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

27 October, 2012

enough is enough

Seems to me...
 a lot of that warm moist air
is coming from numerous hysterical weather people.

Mother Nature is an awesome force.
It's good to be humbled by her once in awhile.

Nothing wrong with staying inside with a good book,
a fire in the fireplace,
some knitting and a battery powered radio.

I'm going to get some hand sewing done!

Stay safe, everyone.

24 October, 2012

the river in autumn

It sure has been pretty here.
Most mornings, I have celebrated the day
with a walk down to the river.

I've shown you this bridge before.
It was designed and built in 1892
by the Roebling Company--
experts in their time 
in designing and building suspension bridges.
(The Brooklyn Bridge was also designed and built by Roebling.)

Mill workers used it to cross the river by foot 
every day to go to work and back.  
It carries two abreast.
It has been recently restored 
and is enjoyed by many in the area
for its beauty, and for the way it moves with you
as you walk on it.

Downstream about a half mile,
there is another bridge that carries cars and trucks.
Restored mills are on both sides of the river.
Two of my docs have offices in those mills.
The view from the windows is grand.

Don't know if you can make it out,
but in the bluest part of the river above
there is a reflection of 
the black railroad bridge 
which also crosses the river nearby.

Every walk takes me from bridge, to bridge 
to bridge.

Today the water was like glass.
Behind that little rocky island,
I spent some time watching a cormorant
fill its tummy with little fish.

This is a wonderful place to reflect each day.
(Pardon the pun.)

*  ~~  *  ~~  * 

Just wanted to say hi, and thank you for
continuing to drop by and leave your
good spirits and kind thoughts.

I keep up with you all several times a week.
(I sneak in and sneak back out when you aren't looking.)

Sending love.

24 September, 2012

island girl

I've just returned from an awesome respite!

There is nothing like the right company to get your spirits back.

This is my granddaughter, who turned 2 in late June.
She came to visit Grammy on "Grammy's Favorite Island".

Grammy was there to rest.
...And on the second week, out came the Respite Reserves!

Three wonderful women--
my daughter, my granddaughter,
and a dear friend we've known
 since she was a college student in the area 
30 years ago.
(A second mother to my daughter, a surrogate sister to me,
and dearest Auntie Chelle to Ingrid.)

They each took such good care of my heart and soul.

We had no stroller, but we had good shoes.
No toys, but Mother Nature was all around us.
No electricity, but lots of books--
and a solar panel that lit a bulb or two in each of four rooms.
Beautiful sunsets, and myriad stars on the porch at night.
While the lighthouse light went round and round.

Every morning called us to go outside
to see the world.

When our feet got tired,
we sat down and sang songs or told stories.

We found cool stuff to look at in the woods,
and made little houses out of what we found, for the fairies.

We fed the ducks every day.  
Some would get right on your lap, if you let them.

There was  a shop down the road
that had different ducks to visit.

A little wardrobe adjustment was necessary
every day or so.

Some hikes took us out to the rocks
at the back side of the island.
It was so pretty there, you sometimes
felt like dancing.

The waves hit the rocks in exciting and beautiful ways.
Splash!!   Boom!!!  
"Here comes another one, Grammy!"

This little pond on the rocks tasted salty!
And it was cool refreshment for piggy toes.

Every night, we went out to the porch
to watch the sunset over the ocean.
(You can do that in New England if you are on an island!)
Ingrid would sit with us for 20 minutes or so,
just watching.

Then after bath, it was back to the porch to look at the stars. 
Snuggled into jammies and her fleece sleeping bag,
she could watch forever--quiet, rapt, amazed.
"So many stars, Mama!"

No wonder I am feeling so happy and refreshed.
Thank you, wonderful women!
I love you all so much.

Thank you, Monhegan Island,
...my heart's home.

25 August, 2012

Did it!

                                                      seasonal repose

After four years, I did it.
I submitted two photographs to a public exhibition.
First time ever.

Aside from this site, I have rarely shown anyone
 who wasn't a friend or a member of my family
any of my art work.

Quite new to the world of making art,
I have had to be persuaded to describe myself
using the term "artist".
I have admired the creations and photographs 
of others for a long, long time.
But, due to many disappointing experiences in elementary school art
about a million years ago,
I thought of myself as someone who was incapable
of such a thing.

