Friday, May 31, 2013

Business With Pleasure

One of the benefits of my job is that I get the chance to visit various schools in my district to assist in year end reading assessments.  Today, one of the most glorious days in recent memory, I had the good fortune to travel to Swan's Island School.

 This is the view looking back toward Mount Desert Island.  What a way to start my day: on the water.




I never tire of these views.  Everyday I am grateful to be surrounded in beauty. Best of all, it was a work day!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Speed Camp

Everyone needs a reprieve from the craziness that life throws us.  After work today Jerry and I headed to camp.  The black flies thick attacked us as did the dear fly.  We baled the boats and took Rex for a fast spin around the pond before heading home to pick up kids and have supper. It was a wonderful 20 minute visit.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Now

Hanging upside down dripping wet,
Scrambling from leaf to leaf,
Engorging,
My last bite
Might come
A bit
too
soon.

I am meant
for this
hard
life
now.

Poised
for
Transformation.




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Knowing

It is in the knowing
I am not alone
Weathering this storm,
But wisely trusting
Its' passing.
In time.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Poetry Selections


Peace

Push me into the depths
Of the cool,
Dark,
Waters.
There I will find
Peace,
As the pounding
In my heart seizes.
The ache is
Gone.
You will hurt
Me
No more.

Lies

All hope is wrung from my heart.
Every lie robs you and me of dreams.
Hope is not endless.
In time, you will understand.
I pray, it will not be too late,
For either of us.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

It Feels Right. It Feels Good.

For many years, I searched for something, yet I didn't know what. I think I have found it.  Slowly, I came to discover what my soul needed.

When I was a kid I spent much of my time in the woods, high in a tree viewing the world through leafy green, in a field of wild berries or near the banks of a rushing stream near my house.  A curious explorer.  It felt right.  It felt good.  So I kept placing myself in the wild.  No matter where I was in the world, it became a familiar place.

Grasping the lens of my Nikon camera that hangs around my neck, I feel its' weight poised for the next shot. Senses heighten.  I notice things, I might otherwise miss. My camera holds all possibilities in capturing my view of the world.  Now, this is the way I explore the world-remembering time and place.     I notice.  Again, I am a curious explorer.  It feels right.  It feels good.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Things I Carry...



I carry Catholic guilt, and lots of it.

Turquoise tempera paint embedded under my nails from a seven hour exercise in creativity.

The memory of how soft my mother's loose curls had become as she aged.

Chicken crocs AKA garden clogs upon my feet as I slop through the muddy and puddly path to the coop. I carry the iphone flashlight steady as the application lights the way.

The scratchy sound of the emery board that my father used to sculpt his perfect nails sending a dusty white powder on his trousers while sitting in his chair with the blare of the Red Sox.

The smell of an orange-newly peeled.

The tension in my jaw as I think about some of my children who unearth various stages of concern and fear for the future.

Prayer.

Breath. Life.

A view from the cove: the barely discernable horizon gray sea meeting gray sky.

I carry lofty hopes to read the toppling stacks of books uninterrupted for days, weeks or even months.

*To be continued.*





Friday, May 24, 2013

Be Content

"Be content under all conditions." 'Abdu'l-Baha

Every few minutes as I gaze out the window into the wet, nearly colorless sky, I have to remind myself that I must be content.  Days upon days of rain, dredge discontent. In reality, there is nothing to complain about.  There are people around the globe suffering under the most challenging circumstances.  Citizens of Oklahoma City come to mind.

The shade of green that I refer to as "new green" and can only be found this time of year surrounds.  Most nearby trees are heavy with newly budded leaves.  As I gaze out the window, I see "new green." It's everywhere and I smile.

The "new green" saved me, that and the knowledge that I have many, many reasons to be grateful and content-even on the grayest of days.  It is perfect weather to cuddle up with a good book along-side my husband and my daughter and read.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

After Winter

The rocks tumbled by the fury of the sea begin to warm way before the earth.  The weight of heavy or light step, shuffles and slides the gray and pink speckled egg-like shapes. A shore walk is never quiet amidst the colliding stones.  These rocks accustomed to movement underfoot,  are under the strong pull of the sea. It is a full moon. This gravitational force causes an astronomically low and high tide of push and pull. These rocks have little say about where they will go.  I lie on my back atop the layers of dry warmed pebbles of varying sizes. My eyes close. I listen to the rush of the sea.  Energized after a long winter, yet at peace.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Six Word Story Challenge

Fog lifts revealing a green world.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zen Zone

Run to your nearest Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) and find peace.  Having spent nearly four hours learning a few new strokes and practicing with different paper and colored pens was an experience in focused escapism.  This is my second class with Jenny Perruzzi from Southwest Harbor.  She makes this stuff easy.  A great teacher, she is passionate about Tangling.  It's a little too bad that everything else gets in the way, because all I want to do is create.   For me, the repetitive nature of Zentangles makes them the best form of meditation and creative expression.

