Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Woodsman

The night wind blew steady
Ripping away leaves dulled
By a succession of cold nights.

He knew what the cold morning would bring:
A forest of bare branches,
A carpet trail of layered leaves packed by wind and rain.

In preparation, he put file to axe head cradled in his lap,
Flipping the axe every few minutes.
Testing evenness by the reflection of a lone gas lamp,
Sharpness, first against his thumb nail,
Lastly by shaving a small patch of forearm.

Satisfied, he cradled the tool and cleaned axe head and handle
With an oil-impregnated rag stained auburn by years of metal and wood.
Leaning the implement in a corner of the cabin next to his boots,
He lowered the wick, dimming the lamp, and curled onto his cot,
Faithful dog repeating the motion on the floor beside him,
And fell quickly to sleep,
To dream of life on his beautiful mountain trails.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sermons of John Wesley

Interested in the complete, fully indexed sermons of John Wesley? Buy my Kindle book at

These are the collected 141 sermons of John Wesley, father of the Methodist Church. Sermons are indexed by number, title, and scriptural reference. Over 1,000 pages long, this document is not available in print and is a valuable reference for anyone who preaches the Gospel, is a United Methodist, or is interested in furthering their Christian education.

Another excerpt from "A Few Summer Days in the Adirondacks: A Natural History of the Adirondack Park"

June 05, Saranac Lake

It is early June and another day dawns, the forest shrouded in fog. The Saranac River flows full and steady through the village of Saranac Lake. A pair of brown, velvet-furred mink cavort along its stone-lined banks, seemingly oblivious to the wakening town. In the village, lilacs are in full bloom and the trees are full-leaved, plumped by the rains of the preceding days. Red-winged blackbirds stake their claims in the wetlands outside of town, clinging sideways to the puff-topped stalks of last year's cattails, calling out to one another with territorial displays. Concentric circles on still waters of Lake Colby mark the rising of feeding trout.

The forecast is for several days of hot and humid weather, with temperatures into the 80°s. In the not-so-distant past, summers would come and go with rarely a day in the 80°s - at most, a two or three day stretch. But such is no longer the case, as days of sweltering mugginess have become common. To experience such climatic conditions in early June seems to push the envelope of climate in this elevated mountain plain. Climate change theory projects warmer and wetter conditions in the Northeast, although the heavily forested Adirondack region should create its own weather island of cloud-shaded and somewhat cooler landscape. Still, one can expect, with some exception in the worst "heat waves", that nighttime temperatures will fall 20°-30° and make for restful sleeping.

Floodwood Road, near Polliwog & Middle Ponds
GPS: 44°20'25"N 74°22'07"W
Elevation: 1640 feet

In the wet woods, where spruce cover is not so thick as too block out light from reaching the forest floor, ostrich ferns reach 18" tall, near half of their final height. Mosquitoes are thick here and early season dragonflies, smallish and brown, swoop to and fro, hunting down their aerial meal. (Franklin and Essex Counties are known to have over 75 species of dragonflies)

The tangled stems and wide serrated leaves of witchhobble or hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium) flood the forest floor under fir, spruce, and beech. This is one of the most common Adirondack shrubs due to its tolerance for shade and acidic soils. Its white, five-petaled blossoms are mostly gone now, having blossomed forth from Mid-May in umbels of white before unfurling its leaves.

In this mid-elevations, poplars are sowing their fluffy, wind-dispersed seed. In some open areas, along wood roads and shorelines, clouds of poplar “popple” swirl in thick eddies along the ground.

Excerpt from "A Few Summer Days in the Adirondacks: A Natural History of the Adirondack Park"

Early June

Johns Brook, Keene Valley
GPS: 44°11'23"N 73°47'57"W
Elevation: 1200 feet

Originating on the eastern slope of Mt Marcy, the Adirondack Mountain's highest peak, John's Brook drains the valley between Tabletop Mountain to the north and a string of high peaks to the south, including Sawteeth, Gothics, and the Wolf Jaw peaks. At lower elevations in Keene Valley, the clear, cold water of John’s Brook cascades over rounded boulders of light-colored Granite (?) in the shade of tall maples, pines and hemlock before flattening out and joining with the East Branch of the Ausable River.

