Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paint & Words of Winter...

The Winter Solstice is a little less than a month away.  In anticipation of the coming seasonal shift, I put together a selection of winter themed paintings and quotes.  Yes, the theme of each painting is 'winter', but the key player in them all is the presence of snow.  Snow is one of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking about winter. 

Unfortunately, during my lifetime I never lived in a region where the winters brought snow.  Ice storms, yes...snow, not really.  For those that do enjoy the white powder of winter, I hope you get a white Christmas this year.

("Winter Landscape With People Strolling on the Banks of a Frozen River Where children Play"; Gijsbrecht Leytons)
"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves-
Welcome wool sweaters."

~B. Cybrill

("Boulevard Saint-Denis, Argenteuil, in Winter"; Claude Monet; c. 1875)
"Winter is the time for comfort - it is the time for home."

~ Edith Sitwell

("Winter"; Alexey Savrasov; c. 1873)
"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you...
In spring, summer, and fall, people sort of have an open
season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you 
have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging
to yourself."

~Ruth Stout

("Winter Landscape"; Joseph Tomanek; c. 1920)
"Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow."

~ Lydia Maria Child

("A Street Scene in Winter, Copenhagen"; Fischer Paul)
"Every mile is two in winter."

~ George Herbert

("Skating To Nirvana"; Barend Cornelius Koekkoek)
Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.

~ Bill Morgan, Jr.

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."

~ E. E. Cummings

("Winter Stream"; Elizabeth Hubbell, c. 1960)
"In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago."

~ Christina Rosetti

("Snowy Day"; Mario Zampedroni; c. 2010)
"I like these, cold grey winter days.  Days like this let you savor a bad mood."

~ Bill Watterson

("Winter Lady - Cardinal"; Robert Bateman; c. 1983)
"Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed,
The speculating Rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm tops, delecate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, winter pass."

~ Edward Thomas

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour."

~ John Boswell

("Winter Sun Dawn"; Yuliy Yulevich (Julius) Kleuer; c. 1981)

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape -
the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  
Something waits beneath it.  The whole story doesn't show."

~ Andrew Wyeth

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Moon In Sagittarius...

(Artist:  David Palladini)

Today, Thursday, November 25th, is a New Moon in the sign of Sagittarius. There is also a total Eclipse of the Moon.  Over all, this will be a good time to take a good look at the bigger picture of life.  The Moon signifies the inner self, the private more instinctual self.  The New Moon is when the time is ripe for regrouping, forming new plans, and experiencing new beginnings.  The Solar Eclipse signifies a new chapter with  new beginnings intertwined with expansive vision.

There is a positive Trine aspect between the New Moon/Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius, and the rather unpredictable Uranus in Aries Retrograde.  The impulsive and wild Retrograde energy will act as a catalyst to the fiery impulses of the New Moon.  This energy will help to jump start us and to get us moving to seek and pursue the positive in our quest in life.  Pay attention to the positive miracles manifesting around you.  Experience the joy.

There is also a Grand Trine with Mars in Virgo, Jupiter in Taurus Retrograde, and Pluto in Capricorn (all earth signs).  We can take grounded action towards making our visions and ideals manifest.  The energy produced by this Grand Trine acts as a support for the other energies present during the cycle.  Even if there are snags in communications, things will still move forward.

The Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus are all in Sagittarius.  Expect to feel extra vocal with an urge to be rather boisterous and speak your mind.  The energy might also produce the need of being drawn to seek meaningful experiences, and to look for social situations that add more spice.  Look for new ideas and ways to venture outside of the box.

Chiron is in Pisces, making a tense Square to the New Moon.  It suggests that we need to heal wounds of separation between our 'higher' mind, and our logic mind ~ between our Divine aspect, and our human aspect.  Take apart the illusion and limitation of statements or false beliefs, such as "I'm only human".  Rise up and claim your sacred power, and your stance in life.  We must experience and feel our wholeness.  Gage how sensitive issues are to you to know what is worth healing, and what should be dissolved/let go.

This is a great time to set fresh intensions/goals for yourself, and take steps to make them real in your life.  Relax and let visions or inspirations come to you.  They may appear in a flash, but you will know them when you experience them.

