...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

28 February, 2011

floe on, Kennebec!

Every kind of precipitation this morning.

A grey, slushy, "driving-is-a-challenge" kind of day.

We went across the Kennebec to get our hair cut at Janice's house.

The tide was going out on the river.  Taking some ice floes with it.

Spring WILL come, some day.....

Happy March, everyone!

27 February, 2011

skating downtown, after dark

We have a mall right downtown.

Not a shopping mall.  
It is a mall in the sense of the 17th century definition:
a sheltered pedestrian walkway or green.
Other New England towns call spaces like this the Town Common.

In the spring, summer and fall it is a gathering place for everyone.
You can get a hot dog or a wrap or some ice cream, and eat it sitting on a bench 
or on the grass while you watch the world go by.
On Fridays, you can shop at the farmer's market.
It is the site for several small town festivals and fairs.
On summer nights, local bands sometimes perform.
And there are a few spontaneous Ultimate Frisbee games 
by high school friends who are 
just about ready to go their different ways to college.

As soon as it snows sufficiently, the town
banks up snow in a large circle, and floods this rink for all to enjoy.
There are actually a few of these in town.

 This one is my favorite.

26 February, 2011

light: late. undulate.

Walking the dog in the late February light,
I was
unable to ignore the shapes, waves, concavities and hummocks.
A fresh batch of snow yesterday covered up the
imperfections of melt
and rested like a white comforter over the ground.

25 February, 2011

a poem for today

A Woman's Work

It is fine silk she creates within
and spews forth again and again
to make senseless beauty in the world,
hold her children,
grasp a silent something
Her thread is fine, delicate, barely visible:
              only those who search on dewy mornings
              will see the glory of her creation.

She is always busy:
renewing her silk
repairing this web and that, carelessly torn
              by the wind, the prey, the unexpected
              the unconscious souls
She rests, waits
for all that is to come.

She does not pause
knowing the importance of the work:
preying, mending, tending, waiting,
creating a constant quiet cradle for
the young, the fragile being
                                                   the dew

                                                      Helene McGlauflin

~*          ~*        ~*

"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer."   E. B. White

Helene is my friend.

24 February, 2011

taken back

It is good to be home again.

We got home yesterday, and after a whirlwind of unpacking, 
checking mail, watering plants, getting the dog,
checking for phone messages, and so on--
I went to the local grocery chain for bread and milk.

As I rounded one aisle corner, I found these teenage girls camped out
on the floor by the magazine section. 
Heads together, giggling and pointing and sharing,
they took me back to my junior high school days...
when my friend Karla and I would pore over
'movie magazines' for hours,  then part company to go
to our respective homes...and immediately call each other up 
for another hour or so of girl chat--
all between our walk together home from school and dinner.

These girls were so dear--pizza and chips in their shopping bag--
likely getting ready for a sleepover on a school vacation
Wednesday night in February.

Remember when??

23 February, 2011

Award!! ;o)

Gosh, was I amazed when Christie at Fine Lines:
http://kids-finelines.blogspot.com  was kind enough nominate me for the Stylish Blogger award a couple of days ago.   Christie, your blog is an inspiration to me because I am a very “elementary” artist, and your posts are just up my creative alley.  Thank you so much!  

The award comes with the chance to do two things:  pass on the award to 5 worthy bloggers, and to list 7 things about me.  

For the last two days as we have been making our way back to Maine, I have been composing this little opus.  I almost posted it from my hotel room last night,  but decided I was too bleary-eyed to edit properly.  (I’m so glad I waited!)  Here I am now on the Concord Trailways Coach bus, taking advantage of their clean, friendly and efficient service, as well as their free wi-fi and an outlet for keeping the old computer charged. (I’ll tell you more about them in another post.)

I am passing this wonderful award on to each and every one of you who visit me, although in fact I am limited to five.  I am trying to support some smaller (and perhaps newer?) blogs which I have enjoyed over the short time I’ve been following them.  A special shout out to Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girhttp://chroniclesofacountrygirl.blogspot.com  who received one of these awards just the other day with me.  Thanks for your abundant support to a complete stranger (though no more!).  Kate, you have been my inspiration and my catalyst.

OK.  Here are my 5 recipients:  (Boy, was this hard!!)

To Barbara at It’s about Time http://bjws.blogspot.com --For the daily dose of art I receive from her instructive and beautiful blog about women artists and subjects through the centuries.  My favorites have been in the “Time for a Rest” and “Early Morning Mother’ categories.  I read it every night before bedtime.