At best, I could follow directions in a sewing, quilting or knitting pattern.
To me, following directions did not amount to art.

I got tired of all that somewhere in my late 50s.
People I knew and loved were venturing forth
into creativity with oils, pastels, paper, fiber, and photography.
They were having so much fun.
I could no longer resist.

Our town hosts a yearly benefit for the arts in our schools 
Artists in the community enter pieces in the show,
and people come for miles around to see what's "up".

It has come to be in the last several years that the exhibit
has outgrown its original single venue.
These days, it spills from the local library
to the church next door and back again.
This year, instead of three works,
submitters can only enter two, 
due to the growing number of entrants.

Not a juried exhibit, everyone's submission will be on the walls.
Each piece is in a 10"x10" format.
Each is framed in a plain black metal frame.
Each is offered for sale at the same price,
with half of that going to the arts program
and half to the artist.

I have no fancy notions of selling anything.
The accomplishment here is taking the leap.
Having to prepare a couple of photos ready to be framed,
and write an "artist's statement" and bio,
and open myself up to the risks 
of other people's judgment.

All childhood stuff.  All very real and powerful, nevertheless.
What I wouldn't have done to have had Christie from Fine Lines
for an art teacher.  What a difference it would have made
to my sense of self.

But I'm not done yet. 
Some things just need to be refused, overcome, laid to rest, 
you know?

If you are in the Midcoast Maine area the last week in Sept.
come on down to the Brunswick Library and
 St. Paul's Episcopal Church
to see the show.
It never disappoints! 

                                                                         puddle moon

20 August, 2012

Mandala meditation

Here's something I found

while enjoying some respite time today.

It comes from the website:


...which they've asked me to mention as I share this

Find yourself five minutes for a mandala meditation,

grab a pen or pencil and some paper.

Don't worry about perfection.

Just be...

Find peace.  Create beauty. 


05 August, 2012


 A cool breeze is filtering into the room 
after a long stream of hot and humid days and nights.  
Summer windows flung wide open, 
soft rain gently patters on leaves, 
pavement, skylights, roof.  
It is almost dark at 8:05, 
and one of 'my' cardinals is chipping 
just outside the window near the porch feeder.  
This lovely creature visits several times a day.  
Here in the gentle rain, she says  goodnight.

Before I am ready, winter will be back. 
These sounds 
and these whispers of sweet fresh air 
will be a thing of memory. 
This is time to savor.  

Amidst myriad chores, 
obligations, and countless caregiving duties, 
here is our lovely, peaceful world 
inviting me to slow down and participate.  

Quiet, Mike.  Breathe.  

All the rest will be here tomorrow.  
But this here, this is NOW.   

This is what I need.

22 June, 2012

28 May, 2012

a miracle in the woods

They float.

If you look on the ground, you are likely to miss them.
Look about ten inches above the ground,
and there they are.

Amidst the leaf litter and the pine needles,
in the dappled sunny spots
where new growth takes a chance,
they surprise and delight.

Lady slippers.

The best secret in the Maine woods.

29 April, 2012

some thoughts about being away

You've probably noticed.

I've been away from blog-land for a bit.
Sometimes I've dropped in for a comment or two.
Mostly I've visited, but made no noise.

I'm not sure I can fully explain it.
Except to say I've been trying not to make 
personal 'rules' about blogging, which has been something
that has given me joy.

And at the same time I've been a little
more reluctant to be online in any way.

My life is more complicated than many of you 
probably think.
My husband hasn't been well for several years.
He is declining in health in small steps,
but in significant ways.
I've been trying to figure out how best
to spend my quiet time in ways 
that really "feed" me without tiring me.

Much of my days find me doing "maintenance"
and "taking care":  fetching and finding
and ever "adapting to new levels of 'normal' ".

And then there were income taxes, and medical appointments,
and more resultant fatigue on my part than
I usually experience.

This winter, I found that when I'd finally have time
to get online it was rather late at night.
And although I am often quite tired at the end of the day,
I think "screen time" was jazzing me up a bit.

Falling asleep was beginning to be a challenge.

Anyone who has ever been a caregiver knows
that self-nurturing
and sleep are two essential ingredients to remaining sane.