If you are in the MDI area contact Jenny at 266-2944 or stop by and visit her new little shop in Southwest Harbor next door to the Quietside Cafe. Life's too short, not to Tangle!

Monday, May 20, 2013

In An Instant

Disasters certainly put things in perspective and help me to remember that there are many aspects of my life for which I am grateful.  Our health is such that we do not worry about our daily survival. We have shelter and food. We have each other.  Thinking of those in Oklahoma City.  Lives changed in an instant. God be with them and give them strength.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Just A Few Camp Tales

My husband has been coming to camp every summer since he was four years old.  As Huck Finn, Jerry built rafts and used sheets for sails drifting afar from the camp eventually to be rescued hours later on a deserted island.  Brook fishing was not without a few tales.  An avid angler, young Jerry was dropped off on the way to camp to dip a line into the stream.  He wasn't there long when he realized that he was sharing the fishing with a Maine Black Bear.  The rod had to be retrieved later in the day with his dad along side him.  The muddy imprints proved the validity of the tale.  It was a long long time until he went fishing alone up the stream.  

The camp property was own by five siblings each pitching in one hundred dollars a piece.  That meant for large family gatherings with lots of cousins.  Jerry and his cousin Buzzy went boating down by the landing, not too far from camp.  It was a horribly hot summer day.  Suddenly as they were rowing the boat, the sky darkened and huge winds came out of nowhere.  Both sets of parents were yelling urging the boys to hurry home.  Despite the size of the trees, they all began to bow down, parting to create a path for the tornado.  As the tornado hit the pond, it immediately threw the water into the air creating a water spout.  Parents screaming.  Two boys frantically rowing.  The funnel touched the boat and as the boys looked down  they could see the reeds that were just moments ago submerged in the water, swaying like dry grass in a windy field. Jerry was white and shaking with fear and Buzzy was hooting and hollering thinking that it was the neatest ride.  The tornado passed the boys and headed directly for the parents on shore.  They all dove into camp for cover and it veered into the woods missing any nearby structure.  Suddenly, it was sunny, but much cooler. Nearly fifty years later, my husband said that, "It was an amazing thing."  
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Love Eternal

Sometimes, too many words just don't work.  All that's left is...  
"I love you."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Food Love

This is Sam.
See Sam cook.
Cook Sam cook.

Seriously, my son Sam volunteered his time to prepare "Farm to Table" cuisine for a hungry crowd as part of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day sponsored by MDI Hospital.  He wowed the crowd with variations on fiddle head pesto. I was way too busy eating to have the where-with-all that I should pay closer attention to all the fancy dishes and toppings he prepared. The Maine Cider Braised Pork was topped with a smooth, ruby colored tasty sauce made with rhubarb and there was fresh ricotta made with farm fresh whole milk.  The crowd kept eating and he continued serving dish after dish.  Sam put in many hours of hard work to make this a success.  Slipping in and out of the groups of two, three and four people facing one another taking turns eating, talking and listening; my mother's ears were alerted to the fact that everyone recognized my boy's talent and passion for producing high quality, healthy food that makes one beg for more. This created a bad case of "Food-Love."   A mama could not be prouder.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brotherly Love
















"Always keep your eye on the ball," Alex coached his little brother. That was years ago and the guidance and advice continues today.  Gratefully, they have each other.

My brother called the other day to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  My brother hasn't always been nice to me.  When I was a baby, he teased me and put me in grave danger when I was a little more than a year old.   He pushed me in carriage down a big loose gravel hill and listened to me shriek in fear.  He stood at the top of the hill and just laughed. This is where his favorite family story ends.  I am sure my sister tattled on him and my protective mother put him to bed early without dessert or something, but this tale is a vast contrast to my now adult brother. Kenneth is still a prankster, but he is also one of my biggest advocates. He is a good listener.  He is compassionate, my protector and he loves me always and forever.