To Robin at Robin’s Robins and Things  http://popasphotos.blogspot.com for his daily, exquisite shots of birds.  I am in awe of his photographic skills, and very covetous of his zoom lens. He has also been quite kind and supportive to me.  (Anyone who lists his occupation as “Grandfather” is OK in my book!)

To Jessie at Monhegan Madness http://monheganmadness.blogspot.com for her blog about teaching in the one room schoolhouse on Monhegan Maine--a small island 10 miles off the coast with a winter population of about 60 fisherfolk.  Her inventiveness at teaching, her use of technology, her dog(s), and her obvious fondness for her students (this year only two, who are brothers) are all a breath of fresh air and very worthy of commendation.

To Lili at Fearless Nesting http://fearlessnesting.blogspot.com  for her evocative and very lovely photos and texts about living in a small Maine coastal town just northeast of Acadia National Park.  Lili has also been my inspiration, and a great booster.  

And finally, to another Maine blogger, Carol at Smilla4blogs  http://httpsmilla4tumblrcom-smilla4blogs.blogspot.com  Another frequent blogger from a small town between Lili’s home and mine.  Beautiful indoor and outdoor photos of private Maine life, as well as occasional remembrances of other ‘lives’ she has led in various parts of the world.

Special mention goes to Jayne at Journey Through Grace http://journeythroughgrace.blogspot.com  for her beautiful photos, her frank sharing of triumphs and challenges, and her all-around kind spirit of grace and generosity.  And to Hilary at Crazy As A Loom  http://crazyasaloom.blogspot.com  for her spirit, her creativity and her lovely photos and creations.  Hilary is another kind soul. You each would have also gotten this award if they gave me seven people to choose.  I thought surely you had gotten others, which was the reason I gave preference to the folks above.

 I enjoy your work, every one of you!  And your kindness and community.  Thank you!.

Ok, good people, time to get up and stretch, use the loo, grab some coffee or tea--then on to my “Seven Things About Myself” below:

Seven things about myself: 

(I thought I might respond to this assignment with witty, smart-mouthed replies, but then I thought maybe I should play it straight since we are all just getting to know each other,.)

1.Although I turned 65 this year, I still feel a young person’s sense of adventure about life, and I am very grateful for that.

2.I have two wonderful kids (one of each), each of whom is married to someone they love (and whom we love, too).  Each couple has created a magical grandchild (one of each as well).  They are the fulfilment of my deepest hopes for being able to be the grandmother that my gramma Kit was to me.

3. Mostly all of my family of origin is Irish-American.  It has been a comfort and a surprise each time I have gone to Ireland--I’ve seen my loved ones’ faces and their ways of speaking, their sense of humor and their warmth  in so many people I have encountered there. (I start speaking English like the Irish do after about 10 hours on the ground.)

4.My given name is a name that is frequently mistaken for a man’s name.  It was a hard thing to grow up with as a girl, but now I like it--people aren’t so likely to forget it, and I enjoy being different now.

5. I went to an all-women’s college at the time when small New England liberal arts schools were mostly men-only or women-only.  I loved my four years there.  As a result of this time living and learning in this kind of community, I feel the comfort and excitement of being among kindred spirits whenever I am in the company of women.

6.  My husband of almost 42 years is still the man I should have married, after all this time and all that we have been through.  Over 10 years ago  he began to decline in health due to a condition that has produced 4 brain hemorrhages to date.  We live with the likelihood that these events will continue, completely unpredictably and with attendant losses of functioning each time.  There is no preventitive action we can take. The brain injury from these events has changed a lot about our life together.  I still love him, though I also very much miss the man I started out with.

7. As a child I spent every summer at our family’s ‘camp’--a modest 1-season house with no hot water, limited electricity, 9 acres of woods and a small lake (big pond?) right outside the door. It was here I learned that all I need to thrive is right outside in the sky, the soil, the trees, the water, and the air. Nature is my heart’s home.

Did I say thank you yet?  I am so tickled....... ;o)

21 February, 2011

working stern, in a manner of speaking

The person who puts bait in the bags and the bags in the traps for a lobsterfisher 
is someone who "works stern".  Meaning she/he is in the back of the boat 
doing the odd jobs while the captain in the bow steers the boat to the fishing grounds,
starts the winch, and moves forward to pay out the lines.

Not lobstering today.  Instead, I'm helping my daughter hang curtain hardware and new curtains.  
We didn't start until baby went to bed.
She is doing all the hard work while I do the fetching.  And the cheering on.  
I am sitting here in the living room, knitting, jumping up and down 
as requested to be in service of this excellent project.

