Snow Flurries

Snow Flurries, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.


Land of Little Rain

Land of Little Rain, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

This is the nature of that country. There are hills, rounded, blunt, burned, squeezed up out of chaos, chrome and vermilion painted, aspiring to the snow-line. Between the hills lie high level-looking plains full of intolerable sun glare, or narrow valleys drowned in a blue haze. The hill surface is streaked with ash drift and black, unweathered lava flows. After rains water accumulates in the hollows of small closed valleys, and, evaporating, leaves hard dry levels of pure desertness that get the local name of dry lakes. Where the mountains are steep and the rains heavy, the pool is never quite dry, but dark and bitter ...
-- Mary Austin excerpt from "Land of Little Rain"


Water Colors

Water Colors, Copyright 2006 Maureen Shaughnessy
originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

Your absence has gone through me
like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched
with its color

-- W.S.Merwin

Still Life in Water, Copyright 2006 Maureen Shaughnessy
originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

You do not need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait.
Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you
to be unmasked,
it has no choice,
it will roll in ecstacy at your feet.

-- Franz Kafka


Heuchera's Autumn Glory

Heuchera's Autumn Glory, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.


To know the Earth

To know the Earth, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

.... you must know the meaning of river stones first.
Find a place that calls to you and there
Lie face down in the grass until you feel
Each plant alive with the mystery of beginnings

-- 1993, Nancy Wood from Spirit Walker

Cottonwood leaf and twig on the banks of Spring Meadow Lake


Walking in Beauty

Walking in Beauty, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.


Life must go on. I forget just why.

This week, the Poetry Thursday prompt was to write about what we avoid ... poetry/poets/genres we avoid. Hmmm, well I decided to avoid this week's prompt altogether and just do a stream of consciousness thing pairing poems or quotes with the recent art pieces that have been inspired by my recent reading, thinking and writing.

So, I hope, as you are reading this post, you will discover writers who delight and inspire you as they do for me!

River Qi
River Qi, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven Copyright 2006 Maureen Shaughnessy

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy...that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.
--- Martha Graham

I am an abyss I am trying to cross
I am an abyss I am trying to cross Copyright 2006 by Maureen Shaughnessy
originally uploaded by MontanaRaven

I say to my breath once again,
little breath come from in front of me,
go away behind me,
row me quietly now,
as far as you can,
for I am an abyss
that I am trying to cross

-- W.S.Merwin

I am exploring some of my feelings about life, death, mystery, what it is that does not separate us from everything we think is outside of ourselves ...
These pieces are part of a series I am working on, exploring the Life Force. To see the rest of this series, click here.

The soul moves in circles, said Plotinus.
Hence our lives are not moving straight ahead;
instead hovering, wavering,
returning, renewing, repeating.
-- James Hillman

Life must go on. I forget just why.
-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Check out other Poetry Thursday posts by clicking this button:


Autumn Spirit

Autumn Spirit
"Autumn Spirit" Copyright 2006 by Maureen Shaughnessy

I am drawn to powerful, mysterious places... The 'creative haunting' of these locations has been imprinted on my spirit. -- Jacqueline Baldini


Poetry Thursday .... Life Force: Qi

Life Force: Hatch
Copyright Maureen Shaughnessy, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.
-- Ray Bradbury
... and as much as we are one of the shouts, so too are the salmon, the bear, the hawk, the mountain, stream and light. These pieces are part of a series I am working on, about Life Force. If you like these, please check back to see others I will post as I complete them. Thank you for looking.

Salmon Run Qi
Salmon Run Qi
Copyright Maureen Shaughnessy, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven

What would the world be,
once bereft Of wet and wildness?
Let them be left,
O let them be left,
wildness and wet,
Long live the weeds and
the wildness yet.

--- by Gerard Manley Hopkins



Eleagnus angustifolia, Russian Olive


Plant Portrait:
Russian-olives (Elaeagnus angustifolia) aren't a true olive -- their common name (and Latin name) comes from the way their fruit resembles olives. As far as I know the fruits are not edible by humans, but birds like them. Russian Olives are actually a nuisance plant in the west and for sure are considered invasive in the midwest and eastern N.America. They were introduced in the 1800s as ornamental trees, and have spread on their own, sometimes crowding out native species. They spread through waterways by their bouyant seeds -- the "olives."


I love the trees -- their gray green color compliments other landscape colors like the oranges, golds and reds of autumn in Montana. In the photo below, the Russian Olive is the foreground tree, pale green contrasting with the vivid warm colors of the other wetland trees here:


I wish I could use them in my landscape designs, but I try to avoid it because of their invasive nature here in Montana. In the meantime I can enjoy the "wild" Russian olives in places like this wildlife reserve, and I can design with the related native Buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea, which has a similar color and texture, although it's a shrub not a tree.

There are other plants available for gardens and landscapes that have similar color -- that gorgeous warm gray green, almost silvery. Blue Fescue, Blue Oat Grass, Buffaloberry among the many.


River of Light

River of Light

Jen, Erik, Grace and I went to Alki beach (Seattle) to say hello to Grandmother Ocean and watch the sun go down behind the horizon. There wasn't enough light for my cheap little camera to do much, especially since I was holding it in my hand. Still, I like the abstract quality of some of the photos I shot that evening. Like this one, the light makes my heart so full. I take it in. I take it in.