windermere. But it went up higher and higher, and for the mile or two that it led me along, winding up, I saw no traces of a town; but at last it turned into a valley between two high ridges, leading quite away from the lake, within view of which the town of Windermere is situated. It was a very lonely road, though as smooth, hard, and well kept as any thoroughfare in the suburbs of a city; hardly a dwelling on either side, except one, half barn, half farm-house, and one gentleman's gateway, near the beginning of the road, and another more than a mile above. At, two or three points there were stone barns, which are here built with great solidity. At one place there was a painted board, announcing that a field of five acres was to be sold, and referring those desirous of purchasing to a solicitor in London. The lake country is but a London suburb. Nevertheless, the walk was lonely and lovely; the copses and the broad hillside, the glimpses of the lake, the great misty company of pikes and fells, beguiled me into a sense of something like solitude; and the bleating of the sheep, remote and near, had a like tendency. Gaining the summit of the hill, I had the best view of Windermere which I have yet attained,--the best, I should think, that can be had, though, being towards the south, it brings the softer instead of the more striking features of the landscape into view. But it shows nearly the whole extent of the lake, all the way from Lowwood, beyond Newby Bridge, and I think there can hardly be anything more beautiful in the world. The water was like a strip and gleam of sky, fitly set among lovely slopes of earth. It was no broader than many a river, and yet you saw at once that it could be no river, its outline being so different from that of a running stream, not straight nor winding, but stretching to one side or the other, as the shores made room for it.

Hawthorne "Clips": Journal: England: Bloody Footprint + Man at the Station

April 7th.--I dined at Mr. J. P. Heywood's on Thursday, and met there Mr. and Mrs. ------ of Smithell's Hall. The Hall is an old edifice of some five hundred years, and Mrs. ------ says there is a bloody footstep at the foot of the great staircase. The tradition is that a certain martyr, in Bloody Mary's time, being examined before the occupant of the Hall, and committed to prison, stamped his foot, in earnest protest against the injustice with which he was treated. Blood issued from his foot, which slid along the stone pavement, leaving a long footmark, printed in blood. And there it has remained ever since, in spite of the scrubbings of all succeeding generations. Mrs. ------ spoke of it with much solemnity, real or affected. She says that they now cover the bloody impress with a carpet, being unable to remove it. In the History of Lancashire, which I looked at last night, there is quite a different account,--according to which the footstep is not a bloody one, but is a slight cavity or inequality in the surface of the stone, somewhat in the shape of a man's foot with a peaked shoe. The martyr's name was George Marsh. He was a curate, and was afterwards burnt. Mrs. ------ asked me to go and see the Hall and the footmark; and as it is in Lancashire, and not a great way off, and a curious old place, perhaps I may.


 July 4th.--I left Leamington on Monday, shortly after twelve, having been accompanied to the railway station by U---- and J-----, whom I sent away before the train started. While I was waiting, a rather gentlemanly, well-to-do, English-looking man sat down by me, and began to talk of the Crimea, of human affairs in general, of God and his Providence, of the coming troubles of the world, and of spiritualism, in a strange free way for an Englishman, or, indeed, for any man. It was easy to see that he was an enthusiast of some line or other. He being bound for Birmingham and I for Rugby, we soon had to part; but he asked my name, and told me his own, which I did not much attend to, and immediately forgot.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

View of Yosemite Valley

Some Delta flight to Sacramento. Not a great pic but not bad -- through an airplane window, darkly. Also, at least it appeared to be the case in the original: haze or smoke. Makes sense with all the fires up that way this summer. Anyway, I played with them a bit and got the results below. Half Dome is in the top middle, El Capitan is in the bottom middle.



[From: A. Z-Swihart]

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hawthorne Journals: England: Miss Martineau

I think I neglected to record that I saw Miss Martineau a few weeks since. She is a large, robust, elderly woman, and plainly dressed; but withal she has so kind, cheerful, and intelligent a face that she is pleasanter to look at than most beauties. Her hair is of a decided gray, and she does not shrink from calling herself old. She is the most continual talker I ever heard; it is really like the babbling of a brook, and very lively and sensible too; and all the while she talks, she moves the bowl of her ear-trumpet from one auditor to another, so that it becomes quite an organ of intelligence and sympathy between her and yourself. The ear-trumpet seems a sensible part of her, like the antennae of some insects. If you have any little remark to make, you drop it in; and she helps you to make remarks by this delicate little appeal of the trumpet, as she slightly directs it towards you; and if you have nothing to say, the appeal is not strong enough to embarrass you. All her talk was about herself and her affairs; but it did not seem like egotism, because it was so cheerful and free from morbidness. And this woman is an Atheist, and thinks that the principle of life will become extinct when her body is laid in the grave! I will not think so; were it only for her sake. What! only a few weeds to spring out of her mortality, instead of her intellect and sympathies flowering and fruiting forever!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Freedom's Just Another Word ...

Coffee with a friend who's lost his phone. Solo walk. Ode to a Green Urn (cats are poets too) and a few other trinkets. School hasn't started but it's already so palpable it's invading my dreams ...




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

William Allingham's "The Faeries"

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!