Showing posts from August, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: White Horses Running

This was a morning that came with a big surf on Topsail Island. Still, this lone bird and I showed up--he for breakfast, and me for the time of day. Those waves were big and loud. It's a wonderful thing to hear nothing but the surf and to be pulled into it because it will have you. A lovely surrender.
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina, is a marvel of modern warfare. Walking the several levels of this floating city designed for the single purpose of pounding the enemy into submission, I am in awe. "Who thought all this up?" is all I can think. (I know; I'm brilliant.) There are wires and cables and gauges everywhere, and who knows for what purpose and how this purpose is connected to that one and how it all comes together to make a single machine of sheer force. Somehow all this stuff comes together to support the men on the battleship that they might do their part to win a war as it's fought in the Pacific. There's nothing easy about this boat. And then to think there are so many just like it for the same purpose. Then, to think of all the men who piled on to make it go and to fight and to win and maybe come home. Maybe not. Walking this thing from top to bottom with my nephew Alex, we see veterans who served on the North Carolina talking t…

Today's Flowers: At the Top of Topsail Island

After Clyde's running-away drama, he was under house arrest, and I kept him tethered to me whenever we ventured out. Getting used to life down where he lives it, I discovered some pretty nice things grow close to the ground. These yellow flowers towered over him, and they were lovely. He and I came across them when we revisited the scene of the crime (possibly) at the top of Topsail Island.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Empty

Like alone,

Is good

It clears the way
For everything

Clears your eyes
So that they are open to
What comes

To fill the empty space,
To put an end to


For a time

Clarifies and
Leaves you clean

And wide open

To embrace
Or not

As you wish.

Love what you will.
Find love as love finds you.

Call it good

And leave it be.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Good Morning, Topsail


Blog Your Blessings: Be Excellent

After a busy school year, a busy summer school, and a busy few weeks vacationing with my family on Topsail Island, it was good to have a week to myself. They were quiet days during which I sat back and watched the world. 
One of the most delightful things I watched was the entering into the ocean of a newly hatched loggerhead turtle. He made his journey across the sand to the water with the help of some turtle hospital volunteers and 50 onlookers who cheered him on his way. Night had come early; the sky was black with storm clouds before 7:30. In the dull light, the water swirled round the little guy, rendering him invisible and then taking him on his way in very little time. 
Just watching that little guy do what he was destined to do--to step into whatever life had to offer under cover of darkness and despite the rough weather coming (or maybe with the help of it) and just go, all alone in a vast world--humbled me. 
You do what you do because you're you. You go.
Looking into the sky…

Wordless Wednesday: Just a Little Crabby Today

I came across this guy at dusk one day last week, and it seemed to me he was waiting for a good challenge to justify making a move.

Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Step Lightly

Slowly, I am going through my Topsail Island photos and enjoying looks back at three beautiful weeks in the most wonderful place in my world. I have enough pictures to get me to Christmas, when I will return. Three weeks there was enough time to see time change, to become aware at the end of the day of how much lower the sun was than when we arrived. The light seemed to skitter across the wet sand like sea foam, temporary, evanescent, dreamy, lovely. 

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Life Goes on and on...

This rose bloomed between two of its predecessors outside the Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington, North Carolina, a few weeks ago. Beyond the roses was this garden and a tree (What kind of?) draped in Spanish moss. I like the moss very much. It seems to insist on coolness no matter how muggy the day.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Pensive

I have a friend
Who walks in rivers.

The challenge is balance,
He says.

He takes his time,
Feels his way,
Stays on his feet.

I will try that in the Atlantic,
I thought.

For a change
I will not rise with the waves
Or dive into them.

I will forget everything
I know about swimming,
Watch the waves,

And stay on my feet.

There will be
No going under today.

The waves pushed;
I stepped back.
The current pulled;
I stepped forward.

I watched the horizon

As it rolled into me
And I rolled into it.

I thought I heard a whisper;
It was my own breathing.

Blog Your Blessings: 'See You in a Few Weeks'

I saw dolphins on the horizon following a shrimp boat while I was swimming this morning, and I thought of a sixth-grade boy in Waterbury who was one of my students in the summer program. He is a sweet, slight child--the kind whose bones break if you raise your voice even slightly. He is an angel.

