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Subject To the Natural Forces

Monday, April 13, 2015

The theme of this spring, at least for me, is: 

There are powers much larger than yours. Don't think you have control here.

For someone who has great reverence for the many forces of nature, looks to nature for comfort and succor; for everything, really, it's kind of exciting to see her exert her vast power. 

To see spring coming on after a winter that started late and ended hard, to see the trees reddening and blossoming against the greening hills. To know they won't and can't be stopped.

To see storms raking across the land, to be sent to the basement by sirens and a suddenly blatting cellphone. And to realize, as we scurry downstairs, that these are but the pitiful efforts of a colony of ants to tell one another that something evil this way comes.

Flooding has put us on the back roads, taken time out of busy days. Like it or not, we are forced to circumvent swollen creeks and road collapses. You can rail against it or decide it's a gift in disguise. For me, being forced down unknown back roads is nothing but an adventure. I sit forward, hands tight on the wheel, waiting for the next amazement, storing away the route for future use.

 Look at the light, look at the land, live in this hour. You'll be busy 'til you die.

The beauty of a red roof before a curtain of rain, glowing like a ruby dropped in the grass. This, on a back road I would never have taken if the rest weren't flooded.

Looking for the gift in everything: that's the trick to feeling happy and satisfied with your lot, whatever it may be.

I wouldn't have had a visit with this beloved old dame unless my regular route were flooded.

With her windows out
This one won't stand much longer
I treasure her now
knowing that one day
Without fanfare, she'll be gone
and all her trees too

Forces, powers greater than mine are everywhere. The only thing I can count on now is change. And change can be a cleansing, a sweeping away of everything that holds you in place. A flood. 
Off we go now.

And the skies clear and everything is different.

I'm astonished to find myself jumping out of my car and making the exact same image, two days later. The eye and brain, working together, are wonderful things. Light changes everything, doesn't it? But the essential mystery remains.

Someday I hope to work up the courage to peek inside, walk her aching floors, see who is living there now. I'll have to deduce that by their droppings, but I'm good at that. Something in her fortress of evergreens stops me. The cavegirl in me is afraid to be caught in there, behind dark walls.

It's the world's largest bird house now.

I think I love it so because it reminds me of a house on the prairie, with its shelterbelt of great white pines and the open sky all around. One pine took a terrible beating in the last snowstorm. Pines break, that's what they do. Soft wood in hard times.

On this blindingly sunny day, the flood is exciting. I wonder with a kind of electric charge in my brain, a frisson of danger, just how high it will go.

Yes. I can still make it to town across the last bridge that remains to me. Will I make it back home?

Close to the road. Please, no closer. But I can only ask politely. 

The creek isn't listening.

The river wouldn't crest for another four days. Under glorious skies, it crept up and up, even after the creeks had gone down. Here, it's swallowing the levee.

And the tiny ants paint numbers on our bridge abutments, to tell each other what's bad, and then what could be so much worse. It's been here, and don't forget it.

If you're reading this, you're underwater now.

The message to me? Be thankful for what you have. Stop and appreciate at all you've been given. Breathe spring's sweet air and look for her messengers. They're all around you, flying in by night and blossoming by day, singing the song that can't be stopped.

Listen to it!

And The Three Graces dance, each in her own way.

Red maple, sugar maple, black tupelo, boogeyin' down.


A lovely post. This is definitely the way to live your life. And it also reminded me that, perhaps, after we have killed off all species, including ourselves, the earth might one day heal itself and life begin over.

You sing the songs in my soul that I don't know the words to. Thank you for this wondrous post Julie!

Posted by Anonymous April 13, 2015 at 5:44 AM


Every day is an adventure to celebrate and you help us do that so beautifully. Thank you. Deborah Downs

" Look at the light, look at the land, live in this hour.
You'll be busy 'til you die."

Love this . . .

"Looking for the gift in everything" --


Nature is a great humbler.

Second photo in the series--such ominous looking clouds with little cloud tendrils reaching down. Any minute a vortex can develop and rotation gets going...

Thank you for taking us along on the ride down the back roads, and into your nature-lovin' heart.

Beautiful writing and photos (I love it that you call us ants--ants indeed!) and thanks for the reminder to be grateful. I hope you make it into that BIG birdhouse someday. Maybe you can track down the owner. Maybe it's bones are still strong. It's a stunning home--and the memories that were made there, ... . Thanks as always.

I love this! Exactly right. :)

Grand old houses like that, obviously a showpiece in its time but now abandoned and neglected, always make my heart ache. I wish I were a billionaire and could restore every one!

Another beautiful post!!

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