My joy and gratitude for the efforts that my sons put into sustaining a positive, loving relationship with each other is almost beyond words.  Everyone needs a brother like mine. Thankfully they have each other.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thinking Flexibly

Don't overlook the obvious, go around.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Passing on the Passion

I still remember the varnished wood smell of my first guitar.  My mother had encouraged me to play, she paid for lessons every week for almost a year so I could learn notes. I think she wanted me to be able to play like some Flamingo with fingers dancing along the frets. Frankly, I was satisfied with my self taught chords and basic strumming patterns.   My mother loved my music.  It wasn't always good, but she never let on.

Each Sunday for more than ten years, I played guitar during mass.  Between Sundays, the small group of musicians would practice.  That was a good thing.  It hadn't always been that way.  My friend and I had not been playing long.  We both arrived with untuned guitars.  Neither of us had developed an ear yet.  We fiddled with the keys tuning up and down in an attempt to make a pleasing sound. It never happened.  The mass began and we only hoped that our vocals masked our inexperience.  

The next week, Mr. Lavasseur became my mentor and the director of the group.  I am not sure why I did not quit after suffering humiliation (I know bad when I hear it), but I suspect that Mr. Lavasseur had a lot to do with it.  He was a big, big man with a gentle way.  Mr. Lavasseur patiently helped me overcome my obsession to start every song over from the top when I made a mistake.  Every song he sang sounded like it belonged in Nashville.  I loved this man, so I tolerated his country music.  We were a team for a decade or more. Until I moved away and started a family.

I think I made Mr. Lavasseur  and my mother proud each time I played my guitar for my 5 and 6 year old students during our daily sing alongs.  Many of my students, now all grown up play guitar and sing.  I would like to think that my love of music, like Mr. Lavasseur's passion influenced them just a little. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dust Collector

Years back when our oldest set of children were in elementary school, we put the small television in the closet and left it there.  We went without for more than two years.  The dynamics in the family shifted.  We began to have long conversations, we played board games, pieced together puzzles. Things were different.  It was only until my husband suggested that we pull the television out of hiding to watch rented movies, that the tube began to creep back into our lives again.  It has remained so since then, holding a prominent place in the living room, the couch angled just so to capture every image and sound bite.  No more.  Our flat screen is collecting dust.  Over the last few months, our news comes from newspapers.  Once, I streamed NBC nightly news, however that was during the recent Boston bombings. New England sticks together.  Without TV we have played games, completed puzzles, gone on walks, crafted and read books.  The oldest teenagers in the family converse through texting and social media. They barely seem to notice the change and only have mentioned the absence of its' daily presence in our lives a few times.  In all reality some of us have simply exchanged one screen for another.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Fist-Full of Posies


 
A fist-full of posies,
Not so delicately
Uprooted,
But executed
With the
Best of
Intentions.Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Return



I slept very little last night.  That happens.  I am a mother.  I feel deeply.  When emotions and events collide, all I can do is embrace the intensity of the ride and hold on tight.  So much feels out of my control.  The rush of sadness and pain, trips me from behind, knocking me to the ground.  With every ounce of strength, I hoist myself up again, shattered and in pieces. In a ceremony of self-preservation, I write, I draw, paint and cook. I take long walks. I capture beauty.  My favorite photos transport me to another time and place.  Slowly, I return.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost



The pulsing sadness courses through my veins,
And cannot be ignored or extinguished,
For it is far too great a beast.
It has held me captive,
No reprieve,
And
No escape.
I am HIS, for now.
Lost.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gentle Awakening

You call me from your perch,
Amidst my dreams
A gentle awakening.

I peer through the glass,
Hazy with dust
Scanning treetops.

Scarlet flash,
Gone.
Until another time.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Deafening Call




Most springs just before dusk, on a random lovely evening we all tumble into the vehicle driving a short distance away.  The car waits on the side of the road as we amble along an unofficial park trail veined with bumpy aging roots, old acorns and leaves left from a season past. To the left there is an old stone foundation, crumbling and hidden in the overgrowth, and just beyond that is a swampy bog that looks particularly murky at dusk.  As we draw nearer, the sound becomes almost unbearable.  I want to cup my hands over my ears to muffle the call, but then I remember why we are here. We are the audience.  It seems that all the male peepers of the world congregate in this one spot to call for a mate.  We have come to witness this chorus of mighty peepers. 

