Archive for May, 2016

ticks are upon us!

Monday, May 23rd, 2016


Libby and Queequeg and Flike and I went to Roundrock on Saturday, with the intent of staying the night to listen to the whippoorwills as we sat around a crackling campfire. We were thwarted in that hope, but we did manage to make a good overnight weekend out of the trip.

There was all of Saturday to be filled before we could listen for the whippoorwills, so we managed to find things to do. Libby and I took a long hike through our woods (leaving the dogs in the cabin since the ticks are already thick in the scrub). Because the top of the dam was a dense growth of tall grass (grass that might have prevented the spillways from washing out — again — had it been growing there before), we diverted around it, going to our eastern property line and pushing through the scrub there, thinking foolishly that the dense trees would stifle the scrub growth. Flike might have made it through there with us, but Queequeg would not and would have been carried. (It would have been easier had we just crossed the dam.)

We had no specific goal in mind on our walk, and when we finally found ourselves across the lake and on the north-facing slope, we wandered through the trees, looking at this and that, and more or less following our feet to the west. The growth is in full ambition mode now, and I know that by August, this will seem to have been not a good idea, but what does youth know, right?

We made our way to the western end of the lake, which was at full pool and looking splendid, and crossed in the gravel to the south facing slope, making our serpentine way back to the dogs and the cabin. We stopped at a small pile of stones where we hope to some day build an actual house, and I left a pink gemstone atop it. (It is a 2-inch diameter piece of glass.) We direct our feet to this part of our forest frequently, and I’m eager to see if the gemstone remains or is carried off by some “collector.” It’s a big item, so I don’t think it will go far, but I won’t be surprised when I return and find it knocked off the rock and in the leaf litter.

We spent the rest of the afternoon picking ticks off of our clothes. We did have a campfire, but unexpected, distant thunder and lightning arrived, as well as a few drops of rain, and I think that may have quieted the whippoorwills. This means, of course, that we must return and stay the night so that we can listen for them again.


Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

I don’t know how many people are still reading this humble blog. I know some malware has frightened a few away; there are times when even I can’t get to the site. For those of you still visiting, welcome and thank you.

Today is my 11th anniversary with the blog. (Never mind half of 2010 and all of 2011 when I was on hiatus.) There is always something new going on at Roundrock. Unfortunately, I’m not always there when it happens.

I’m hoping to get out to my woods this weekend, perhaps for an overnight. Maybe I’ll have new stories to tell.


Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

You may know that I am reading the novels of Iris Murdoch in sequence. I’m currently reading The Bell (for the third time) and enjoying it a great deal. Some say it is her most approachable novel. In any case, the more versed you are in mythology, Plato, Buddhism, and the like, the more deeply you can appreciate her novels. To that end, I bought myself a nice reading copy of The Metamorphoses, written by Ovid. My intent was to read all of these myths and become a better Murdoch reader as a result. I acquired it last fall, and I haven’t gotten through the introduction yet.

But never mind about that.

One of the stories that has always interested me is that of Daphne, a nymph who was being pursued by the rapacious, salacious Apollo. About to be subdued, she begs for deliverance from various sources (her father, who is a river god, and others) and is transformed into a laurel tree.

And so much for today’s mythology lesson. What interests me is how this transformation has been depicted in art through the ages.




You get the idea.

It’s fascinating (to me, anyway) what the sources of these myths are, how the ancients understood their worlds by telling these stories. What seems consistent in these depictions is that Daphne is transformed in an upright position. What might have inspired that understanding?

I think those are all bogus, PG-13 depictions and that the real inspiration for this myth was something a bit more . . . graphic. Behold this tree in a park not far from my house:


nuf sed?