Friday Five ~ Drawing lines, making tracks

It’s Friday again.

And here I am with a mess of thoughts, songs, images, and ideas in front of me. They all started out quite separate and distinct, but like a rope that you put away in a neat coil in the fall, they’ve somehow knotted together in the dark and are all pulling at my thoughts at once. Maybe they’ll become a poem. Or a photograph. Or just remain this list, somehow connected, but only momentarily. Eventually untangled.

  • Today is the Chinese New Year, and it’s the Year of the Horse. In recognition of the day, And Other Poems, a terrific poetry blog, has put together a few collections of horse poems, which you can see here, here, and here.

    Suddenly I understood the sleek, inky
    poem of a horse, the lines bowed
    as if resisting flight.

    –Nikki Magennis

  • Maybe you already saw the mesmerizing video of bird flight paths that was bopping around the internet last week. In case you didn’t, here’s your chance.

  • I drove down to Boston last weekend, and put Jake Bugg’s CD in the car’s stereo, and pretty much had it on repeat the entire trip. I just can’t get his songs out of my head. I particularly love the mournful Broken. And though I’ve never had a hankering for a cigarette, I’m addicted to the rhythm of Two Fingers.

  • At my blithe request, my friend Ruth drew me a picture of a manatee, in about five minutes. I completely envy that talent. I can barely draw a line.


  • And finally, speaking of making tracks, yesterday, Ben and Tarka broke the distance record for a human-powered (sledge-dragging) expedition. And early this morning they attained another milestone by passing the latitude and general location of Scott’s final camp. In the map below, Ben and Tarka’s location is indicated by the red map pointer (upper left). The dark blue points below that red point, along the same line, represent their southbound/pole-ward journey, which they are retracing on their way back to Scott’s Hut (lower right).

    The final camp for Scott, Wilson, and Bowers is indicated by the poignant dot at the end of the purple line, just to the left of the red point.


  • By this evening, they should be about 150 miles from their starting point, which is also the ending point of their journey and of that story.

p.s. For those interested in reading a first-hand account, here’s Ben Saunder’s moving post about today’s milestone.

Silly, sweet virtual world


It’s funny to perch on this spot on the planet and imagine that there are other people on their own perches doing whatever they’re doing at this particular moment. How often we’re oblivious of each other, busy in our own circles.

Which is one of many reasons why the internet can be so darn fun. At any moment in the day, you can catch a little view of what’s happening in some faraway elsewhere. Lots of cat photos, yes. And way too many videos of people doing things they ought not to be doing (let alone filming themselves while doing it).

But aside from that, there are really interesting, kind, talented people out there, people you’d never know about except that one online friend mentions another online friend mentions another, and soon, stepping stone by stepping stone, you’ve made a virtual friend across the ocean.

One of these new friends is Ruth, who designs lovely things with birds and wildlife, like the sandpiper picture at the top of this post. We’ve never met, or even spoken, but we’ve written back and forth. She reads my blog; I read hers. And, recently, she interviewed me on her blog. (My friends, this is a first. No one–no one–has ever interviewed me for anything before. Ever.)

And the point here is that I want to introduce you to Ruth, and her little birds, and her brooches, and her illustrations, and her thoughtful words. Because this is how we’ve always made new friends, virtual or real, one introduction at a time.