The Faintness of the Stars, the Freshness of the Morning, the Dewdrop on the Flowers, Speaks to Me ... Chief Dan George

Friday, April 22, 2016

It was Raining...

It was raining when I heard the news.  Another iconic musician had died. This time it wasn't an artist from a distant far-away place, it was a hometown boy, it was Prince Rogers Nelson. Not a stage name but his real name, given to him by his mother.



This morning when I picked out clothes to wear, I unconsciously pulled out a purple shirt.  It must be because for the last 24 hours there has been an onslaught of that color everywhere I turn.

I was not an immediate fan of Prince.  Of course, I knew who he was and was aware of his music.  I still wouldn't really call myself a fan in the true sense, but I do appreciate the immense talent of this man.  There are other famous people from Minnesota, the other huge musical talent still with us is Bob Dylan.  Bob has a somewhat contentious relationship with Minnesota.  Prince on the other hand, loved Minnesota and loved his dedicated fans here.  He often had impromptu dance parties at his studio/residence in Chanhassen Minnesota.  He invited his neighbors and loyal fans to these events and would often make pancakes for them in the wee hours of the morning. 

I have lived in Minnesota for the past 18 some years, but until I moved here, didn't know much about Prince. We often drove by his large studio without even realizing what it was, it just looked like a large office building of some kind.  Over the years living just a few miles from his home/studio the stories about how much he loved his fans and how much he contributed to the local community are amazing. I'd heard some of his interviews and got the sense that within was a very deep thoughtful soul.  Around 2001 he became a Jehovah's Witness and was examining the spiritual side of his life. He stopped performing some of his earlier works because he felt they no longer represented who he had become.

He was an intriguing mystery man and after reading that he was a self taught musician, that he played most of the instruments on his albums himself and that he brought himself up from virtually nothing into super stardom, I was quite impressed.

Speculation is still going on about his death, he had medical issues for the past several years (hip replacement, ankle surgeries) and that may explain the alleged opiate use. Such a sad turn of events, he had opened Paisley Park to about 200 neighbors and fans just last Saturday. He did that sort of thing throughout his career. Tuesday he was at a local jazz club listening to music.  He burned the candle at both ends, he was small in stature, but really a giant talent...

I think this hits people of my age very hard, it's hard to see people similar in age die, just a reminder that our time is limited here.  So we make the most of the gift of time.  Many of the lyrics in his songs have been saying this for years and seem even more profound now.

I saw this split image of David Bowie and Prince on Instagram
... amazing how similar their facial structure is... like yin and yang...


A photo posted by Katie Eleanor Grand (@kegrand) on


"Dearly Beloved, 
We are gathered here today 
to get through this thing called life..."
Prince


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Singing Frogs

Last post I spoke of dancing bunnies and this week it's all about singing frogs.  I am fascinated by nature and have always had a curiosity about the creatures I encounter in the garden. Maybe this comes from growing up as the only girl on a somewhat secluded farm. My playground was 600 acres of woodland, prairie, deep sand filled ravines and a creek that ran through the middle of the property. There wasn't much else to do other than read and explore!




The illustration above is from my collection, the illustrator is Adrana Saviozzi from the book Somebody Saw, 1962.

I still remember those days as a child, when younger, accompanied by my two older brothers, but then later on when I was older, exploring on my own. It was all so magical.  I guess I've really never experienced it in any other way since.  I often wonder if my time entertaining myself when younger created the introvert I am today, or was I just comfortable being on my own because I was an introvert? I guess, I'll never really know the answer to that question!

Anyway... back to the frogs... You may remember that last year I was very upset because there were no frogs around our lake. I wrote about it here.  In past years we would see the small tree frogs around the garden and hear them at night singing. It was a crazy cacophony of sound that I loved to listen to at night while drifting off to sleep. Some people don't care for the sound, but those are the loud bull frogs that most people complain about, our tree frogs have a most amazing lyrical, musical sound.

Of course I couldn't write about frogs without thinking of some books I have that are delightfully illustrated with frogs dancing, prancing, singing etc.


This poem is in the vintage set of Best in Children's Books by Doubleday. 1960 Volume 30 - A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go (illustrated by Adrienne Adams) - available in my shop here. The following two images are from the same book. Illustrations are by Adrienne Adams.



I was so happy the other night when I heard the frogs start to sing. The first night I heard just one and now several days later I'm hearing maybe four or five different frog voices. Not nearly as many as there used to be, but I'm hoping that if it's a good year, there will be a bunch of tadpoles in our lake that will grow up to be wonderful singing frogs!

So you may be wondering, how do frogs survive the winter? Well first of all I did some reading and found out that they are called ectotherms. The body temperature of ectotherms follows their environment, for example if it is cold outside, their body temperature falls. They must bask in the sun to get warm and cool off in the shade, or under the water. Amphibians, reptiles and insects are ectotherms. 

To live through the winter Spring Peepers, Green/Gray frogs and others bury themselves in the mud (about an inch deep) around a wetland, such as a lake or stream. They have special components in their body that actually act as antifreeze. Their body converts glycogen into glucose, which keeps the frog alive while it's frozen solid. When the ground becomes warm again in spring, the frogs thaw-out and remain active until winter comes around again! That's why at first I heard just one frog and then as the days went by more and more, because the frogs were just 'waking' up from their hibernation.




So I can happily say that Spring is truly here! I hope our little frogs make a comeback and return to become a thriving community again. It's a very nice turn of events and so fitting as it is Earth Day this Friday on April 22nd. It's nice to see that with all the obstacles they face, our little frogs are a win for nature.





So, I've got to run, much like the frog above... and I'll be running 'round to your blogs soon, Heigh Ho!

Hope you are enjoying some warmer Spring weather wherever you are!
~~~ Diane ~~~