With all of the mutable energy (Sagittarius) and fire signs being activated, we can be over impulsive in speaking, spending, and/or acting.  You may feel scattered or spread too thin, and need to regroup or get clear on your intention. Remember, because you have been feeling the need to speak your truth, allow others to do the same.  Don't stay on your soap box too long.  If the need arises to revise your plans or to regroup and re-energize, listen and step back for a bit.  It is important to refuel if your energy is running low.

The Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius invites us to find and pursue our quest, and to feel passionate about our lives. We must seek meaningful experiences for fueling inner passion for living.  Aim for the stars and align your potential.

  • Chiron:     A minor planet in the outer solar system.  Discovered in 1977 by Charles T. Kowal, it is the first known member of a newer class of objects known as "Centaurs".  Classified as both an asteroid, and a comet, its orbit is between Saturn and Uranus.  Chiron is named for the eldest and wisest Centaur of Greek mythology, an immortal god who was son of the Titan, Kronos, and half brother to Zeus.

  • Grand Trine:     An aspect representing very easy energy.  It nourishes the continuous use of natural talents and abilities, is an area of comfort, and can assist life in being either positive or negative.

  • Retrograde:     The appearance of a planet moving backward.  It creates frustration, delays, nervousness and the feeling that the same or a similar experience is being repeated.

  • Square:     An aspect representing harsh energy.  It creates conflict, intensity, stress, the feeling of being out-of-balance.  It promotes self growth.  The aspect can be negative.

  • Trine:     An aspect of easy energy.  It creates an ease in life, enhances natural talents or abilities, and is an enjoyable area of life.  Trines are generally positive.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The Sun.  I don't really get along with the Sun.  It's hot.  It's bright.  It burns me, and I don't have the consolation of at least developing a tan from it.  I appreciate its' role in the cycles of nature.  I appreciate its' place in the realm of the metaphysical.  I appreciate it's place in the Cosmos. I guess I would just have to say that I am a bit disgruntled with the Sun these days.  The days have gotten shorter as Autumn has taken over, but the temperatures are still approaching 80 degrees.  My sweaters are crossing their arms in disgust.  I love rainy weather, and here in the humid south we get quite a bit normally. We haven't had near the rainfall we need.  I realize that the issue of reduced rainfall isn't really the Sun's fault, per I said, we've never really gotten along.

Then there is my photographer side.  The one aspect of myself that appreciates the presence of the sun, merely as a light source.  I don't use a flash 95% of the time, so the Sun has it's purpose there.  I do prefer to shoot during overcast weather or at night, but the Sun can offer dramatic effects to daytime pictures.  The pictures in this post were snapped during my stroll yesterday, and the sun played a key part.  I have taken quite a few pictures of the sun over the years, from straight on.  It's brilliance can have wonderful effect.  My eyes do get a bit spotty after the first few, so I tend to take pictures of the Sun here and there.  Anyway, I was thrilled to see the picture above. Without knowing it, I captured a butterfly in silhouette as he flew in front of the lens.  Most of my shots of the Sun are surprises, in that I never get a completely clear look at what is happening in the shot because of the searing brightness of Sol's rays.  So...I guess I can cut the Sun some slack...

There are a variety of trees around the marsh.  Some have colorful leaves, some are naked, some are crooked limbed and green.  All are covered with Spanish Moss.  Talk about your dramatic accessory.  There is something so delightfully mysterious about the energy that pervades Savannah.  Something Mystical. The Moss is ever present, and a dominant player.

Colors.  Textures.  Mother Nature's artwork.  She has a vast canvas in the Earth, and she never disappoints.

I traverse many of the same paths when I go out for a walk, but I always see something new.  I also see things that I have seen before, but in a new way.  I couldn't pay for better therapy.  Nature...the great cure all.

Bird Bath & Bird Song...

I visited the neglected bird bath today.  Photographing it's contents every few weeks has become a regular part of my picture taking routine.  I really like the images I get.  Light level, water level, amount of flotsam spotting the marred grey concrete's always different, changing with the seasons.  It has become a personal project of sorts.  Today there was more 'stuff' inside.  Flora detritus.  Today was quite sunny, but the bath stands in a shaded area near a run-off pipe at the top end of the tidal creek.  The light level was enough to make some reflections in the still water that was making a crescent around the inside of the bowl's rim.  I got several shots that I like.  

The visit to the bird bath was part of a walk I took today.  Not a long one, but long enough.  Getting out for even a few minutes makes quite the difference to a day.  One thing I observed...well, at the moment they are hard to miss...the birds, and the sound they make.  It's the time of migration for crowds of birds, and Savannah is a stop.  We were serenaded daily by cicadas not too long ago, and now it's birds.  Doesn't bother me in the least, on either count.  It just struck me how 'chatty' they are up there in the tree tops.  

