Saturday, November 30, 2013

A "Maine" Thanksgiving....

"An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way."

Well, i relate more to the artist in this quote. I like to say hard things in a simple way but it’s going to be very hard to explain what a wonderful Thanksgiving I had here in Maine. I’ll try hard to be an artist and keep it simple! :)

In the morning I went on a beautiful walk on a carriage road I had not yet seen. I passed at least five lakes during the two hour excursion.  To keep it simple I’ll borrow a quote:

“You will find something more in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.”  ~St. Bernard

Just two shots from the morning walk as I was there a bit late for the good early morning light.

After returning to my home away from home, I enjoyed talking my family on the phone, reading, and resting. Then I went to Debbie’s house across the driveway. She owns the cottage house I am staying in and graciously invited me to join her along with family and friends for an evening Thanksgiving meal.

To Debbie, Skip, Justin, Leland, Kiera, and Sandy I say a hearty thank you for your most warm, kind welcome and  the wonderful time of sharing through your words of thankfulness around the bountiful table. This was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent apart from family. But miraculously, I felt part of a new family. Debbie's adult sons reminded me of my own. What a privilege and blessing it is to enjoy friendship with one's grown children. After the meal we were joined by John and Nancy who brought a pie and some Indian drums. We gathered in the living room and sang songs while John played the guitar and Justin the drums. (And can he play those drums! The drums not only sang....they danced!) What a wonderful treat. It was a Thanksgiving not to be forgotten. I wrote a poem some months ago that came to mind as I considered this post:


like springtime in Copenhagen
or deep footsteps to follow
in blinding snow

it lets us know
we coexist
in our lemon yellow

The following image reflects the peace and light I felt at the end of Thanksgiving Day 2013. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Coffee, Castine, and gale force winds.....

A quick catch up of the past few days.

Tuesday morning I had coffee with my favorite Maine coffee group. I was introduced to Steve who is a retired photographer. I told him (and Hal) that I was headed for Castine that day. He kindly looked at the map and showed me some back roads I “shouldn’t miss.” I think it was one of the most fun days of shooting yet. Castine is a beautiful harbor town off island. The Maine Maritime Academy, where Bill attended school, is located there. Tuesday we had a light snow so I enjoyed having that weather element to play with. Here are some images from my drive to Castine (thanks to Steve.)

                               A building on Maine Street in Castine:

Lighthouse in Castine:

Along the harbor in Castine:

Wednesday was a  severe “weather” day. It rained all day and the winds were at gale force. (Don’t ask me what that means. I like how it sounds better than just saying they were strong winds! J  I’ll find out Friday  from the coffee group what qualifies as a gale force wind and let you know if you don’t already have that piece of information in your brain.)

When it comes to rain, I like this principle:

“I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains.  One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness.”  ~Adeline Knapp

I drove out to an area called Sea Wall so I could watch the waves come in. On one side of the road is a marsh. There was no fog that day.The grayness of these images is due to the sheets of torrential rain. I took these photos through the windshield between the wipers going up and down. J I couldn’t shoot outside the car as the camera would have gotten soaked and I wouldn’t have been able to hold it steady anyway. (In fact, I don’t know if I could have held myself steady!) I usually use a plastic bag to cover the camera body in rainy conditions but this was more that rainy conditions…..(gale force …remember! )

On the other side of the road is the sea……What a powerful force of nature she is. She amazes, frightens and excites me all at the same time. There was a fiercness about her today. I thought of a scripture verse that says God’s love for his creation is as wide and deep as the ocean.  I added the word “fierce” today. Fierce enough to come to planet earth and die.  I’ve always loved the C.S. Lewis quote referring to Aslan (the Chirst figure in his Chronicles of Narnia) which says “Safe? Of course He isn’t safe. But He’s good.” 

Can’t close without mentioning the wonderful piano/recorder recital practice I got to attend Tues. evening. Stephen (on piano) and Eileen (on recorder) will be giving a concert next Friday night which I will be unable to attend. I was gracioiusly invited to the rehearsal.  “Splendid” musicians and people!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the lovely Thanksgiving I had here on MDI. It was one that will be treasured in memory for years to come. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Wish for you....

This day, may you see the balm of beauty given us through the glorious gifts of nature:


"We are the sheep of His Pasture."
The Book of John



"Trees are earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven."
R. Tagore


A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is earth's eye, looking into which, 
the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
Henry David Thoreau

The fruit of the land:

The groves were God's first temples.
"A Forest Hymn"

These to only illustrate a few of the many glories surrounding us. Have a most blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Sunday on Mt. Desert Island

Sunday I visited the “Somesville Union Meeting House United Church of Christ” Now there’s a Name!! J The pastor chuckled when he mentioned introducing himself at gatherings and using the full name of the church.

