Song for today.

I smell like lavender and usnea. (Lavender from soap, usnea from picking it.) The lichen has a slightly acrid smell, but on my hands it smells wonderful. Swoon-wonderful. Though I collected the usnea from our box elder tree this morning, and am now disappointed to learn that it absorbs heavy metals so should not be collected for use where it grows close to roadways.

It was cold this morning. I was walking at a brisk pace in order to warm up, and suddenly realized I'd better not because the road was slick, though it didn't look like it (black ice.) It was nice being out early because it was so calm. I walked east to a "little library", then back toward the school, stopping to take pictures of plants. I'm interested in plants that thrive in the winter, stay green and beautiful. The exception being most conifers, which feel too dark and heavy to me. The exception to that being the redwoods, though they shouldn't have been planted in a residential area, they feel soft and majestic and magical.

The smell of garlic and butter and tomatoes roasting wafting through an open window, alternating with the perfume of honeysuckle, to me where I float in a warm bath and doze and dream of the Italian countryside, catching glimpses behind a gauzy white curtain of fluffy clouds floating in a blue sky, the air is illuminated with gold by a late afternoon sun.
From Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses:
Not until nine o'clock had the sky noticeably darkened. By then, faces had taken on strange appearances. Dark yellowish-green circles appeared around eyes. Lips had turned dark purple in color. Only a thin crescent of sunlight was left. There were only minutes to go before the total solar eclipse would happen. Then, without warning, bands of light and dark started to shimmer over the crowds, looking, as one onlooker said, like a great ribbed shadow fence was passing over the ground. That lasted almost two minutes. Immediately after, some would remember feeling a brief gust of wind. everyone sensed an increasing coldness. The sky darkened more. The sun itself was now a sliver. Only hushed voices could be heard. Then, as the last ray of sunlight disappeared and darkness came over everyone, the silence was complete. Many would later say it was the quietest moment in the city's history. No one spoke. Not a vehicle moved. 
As soon as totality came, those in the gondola began their work. The scientists and their Navy assistants operated cameras. Someone called out the seconds to keep track of how much time had passed. The corona-sketchers began to sketch. Commander Klein, looking outside, would remember the scene succinctly as "a most spectacular sight." The sky overhead was a blue-black. All around, miles away at the horizon, beyond the limits of the shadow, was a flood of merging orange and red light. 


"I think the world, especially now, needs as many good and pure voices as possible, because it's not difficult to spread fear and hate." -Aurora

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The morning is grey and foggy but bright with a cool light. Drops of water hang on the ends of branches, tiny glass-like spheres, illuminated. Shriveled brown apples hang on the tree. Tiny birds peck at the mud, alight briefly on the fence, dart through the air chasing each other. Behind them are layers of trees, successively increasingly obscured by the haze.


We have several blackthorn trees planted in the median between the neighbor's driveway and ours, against a fence.

Being in the prunus genus, it has the same faint musk of spring-flowering stone fruits. It's not my favorite scent, especially up close, but on the air it has a hint of sweetness. These are blooming in late February.

There is a white-flowered form with yellow anthers, a pink-flowered form with burgundy anthers and leaves, and a cream-colored form with burgundy leaves. They are beautiful when in bloom and in leaf, the pink one especially. I love looking at them and wish they kept their flowers longer.

The fruit ("sloe", as in sloe-eyed and sloe gin) can be used to make jam, wine, and flavored liqueur, and the juice makes a pale silvery-purple dye. It has many medicinal uses. 

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel

Blackthorn by Linda Hessel