Showing posts from August, 2009

My World Tuesday: New England Tour

The end of summer brought with it two round trips to Hebron, New Hampshire, where my daughter attended an all-girls camp for five days. I enjoy the ride, though my "that's quite enough" alarm goes up about an hour before the 4.5-hour trip is up. Still, there is plenty--even if it isn't much--to see, and it's all good. Below is a view of somewhere in Massachusetts in the early morning. Things were misty and dull but very nice.

Below is a home in New Hampshire that I quite like. The people here sure do know how to organize their kitchen tools.

Just as my sense of humor was wearing out, I came across this little commercial enterprise--and discovered I was very nearly there.

Vermont and New Hampshire (and the northern half of Massachusetts) are the heart and soul of rural beauty. At the rest stop just across the southern border of Vermont, there is a display of antique farm tools (below) along with Vermont woodworking and crafts, gardening, and outdoor activities.


Today's Flowers: Coneflower among the Suzies

This coneflower was loving life amid some gorgeous black-eyed Susans at the visitor's center just across the southern border of Vermont.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Blue

My uncle loved the work Of Andrew Wyeth.
When I was young He introduced me to Christina's World: A lonely woman in the dying grass Leaning toward home
Yearning for home.
Her solitude is significant She is in the foreground And home is so far away.
He told me what he saw. He asked me what I saw.
The same.
The lonely dignity was everything. The impossibility, nothing.
Years later my uncle would hand me His book on Wyeth.
I learned:
Christina had dragged herself into the studio. She knew all about this work But said nothing-- Just let the man tell his story.
My uncle said so little When he opened his art books. Just sat beside me So we could see what we would.
Those were late summer days When the sky was as blue as his eyes
And the story, As plain as day.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Fort Griswold and the Blood of Col. Ledyard

Adam: "Is his blood still on it?"
Me: "Yeah."
Adam's big blue eyes were inches from the sword Col. Ledyard surrendered to the British after the Battle of Groton Heights in New London, Connecticut, on September 6, 1781. Ledyard was looking to spare the remainder of his men after an overwhelming battle. Of course.
But of course, the British, who had been led by the traitor Benedict Arnold, killed Ledyard with his own sword and killed many of the remaining Patriot soldiers. It was a massacre.
Seems the British were mightily annoyed with their enemy because they had misread the Patriots' flag. Once during the battle it faltered, and the British took that as a signal of surrender. But no. The flag had only faltered, and the Patriots hoistered her back up. When the surrender came, though, it was for real. Yet the British were brutal in response.
"The Battle of Groton Heights was a key moment in the Revolution because the killing of Col. Ledyard and the massacre …

Skywatch Friday: Topsail Sunset


Wordless Wednesday: The Party's Over, Ducks


My World Tuesday: Civil War Road Show Comes to Woodbury


Today's Flowers: Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon trees at my parents' home have produced an abundance of blooms this year. They have kept the bees happy.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Allow

I think only you
Could get anywhere
Near that guy

On account a
You are here every day.
You walk all the time
And he knows it

So I think
On account a that

You could get closer
Than anyone else

And get a picture.

So it is:
You show up
And it counts.

The great white

Will be

Nearer to you
Than to anyone
Because you leave



Every time you walk by Every single day.

Think about it.
How else to be a friend?
How else to love the world?

Show up
And keep to yourself.

Look around.
Get the picture.
The joke's on me with this one. First, this is a terrible photo. Second this is not the bird near home but a North Carolina relative. This one who would glide away at the sound of my camera powering up but who was cool as could be if the Marines came flying low and loud in one of their noisy mechanical birds.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Rip Tide II in the Granite State

When my daughter and I related to my mother how we managed to swim our way to shore after being carried out by a rip tide, my daughter said, "I thought you were pushing me away."
"Your mother was pushing you in," my mother said to her before I could say a word. My mother knew, as a mother would, that of course I was doing all I could to get her to a safe place.
It's what you do.
That was a big moment for my daughter. She kept her cool, she swam the way I had taught her too, and she kept on. She grew with every wave that swept over her little face but did not take her down. She emerged from that water knowing she was strong.
She had her second rip tide moment of the summer this week in New Hampshire. Please God, she will emerge from it with self-confidence, poise, and the joy that comes from both.
On Wednesday we drove 4.5 hours from Connecticut to somewhere in the middle of the Granite State for five days of all-girl sleep-away camp. She was looking forward to being…

Skywatch Friday: Waking Up to Topsail Island


Wordless Wednesday: Dad's Watching


My World Tuesday: Philadelphia Murals

While in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a few weeks ago, I ran around and photographed just a few of the more than 2,000 murals that add color and life and interest to this amazing city. These murals celebrated just about every aspect of life there.
The Mural Arts Program grew out of the city's attempt 25 years ago to eradicate graffiti in the city. Eventually, the anti-graffiti crowd realized it had to work with the creative minds behind the graffiti. The Mural Arts Project has involved graffiti writers as well as painters who create in other genres to produce artworks of high standard throughout the city.
The artists have chosen subjects that reflect the nature of life in the city and the subjects of debate that have come to this birthplace of our independence. Beautiful thing.
I hope to go back soon and to see more of the murals and to take more time with the camera. I am greedy that way. I loved the excitement of finding these murals and of being swept inside the vision of the art…

