Revisited: Shine on, shine on, harvest moon…

30 09 2012

Originally posted September 23, 2008

En route to visit Barb and Dean in Spokane on Saturday, September 13, we drove past miles and miles of wheat fields and as the land became more golden in the late afternoon light, we noticed the makings of a harvest moon.

Whenever I hear the words, “harvest moon,” I always remember a very old Ruth Etting album (heaven only knows where I found it) that I eventually gave to a friend’s husband to add to his large music collection. I just did a search and I actually found the recording! The only words I could remember were “shine on, shine on harvest moon…for me and my guy.” (I sing it true to her old-fashioned vibrato, of course).

Etting revived the song in Ziegfield Follies in 1931. Click here to find it on And if you’re a Liza Minnelli fan, click here for her rendition of the song.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


ADDENDUM: Thanks to fellow blogger, Deborah Rose Reeves, for her recent posting of this poem by Ted Hughes.

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can’t sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!’ and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

by Ted Hughes.

Ah Sunflower

5 07 2012

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake (1757-1827)

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

To see the world in a grain of sand*

5 06 2012

I am constantly amazed at how much life there is surrounding me—that something barely half the size of a sesame seed has such incredible detail that you can’t see without a macro lens. I was photographing Indian Pink blooms (Spigelia marilandica) at Green Spring Gardens last weekend and discovered this miniscule, yet-to-be-identified bug. I shortened and splayed out the legs of my tripod, plunked myself down in the dirt, then got settled in to examine all the angles I could photograph the slender two-inch-long tubular crimson blooms.

Stalking the miniscule
I saw this tiny white spec slowly moving along the edge of a stem and decided to follow it, moving in as close as my 105mm micro lens would allow. Magnification revealed all sorts of oddities in this little bug—a head like a spotted fish with big round eyes and a fuzzy coating, virtually no neck at all, a segmented thorax like a roly poly pill bug, followed by a cotton-candy-like burst of white fluff at the end of the body and crab-like freckled legs.


What in the world is it?
Brian, my photography mentor, said it could possibly be a larvae of a deer fly or horse fly, but without more photos with different angles, he couldn’t be sure. I looked online at larvae of various flies and don’t see anything that looks as odd as this little guy. He also said that it could be transitioning from larvae to adult stage, which makes it harder to identify.

When I moved toward it, it would hide behind the stem, so it clearly sensed my presence. To get it to move into the crook of the flower stem so I could photograph it unobstructed, I would wave my hand near it and it would move around the stem into view again. When I wasn’t looking at it through my lens, I was hard pressed to locate it—it was that small!

Learn something new every day
I learned a new word this morning, also courtesy of Brian. Entomologists have a word for unknown specs of stuff—frass. According to wikipedia, frass is the fine powdery material phytophagous (plant-eating) insects pass as waste after digesting plant parts. It causes plants to excrete chitinase due to high chitin levels, it is a natural bloom stimulant, and has high nutrient levels. Frass is known to have abundant amoeba, beneficial bacteria, and fungi content. Frass is a microbial inoculant, also known as a soil inoculant, that promotes plant health using beneficial microbes. It is a large nutrient contributor to the rainforest, and it can often be seen in leaf mines.

So, in the words of Martha Stewart: Frass…it’s a good thing!

What have I learned from this encounter?
The smallest, seemingly insignificant spec of dust or dirt may not just simply be “frass.” It just might be a live fuzzy-spotted, fish-headed, roly-poly-bodied, cotton-candy-tailed, crab-legged larvae-in-transition, making its teeny tiny way in this big old world. I also learned a new word—frass. F-r-a-s-s. Frass. And yes, I can use it in a sentence: Frass is a good thing.

Ah, my time behind the lens—never a dull moment!


* “To see the world in a grain of sand” is a line from William Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence. I found an enlightened explanation of the meaning of this line by an unknown author here, and wanted to share it with you:

Blake is never the easiest of poets to understand at the best of times, because he is the first by far who can justifiably lay claim to the title of symbolist poet, and as such is open to personal interpretation.

Here what he is, I think, saying is that one can find vast truths in the smallest of things—or to put it in fashionable literary terms, he’s dealing with the microcosmic as representative of the universal. So, knowledge of the whole world can be gained from examining its smallest constituent part, or later on, even such a small thing as a caged robin is an affront to both God and man—it’s a tiny thing but it’s symptomatic, and absolutely representative of the whole.

Not wanting to get too “Twilight Zone” here, but from the little I understand of today’s mathematics and physics, looking at Chaos Theory and the Mandelbrot set, Blake is indeed more literally right than he probably knew. The tiniest part of something does apparently indeed represent the entire construct, and the smallest thing can indeed have a huge effect—there’s allegedly a butterfly near Tokyo who with the flapping of its wings has a helluva lot to answer for 🙂


Ever wonder where “the butterfly effect” theory originated? Check this out here!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Blooming in my garden: Daffodils (Narcissus)

31 03 2012

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier
in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. 
—Nadine Stair

Ain’t gonna let a little rain stop me from photographing my Daffodils. (And yes, Nadine, I was out there barefoot!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Re-post: Water like satin

11 03 2012

Originally posted May 26, 2009. Sunset begins at Lake Land’Or.

The Lake. To — by Edgar Allan Poe (1827)

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less—
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody—
Then, ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremendous delight—
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define—
Nor Love—although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining—
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Desktop poetry: Unfurled

22 02 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Eye candy, batch #2

11 12 2011

Pulled from the archives of my personal refrigerator magnet poetry, I give to you my handcrafted attempt #1:

January snow blanket melts
cold February moon gone
March winds a memory
a luscious light envelopes
tiny crocus petals whisper spring
most delicate green grass emerges
rain sweetens the earth
bird song filters down
from the impossibly blue blue sky
warm breezes weave through
a gorgeous tapestry of color

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.