I miss you guys, however.
I really do.
So, although I am not posting as much, I hope
you will understand,
and not forget me.

I'll be back.  I'm sure of it.


01 April, 2012

shaking out the cobwebs

There is nothing like an art workshop
to shake out the cobwebs
and inspire the soul.

I posted about an art workshop
Today's workshop, like that one, was taught by my friend
Natasha Kempers-Cullen
who is a fiber artist extraordinaire.

Natasha makes amazing art quilts assembled with
fabric which she dyes, paints, stamps
and then embellishes using beads and stitches and all sorts
of beautiful charms and other magic stuff.

I have always wanted to see 
how she created that gorgeous fabric.
You can't get stuff like that off the shelf.

I like to sew, I like to make quilts,
and I LOVE to fool around with paint.
I've longed for some lessons in fabric painting and stamping.
It was a dream come true for me.

This weekend we brought erasers, brayers, foam paint rollers, 
exacto knives, lino tools,
sponges, rags, a bucket,
lots of torn up sheets, plexiglass,
and anything we could find with a raised surface design
that might lend itself to fabric painting and stamping.

Tasha supplied the know-how,
the paints, the tricks, materials for stamp making,  
use of her many self-made stamps,
great music, the chocolate and the encouragement.

There were five of us, including our teacher/mentor/muse/mom/ friend.  

First, we all painted fabric, 
using various techniques which Tasha demonstrated.
We hung them up to dry when we had background covering,
and later took them down 
and added paint, stenciling, any little thing our hearts desired.

Went home Saturday late afternoon.
Got up Sunday and came right back to do some more.

Want to see the results?
I thought you would.

Here are some of the many fabric designs created today.
The artists are Nicole, Becky, Anne, Tasha, and moi.

Before you go, check this out:

Natasha produced a really nice lime colored linen shirt
which she had dripped a little bleach on sometime in the past.
Drips and drops of blah-colored fabric
not very attractively dispersed along the front.
Don't you hate when that happens--
a perfectly good shirt that acquires a 
stain and it is no longer wearable?
Well, this shirt was one of them.

Or so we thought.

She took out the fabric paint,
a brayer, scrunched up the blouse, rolled,
repeated often...
and Voila!

Ready to wear again.  
Better than new.

They should teach fabric painting in every high school!

28 March, 2012

harvesting clams

Clamming is hard work for folks.

You head out with some white spackle buckets, 
a plastic snow sled or a small boat, 
wearing big tall boots that go to your knees. 

You carry a heavy hand rake that looks like this:

You walk in the mud as far as you can go.

...and you bend over, for hours, no matter 
if the sun is hot or the wind is freezing,

while you turn over the mud and look for clams.

As the tide goes further out or in,
you travel with it.

If there are two low tides when it's light out,
you just might return the same day for another harvest.

(I figure a lot of Ibuprophen gets ingested
by clammers in these parts.)

When the tide comes back in,
or when you've had enough,
you take your clams back to shore,
often leaving your boat at anchor on the mud, or in the water.
It'll float on high tide,
sit in low tide,
and be there when you come back the next day.
When you go out to do it all over again.

Then you drive to the dealer, 
and hope for a good price.
A price which, after you pay for the gas 
to get to and from your grounds,
will adequately compensate you 
for your hours bent over in all weather, raking.

Any cracked or broken clams,
no matter how alive they still are,
will not be part of your sale.
But you can bring those home and make chowder.
Or fry them, or make clam cakes.
Maybe until you never want to eat another clam again.

*   *   *

Clamming is easy for gulls.
You gather on the flats, and look for the spurts
that clams make in the mud.

You poke around with your beak, and haul one
to the surface.

Then, you take wing.

One might think it would be hard to make a meal
of a live clam, one who has his shell locked shut
and will not willingly give up his innards for a gull's dinner.

If you are a gull, you have all this covered.

You put the clam in  your beak, and you
glide over above the nearest rock.

Then, you slow, bank, hover, and let go. 

You might have to do it more than once,
but sooner or later that clam
breaks, and your dinner is yours.
No chowder, no truck, no haggling, no clamcakes.

Just pure, sweet clam meat
there for a poke, a soar, and a drop or two.

Tell me, who has the better life??