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song." ~ Chinese Proverb

"My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather." ~ Terry Guillemets

I recorded the above few seconds of the mass chirping to give an idea, but I don't think it does the actual sound justice.  Between the sounds of the birds and the Hawks riding thermals, it feels like an aviary here on the marsh.  Before much longer the birds will be on their way, and their song will go with them.  I think I'll miss them...

Below are some of the photos I took at the bird bath...

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Morning Fog...

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
Last night I was able to pass the time while traversing the dream filled corridors of sleep.  It took days of sleeplessness to reach that point, insomnia still holding me in its' grasp, but my internal systems took over enough to allow me to slip into a deep state of repose.  When I stretched across the mattress last night, my body felt both weightless and heavy.  A state of the unconscious descended rapidly, and the subconscious films of the dream scape began to play.  As I sit here, I have no clear recollection of what I saw in my dreams, but they were vivid and many.  I can with great certainty say that my subconscious mind, the one that lurks below the haze of the alpha state, was doing its best to make up for lost time.  Over the months, my visits in that sector of my unconscious have been few and far between to say the least. I have quite a bit of catching up to do. The scores on that 'To Do' list are many.  I think quite a bit of lost ground was made up...I just wish I could recall at least a sampling of what went on in there.  Maybe later today, as sometimes happens with my remembering dreams.  Knocking wood...

This morning I awoke feeling somewhat refreshed.  I have quite a bit to do around the hovel today, so I am hoping the feeling lasts.  There is cooking to do: quiche, cookies, white beans with ham.  There is sewing to do: curtains for the glass kitchen doors, cushion covers for the two remaining kitchen chairs. Then there is the usual list of chores: vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting.  To assume that this restful feeling the night's sleep has created will last long enough to scratch all of that from my list would be wishful thinking.  I will be happy in just making a healthy dent.  Knocking wood...

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
I awoke to a muted light level in the room.  Not the usual glare of the bright sun that always causes me to squint my eyes to half mast against it's harshness.  The time was in the neighborhood of 8:00 AM, so I knew the sun should be well into its bright ray barrage by now.  There was obviously a difference to this morning.  One I was thrilled to discover.  I looked out the window to see the trees, bushes, cars, everything shrouded in thick fog.  Without a moments hesitation, I threw on my jeans, tennis shoes, jacket, clipped my hair up in the back, grabbed the camera, and entered the crisp morning air.  The day was opening with a mood filled photo op.  One I was definitely not going to pass up.

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
It was very quiet.  The only sounds I noticed when I first exited the condo were the drips of water drops falling on the Autumnal flotsam scattered under trees. There wasn't even a sprinkling of rain, so I assume that it was the collected moisture on leaves and branches from the thick fog that was dripping down. The fog WAS very thick.  Looking at the far side of the condo development, the tree tops I normally see beyond the far buildings were not there.  Only a curtain of thick mist.  I was met with that each way I looked.  I live on an island, and in that moment it felt like the island had diminished in size, only covering the confines of the development.  A small inhabited island...hanging in the mists in a space between worlds maybe.  An island hanging in a sort of limbo. My creative mind was feeling quite at home in this mist.  Time to head over to one of my regular photo spots down by the cul de sac and the dock remains.  I have captured many of the varied moods of Gaia here on the marsh in that one specific location.  I have caught this foggy side once before, and was eager to see what I would see this time.

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
More if that was a shocker.  The last foggy morning I witnessed was fairly thick, but I had been able to make out the ghostly outline of the dock by the Bull River Bridge, and the bridge itself.  This time I couldn't see anything...just mist.  It was as if the dock, bridge, and Tybee Island had all ceased to exist.  The only hint of their existence was the muffled and distant sound of cars, each fading in and out as it crossed the bridge.  It sounded like a series of exhalations, punctuated intermittently by the dull thud of distant tires passing over spaces in the bridges surface.

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
As I walked over to the marshes edge, I was able to see the disintegrating dock remains a little more clearly.  At the top of one of the standing weathered poles was a large heron, it's wings folded into a cocoon around itself.  I got a few pictures before it became aware of me.  Stretching it's huge grey wings out to either side, it launched off of the pole with a loud shriek.  Pumping it's wings in the misty air, it punctured the veil of fog and disappeared.  

