Archive for December, 2008

Brown, black, blue, gold, white
Winter’s limited palette
Medley of Wonder


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Actually this is me, skating on the rink before Plishka’s Law of Conservation of Snow* kicked in to the tune of 14 inches.

I make a couple of these a year.  This is the first one from this year. 

The Ice…
A Stick…
A Puck…
It doesn’t get much better in the winter…
*This states that removal of snow from an ice surface results in the arrival of snow to cover the ice (It’s like washing your car and then it rains)


Posted via email from The Cave Wall


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Was sent this video and I wanted to share it with you. It’s a form of music that was outlawed during the Soviet Regime. The singers sing traditional songs on the Ukrainian national instrument– the Bandura (Sometimes they play the Kobza as well). They remind the people of the glorious past of the Ukrainian Nation.

Personally I love this instrument-the way it sounds is haunting. I have one myself but have yet to learn how to play it. I have figured out a way to copy the sound and I used it at the end of this song.

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A couple years back I was shoveling my driveway and it dawned on me that I wasn’t ‘grooming the track’,  like when I was younger- carefully shoveling so that I could preserve a sloped track perfect for sledding. 

I was, in fact, shoveling a driveway so that cars could use it.  It stunned me in sadness for a moment…

I take great joy in shoveling a portion of the lake bordering my backyard.  It’s grooming an ice surface that I will recreate on.  It’s not meant for cars- it’s meant for fun. 

With an impending snow and ice storm I knew I had to shovel the lake today if I wanted good ice when the temps dropped.  A neighbor had shoveled a very small rink (10’x10′) so I was feeling a little more confident in spite of the fact that open water was 75 ft away.  I pounded the ice with the back end of heavy wooden snow shovel and slowly walked out.  No cracking noises.  Seemed firm.  I began shoveling.

As I shoveled I noticed huge wide cracks in one place–good sign–thin ice doesn’t crack like that.  What caught my eyes next were the footprints in the snow.

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

It was interesting that every other set of prints left a scuff mark in the snow, as if the coyote was dragging one foot slightly.  I kept digging and noticed foot prints under the snow, melted into the ice. 

Like an archaeologist I swept away the covering snow revealing the tracks below.

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

 I found two different trails, probably made on different days.  All trails, the fresh one on top and the frozen ones below, all led to the open water.  This explains why, even with open water, there were no longer any waterfowl on the lake.

As there is no cover for the bird along the ice, a coyote could, with favorable winds, (and winds from the north which is what we’ve been getting) sneak up on sleeping waterfowl. 

How this guy ended up gimpy and not totally lifting one foot, we may never know.  I do know that before I skate, others have “skated” before me…

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

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The Lions I Am Learning From

The Lions I Am Learning From


Cats are fascinating animals. They’re lone predators so they are equipped to hunt and kill by themselves. This means they’re smart, have sharp teeth, a startling quickness, mindbending flexibility and the most vicious weapon of all – retractable claws.

Carrying concealed weapons in public is illegal but not for cats. That’s why some people have a tough time trusting them.

One never knows…

It’s why I was even more in awe when I saw my father first tame a lion. (Okay, it wasn’t REALLY a lion. But those retractable claws make EVERY cat a lion!) I don’t remember where it was, perhaps on an uncle’s farm, but I remember…

The ferocious feline was suspicious of us. My father reached a hand slowly forward. The carnivorous beast stared back, but my dad’s hand reached below the chin and softly touched…

The magic began…

The cat slumped to the ground and rolled onto its back. Its paws against its chest. It purred loud enough to be heard from a couple feet away.

My father continued drawing small circles on the cat’s throat. The cat closed its eyes.

 I watched in wonder and it was indelibly burned into my grey matter. Never had I seen a predator so utterly subdued. This wasn’t Francis of Assisi, it was my dad!

I leaned over and placed my finger by his and began doing the same thing.

The cat opened its eyes and lifted its head.

I continued and he laid back down.

I had seen my father do that “trick” on multiple cats always with the same result.

Try as I may, the effect just isn’t as pronounced and sometimes doesn’t work at all when I do it.

 Somewhere in all this there is a lesson of peace. My father lived it…

I’m still learning…

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One Swan Haiku

Half the lake open
The winds keep it from freezing. 
One Swan in Winter

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from The Cave Wall

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Fascinating piece on the sounds that various stones and rock formations can make. 
Makes me wonder about how they might have used the sounds in conjunction with cave painting.

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