The safest scared

Sands in the hourglass are had in vain.  They pour without end, form eddies and maelstroms that never repeat and never return, drip between our fingers if we try to catch them, and ultimately slip away never to be recovered, all becoming liquid memory long since rushed beneath the bridge of time.  The only grain that counts is the one we hold right now, this single drop of time wherein we see ourselves reflected.

And right now can be a marvelous descant of resounding beauty, the trickling song of joy against the shores of this moment.  So to you—and you know who you are—let me say this:

It may not always be so, this that we share.  The headwaters of history wait for no man.  We seize the moment or we watch it mix with the flood of those that came before.

We can be swept up in whatever this is or we can let it sweep away its own memories to make room for the future.  I choose to be swept up in this tantalizing torrent.

In the silence I have known with you, there is a drumbeat resonating from an ancient heart, echoing across the unending stream of time, rising and falling with each breath.  Unlike others you have known, I do in fact hear it.  I listen for it.  I let it dance upon the ripples of seconds until it reaches my ears.

Lest you think me mad for the distances that separate us, friendship we have at least, always boundless and always limitless and never incapable of reaching distant coasts that we shall never see.  Wade into those waters with me, for if in the shallows of this potent river we find currents that lift us higher, I will swim by your side.

[the title is borrowed from a poem by Merrit Malloy; I don’t remember the exact work, but I do remember the gist was this: “I press my nose against the window of your life with the fear and interest of a ten-year-old reading Playboy.  It’s the safest scared I’ve ever been.”; and yes, that’s how I feel right now, and yes, this is essentially an open letter to someone; I’m in a very happy place]

[Update] Shot myself in the foot today.  On this very matter.  Thought I was being confident, clever and considerate; instead, I was being self-destructive.  Leave it to me to feel sureness at the very moment I think I know what the hell is going on when in fact I am ignorant and daftly out of touch.  I’ve thus impaled myself on my own ignorance.  How’s that for stupidity…

Repeat performance

It seems all too familiar.

Snow at White Rock Lake (2010_02_12_049711)

Though I could claim these photos are from The Big Snow™ of February 11-12, 2010, they are not.  They are, in point of fact, from this morning.

Snow at White Rock Lake (2010_02_12_049750)

Snow began falling last night and continued—rather, is continuing this morning, albeit radar claims the end is near.

Snow at White Rock Lake (2010_02_12_049782)

We received only a fraction of the record snow that fell last month—perhaps 4-5 inches/10-13 centimeters this time, though strong winds have drifted and manipulated it throughout the night such that it remains difficult to appreciate where official depth ends and drift begins.

Snow at White Rock Lake (2010_02_12_049755)

Nevertheless, thus is the first full day of spring here at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas.  The February storm set back spring by weeks.  This late March storm brings us full circle.

It will take some time for the wildflowers to bloom again.

Spring, interrupted

Look at these beautiful spring flowers:


They’re Missouri violets (a.k.a. banded violets; Viola missouriensis).  Pretty, eh?

Seen just this week and captured as they unfurled their majestic petals early in the morning, they stand as testament to a spring underway, a season of warming temperatures and prolific growth, of migrations and matings, of rainbows erupting from the ground and life burgeoning from a russet earthen vase.

But unfortunately these flowers will not survive the weekend.  Why?  Winter has decided the first day of spring is a good day for one last dance.  We’re expecting snow this afternoon through tomorrow morning.  Temperatures have dropped ten degrees in the last three hours.  And a cold rain has been falling since long before sunrise.

I had grandiose plans this weekend: plans for walks at the park, plans to enjoy life at the lake, plans to satiate my ever present desire to witness nature’s bounty.  Instead, I’m wrapped in a sweater sitting inside watching spring, interrupted.

As convenience would have it, this is only a weekend storm.  By Monday we’re back to 70°F/21°C with plenty of sunshine.  Typical…

So instead of wandering the great outdoors and getting my fill of spring in the wild, I will enjoy some virtual walks in nature.  Luckily there’s a buffet of carnivals overflowing with wonders to explore.

Friday Ark #287: Steve once again scours the web in search of creature comforts.  You can expect travelers to climb aboard throughout the weekend, so check often for the latest updates because there’s always plenty to enjoy in this weekly carnival.