Roaring Brook Falls

The flow of water is greatly diminished at Roaring Brook Falls compared to the conditions during spring run-off, but still impressive as cold melt water cascades 1,000 feet and drops another 1,000 feet down through rock-strewn, spruce, birch and pine covered slopes to the point it crosses Route 73 in Saint Huberts.

At lower elevations (1000-2000 ft) lilacs are in bloom, leaves on the trees freshly full, some trees are still setting leaves – birches

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Water Music

Time just passes, sometimes slow and sometimes fast.

Didn't bring it up to bring you down

I know you are quiet for long stretches of time as you immerse yourself into the pond of music you have created around you. As I watch the ripples spread out across the water, I see all who you have touched as they are tickled into pink happiness by the gentle, expanding, concentric waves of your loving care.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tall Meadow Rue

Thalictrum pubescens (Thalictrum polygamum)

Thalictrum is a genus of 120-200 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family native mostly to temperate regions.

Tall meadow rue flowers don't have any petals; the white starbursts are made up of stamens. In close-up, it becomes apparent that meadow rue flowers have no petals; the conspicuous part of the flower is the white filaments of the stamens. The plant has delicate, finely divided leaves.

• Family: Buttercup (Ranunculaceae)
• Habitat: swamps, streamsides
• Height: 3-8 feet
• Flower size: 1/3 inch across
• Flower color: white
• Flowering time: July to September
• Origin: native

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Photographs (c) Michael R. Martin
Text sources: Connecticut Botanical Society - (June 25, 2012)

Common self heal or heal-all

Prunella vulgaris, known as common selfheal, heal-all, heart-of-the-earth, is a perennial herb and medicinal plant in the genus Prunella. It grows 5 to 30 cm high (2-12inches), with creeping, self-rooting, tough, square, reddish stems branching at leaf axis.
Heal-all is both edible and medicinal. It is often used in salads, soups, stews, and boiled as a pot herb. It has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries all over the world and for many ailments.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Photos (c) Michael R. Martin 2012 -
Text source: Wikipedia

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birds at 4:30AM

In the pre-dawn, I'm hearing a woodcock's twittering dive song followed by his perched raspy peep.

A robin has just begun to call forth

More robins have joined in, one close by, while the woodcock twitters round & round in its spiral flight

The mating call of the woodcock is something you must hear. It starts early while I'm collecting maple sap late March

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latest Star Photos

from and on my YouTube Astronomy Playlist

Venus, Pleiades & Orion set over Main Street, Saranac Lake - April 2, 2012
Venus, Pleiades & Orion set over Main Street, Saranac Lake - April 2, 2012
 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Mars and Regulus in constellation Leo • Moonlit clouds - April 8, 2012
Mars and Regulus in constellation Leo • Moonlit clouds - April 8, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012


Paths cross
Too early. Too late.
Too this. Too that.
Eyes meet, a spark across the emptiness
Pupils dilate, hearts flutter
Necks pulse, flush pink
Time slows

And in that brief instant a choice be made:
To pause, to turn, to embrace
The chance of life's love
Or continue on, fate be damned

Are you so certain against all signs
You control the path of your entire destiny
That you will not lay your hand in mine?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh Heart of Mine

How trite to say, "Oh heart of mine"
Yet said heart has long sat broken
Not broken, nay, but empty, say,
For lack of word soft spoken

Can ever come the tender tongue
To lay calloused muscle open
So enters in a new begin
True love once more be spoken?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stellar Photographs and Videos

See all my photographs & time-lapse movies of stars and auroras at and on my YouTube Channel at

Star trails approaching dawn over Lake Flower

Downtown Saranac Lake lights and traffic reflecting in Lake Flower at midnight

Monday, February 20, 2012

Deer on a Lawn

Here are some close-up photographs of deer, captured in A Pocono County Place in Pennsylvania

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Night Shots

See all my photographs of stars and aurora at
See my videos of stars on my YouTube channel • Glitch's Cedar Eden Channel:

Below are a few examples:

Stars circling Polaris (stacked time lapse)

Aurora from Harrietstown

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Winter Night, Passing

After the crowds have all gone home
And life turns into life
Nights pass ever so slowly alone

Black as damp obsidian
On a moonless coastline
With the inky sea receding

Cold as northern lights
Reflecting off the clearest ice
On a sunless arctic tundra