Today's Flowers: Open Up a Little


One Single Impression: Copse

Dusk has come.
I walk and
Rabbits the color of forgotten hay Dart into the undergrowth The soundless doe and her fawn Slip into the slender shadows Of the copse That keeps the river Cool and dark
The waters slow to a whisper.
Birds on the outer branches Of this secret place Silence themselves As my footfall sends A shiver through the earth.
The fish feel the echo Rippling through water.
A fox slips through the grass And the geese step into The cool dew of day's end.
Everything disappears Into the shelter of trees.
In the distance, a dog barks. A baby cries.
I stand still, stand back, Hold my breath And wait for silence To carry off these voices.
The retreating thunder Of my steps Is the last sound Before darkness claims The sleeping universe
That casts me back out Onto the unlit street.
I discovered this week that the word copse comes from a Latin word meaning to cut. So a copse is a small wood grown for the purpose of cutting. How and why this brought my thoughts to the works of Margaret Wise Brown and her b…

Blog Your Blessings: Lone Survivor

This summer I read a remarkable book about a young man who tests the limits of human endurance and then exceeds them--in the name of down-home decency that sometimes bears the names of loyalty, friendship, patriotism. It is the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor. Shortly after I read it, I wrote this:

I never have served in the military, but I sure do like the people I know who have. To a man, they are honest, direct, clear, courteous, true, and good. They are people of integrity who don't mess around and who genuinely honor life.
Lone Survivor is a book by a person who embodies integrity along with substantial doses of courage and strength and intelligence. Author Marcus Luttrell is the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, a military mission involving four U.S. Navy Seals tasked with finding, capturing, or killing a Taliban leader in the lunar terrain of Afghanistan.
Luttrell's book takes ample time to describe the intense, rigorous training of SEALs and to describ…

Skywatch Friday: Sunset, Topsail Island, North Carolina


Wordless Wednesday: Smooth Sailing, Shackleford Island, North Carolina


My World Tuesday: The Intracoastal Waterway

Adella and I took a little boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway from Surf City on Topsail Island on the last day of our vacation there. The waterway was started the early 20th century to create a safe passageway for boats along the length of the East Coast. This section of it is an expanded version of a natural waterway thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers. Prisoners dredged the thing in the 1900s. The rich mud they dug up and tossed aside became the little land masses that dot the waterway and support a host of maritime vegetation. The above photo is a view of the swing bridge from Surf City to the mainland. It's a lovely thing if you're not waiting in line to use it.
Topsail Island is dotted with summer mansions that, as a friend said, could be seen from outer space. The folks who occupy these trailers have a different set of priorities, I think. All the good living takes place on the water.

Some folks find a way to make a few bucks from the wildlife in the mud.
Others, like…

Today' Flowers: In the Pink--and White

These lovelies bloomed along the edge of my parents' front yard in North Carolina. Can you tell me what they are?
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Oceans

Up at four on a grey morning To the water with the boat And dad at the wheel We glide the boat Like a sleepwalking child Into the still waters of Westport
Well beyond the harbor We drop our lines And open the Thermos To coffee sweet with milk and sugar
Rain falls The rings that emanate from each drop Spread into the mystery of sunrise Burning quietly through silence
And the coffee is good.
Drink your coffee. Before it's cold.
Two flat fish take the bait One after the other on my line.
Rain extinguishes the light.
Dad at the wheel Takes us home.
Bury them in the garden, he says. For the tomatoes.
I know. We don't believe in waste.
Dad leaves for work. I dig in the sand.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Philadelphia

After eight days of enjoying warm and easy peace alongside the steady, measured indifference of the ocean, I found myself standing beside my daughter and laughing out loud on a street corner in Philadelphia. It's strange to go from being all alone with the elements to the City of Brotherly Love and its crosswalk signs that count down for you the number of seconds you have before the forbidding red hand will tell you to stay back and stay safe. Talk about being led by the hand.
We were surrounded by signs that told us where we were, what was historically significant about being there, what came next, where to turn for the next big thing. We couldn't make a wrong turn. Constant loving supervision. Because it is a crazy world despite our combined best efforts, there were uniformed men with sidearms standing beside our significant historical treasures. And teams of inspectors making sure nobody was carrying anything crazy in her purse. And school-marmy rangers telling us to get ri…

Skywatch Friday: The Sun Falls Behind Yankee Stadium

Sunlight slipped away as we waited for the Yankees and Orioles to start playing on July 20. With Andy Pettitte on the hill and my three favorite people beside me, I couldn' ask for anything more--except that maybe the rest of the Yankees actually played ball, too, those first eight innings. Anyway, the view was good and Matsui saved the day. (Here are some more views of the stadium.)
Skywatch Friday