This child's big summer trip was to go to the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, and see dolphins. He told me this right after he told me he wished the summer program would never end. This was at the end of our third week, when my eyes were on the calendar and I was counting down to North Topsail Beach for three weeks of bliss on the beach.

His words out of the blue--"I wish the summer program would go on forever, Miss"--stopped me in my tracks. Obviously, being in a poorly air-conditioned, dirty school building with hallways loaded with janitorial junk; eating government-issue breakfast and lunch (too scary to think about); and being with a mix of kids who seemed so much l…

Skywatch Friday: Live Hot

My nephew Alex remarked to me last week, "I don't understand why people go somewhere hotter than home for vacation." He had done just that--left Connecticut for North Carolina. And I thought, "Because you don't get closer to heaven than North Topsail Beach, baby." I love the heat. I love the intensity of summer here. I love the beach and the relief and the slowing down and the slow waking and all that goes on. I say go passion for passion. God sends you a hot morning, then live it hot. Just go there and be the day you want to remember. And sweat without shame. Because it's all good. 
Skywatch Friday

Blog Your Blessings: Another Loggerhead Baby Heads for the Sea

Amid all the activity on the beach this evening--Marines in their various helicopters playing tag in the sky, pelicans outflying them, seagulls eating dead stingrays, sandpipers being themselves, children eating sand--a baby loggerhead made its way to the top of its nest and into the hands of a volunteer from the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehab. Center, to be swept into the wide-open arms of the Atlantic amid the cheering of about 50 people. The turtle walked about 20 feet to the water's edge--enough to imprint Topsail as home (I can relate.). After a little boost from another volunteer, the turtle disappeared into the night sea. Magic. Life.

Wordless Wednesday: Over and on Their Way Out, Topsail


My World Tuesday: Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, North Carolina

Adella and I visited Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina, last week. There we came across this sculpture garden dedicated to the memory of Minnie Evans. Says the Smithsonian of American folk artist Minnie Evans: "Evans traced her background to a maternal ancestor who was brought to the United States from Trinidad as a slave. There are elements in Evans' art that invite comparison to Caribbean folk art forms, though the artist only once traveled outside her native North Carolina. The bright colors and floral motifs that appear in her paintings were most likely inspired by trees and flowers, especially azaleas, at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, where Evans worked as the gatekeeper for many years."
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Airlie Gardens, North Carolina

Here's a flower blooming in a wonderful but neglected part of Airlie Gardens outside Wilmington, North Carolina. A beautiful place. My daughter and I visited the gardens last week. There we saw a 450-year-old oak tree, a butterfly house, a sculpture garden, and countless other beautifully landscaped areas. The site was once the playground of a rich couple who liked to entertain their guests in style!

Today's Flowers

Blog Your Blessings: 'You'll be Blessed'

Because of my own carelessness, my daughter's Dachshund Clyde ran away yesterday and didn't return until five this morning. From the time he bolted through the (duh) open door until I went to sleep last night, I walked the beaches of Topsail, questioned vacationers, drove through neighborhoods, and prayed he would return. I notified the police, the beach patrol, the elderly gentleman picking cans and bottles from the trash at the park--everyone--that Clyde was missing. Up went a video on YouTube and some local sites asking for Clyde's safe return. We did all we could think of doing to bring that dog home.
In my heart I knew there was nothing to do but wait. He would have to come home on his own. Still, there was no way I could stop looking for my daughter's dog. No way I could shoot the philosophical angle of wait-and-see over this dog she loves so much.
Della was three hours into the trip home when she received my call that Clyde had run away. The car turned around and…

One Single Impression: Beginning

Is a rare word,
The dictionary tells me.

It means

To be cut open,
To be opened up.

I am thinking of this
As I walk along the beach
And the wind grows strong
And I step into a wave

At the wrong time

And the wave
Hurls me to the ground.

My eyes stay open.
The water is white.

I am powerless
And torn
And empty.

I stand up and fall
Into the next wave.

It carries me out
To a sheltered space

Where I begin again.

I marvel:
The sky is blue
And I am alive
And so is the sea
And the air
And the sun.

It's good.
All so very good.

It is a rare thing,

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Across the Waterway

Here's a nighttime view of the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway leading to North Topsail Island, North Carolina.