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
The quiet and the feeling of solitude had almost mystical qualities.  So peaceful and calming, yet exhilarating at the same time.  The silence was's in moments like that when one gets the true meaning of that statement.   Over the few years I have been living here on this Savannah marsh, I have witnessed many environmental moods.  This is one of my favorites.

(Picture: Lisa Erin Brown)
Weatherscan Channel says to expect more of the same over the next few days leading into the weekend.  That's just peachy with me.

Knocking wood...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autumnal Full Moon #2...

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)
My odd hours continue due to my ongoing chaotic sleep patterns.  However, no matter how off I am feeling, I always try to catch a few moments time to check out the moon.  Whatever the time, whatever I happen to be doing, I always make a space for a moon viewing.  There have been a couple of instances where cloud cover has prevented me from seeing her, and there is no shortage of clouds tonight.  Luckily, in this case they didn't obscure the orb, but added some mood to the over all vibe.  I'm pleased with the photos I usual, I am sharing a few in this post.
(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

(Photo:  Lisa Erin Brown)

Full Moon in Taurus...

(Artist:  David Palladini)
Today at 3:16 PM/EST, marked the official time of peak for the current Full Moon in the sign of Taurus.  Generally I post an amalgamation of the various forecasts, etc., that I read on the Full and New Moons, but this time I will be posting a Reader's Digest version.  I've been out of sorts over the past couple of weeks, and my energy level is quite low.  I should be up and running again for the next New Moon.  Here is my rather short share on this current phase and cycle.

This Full Moon in Taurus is in opposition to the sun in the sign of Scorpio.  This creates a Taurus/Scorpio polarity.  They are reflections of two important sides of our nature, Taurus longing for stability and security, and Scorpio being more aggressive in a need to eliminate and procreate.  Both fixed signs, they do not adjust easily.  A Full Moon is the peak of a cycle, so we are experiencing a peak in our manifesting power.  This Moon's influences signify life and death, generation and regeneration.  This period we can experience a battle in our psyches, something that requires periodic adjustment for balance.  Use the strength of this cycle to make the necessary adjustments for balance and peace.

We are experiencing the second Full Moon in this current season of 'death' (Autumn into Winter).  This Taurean Moon energizes us to reflect on the beauty and possibilities that  life offers up.  Assess what needs to be conserved and protected during the coming months, so it can be renewed in the Spring months.  What in your life is important?  Look deeply at those things you value and it worth conserving, or should you let it go?

During this time we are also urged to work with others to create change, either within or without.  With the influences of both Taurus and Scorpio, both strength and weakness are at play.  Each issue/problem that arises should be put in perspective.  Look upon them as problems to be solved, rather than hurdles to overcome.

There ends my short share on this Full Moon in Taurus.  Hopefully it doesn't meander too much, and makes some sense.  (*grin*)

The following is information from the Farmers Almanac on the current Full Moon, also known as the full Beaver Moon:

  • "Full Beaver Moon - November:  This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.  Another interpretation suggests that the name full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.  It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon."

Monday, November 7, 2011

"American Horror Story"...

(Johnny Iuzinni)
Wednesday before last was the season finale of one of the "Reality" based competition shows I watch, "Top Chef: Just Desserts".  I was rather indifferent to the outcome, having no real front-runner in mind as my 'favorite'.  Overall, I do find it entertaining, so I make the effort to watch it regularly.  The presence of judge Johnny Iuzinni has it's pull, as well.  Season over, I bid farewell to Chef Iuzinni and his flawlessly greased pompadour.  My Wednesday night television schedule was wiped clean...

...which opened me up to watch a regularly scheduled episode of a show whose promos had interested me.  "American Horror Story" is a new show on FX, produced by the dynamic duo of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who have brought you the popular shows "Nip/Tuck", and "Glee".  ("Nip/Tuck" I watched quite a lot of, and "Glee" doesn't interest me.)  Luckily, we have Comcast as our cable company here at the hovel, and "American Horror Story" is one of the shows featured OnDemand.  I was able to get caught up on the first two episodes before I started in on it as my Wednesday night 'watch'.

I always have a show or two that I avidly watch, but in terms of a show I am completely addicted to...can't recollect what the last show would have been. Now, four episodes into "American Horror Story", I can safely say that I am hooked.  It's an hour long show, but last weeks' episode felt like fifteen minutes.  Can't wait to find out what happens next.  There are so many questions that I eagerly wait to find out the answers to.