Sadly, our teenagers have seemingly outgrown this tradition, however, in a few years I‘m certain that they will remind us that it is time to listen to the peepers. I’m counting on it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Always Been Fiesty

                                                       -Photo Compliments of a Fellow Firefighter


The text was simple, “Are you home?” The reply sends a mother who tends to worry on a labyrinth of fret. “ No.  Structure fire just called in.”

I try not to allow my mind to go there, but it does anyhow. An image of burning roof timbers falling and crushing the newest volunteer firefighter, my daughter. I hear the crackling of the fire and see it licking the interior walls, the paint bubbling with the heat.  The acrid odor of smoke assaults my nose until that is all I can smell. My breath becomes more rapid and shallow as I face the danger with my daughter.  I am by her side.

I face her, curl my arms around her shoulders and lean in and whisper in her ear, “You are an amazing woman!”

I am very proud of my strong, brave, “always been feisty” girl.  In another few weeks, she will be completing her training at the Hancock County Firefighters’ Academy and will graduate in June.  It has taken commitment, persistence and a strength that I am not sure that my daughter knew she had, but I knew she had it all along. Congratulations, my girl!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Unplug ME!


My father was hyper-focused.  It was a curse and a blessing. For instance, if I were coming from four hours away in summer traffic, he would sit in his chair from early in the morning anticipating, waiting for my arrival.  If he called his doctor with a question, he would wait by the phone for days at a stretch, never leaving the house by chance the physician would call.   It seems that my father was always directing his attention to the future and forgot to notice the joys of the present.

The instantaneous nature of technology has created a formally patient person into a person who is searching for immediate responses and results.  Could it be that it is reformatting my brain?  The convenience of the i-phone gives me instant access to work, family and friends despite the distance or the hour.  When I can’t sleep, I reach for my i-phone.  Perhaps I got that email from my boss. I think at 3 a.m.  As I begin access through de-lock codes, passwords and such.  It gets worse from there. Oh I forgot to send an email to a parent. I forgot to confirm the dentist appointment for the kids.  I’ve got to check my (electronic) ‘To Do’ list.  Did my sister answer my private message on Facebook yet? 

Aside from professional reports, I used to write exclusively in journals with pen in hand.  Recently, I learned that I keep up with my flurry of thoughts better through the keyboard.  With access to wireless, the computer becomes so much more than just a glorified typewriter.  There have been so many times that I have thought about the negative impact it has had in my life.  Before bed, I check my email, check my texting application, check my email again, check Facebook and then check my email, Facebook, email until I pull myself out of the trance. I waste so much time aimlessly checking for human connection through the wires.  And my husband, my sweet husband is right beside me.  Certainly, a sad state of affairs.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Approach


My girls are getting just a little bit closer.  I had one brave chick eat out of my hand this afternoon.  I have freeze dried meal worms in my hand to entice. (Sometimes I look at my worm invested hand and think they are slithering about.)  It is hard to attract and take a photo at the same time.  This was as close as this girl got to me.

Memory Maker: Simplicity

"Ma, can I have a penny?" These little treat machines were everywhere when I was a kid.  They were strategically placed at every entrance and exit in grocery stores and department stores. For the most part the simplicity of these machines is gone.  No more gum balls round like a marble.   Putting a penny into the slot, turning the crank and  quickly cupping your hand just beneath the shoot before lifting the little door on the front of the machine maybe, just maybe saved your gum ball from skidding across the floor.   These old gum ball machines were an introduction to economics.  The consumer  puts one penny in the slot and gets product in return. Now machines have claws and ipods to win. The enticement is great.   Using the claw is risky.  It is basically a game of chance.  Money is exchanged for a chance to capture a prize.  There is a time limit. The odds are not good.  The consumer pays for the opportunity to play handing over a bill with the notion that they will beat the odds and win big.  It seldom happens that way.  

I want to know, when did life get so complicated? It seems to me that the best memory makers even today are the ones that are simple.  Dinner at the supper table, a walk on the beach or creating art with pen and paper.  Priceless.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bring It On!