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: A Very Good Morning


New Blog: Music, Scars, and Love: A Man Undefined

I have had the privilege over the last several weeks of reading the work of a talented writer who has just started a blog entitled Music, Scars, and Love: A Man Undefined.

Chris is a very talented writer. He is honest and real and clear--and therefore well worth reading. He writes with an unselfconscious confidence and strength that are excellent. Please pay him a visit here. What I can offer today pales in comparison.

God bless, friends.

My World Tuesday: Bellamy Mansion, Wilmington, NC

The other day my sister and I brought the Yankee fan, Alex, and Adella to see the Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington, North Carolina. The building's architect hailed from New Jersey; and the draftsman was a Connecticut Yankee who got a little cranky over the Civil War, returned to the North, and then came back to fight the war. Slaves and ex-slaves built the house, which was Union headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington. 
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Magnolia

I took my nephews and my daughter to the Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington, North Carolina, last week. The magnolia trees on the grounds of this very interesting place were gorgeous. Here was the sole blossom open on a sultry summer day. More pictures of the plantation are here.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Connoisseur

There are so many rules
My daughter says:
When to jump
When to tread
When to flutter kick
When to swim in
When to swim out
When I should let go of her

Do this, do that,
I say
As I watch the water
And know
If I were alone
This is what I would do

So that the numbered hairs
On my head
Would stay dry.

I have taught her this:
If you stay light by giving in to the water,
The push of the wave toward the shore
Is stronger than the pull of the current
That would take her so far away

If you lift yourself up,
If you choose to be brought in.

It's all up to you.

I have taught her this:
Do you want to be here
Or elsewhere?
Swim or don't swim.

I can't choose for you.

But left to my own devices

I would ride the current

And call it good.

Skywatch Friday: Curl


Skywatch Friday: Good Night, Pretty World


Wordless Wednesday: Big Family


I Love You, Craig. Always Will.

Today is the anniversary of Craig Lundwall's birth. He would be 44 if he were here today. But he is not. He took his life in April, 2001.

I met Craig in confirmation class at the Danbury United Methodist Church when we were in the eighth grade in 1981. I had a crush on him then. He was funny, charming, sweet. What not to love? I looked forward to those classes for the opportunity to sit beside him and to laugh. Once, our pastor, The Rev. Terry W. Pfeiffer, assigned us the responsibility of accolyting together. On that particular Sunday, Craig said something about farting, and I loved him all the more. He was real. He farted.

We met again in high school, remembered the church connection, and evolved into the closest of friends. That friendship endured until he took his life in April, 2001. It's not that we knew each other and liked each other; it's that we loved each other for who we were, no questions or qualifications or complications. We loved each other as friends.

I u…

Thank You, Friend, for Sharing the Road with Me

If Craig Lundwall were here today, he would be marking his 44th birthday. It would be a celebration. All who knew and loved him would be sharing the joy. Craig was remarkable, first and last, for his kindness and his sense of humor. These gifts manifested themselves in so many ways that no single person who knew him--even very well--can name completely.
Craig took his life nine years ago for reasons I don't--can't--fully understand. Obviously, sorrow overwhelmed him, and he saw no other way out. What pain, what anger, what frustration filled his heart I can well imagine, but I don't know. The bottom line is that those things that were not good won out over those things that were marvelous in every way. So his pain was big.
I used to say the world is so much less now that he is gone. That was my own sorrow talking. I see it differently now. These days I say, "Thank you Craig, for being here, and for sharing the road with me for so many years." His gifts were many …

My World Tuesday: Snoozin'

These guys were ignoring the mobs of kids and kid-like people who were shouting at them at the Bronx Zoo, telling them to wake up and--do what on a hot summer day? Languor was the only logical response to the heat of their day; no need to do or perform. Room service would come, after all. No need to rush about. Though a patch of real estate in a major metropolitan area isn't the right place for these animals, it was working for them. Faced with the choice of hunting down your dinner or waiting for it to arrive, what would you do?
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Yellow....

I noticed these guys were in bloom when Della and I were walking Clyde along the Pomperaug at Three Rivers last week. They were the sunshine on that soft, grey summer day. There are many different wildflowers along the river. The stops and starts that go with walking a dog made them more obvious to me than usual. Thanks, Clyde!

Today's Flowers