pine branch drawing drawing of pine boughs
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Ludwig studio > writing >  woods studio life

Toad Hall Times

Wind in The Trees
The neighbors' plastic newspaper mailbox explodes with shrilling baby wrens, there’s yellow mushrooms growing all over the driveway…pyrolla blooms, teaberry and whorled loosestrife (world loo strife!) the new batch of kittens (always black) have ripped the door guardian’s hair out of her braids but we’ve finally figured out the secret of the solar lamp. One of the kittens has a tan foot…hot then cold, rain then stars.
mushrooms of every shape and color except blue "shroom, shroom, shroom"
The bats protesting behind the shutters throughout the day sound like pump actions spray bottles: “squeetch, squeetch, squeetch”
Unknown animal den at Wintergreen Rock with neon mushrooms on its doorstep…seven blossoms on the teaberry "berr, berr, berr"
Thuds in the dark longness terrorists get painted by morning light into black kits and kats. The gamboling fawn doesn’t even stop for pleasantries with me kneeling in the moss on the hill. Lawn mower Brown, I say Mr. Brown…
Running scrambling spiders frightening in their knowledge Now its cold. It is 42’.
A fawn and 3 doe. Yarrow. Wood peewee. Woodsmoke. Springs flowing from mountain foot. Kingfisher. Bonesett. Jewelweed. Lifeless body of immature goldfinch. Thirty feet over the road little bat flutters down the dusk. White splotches move in the hemlock darkness: skunk. Wavery screech owl, calling, it drifts long and swirls, as long as the river.

Queen Anne in all her lace dances for summer’s end with golden Rod and Iron Weed John. Mail (my heart) man sez appreciatively, “Them’s tanks, eh?” Aye. My tank. My mailman my vw van.

Battering the windowglass with his beak in pursuit of his reflection, a cardinal wakes me from a dream where I’m helping Brad Pitt flee though the desert. Garter snake and dead dragon fly. Dying in the pine needles is a Dobsonfly, or hellgrammite from Silodea (suborder), in Neuroptera (order) which also includes lacewings, dustywings, mantispias, antlions, springlions, spongillaflies and snakeflies, in Pterygota (subclass).
Down in the valley lies the river. Old phoebe nest in the clothespin bag.

Sun sez shouldn't we have autumness now, here she comes  snarking through the dead limbs, looking for orange leaves. Acorns fall a quarter mile to bang like gunshots on the stacked sheet metal waiting patiently for its journey, under dead leaves and branches, sinking into moss and hummus and tiny toads hop.  Cook doglerettes bark. Baneberry taller than I across the road.  Moon and window make a painting -- Wyeth, Andy's, ghost slips silently, behind the pines back into the shadows, smiling to himself.

In the even’tide dimness two doves startle from maple haven, from wildmeadow haven, a cottontail hops slowly down the path. A piece of blue glass pulled from the dirt; it is for him.

Today must be the day to abandon dogs, it’s rainy. They look into every car that goes by and into every face. The sheriff rolls up. Once I walked over a mountain dirt road with a dog named Rain-Rain.

Jingle jangle shnuffling invisible dog on dutiful night patrol without pause, through the yard, round the corner, he's gone…and late in the nightness a freight whistle turns musical in half-dreaming, playing long and melodic. No West but nuwest, the wilderness inside. Tall trees fall.

Black fur with big eyes soft slow and unflurried amongst the sweet fern and pussy toes, under white pine boughs. There's a nest in a low branch crotch made of moss & pine needles. Bending without breaking.

Junco ringing like a bell!

Depthford pink – no flower guides!---and namesake tiny toads. Hawkweed and dark crawling blackberries to swallow, sourfully. Sweet, sweet sorrow till the day I die.
Soapwort, chives, lemon balm, applemint, asparagus.

Foggy crescent moon through white pines hand in hand with lightening bug against black needles. This - this - will be a painting.

red orange violet green: mushrooms all. Moss, fern and Indian pipe. Jay, crow, wood thrush and wren. Bat shrudders behind shutters, lost energy with each tremble. A lucky stone sheared by stress or blows reveals its clean, fresh, pure surface…glistening white. Force overwhelming but yielding clarity.

The roof begins to leak, drip drip through the white ceiling crack. (Solaris, The Last Wave, the woman artist in Cleveland Museum) Cardinal whistle in the falling rain, in the pine fog.

“Our life is a balance of liturgy, work and lectio divina. We try to follow our 12th century Cistercian founders by becoming lovers of the place, lovers of the sisters, and lovers of the Rule.” Trappistine Chocolate company

The Big Open: On Foot Across Tibet's Chang Tang by Rick Ridgeway
Publishers Weekly sez: "Adventure writer Ridgeway (The Shadow of Kilimanjaro) crafts an urgent, poetic narrative as he guides readers across Tibet’s barren and treacherous northern plateau in search of the calving grounds of the chiru, an endangered antelope. Along with his three companions-late nature photographer Galen Rowell, Conrad Anker, who wrote the foreword, and Jimmy Chin-the seasoned mountaineer traces the female chiru’s 200-mile migration route."

Outside is moss, tiny young white pine seedlings, warm air breathing down the mountain slope, blowing blood warm into all life vessels tethered to the riverbank, bobbing in the icey whacks. Fresh British soldiers marching down the log, sweet sweet trailing arbutus down clinging to the earth below their feet. (view here: at the Toad Hall studio )
Mourning dove calls, calls; a woodpecker, a crow.
Late in the evening rain falls.
The workshop smells of old hope, and dreams, sawdust. Hot wind fills house, thawing desires. A single yellow forsythia bloogy fragile: all there is.

Upon second inspection dozens of white arbutus waxiness are found, spilling down the hillside.

When I went to rest my elbows on the rail, there were rubbery numb blobs there instead of a bone, that didn't belong to me; severe thunderstorm warning, daffodil yellows and a pink haze of new buds over trees, piles of spent flares from wreck on the curving mountain and the charred remains of Ohio woman's 4th house. Wind blow.

crawling raspberries rambling blackberries
front yard at Toad Hall
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all images & work © Diana Ludwig 2411 Belltown Road Clarington, PA 15828   330-530-2659