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Blobs and The Meaning of Life

Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm kind of a linear person. I can't do one thing until I've finished the first thing. So when I have a lot of irons in the fire I go a little nuts. Right now, I'm trying to finish my new book. The whole manuscript and all the paintings are due April 15. Tax Day. The same day Phoebe's FAFSA is also due. 
I don't like all that coming due the same day, but it is what it is. If I didn't have deadlines, I wouldn't have two books and a third on the way. 

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

So I've been trying to finish my book and I make great progress each day, sometimes writing a couple thousand words, but there is a lot still to do.
And then there's the blog, for which I post three times a week. 
The last time I was trying to finish a book, in spring 2011, I cut down from five posts a week to three. It makes my head spin to think about putting out five posts a week. Before that, I posted every dang day for many years. Seven posts a week.
I remember writing this whole long apologetic thing about how I just can't do five posts a week any more. Gaaah. Apologizing for cutting back to three? Zick. Give it a rest. 

Spring's coming on and I have all this fabulous stuff from Costa Rica needing to be shared. But the brink of spring is just such a wonderful time. I love it so, when everything is waking up. Beginning.

The ditches, suddenly full of blobs of protoplasm and promise.

Spring peeper eggs, wood frog eggs, mountain chorus frog eggs.
I can't tell them apart. I just know these are one or all of the three.
Feel free to correct me. Lots of people do. When you do three posts a week you're wrong a lot. Ha. I crack myself up.

I love seeing all those little embryos, beginning. I bless them as I walk by, like some kind of hillbilly St. Francis. Live long and prosper, little blastocyst.

On this 70-degree day from heaven, the ditches and puddles were full of red-spotted newts!

I usually see newts in small ponds, so it was a surprise to see them carrying on in puddles as if they were trying out being frogs. 

I love the sinuous, croclike way they walk, patrolling the silty bottom, looking for what? Other newts, probably, this being the end of March. It seemed to me that these creatures were not fully metamorphosed from red eft phase.  First off, they were walking on the bottom, not propelling themselves fishlike with finned tails. Their feet weren't webbed; their tails lacked the large laterally flattened fins. Furthermore, I didn't see the big gonads hanging down like I do on adult males. 

They seemed to be in transition to adulthood, and with it a fully aquatic form. They were tweeners. Teen efts. 

This one, the eftiest of them all. I felt privileged to be in on this interim event. Perhaps that's why they were hanging in small puddles, to get the feel of being aquatic before committing to pond life. Renting before buying. 

Also in the puddles were mystery blobs. So many mysteries, so little Science Chimp gray matter left.
It's all going to the book, friends. I stared for awhile. I knew what this was. It just wasn't coming up. 

So I poked it and sniffed. Very, very soft. No discernible odor, not even of fermentation. So not animal in origin.

 Ah. Finally the meaning of the mystery blob's brainlike pattern seeped through to my brainlike organ. Color was wrong, but I knew who'd thrown it there.

I looked up.

And across the road.

The distinctive arched branches and orangeish bark of the Osage orange.
These babies had been in the drink since October. No wonder they were gooshy and red.

"Try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost."--Henry James

Chet and I proceeded down to the terminus of our run, the beautiful shaly passage of Dean's Fork I love most.

The turkeys love it, too. 

The stream was too wide for me to jump across, but I liked watching Bacon dig the cool water. I wish I could drink wherever I go, like he does. If I could, we could run forever.

The old gristmill I loved so, collapsed in the same June 29, 2012 derecho that took my Garden Pod. 
I'll never get over having this gristmill fall down.  But there's still a barn there I can love. The gristmill used to be my destination. Now it's the stream, the black barn, the surprise teen efts. The road itself.

Nothing stays the same. Nothing is permanent. Only change can be depended on. People will come and go in our lives.

 I'm trying hard to let loose of it all.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." --Joseph Campbell


One of my favorite sentences has always been this one: Change is the only constant.

Did you see the recent article about a fossil that was found of a huge newt?

KGMom: This is a case of bad reporting. Metoposaurs weren't salamanders or newts, but a now extinct type of amphibian, a temnospondyl. But yeah, huge and very cool. They had absolutely flat heads with the skull hinged to open up and away from the mandible (opposite from us and just about everything else). The guys who collect them out in the field refer to them as toilet seat headed monsters.

Four blogs a week would be good...!

Good for you, to figure it out when it just wasn't coming up. Because it sure looked like it was something that already came up.

You're in a frog-egg context--how to see a fruit out of that?

I remember, early on, reading that a blog MUST have at least three posts a week to be successful, to which I reply, thoughtfully,

Screw that.

Good for you, to figure it out when it just wasn't coming up. Because it sure looked like it was something that already came up.

You're in a frog-egg context--how to see a fruit out of that?

I remember, early on, reading that a blog MUST have at least three posts a week to be successful, to which I reply, thoughtfully,

Screw that.

I remember the heady first days of blogging, already a decade ago. Seven posts a week, maybe more. Everything needed to be explored and shared. Things slowed down. I'm happy to do two posts a week now. You have so much to share. Frog eggs and newts need your company too.

I enjoyed this Springtime post. So much renewal to enjoy. Being inside at this time is stifling.

That's it. I'm off to search for blobs.

I can't wait for your new book. Loved the first two and also love your blog. You are an inspiration.

So much wisdom in your blog today. Plus I loved the newts! las salamandras.

Posted by Gail Spratley April 2, 2015 at 4:40 PM

Dear Julie, I have been reading your blog for the last few years and so much have enjoyed all that you write about and photograph. I found you through a link about Boston Terriers, because I have 2 of them, Sasha and Simba, sister and brother. I have also shared your blog with my Aunt who was a Boston Terrier breeder and she enjoys the "Chet Baker" posts as well.

Thanks for sharing, Kelli

Posted by Anonymous April 5, 2015 at 5:30 AM
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