Recently, one of the word-a-day emails I subscribe to featured the word, "pollard." As a birdwatcher, the root word "poll" meaning "head" was already familiar to me because of Blackpoll Warblers and Redpolls. Also, when I lived out west, I knew of a ranch that advertised "polled Herefords." Any horned animals that have had their horns removed (cattle, goats,sheep, etc.) are known as pollards. Though I'd never I'd never heard the term applied to trees until the email arrived, I recognized at once that I had a pollard in my back yard, and had even blogged about it earlier this year.
A pollard tree is one whose top branches have been cut back to the trunk so that it may produce a dense growth of new shoots. As an art history major, I was reminded of a favorite Van Gogh painting, "View of Arles (Orchard in Bloom with Poplars in Forefront)" The polled poplar trees in Vincent's painting kind of resembles my tree, although mine (I think it's an ash) isn't quite as gnarled. Now that winter is here, the birds seem to be enjoying having a few extra places to perch, even if they don't care a fig about western cattle or Post-Impressionist paintings. And I will be delighted to watch my pollard leaf-out again in the spring.
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.