Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicken Update

Thelma mentioned to me that I hadn't said anything about the chickens in a while. It's certainly not that I've been ignoring them. The chair in the picture is where I sit to keep them company and watch them. They go out every day now. I feel secure enough to let them stay out when I leave the house, though not if I'm going to be gone all day.

The top picture shows Lily, Lupine, and Petunia. I can still recognize them as individuals. It was hard to get a picture of all of them at once, but I managed it in the second picture. They are happy, healthy girls and do their mother proud.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

August Garden and Painting

The garden that started as a patch of mud has certainly flourished. It is straining to confine itself to its boundaries. Next year I will dig up more of the front yard and add more plants. What I planted this year needs to be spread out, too. I wanted the garden to look full even though it was new, so I put things fairly close together. They have filled in and are a little crowded, giving the place a somewhat wild look. Of course I have not been diligent about weeding either. That adds to the disheveled appearance, but I love it.

I painted my first oil painting in a long time, using a photo I took at Shackford Head from the kayak. It's about 20x24......much bigger than what I've been doing. It was very soothing to sit and paint with my headphones on, listening to the novel "Abide with Me" being read on CD. It is total immersion in the moment, with no ports of entry open to other thoughts.

We have had no summer to speak of, no hot sunny days, and yet the signs of Fall have begun to appear. I notice while walking the dogs that the earth has tipped slightly away from the sun, putting it lower in the sky. Shadows slide over the ground, longer and earlier. The landscape looks a little bloated and tired, dotted with the various yellow wildflowers that signify the end of summer. There is no doubt that time seems to move more quickly as one gets older. I haven't got around to putting my boots away yet, and the snow shovel still stands beside the back door.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kayak Adventure

The bottom picture is the Penamaquam River where Toni and I kayaked the other day (Wednesday?). We decided to try something besides the ocean and it was really beautiful. Yesterday we went to the ferry landing, launched ourselves and headed for downtown. After about twenty minutes we noticed that we were still seeing the deck behind the Chowder House (top picture) and the breakwater was still just a spot on the horizon. It dawned on us that we were more or less stationary, despite our vigorous paddling.
I had heard that the current was very strong and unpredictable there, but ignored that information. I knew that the famous whirlpool, "Old Sow" was in the neighborhood, too. Somehow, typically I'm afraid, I believed vaguely that neither the current or the whirlpool was relevant to me.

We decided to turn around and let the current float us back. Inexplicably, Toni decided to keep going past the ferry landing. I followed her, but was too far behind to ask what she thought she was doing. We moved along at an ever-increasing clip and finally turned to go back. I should say we tried to turn back. No matter how hard we worked, we couldn't make any progress. The water was rushing toward us, full of little eddys and odd swirls.

Luckily there were some people sitting on the deck of their house watching us. It was the only house on the water, and there was a little private beach. Seeing our problem, they waved at us and motioned us to come to shore there. Toni, eager to end the ordeal, headed directly to the beach and their hospitality. I, on the other hand, refused to give up. I saw them all disappear up the path as I struggled to get around the cliff that seperated me from the cove where the ferry landing is. Again and again I charged against the current, sometimes making it exasperatingly close to the cliff. I planned to use my paddle to push myself along the rocks, but I could get only so far before the water took me back where I started.

Toni et al reappeared eventually. Feeling foolish, I pretended that I had been paddling around to kill time until they returned. Toni offered to wade out to pull me in, but of course I insisted I could make it by myself. And I did.

The people who owned the house recognized me from seeing me at the gallery. The man, who turned out to be named Tom, loaded our kayaks in the back of his truck and drove us back to the ferry landing.

While I remained cheerful, light-hearted, and unconcerned, the others seemed to have been frightened by the whole thing. Stories of past coast guard rescues flew through the air around me, but I remained aloof. It never occurred to me that we were in any kind of danger.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ruminations on Yesterday

After a long, very sound sleep, I woke up still thinking about yesterday's experience. My distress had turned the corner from specific to general. I had focused my thoughts on the treatment of animals in general and am outraged. How much furious firing of neurons has taken place in my brain over this issue? I wonder how many tortured tears I have shed? Because I take no solace in "doing my small part' I haven't helped the situation at all. I've simply screamed and shook my fist, feeling powerless.

I was talking yesterday with Serita about the power of language. It must have been that which inspired my one, long-term partial solution. When I wrote about humanity last night, I realized how hard it is to use "correct" English as I learned it. The use of the masculine pronoun, correct in my day, is lumping us into one sex called "he" as if the feminine were a subset of the male human race. The awkward way we now use he/she, him or her, etc. makes the verbs in the sentence unmanageable. What once was clearly singular is now plural, creating a particular problem with modifiers and verbs.

My suggestion is to use the more universal "it." We homogenize the sexes of other animals, why not ourselves? No more implication of male or female..............The person picked up its suitcase, the small person ate its ice cream.........We have no need to designate sex in most conversation. If we could emphasize with language the sameness between species rather than the differences, the result would be a subtle kinship that might change our way of thinking over the years. It's much easier to blow the brains out of an "it" than a "he" or "she."

Oh, man.......................