We’ve barely turned the calendar announcing the month of May and we are pond-side at camp for the day.   A boat putters by with a Dad steering in the stern and two kids swallowed by their over-sized life jackets.  The refrigerator is stocked with the necessary summer condiments: ketchup, mustard and relish.  The first fire of the camping season is smoldering, and the black flies settle despite the slight breeze and smoke.  The birch surrounding camp is dotted with crimson buds ready to burst. Everything around me seems to scream, “Bring on summah! We’re ready!”


Our two eldest with their Dad work together to construct a permanent floating dock. “Alex,” his father yells across the beach that is now a construction site, “ That’s 9 ¼.”  Tape measure stretches the length of the board, pencil is retrieved from behind the ear and the saw buzzes.  Alex is on it.

We all yearn to be on the water and spend time at camp. As the brothers part, Sam makes plans, “Hey Alex, give me a call, we’ll spend the night.  Next week.”   

After closing up the camp, my husband slides into the truck beside me, “If all goes well, we’ll have the boats in next weekend.”

 I nod thinking, I am more than ready.




Friday, May 3, 2013

Getting to Know My Girls

 When my girls are happy, their Mama is happy too! On March 15th they arrived in a small square box that could fit in the palm of my hand.  They were just two days old and arrived via Postal Service.  That particular morning was frigid.  Once home the fluffy puffs were scooped up quickly and set beneath the warmth of the heat lamp where they huddled together in a mass of pale yellow.  As the days wore on through the cold and remaining darkness that can come in March, the chicks grew into long legged creatures. True wing feathers appeared, then tiny little tail feathers began to shape them into fowl.

Each day, several times a day I would go in the cellar where they resided.  Somedays, I just sat quietly and watched, while other days with hands on knees, I bent forward and in the sickly sweet voice I use when conversing with all my furry and feathered family, "How are my girlies? How's it going? What's new?" In time, they came closer and closer to my leaning in face and calmly cocked their head in my direction.  It was only when we tried to reach in to pick them up that they would scurry, flutter and squawk.  The chicken wire grill was just enough barrier to create a sense of security.



Now, my girls are out in their new coop.  As I stand on my tip-toes and peer through the slats in the gate, they are bugging, clucking and strutting around their expansive yard.  However slowly I enter, they scatter helter-skelter seeking the farthest corner to hide.  The chickens scramble upon each other tucking their beaks beneath their sisters' feathery sides or tails. If they cannot see me, I suspect that they can believe that I am no longer present. My five foot-two frame is just too much human stature, I needed to have another plan.  This afternoon I bought some freeze dried meal worms.  The product draw was that the hens could eat the worms out of an open hand.  I found a patch of greening grass minus the bird poop and just sat and watched.  Determined that I would have my sweet girls eating out of my hand shortly, made me impatient.  I threw some worms on the ground.  They were enticed out of the confines of the coop.  I held my hand out, but no one had been quite so brave.  It was only on a second visit out to the coop within the next hour that a bird or two approached and swiftly, but gently pecked and devoured the worm in one motion from my open hand.  These are my girls and in time, they will know their Mama well.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Surviving Crazy




Deep breaths, long walks and staring mindlessly into the blue sky is required if survival is my ultimate goal.  Everything needs attention at once.  This school year is winding down early for me.  Year end assessments, reports and preparing for summer maintenance for students.  The garden needs continual care and the yard needs a clean up after being hidden under the heavy weight of snow.  

I suspect that we are all adjusting to the transition of seasons.  It is a bit unsettling that I do not know how to refer to this unseasonably warm weather.  Lately, we leap from winter to summer.  We cannot do anything, but begin to plan.  University course work, summer school for the not so wee one and teaching at a summer writing camp.  Is there need to panic?  

I will peck through the little details of life that are necessary.  Soon there will be time for pleasure reading and writing for the sake of writing.  I dream of propelling myself through the cool pond swimming mile after mile  my strength and endurance increasing with each sunny day.    Our favorite secluded cove awaits where we scramble onto pink granite boulders that hang out into the water.  We dangle our legs into the cool depths and then walk along the strip of sand and fill our palms with tiny deep purple blueberries pop in your mouth. The sweet tart sensation compels more picking.  And suddenly, we notice quiet.    

The summer makes the craziness of the busy spring season all worthwhile.    

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Darkness


Beauty within darkness. Light giving hope.