Saturday, June 26, 2010

in praise of light

Late afternoon, walking by the river from my workplace. The light in winter, on a day of storm and then sun. It's not like summer light in Southland, which is almost my all time favourite light. Southland summer light at low lattitudes is glory. It is long and languorous and spreads itself over the land like syrup on cornbread. My other all time favourite light is around Kaikoura, in the evenings, when it's all misty and golden and falls down from the mountains to the sea, and then the Huttons shearwaters rise up the mountain, calling and helping each other in flocks of hundreds. There the mountains and the sea are so close to each other the light has a sort of lysergic intensity. It's enough to drive you to drink. Today's light was not like that. It was brittle and short. It made the river water spark and dance. It brought out the brown of the leaf litter and gilded it. i liked it, and was briefly grateful.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I nearly didn't get here....

i nearly didn't get here at all due to technical diffiuclties, caused in part by the pitfalls of setting up a blog while on night shift. i am married to the Archduke Piccolo, and at first all i did was post on his blog. Ok for me, as he is a very entertaining writer; not so good for his followers. i then made several attempts to set up email addresses and for several days it all got quite runny. i am pleased that i have been able to fix technical problems, and been patient (most of the time). It is not easy for a 50 year old with wonky vision to read those anti-hacking characters for logging in. And have you tried to hear them? They sound like your brain on drugs. Demographically challenged by tech anything, i am the least hackerish person i know. But now i think i am there.

Hey, just to show i am cool and hip and tech savvy, try reading XKCD webcomic. Very nice. Reverse Polish Sausage! Yeah, totally!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

About the syrinx

Primarily here, the syrinx is the voice box of a bird. Humans have larynxes; birds have syrinxes. The syrinx is shaped like an upside down Y and birds use both arms of the Y to make sound. This means they can make two sounds at once, or very rapid sounds, or one sound scaling up and the other down, or all of the above. This ability is most advanced in passerines, or perching birds.

Syrinx was also a nymph. She was pursued by the god Pan and fled into the river, where her voice became the wind in the reeds. Pan grieved for her, took reeds and made the pan pipe. A syrinx is thus also a word for a pan pipe.

A syrinx is also a medical problem, essentially a tube where it shouldn't be.

i like the idea of a nom de plume similar to ones used by Victorian newspaper columnists. The name itself becomes a commentary.

i also like the idea of making sounds that are different, not human, aesthetically challenging, maybe beautiful or moving.

And i like the idea of a reed, hollow, a vessel for sound, for the songs of others or maybe new sounds entirely.

This blog will be sometimes humorous, sometimes reflective, and it may involve what passes for poems. There will be times when it will slip into a parallel universe that is almost but not entirely unlike this one. i cannot predict when this will happen. There will also be deliberate distortions of identities and some events, to protect those around me, because i have a sensitive job.

i hope to have some fun.