House of Herps #4 – St. Patrick’s Edition: John shows St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about drinking green beer and pinching those who forgot to wear the holiday color.  In fact, he celebrates amphibians and reptiles by delving into the herpetological history of St. Patrick—even going so far as to explain why there are no snakes in Ireland, something for which mythology credits St. Patrick himself.

An Inordinate Fondness #2: Since she inadvertently scheduled herself to host two carnivals on the same day, Amber handed the blog reins to her friend, AJ, who put together a musical edition of the carnival devoted to beetles.  Though in this case it all starts with The Beatles.  You don’t want to miss this delightfully clever presentation replete with music and humor, not to mention a lot of beetle goodness.  Oh, and I’m thinking AJ has won a following with this.

I and the Bird #121: While AJ handled both The Beatles and the beetles, Amber flew through a boundless migration of birds kicked off with the always delectable wit of Monty Python.  Once you finish pondering if a migrating swallow can carry a coconut, stick around to enjoy a rich collection of birds from all around the world.  This is one avian celebration you don’t want to miss.

The Moth and Me #9 – The Wingless One

I met a wingless moth one day.  She rested comfortably on her back with a blanket of afternoon sunshine lying atop her still form.


“Pardon me, ma’am,” I said, “but are you quite certain it’s safe for you to rest here?  I almost stepped on you, and most assuredly you will make a tasty treat for either bird or mammal should you remain.”

She replied, “Kind sir, unlike my Cyclopic cousin, I lack wings and therefore cannot flutter away.  Worse yet, should I land in a rather undignified position such as this, how do you think I might right myself and continue with my day?”

I stared blankly, feeling confused and bewildered.  Embarrassed, in point of fact.

“Dearest person,” she continued, “I but ask one simple question: Having enjoyed the company of a man and being in a family way as it were, I do not rest here for my health.  A wee bit of clumsy climbing has left me in this predicament.  Would you be so kind as to right me?  Or am I not pretty enough?

“On the contrary, madam, you are indeed a splendid beauty.  I shall set you aright this very moment.”  And then I did just that.


“But if I may,” I asked, “isn’t this an unsavory view?”

Her guffaw echoed across the lake.  Yet it felt more like a scoffing laugh than a tickled one.  Only when she regained her composure did she amend the cackle: “Unless you’re wounded, you have no one to blame but yourself for ogling my behind.”

My cheeks flushed with red.  So I stood.


Even as I paused to appreciate her apparent plumpness, she pondered aloud, “We come in all shapes and sizes.  Am I so alien?”

“I humbly apologize for staring, kind lady.  It’s just that I have never seen a moth like you.”

We are moths.  Even I, wingless and flightless and different, am a moth.  You find us in your fruit bowls, in your carpet, trying to survive where we can.  Yet no matter where you find us and what we look like, we are moths.  It’s all about diversity, dear.  That’s the spice of life.”


“I ask for your pardon, young lass.  I meant no offense by appreciating your visage.  It seems, however, to me at least, early in the season for one such as yourself to be so heavy with child—er, uh, children, I mean.”

It’s never too early,” she responded, “never too early at all.  It’s never a question of season or location; it’s always a question of observation.  Even old favorites fill new seasons.  All you need do is look.”


She then began climbing again.  I chuckled at the sight of her dragging her form against gravity’s pull.  And I wondered if perhaps a similar attempt had preceded our encounter.

She inquired as she clung to her precarious perch, “This is your patio, is it not?”

“Why, yes it is.”

“Then perhaps I would offer that you should visit it more often.  Persistence pays off and opportunity for discovering new things often hides in familiar places.  And we can surprise you by showing up when you least expect us.”

It was then she began to slip, her grasp upon the painted wood failing to hold her weight.  Just as she fell, I reached out and caught her, then I placed her gently upon the ground.

A wry smile crossed her face as she finished, “Besides, do you think I flew here from a foreign land, or perchance do you think I’ve been around a while?  Maybe I am not the stranger here.”

And with a final glance at me, she brushed herself off before venturing upon a safer path.

— — — — — — — — — —

Photos and video of a very pregnant, very flightless female woolly gray moth (a.k.a. pine barrens lycia; Lycia ypsilon).