Before I go on, I just want to point out that "A.H.S." is FAR from appropriate for the kiddies.  There is some pretty racy sexual stuff going on, and you could create a drinking game off of the number of times the actors say "shit".  It's FX. They air that kind of stuff.

(Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton); Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott); Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga
So far, the casting choices have been really good.  With one exception that my jury is still out on.  Dylan McDermott plays psychologist Ben Harmon, the man of the family at the center of the story.  When I saw him in the promos, it did act as an initial deterant for me.  I was an avid watcher of "The Practice", and he annoyed me to no end as Bobby. A self involved jerk.  That seems to be the type of roles McDermott gets cast in. "American Horror Story" is no exception.  I am happy to say that he hasn't been able to 'kill' the show for me as of yet, so it appears I'll be able to enjoy being annoyed by him this go round. I hope.

Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) are a married couple trying to mend things after Vivien catches Ben screwing one of his students in their bed.  (Vivien had gone through a horrible miscarriage where she had to carry the fetus around for the full term, and Ben said he slept with his student because Vivien wasn't there for him.  Jerk!) They move to Los Angeles from Boston with their daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga), in tow. Their goal is to get a fresh start.  They end up buying a huge old house for a fraction of what it's worth.  The parents love the structure itself, but the selling point for Violet is that the previous owners died in it.  It doesn't take them long to learn that the house is known as the "murder house", and is even on a tour.

('Thing' in basement...)

The first episode opens with a murder in the past.  Red haired twins are killed in the basement by some small man creature that seems to live down there. Think a rabid mini-me...we never get a good look at it though.  I have my theories about what 'it' is, but the show is well crafted enough to not be completely transparent. The story gets involved rather quickly, and the cast of characters grows. The house has a story, and at times seems to be "alive". The story clearly centers around the huge structure.  It appears that several of the characters are actually dead, but there hasn't been any sort of definite explanation yet as to how they are still there.  I suspect they are ghosts, but the way the story is crafted it might be something more abstract. Intrigued, I am.

(Moira (Left: Frances Conroy / Right: Alexandra Breckenridge)
(Constance (Jessica Lange)
In addition to the Harmon family, we have met the creepily odd next door neighbor, Constance (Jessica Lange), and her daughter, Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), who has Down Syndrome.  Lange is absolutely brilliant in this.  Then there's Moira, the housekeeper, who "came with the house".  The quirk with Moira is that to everyone but Ben Harmon she looks like an older woman (Frances Conroy).  To Ben she looks like a twenty-something bomb shell (Alexandra Breckenridge) who appears to constantly be horny.

(Tate Langdon (Evan Peters)
A new patient of Ben's, Tate Langdon (Even Peters), is a deeply disturbed high school student who (of course) falls for Ben's daughter, Violet.  (Ben sees patients at the house.)  Tate seems to have some weird connection with the house.  He seems to be able to move through walls...or something.  Another creepy thing about Tate...when Vivien was walking through the house after they moved in, she decided to check out the attic and found a full body leather/vinyl S&M suit hanging from the ceiling.  At a later point, someone (Vivien thinks it's Ben, but it isn't) enters the bedroom wearing the suit, and she ends up having sex with them.  Later, Violet is in the basement looking for Tate, and he shows up wearing the suit.  Hmm...?  Oh, and last episode we learn that Vivien is preggers.  Double hmm!  We also found out in the last episode that Tate is Constances' son.
(Hayden (Kate Mara)
(Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare)

Among other characters that are "coming out of the woodwork" is Larry Harvey (Dennis O'Hare), a father from a family that previously owned the house.  He doused his wife and daughter with gasoline and set them on fire because the house told him to. He's running around after Ben, along with Hayden (Kate Mara), the girl that Ben had his affair with.  By the look of Hayden, she is clearly no longer with us. There are more characters 'coming out of the woodwork', but I don't want to give too much away...after re-reading this, I can tell you that I've just scratched the surface.

I could go on and on.  And on.  But the story is so involved...if you like the weird and the spooky, this is probably something you will like.  I urge you to check it out.  This Wednesday night at 10:00 PM is episode #5, so it is early enough to watch the first four episodes online (if you don't have Comcast).  So far, "American Horror Story" is well worth the watch.