The house next door to me is not a full-time residence. The elderly couple who own it live a few hours away, and don’t get here very often, usually once or twice a year for a few days to check on things. In between visits, I keep an eye out for them. Then when they do come up, we have a good yak about the old days, people who used to live along the road, and the various families who used to own my place. The husband likes to work in the yard, and always spends some time trimming bushes or raking up the inevitable clutter of small branches, twigs and leaves that the winds off the lake are always bringing down. The afternoon I took this shot, he had been raking, then set up his lawn chair to sit and look at the lake. I wanted a shot of him sitting there, in his coveralls and old-fashioned wide-brimmed straw hat, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. If I asked permission first, it probably would have spoiled the shot, and he might even have said he’d rather not. And if I’d gone ahead and taken the photo, and then asked if he minded if I posted it here, well, that might have made him uncomfortable, too. I know I would feel strange to find out that someone was taking pictures of me in my yard without my knowing it. So, in the end I have this photo of just the chair and the rake. Even though my neighbor isn’t there, I think it tells almost the same story.
I think this is a good poem to go with the photo. I wrote it back in the late ’70s, in Calgary. It was a very slow afternoon at work; I was caught up with everything on my desk and was staring out the second story window into the backyards of some of the nearby houses. It was late fall, and there was a very elderly woman out raking leaves with a garden rake. I started to wonder about her, about her life, and what she might be thinking.
To my readers: I'm having my computer serviced tomorrow, and so may not be able to contribute to Skywatch this week, but hope to be back at the keyboard soon.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.