Stick figures

red maple tree in snow

It snowed most of yesterday, small, wet flakes that stuck to everything, and this morning the water from my too-shallow well was faintly pink. On my way up to my parents’ house, a pair of small insects — caddisflies, or something similar — somehow found their way onto the toe of my right boot. They must have been mating in the snow when I picked them up. They were joined back to back, and walked in either direction quite ably, like the pushmi-pullyu in Doctor Doolittle.

snowroad 2

I’ve written a couple new posts for the Plummer’s Hollow blog: Clash of the seasons today, and First snow two days ago.

I’ve also started a new writing exercise using the micro-blogging tool Twitter, which is designed mostly for people with mobile phones or Blackberries (I have neither) to post periodic updates on their activities. I won’t be doing that. Instead, I’m taking advantage of Twitter’s strict, 140-character limit, challenging myself once a day to answer the question, “What can I see or hear from my front porch while I drink my morning coffee?”

The results appear on my Twitter page, Morning Porch; in a feed that you can subscribe to, if you wish (you don’t have to join Twitter); and in the sidebar of Via Negativa’s home page, down below the blogroll feed, where I’ll limit the display to the ten most recent of these tweets, as they’re called.

Yeah, I know, the terminology is a little silly, but trust me: tweets and twitters make up the bulk of what I hear each morning.

It’s surprisingly difficult to condense a half-hour of observation into just 140 characters. My inspiration in this effort is Tom Montag, who kept a Morning Drive Journal about his daily commute for many years, though he was never quite that brief. Long-time readers might also remember that back in November 2004 I blogged the results of a front-porch journal I’d kept five years earlier. That effort ran out of inspiration after only a few weeks; I’m hoping to keep this up for a year.


My Gorgeous Somewhere

My magnetic poetry set promises lots of boring poems.


Guy on the elevator tells me to have a nice day, so I do.

Not enough options
among the magnetic words,
I have a nice day.


under the fire star

You can buy firecracker chains of 10,000 crackers — you unroll them down the length of the street, and they seem to go on exploding forever. I have been told that chains of 100,000 crackers are available too, but fortunately we’ve missed out on them so far. Big bangs and flowers of light rise above the popping crackers.

Lights can only be
so bright: hence the too-many bangs,
the too-sweet sweets.


bird by bird

This is what a surf scoter looks like, oiled. It doesn’t smell good either. This female is waiting in a warm pen till she’s stable enough to wash, probably tomorrow.

The thing with feathers
barely recognizable
under the oil.


Ah, to be stick figures
so nothing could cling for long,
neither snow nor tar.

11 Replies to “Stick figures”

  1. . . . this morning the water from my too-shallow well was faintly pink. I love the pinks and blues and purples I sometimes see with snow. Congratulations on the year’s first snow.

    Your coffee-stained vignettes from your front porch remind me also of Kurt’s Morning Verses.

  2. I am so surprised to see snow there. Winter is really coming, or in your case, has arrived. We fled the dark northern climes for the central coast of California, and I have a hard time remembering that the rest of world has its own winter.

    I like the 140 character limit. I’m going to give it a try. Mornings here seem especially suited to such an exercise.

  3. Snow?! Wow, this makes me want it. This morning we were surprised with sunshine, and went for walk after breakfast. It’s warm, about 55F. There are English daisies blooming on the lawn in the park! My post of few words ended up coming after lunch though.

  4. Down here in Charlottesville, the weather just noticed it was getting into fall… I’m still in fairly light jackets, though I did switch to long sleeves a couple weeks ago.

    The autumn leaves down here are pretty uneven, but some individual trees are spectacular, and the varied colors make nice views over the distance. (I have distance now, whee! ;-) ) The smaller plants (and some of the trees) are showing everything from flowers to berries to next-year’s buds, sometimes at the same time.

  5. robin andrea – Hey, that’d be great to have your company in this morning twittering thing! When you get started, let me know where so can add you to the people I’m following (Twitter’s version of a linkroll).

    marja-leena – Well, I’ve learned my lesson from the past few years – I’m not going to let one early snowstorm get me all excited. Chances are we won’t get significant snowfall until February. it’a hard to make any predictions any more.

    David – Good to hear you’ve survived the move and are enjoying your new home. I think I’d find a southeastern winter very disorienting – more so than, say, a Californian one – because so much of the wildlife and plant life is familiar.

  6. Snow! We haven’t seen any as yet — probably because I spent a couple of days this week putting away anything that would be in the way of the snow plow. If I hadn’t gotten to that yet, we would have snow. I wonder if I could manage to twitter something each morning? Lately, I seem to have trouble writing even a modest post for my blog. *sigh*

  7. So I’ve noticed. I’ve held back from hassling you about submitting something (or several somethings) to qarrtsiluni for the current “Insecta” theme…

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