Thursday, November 26, 2015


Interestingly, to me, the memory of thanksgiving that pops up first is one that took place sometime in the 80's.  It was unusually warm with no snow, like today.  Before I began to cook the meal, Phil and I decided to go out to Trahfo Farms and take a short horseback ride.  I doubt that this picture was taken on that day, but it was somewhere near it.  My beautiful BJ.

The older I get, the more difficult I find it to make the present take precedence over the past.  I wish I could muster the philosophy of my old friend Thelma, who at 89 told me that she never looked back.  As far as I know, she lived in the present until the day she died.  Her last project was to figure out how she could carry her oxygen tank and use her walker at the same time when she drove to the grocery store.  She experimented with various methods until she designed a cart that worked for her and was easy enough to get in and out of the car.  It doubled as a portable easel so she could still paint outside.  How can I not think of her and look back with longing?

Well, I try to focus on my life now, which in many ways is the best and easiest time I have ever had.   The context of my life is steady.  I am content.  Therein lies the dilemma of the manic-depressive on medication, the one who misses those extremes and longs for euphoria and pain.  Though I have never been diagnosed as manic depressive (as far as I know), I understand the pull, the desire to feel life large.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dog Walk at 4PM

My routine is to feed and walk the dogs at four every afternoon.  This time of year it is already dark, with the shortest day still to come.  We live at the very edge of the country, where the sun comes up early and sets early.  By 3:30 AM the sun is already poking up over Campobello, which is on Atlantic time.  Therefore, it is already 4:30 there.  Off and on there is an attempt by easterners to change to Atlantic time, but so far no luck.  As I walk my boys, the Canadians are probably getting ready for dinner.

The moon is full tonight, presumably hauling the ocean away as I write.  When it's full, I wonder if the pull is strongest and the tides lower.  Well, I will have to look that up.  I watch the water come and go every day with only the slightest understanding of what is going on.  I find its reflection on the water beautiful without question.  In most, if not all, things, the more you know about something the more rich its beauty becomes, or beauty emerges where it didn't exist before.

I often think about what happened to me when I took a class in music appreciation as a freshman in college.  Until then, classical music held almost no appeal for me.  Then I learned about symphonic form, and a whole new world opened up for me.  The more I learned about how to listen to music, the more I loved it.That was a gift from some long forgotten professor whose name I can't recall.

I guess I had better find out more about the moon and the tides.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Explanations, a Painting, and Some Musings

I am still having almost no success posting pictures here, which is why I am so seldom posting anything.  Instead of writing, I am spending hours at a time trying to do this.  Finally, today, I got this picture uploaded.  I started the chore last night, worked for about two hours, then gave up.  With renewed energy, I tackled it again this morning and finally got the job done.  Can I repeat it?  No.  I have no idea what sequence of events finally succeeded.

Anyway, this is my latest painting of dancers.  I can't remember if I posted the original watercolor, which I didn't like.  Yesterday I was about to throw it away when the idea struck me to paint over it.  I did so with acrylics and am fairly happy with the results.

My days since I last wrote have been consumed by planning cataract surgery.  The result was cancellation of the whole thing.  At this point, I don't want to take the time to explain why.  Actually I'm not sure myself.  Thinking about it and trying to arrange the trip to Ellsworth without being able to drive myself, dealing with the dogs because I would have to stay overnight, became too overwhelming.  The painting is the visual representation of my relieved and tentatively happy state of mind once I made the decision.

Every day when I walk the dogs I take the time to really look at the ocean.  I had learned to take it for granted.  My thinking about moving to Bangor has made me realize how much Eastport means to me.  I wonder how I ever thought I wanted to leave, and stare at the ocean with new appreciation.  There it is, always within sight.  During the first part of my life it was a rare treat to see it .  It meant at least an hour on the road even to get to a salt water bay.......over two hours to the open water.  The sun was always shining.  It was always summer. That's what I knew of it. In the first journal I kept when I first came to live in Eastport, alone, in the winter was the same day a huge storm hit the northeast. I wrote about getting to know the ocean during a winter storm.  I was quite in awe of it, seeing it in a completely new way.  That storm turned out to be quite a disaster, with electricity out for over a week or more all over the northeast and Canada.  I had no radio, no newspaper.........I had no idea what was going on.  I knew no one here.  The dogs and I were immersed in isolation, eagerly embracing the experience, which I chronicled in my journal during the short daylight hours. I still love to re-read that journal, reliving that time.  

Besides the location, I love the way of life here.  I have none of the justifiably paranoid ideas of those who live in cities even slightly bigger than this one.  Here, in the winter, we can leave our cars idling in the parking lot of the grocery store while we shop so they will be warm when we return. We rarely dress wardrobe is from the thrift shop.  No one is in a hurry, no one cares much about making money (making it hard to hire anybody to do a job).  People work at seasonal jobs just long enough to survive for a few months, then quit until they need money again.  I admire this tremendously, but most people "from away" can not understand it.  They are frustrated by the fact that the locals can not be bribed with the lure of money.  Of course, this is all changing now with the influx of people from other places, even since I have lived here.  Still, though, there exists a gulf between the two factions that makes them stare at each other with complete bewilderment, if not disdain.

I am an observer, philosophically on the side of the locals, but tainted by my roots.  I fit in neither group.  It's a place I have always been and am comfortable there.