Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Month: August 2017 (Page 1 of 2)


I don’t like sudden
It’s too sudden
Like a champagne bottle cork about to pop
I know it will happen, but I jump anyway

I want things slow
No surprises
Show me a world
Where there are ample warnings
Where slow changes are slow

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Trip Report to Millerton, Dutchess County New York

The New York State Delorme Atlas shows Millerton way up in the northeast corner of Dutchess County. Nancy heard about it from Jayne Anne at Homecomng Farm. “It’s a little historic village with not many tourists.” We have a few other destinations in mind…the New York State Fair in Syracuse and Rhode Island. A ferry ride across the sound and a two hour ride sounded better.

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Eclipse – Poem and Essay: August 21, 2017

Within the path of totality
So brief, but spectacular
Not so much in our side yard
A pinhole viewer
I call it my “eclipse-o-meter”

I held the device
Pointed to the sun/moon eclipse
A tiny image, the size of a period
A smiley-face Sun
The moon bite
No telescope, no trip
No glasses
To totality lane

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Facebook Rant – the poem

Facebook is not for me
I let myself get sucked in
Commenting with stupid stuff
And this takes away
From my longing to be engaged
With the natural world
To have my hands in soil
Planting things
Watching things grow
Hearing the wind and rain
How can Facebook complete
with a real tree?

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This Morning

Time to put on pants
And start the morning
Get things done
Anything is possible

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Homecoming Farm Notes – August 8, 2017

This was the last day for the interns. Don will have a skeleton crew from here on out. I will miss their youth and energy.

Weeds dominate.

I found Don picking cucumbers. He left the fat yellow-orange overripe ones for seed.

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FIELD and Track; World Championships – London 2017

I love the ten athletic field events. Track events are exciting, but their sport is competition with others. Field athletes compete to improve their best result  and to try to break a world record, and win the gold.Track runners run. Field athletes have to master several skills.

I thrill over the high jump and pole vault.  Although it only takes a few seconds to complete the event, I obsess over seeing an athlete fly through the air, arch their back, then flip their legs and pass over the bar. It’s like gravity weakens slightly for their ascent. They chose their event based on strength and skill. They practice, train, and enter events all to reach the pinnacle at the World Championships. It is inspirational to watch the results of sacrifice and determination.

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A Brief Morning Reflection

It is a quiet, early Sunday morning, in my reading chair, with back to the Sun. with a cup of coffee, I have a fresh moment of solitude. As the sun rises, shadows form on the opposite wall created by the slats from a Venetian blind.  Sunlight is chopped into parallel bands of light and dark. I gaze at the shadows and notice that they are shifting slowly in the opposite direction to the suns position. As it moves up and to the right, the shadows move down and to the left.

Willow Street is busy 6 days a week. This morning, no rumbling…I am immersed in rare quiet what will soon be broken. Special moments like this we are privileged to encounter each day are precious and longed for. Even if it lasts for a half hour, it grounds me. I can hear the cardinal, wren, dove clearly with no background sounds.

I imagine the solar disk rising above Southards Boatyard across the street. It pops up above the sail loft, above the white plastic covers of boats in storage.  This is something to be thankful for. I try to actually see the shadows move but can’t. At times, I think I see them move but they don’t. If I look away for a few minutes, another glance at the same spot and the shadows has moved slightly. I am tangled in the arc of a rising Sun. How can I find another moment during the day when I am enveloped in the shadows that play with the Sun?

One Monarch Butterfly

Two zinnia beds in the front yard attracted a monarch butterfly. I was watering when it landed on a big red flower. I turned off the hose and watched. It probed the circle of tiny yellow flowers in the center. I opened its wings, closed them then jumped off flutter- gliding to another flower – always the red ones. It landed on many red flowers always jumping into the air and browsing.

`        It flew off to the neighbor’s front yard, then back to the zinnias. It stayed in the area for a half hour. I could see its two bulbous antennae touching, always touching. Then it flew off again. I waited. This happened five or six times. It was trying to find more flowers but always returned to the two zinnias beds. It nervously probed with its proboscis several times for each flower. It looked to me as if this animal was `desperate for food. Sometimes it kept this long tubular tongue in one flower probably finding more nectar. All the time, it’s silent wing motions contrasted with a siren of a passing EMS truck, a landscaping crew, and a couple of teenagers shouting.

I ran into the house to fetch my camera. The monarch was gone. I recall seeing hundreds of monarch holding onto a shrub on Fire Island. During migration, they stop flying as darkness descends.  Those days are gone.  Where will my monarch go?

At the Edgewood Preserve, a New York State Department of Conversation in Deer Park, I came upon a huge stand of milkweed plants…hundreds of them. They are a small island refuel oasis for monarchs. I hope they find these plants.

I started orange milkweed plants from seed. I planted two dozen seedlings (also called butterfly weed) in a center island of wildflowers in hopes of attracting monarchs. However, there are hardly any monarchs any more.

I had the opportunity to observe one for a half hour. It is easily the most beautiful living thing in the neighborhood. The color and patterns on its wings, the way it flies, how it jumps off a flower, and its choice of flower. There was plenty for me to see right outside in the front yard. I grow zinnias every year mostly to have cut flowers of us and friends. But with the visit by a single monarch, I have the best bouquet ever, a single butterfly found an oasis.

“We have met the enemy and it is us.”

Planet Earth has only one enemy. These beings have broken the carrying capacity barrier. They have over run the place by their sheer numbers. Overpopulation is the term. Too many, too dam many of US.

It is each and every one of us. No one and everyone is to blame. We are at war and we don’t even know it. It is far worse than nuclear war, or any other kind of war. No other species is doing battle and winning. We are war mongers and we keep on, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, century by century, all the way back to when we became homo sapiens. We only think we are “sapiens” we have lost our minds.   

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