Thus, I can't think.  Or compose.  
But I wanted to say hi to all of you.

Hi.  Hope all of you Americans are having a great three-day weekend.
And that the Canadians and others are just as happy.

20 February, 2011

being present

Babies are so zen.  

Hanging out with them gives  us an opportunity 
to experience life in accordance with some of the tenets 
of Buddhist thought, thinks I. 
(Not that I am an expert in any way:  I was raised a Catholic and most of my training and knowledge of religion is based on Judeo-Christian traditions.) 

In the course of my professional work, however,  I’ve been led to investigate what 
is probably the “top layer” of  some Eastern traditions.  
I have discovered the value of being in the ‘now’, 
letting go of expectations, 
tuning in to what is rather than what might be, 
or once was, or should be instead. 

As I have worked with my clients to help them to develop new ways to cope with loss, depression and anxiety, 
I have found many respond well to the experience of  focusing on the breath, on being present, on letting go of agendas, 
on staying with what is happening right here, in the moment.  
Most find this really challenging at first, but with gentleness and practice, 
it becomes easier and quite rewarding.

Little kids are wonderful teachers in this regard.  
They give us a window into the practice 
in a very sweet and simple way.  
Small children are nothing but in the present.  
It once took me a half hour to walk with my  little friend Emma to the mailbox in front of her home:  she stopped to investigate everything along the way. 
And that was ok with me-- I found it so restful precisely because that was all I expected to do that morning:  to be with 
Emma and see what happened from moment to moment.

I think this is something that grandparents have
 more luxury to experience with their grandchildren 
than parents do with their children.  
When I was a mom, I had the usual ‘other stuff’ to consider--
food for dinner, time to cook it, 
getting to nursery school on time, and, 
especially on the days I worked, getting everything done according to a very unforgiving clock.  
With my grandson, and now with my granddaughter, 
I have had the chance to slow right down, 
let the present moment lead into the next,
 and experience what it is like to simply “be.”  
When that happens, I might feel tired at the end of the day, but it is a physical tiredness, not an emotional one.  

The little ones have so much to teach us.....

17 February, 2011

a poem for today

Pavane for the Nursery

Now touch the air softly.  
Step gently--one, two.
I'll love you til roses are robin's egg blue.
I'll love you til gravel is eaten for bread
And lemons are orange, and lavender's red.

Now touch the air softly,
Swing gently the broom.
I'll love you til windows are all of a room
And the table is laid and the table is bare
And the ceiling reposes on bottomless air.

I'll love you til heaven rips the stars from his coat,
And the moon rows away in a glass-bottomed boat,
And Orion steps down like a diver below,
And Earth is ablaze--an ocean aglow.

So touch the air softly
And swing the broom high.
We will dust the grey mountains 
       and sweep the blue sky.
And I'll love you as long as the furrow the plow.
As however is ever, and ever is now.

William J.  Smith

(dedicated to my two grandkids)

16 February, 2011

to sleep, perchance to dream

There is a reason why babies are born real little,  sleeping a good part of every day.  That's so mommies and daddies can get in shape over time, kind of like training for the Olympics.  
As baby grows, parents develop endurance.
Grandparents who drop in out of the sky from time to time are in no such shape.
They love their grandkids, but they get tired

I'm feeling a bit tired tonight.  
I spent the day as Grammie Caregiver again.  (Wouldn't have it any other way.) 
My grandbaby girl struggled much of the day today.  Finally I gave her some Tylenol for babies and within 20 minutes she was her usual cheerful self.  
She never complains without good reason.  Something hurt today, poor chick.

~     ~     ~     ~

Meet my good friend Jim.  He can fall asleep anywhere, in two seconds flat.

Baby has been sleeping soundly for a couple of hours now.

Grammy is going to follow suit, to dream of this lovely afternoon on Monhegan Island.

Tomorrow we'll be ready for another day.....

15 February, 2011

February's shadows

It is shirtsleeve weather where we are.  
We went for a walk with our grandbaby today, stopping often to listen to the music of melt as snow turned to water, flowed through downspouts and hit the ground.  

We hear through the grapevine that at home in Maine it is pretty cold today.

I have been thinking about the light, and how it helps us get through the winter.

I love the way the light changes around this time of year in Maine.
  The sun's angle is different, and because it is higher in the sky, the sun is warmer, too.  
It causes me to stop a bit, and look at shadows.   

Goodnight good people.