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Big Ship, Dead Deer

This ship passed by the gallery while I was working the other day. I happened to have my camera, so snapped a picture. These huge freighters used to dock at the breakwater, right downtown. They dwarfed the buildings on water Street and loomed like skyscrapers above their roofs. Now they all go past us, down to the new terminal at Estes Head. I think everyone misses them.

Today I had stopped for gas and from the vantage point of the Mobil Station I witnessed a deer hit by a car only a short distance away. It was unbearable to watch the beautiful animal struggling and thrashing, resting, and then fighting some more to get up on its feet. After a few minutes it gave up and lay there, most likely terrified in its last moments. A police car pulled up, and though I looked away, I heard the gunshot that finally killed it.

I was on my way out of town, but I couldn't bear to pass the scene. I drove around for fifteen minutes or so, wondering if I should drive to Harrington as I had planned. I was horrified and consumed by despair. I heard myself alternately sobbing and screaming, unable to get the picture of the dying deer out of my head. This is the way my trip to Harrington went. I made a side trip in Machias to try and connect with Ann, but she was working elsewhere today. I felt that if anyone could understand how I felt, it would be her..........that she wouldn't think I was foolish for feeling the way I did. All I could do was talk with her very briefly on the phone and go on my way. The sound of her voice calmed me, though, and I moved on. Because of the stop I missed half my appointment with Serita and left there disappointed as well. On the way home the same feelings boiled up and receded again and again.

What an ugly creature is the human being, hairless except in a few rediculous spots like the hairless mole, homely beyond belief with his flat face and tiny features. He is unfit for survival if not for his grandiose brain, which lets him believe he is superior to all other animals, which gives him the right to take away the life of any animal besides his own kind. The deer who died was so beautiful, and the person who killed it drove on as if he had swatted a mosquito...........
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Blue Day

I told you the clouds were puffy and the world was blue...........The red dot inthe top picture is Toni.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mira Gill

Last night I went with David to hear Mira Gill at Summerkeys. She is my favorite pianist, bar none.....perhaps even my favorite musician. The program did not disappoint, and she received an enthusiastic, long-lasting standing ovation. The ride across the water to Lubec was enchanting, as always. On the way back after the concert, fog had settled in. Our boat was operated by a very competent captain and his young son. They navigated us through the mist without any difficulty. The fog hung low over the water, and above our heads was clear. The bright light from the moon reflected across the top edge of the fog, dividing the sky with precision into two distinctive parts. There is something very magical about the experience of riding home on the boat, in the dark, the beautiful sounds produced by Mira Gill's heart and hands still floating in the air around my head.

Earlier in the day, Toni and I went kayaking at Gleason's Cove. The sun was out, and the water as blue as I have ever seen it. White, fluffy clouds reflected in the water, making long, smooth, white ripples. We paddled along easily, keeping our distance from one another in order to enjoy a sense of solitude. Far ahead of me, I saw Toni rest her paddle in her lap many times, gazing around her in the silence. I was doing the same thing, wallowing in the sensation of being tiny and huge at the same time, isolated and yet part of an endless whole.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

More Kayaking

Toni (bottom) and I (top) have postponed Kayaking for over a week hoping for better weather. Finally we decided to go anyway. We spent over two hours paddling around Deep Cove, this time in another direction from our first trip. It was overcast, the water was as smooth as glass, and the temperature was cool. What a wonderful experience it was to explore the cove. We saw many cormorants and sea gulls perched on the rocky edge of a treeless island. They created quite a cacaphony as we approached, and finally took flight. Hundreds of them skimmed across the surface of the water before rising into the air. As we progressed, they landed in a circle around us, apparently curious and, at that point, unafraid. It appeared that we had entered their territory and were supervising our departure. Once we had gone a short distance, they returned to their island and sat quietly as we disappeared around a headland.
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pure Luxury

Patrick can't believe that some dogs actually have to sleep on the floor..........
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Monday, August 04, 2008

More Rocks

How I love to paint rocks. I did this this afternoon as I listened to more of "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"on DVD. I took several of this kind of picture when Thelma and I went to Schoodic Point a couple of years ago. It was a wonderful day. I know my memory of it contributed to the way I painted it, a little wistfully, a combination of power and delicacy. The one figure, awed by the spectacle, made tiny by the grandeur, the seagulls going about their business. It's a misty day, though the day we went there it was actually very sunny.

I felt quite free to interpret this because I had to. I've run out of colored ink, so had to print the photo in black and white. I had to use my memory and my own interpretation. It suprised me that I was able to do it, and in fact, I think it is probably better than otherwise. I know Thelma will see this, and I think she will like it. It is her place, and I never go there, or even think about it, without thinking of her. I loved the place before I met her, but now the two are intertwined, inseperable. Because of that, it is a magic place, where everything is wonderful, where I feel love and loved with every cell of my body.

I am so full of memories these days. I'm consumed by the past.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Shackford Head

Today I made a place by the window where I could paint. This is what I did, from a picture I took from the kayak. I like it in my studio, but I needed to be in the living room near the DVD player. Dana got this month's book club selection for me as an audio book, and I wanted to listen to it while I painted. It's a great way to "read" for me, since my eye condition makes regular reading too painful. It was pleasant to sit and listen as I worked. It reminded me of painting while I listened to poetry when I was in school.

I feel that I have a lot to write about, but lack the motivation to do it. Perhaps tomorrow.
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