By: EarlB, 11:48 PM GMT on June 21, 2013
Spring's dash to Summer has slowed down here on the farm. After
early warm days, winds from off the water have kept days cool, dulling
the impatience for summer to a it'll-be-nice-when-it-comes hope. The
wheat that I thought would be harvested "any day" is still standing,
growing more gold, more beautiful with each day.
I've written to you before about my dislike of the shrill buzz of cicadas,
well, this year, we are supposed to witness the mass emergence of the
17-year locust/cicada, not a thought that cheers me much. I'm now
wondering if there isn't a 17-year response by cicada predators in the
form of boat-tail grackles? For the past few weeks, the lawn all around
house has been constantly grazed by a larger than usual number of
grackles, walking, walking, walking, pulling something "worm-ish" from
the ground, I'm only hoping that they're grazing on cicada grubs!
I know that I'm not trading high in hoping that the grackling-cackling
now for the irritating insect-shrill in a month or so, but I'm willing to try
it this year…I'll have until 2030 to consider whether the trade was worth it!
I'm enclosing a photo for you. It's of the deer that has adopted me, the
yard and the asparagus patch(!) and who is caretaker of the wheat, apparently.
Love, as always
Updated: 11:58 PM GMT on June 21, 2013
By: EarlB, 11:49 AM GMT on June 08, 2013
Later this year, NASA hopes to launch an orbiter to Mars. The MAVEN
(Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN ) satellite will try to answer
questions about the past, present and future of Mars' upper atmosphere and
its interaction with the solar wind.
As part of the mission rollout, the MAVEN team is sponsoring both an art
competition and a poetry competition with winning selections being sent
into space aboard the spacecraft.
The art contest has closed, but the poetry contest is open for submissions
with voting by the online public to start on July 15 (submissions must
be in by July 1). The poems are to be written in English and in the Haiku
form (3 lines; 5 syllable first line, 7 syllable second line, 5 syllable third
line). Typically the Haiku is associated with a nature subject. The MAVEN
folks leave the definition undefined.
For all the information you might ever hope for about the mission, visit the
at the bottom of that page is a link for submittals:
It isn't obvious how a person gets to view the submittals for voting purposes,
but that information will be forthcoming at the website.
Now is the time for you to get working on your poems! I've sent in three
poems as has my good friend Roy Tandy. Here are those poems and the links
sent from the MAVEN folks. In the confirmation emails, they say "Once voting
on messages begins, be sure to share this link with your friends and family
(hint, hint) so they can vote on your entry. Until voting begins, you will be
able to view the entry only after you log in."
I am the petrel
Exploring ancient shorelines,
Of long-dry oceans.
I soar high above,
Boiling storms of sand below,
Safe, black sky my home.
Ten thousand suns shine,
None offer the warming comfort
Of Earth's Winter noon.
Sunrise to sunset
I search for the last bits of
A distant embrace
Is all I have to offer
To a god of war.
Like a death angel,
I hover above, waiting
For Mars' final breath.
(I don't hold it against you if you like Roy's work better than mine!!)
Put your thinking caps on and start writing. You are apparently limited
to three poems, but that's a good start. And rather than using my attempts
at Haiku, you might be better served to view the masters such as Basho
and Issa. Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry:
You are only 17 syllables away from going to Mars!
Updated: 4:53 PM GMT on June 08, 2013