splendor falls

half way

driving has become routine. shout out to spotify, bill bryson & george orwell audiobooks (1984, animal farm, a walk in the woods, a short history of nearly everything) and anyone who has cared enough to call me on these crazy long drives. every day i wake up cheated of sleep. i’ve slept on couches, futons, spare beds, and in my car. i’ve driven 4,000 miles, i saw two great lakes. i had poutine. real poutine. i hiked. i saw the splendor of niagara falls. i met someone who dared me to be myself more than i think anyone ever has. i’ve made countless new friends. i had great beer, i tried ecstasy. i left a shirt in new jersey. i lost a shoe in toronto. (the shoe was found) there are moments in life that are very important. there’s no other way to describe them. sometimes there’s no way to unpack that instant while it’s happening. sometimes there’s no one to tell what you just saw or how you’d even explain it if you did. i think the most beautiful stretch of road on the east coast has to be rt 8 in connecticut as it winds along the farmington river. although there are many special people in my life i can only think of one person who i want to make that drive with again. the shows. the shows have been a roller coaster ride of emotion. april snow caused me to be 3 hours late to one of the shows. the anxiety created from it caused me to be 6 hours early to the show the next day. i’ve sold 92 books, and 15 shirts. the things people have said after the shows or during breaks have made all the difference. people approaching me to say they’ve never had a poem move them to tears before, or how my work has helped them in some way. the friends made. the memories. (a small crunching of numbers for people outside of the normal turnout at the events [people from twitter to be exact] toronto ontario 52, (new jersey 2x madison/toms river 20) long island new york 15, philadelphia pennsylvania 3, northhampton massechusetts 4, collinsville connecticut 12, erie pennsylvania 9, baltimore maryland 4, colby sawyer college new hampshire 6. (these numbers are from people who approached after the show, or bought a ticket to the event. the numbers are probably more generous than i am giving credit, but- at half way in, and 8 shows down, less than 100 of 55,000 people from Twitter who have actually come out to a show. these shows are offset by other numbers, because most of the shows come with an audience of regularly attending people. so far the total number of people i have done poems in front of is probably in the generous neighborhood of 250. you have to start somewhere. and this is my start. i’m excited for the remaining string of shows on tour, and to be able to pet my dog kentucky again next week

4

In recognition of Earth Science Week, we bring you beautiful fall photos from around BLM Idaho with an explanation by Anne Halford, BLM Idaho Botanist, about why the leaves change color

Every autumn, cottonwood, quaking aspen and willow are transformed into colorful hues of gold, orange and russet. Before long, their leaves will fall and again become part of another cycle that feeds the soil. What causes this yearly cycle, and what determines which color the leaves turn? 

During spring and summer, leaves actively produce foods necessary for plant growth. This food-making process takes place in the many cells within the leaf. Within these cells are chloroplasts, which contain the chlorophyll pigments that are responsible for the green color of plants. The leaves also contain lesser amounts of other pigments, primarily xanthophylls (yellows) and carotenoids (yellows, oranges, and reds). 

Most of the year, these other pigments are masked by the greater amounts of chlorophyll in the leaves. But in fall, when changes in temperature and the period of daylight occur, the leaves stop their food-producing activity. Soon the chlorophyll begins to break down, the green color disappears, and the yellows, oranges and reds slowly begin to emerge, giving the leaves their fall splendor. 

The intensity of color is determined by the plant’s response to complex gradients of temperature and moisture. Fall weather conditions favoring formation of brilliant autumn color are warm, sunny days followed by cool nights with temperatures below 45F (7C). Sugar production increases during the daytime, but cool nights prevent movement of sugar from the leaves. 

From the sugars trapped in leaves, the pigment called anthocyanin is formed. When fall weather is consistently cloudy or rainy, and the nights warm, the leaves usually have less intense coloration. The smaller amount of sugar made during periods of less sunlight moves out of the leaves during the warm nights, reducing the conversion of excess sugars into pigments. 

Before the leaves can gracefully spin from their leafstalks, a special layer of cells develops and gradually severs the tissues that support the leaf. A small leaf scar is the only evidence that leaves once adorned these deciduous plants.

Yeah, but I was wondering - in the beginning of AUJ, Bilbo’s telling Frodo all about Erebor and Dale. But… he never saw them in their prime. Nor did anyone really describe them to him in any of the movies.

My guess is that Thorin told him about them (although there was probably much more about Erebor than about Dale) at some point during their journey. It probably came up in some conversation that they had during their stolen time together.

“What’s it like? Erebor?”

“Abandoned, Master Burglar, you know that -”

“No, I meant… what was it like? Before Smaug came?”

And Thorin just looks at him, noticing that Bilbo doesn’t quite meet his gaze, and describes it to him, occasionally slipping into Khuzdul as he recalls the dwarf kingdom’s splendor. Bilbo just falls even more in love with this stupid dwarf, because the passion in his voice when he talks about it is so moving and real.

Because the way Bilbo refers to the mountain in the prologue can’t be from his own words, since he wasn’t actually there. “It began long ago in a land far away to the east, the like of which you will not find in the world today. There was the city of Dale […] before the doors of the greatest kingdom in Middle-earth: Erebor. Stronghold of Thror, king under the mountain, mightiest of dwarf lords. Thror ruled with utter surety, never doubting his house would endure, for his line lay secure in the lives of his son and grandson. Ah, Frodo, Erebor; built deep within the mountain itself, the beauty of this fortress city was legend. Its wealth lay in the earth, in precious gems hewed from rock, and in great seams of gold, running like rivers through stone. The skill of dwarves was unequal, fashioning objects of great beauty out of diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. Ever they delved deeper, down into the dark. And that is where they found it: the heart of the mountain, the arkenstone. Thror named it the king’s jewel. He took it as a sign, a sign that his right to rule was divine. All would pay homage to him, even the great elvenking, Thranduil. [x]

And then he goes on for a while about Thranduil’s “betrayal” - which was probably very exaggerated when Thorin told him about it, but Bilbo’s more reasonable than that, so he probably watered it down a bit - and the Sacking of Erebor, and he QUOTES A LINE FROM “MISTY MOUNTAINS” UGHHH and goes on about Thorin’s grudge and such, and that’s it.

Bilbo used Thorin’s words to describe a prosperous kingdom that he had never seen. And he believed it all without question.

Bilbo. Used. Thorin’s. Words. To. Describe. A. Prosperous. Kingdom. That. He. Had. Never. Seen. And. He. Believed. It. All. Without. Question.

If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.

9

I am in love with the weather today! It’s insanely gorgeous! So gorgeous, in fact, that I took two walks! I went to the park with my friend Ana after work and then came home, grabbed the dogs and went back out.

I took the dogs to College Hill, the prettiest neighborhood in town especially this time of year! I don’t know what kind of frisky biscuits the dogs ate today but they were full of excitement and mischief and were none too pleased by all my pausing to take pictures. But I couldn’t help it! Just look!!! :)

Yay Fall!!!