 I drove into the parking lot unsure of what time the service started and saw a woman all bundled up walking up the sidewalk. I opened my window and inquired as to the time of meeting. She (Lynn) said it was 10:30 (I was there at 10:00) but assured me it was fine to come in early and that I should definitely plan on staying for lunch afterwards. (I guess they drink the same hospitality water in Somesville that the folks in SW Harbor drink.) They were having leftovers from their Philippine relief fund raising supper. “ Sounds wonderful” I said. Parked the car and was treated to listening to the (ten person )choir practice before the service started. It was like being gifted with my own personal concert. What wonderful voices. (I have come to learn that music is very important to people here on the Island.)
It wasn’t long before a gentleman in a camel wool suit with tie sat in the row behind me. His name was Clayton Reid. What a splendid splendid person he was. He had lived  in Somesville all his life in the same house he was born in (just as my mother has done back in Kansas). His wife is in the early stages of Alzheimers however and at his daughter’s request he and his wife will be moving to the Bath area in mid December.” My daughter has a small living space unattached from her house” he said. “It is near Bowdoin College where I went to school.” Clayton told me that a couple from the church had brought over a nice dinner the day before and he and his wife had a lovely time sharing the meal and visiting with the couple.
(He shared that story during the time for “sharing celebrations” later in the service.) Another example of how much a simple act of kindness can mean in a person’s life. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I met Clayton. He is a charming man and devoted husband. 

When the service started there were probably around thirty people in the congregation. I sensed a strong sense of family and community during their time of worship and sharing. Celebrations were shared and later prayer requests. The pastor asked for prayer for his friends in Bangor whose daughter had been murdered the week before;  a lady named Inge (originally from South Africa) asked for prayer for her 2 year old nephew who would be undergoing a seven hour brain surgery on Tuesday. Other names were mentioned. A time of short prayer was given by the pastor thanking God for his gifts of comfort, mecry and grace and thanking Him for the the glory we see all around us. This was followed by a was a five minute time of silent prayer. 

“Everything true and great grows in silence.  Without silence we fall short of reality and cannot plumb the depths of being.”  ~Ladislaus Boros

I appreciated the pastor’s message that encouraged us to “move forward” in our lives of faith. Too much looking back isn’t good and spinning in one place isn’t good. He said we would know we were moving forward if our lives were reflecting Christ’s example of “loving, restoring, healing, forgiving” etc. I was challenged anew to keep moving forward In my own journey.
The lunch was delicious. I was warmly greeted in the parish hall by Susan Anghinetti (what a beautiful name!) We sat and shared a warm friendly conversation through the meal. We discovered we had a lot in common….in particular our love of hiking and the woods. “Oh, sometime you must go to Moose Lake” she told me. “The sound of the loons is amazing there. You hear them calling when you fall asleep at night.” (Note to self…..Moose Lake must be added to my list of future destinations.)Thank you God for Susan Anghinetti.  (Oh and Lynn and a friend approached me to be sure I had a place to go for Thanksgiving. I am humbled by the outreach of people here.)
Later in the day I hiked Flying Mountain which is just down the street from where I’m staying. One interesting view from the top:

In the evening my good friend Susan B. (yes, good friend, after a week of being here) came over and joined me for a hot bowl of vegetable stew. She brought apple crisp and we enjoyed learning more about each other’s lives, passions, and families. Thank you God for this Susan whom I’ve come to see as my guardian angel  here on MDI.  Will close with a few other Maine scenes. Best to you all. I hope you are finding a way “forward” in your life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Coffee, hiking, and music...

Friday was a “stick around SW Harbor Day”. On my way to Brandon and Laurie’s for coffee that morning I wondered if any of my previous coffee mates would be there or if I would find myself alone.  When I got there i was happy to see Hal sitting in the same seat he held before. It is HIS chair! And Bill was back too with another fellow I hadn’t met named Jim.  I was welcomed once again and conversation flowed freely. After telling them of my trip to Stonington, we talked about real estate, T.V. shows and movies, and Bill and Hal’s experiences in storms while at sea.  I mentioned the movie “The Perfect Storm “ and how it had given me nightmares. Bill said he was in that storm. (Though in a much larger ship than the fishing boat in the movie.)They were heading to Boston from London.  When the storm hit it turned their ship totally around and headed them back toward England. He said it took twelve hours to get her righted. He and Hal talked about how they wedged themselves in their beds during those storms so they could sleep and how it was impossible to eat as food would be flying everywhere.  

Jim wasn’t saying much. When I asked what he did for a living he told me he had been a ship builder and a home builder but he had suffered a stroke about 10 years ago that had put a stop to his building. I admired him for continuing to come to coffee and he was thankful that he could walk, talk, and still join in activities.
FYI, Hal likes West Wing and Jag. Bill likes British films and especially Agatha Christie films. He said the funniest show he ever saw was Death by Funeral. “But if you get it, be sure and get the British version”, he said. He lives alone and once a year goes to Ireland for a month by himself. He takes his golf clubs and rents a place in County Kerry. A man after my own heart! J

After breakfast I drove five minutes to the trailhead for Acadia Mountain and had a wonderful  hike to its summit which afforded a fantastic view. The path was mostly on rock and covered with pine needles and oak leaves. Fortunately someone (probably an employee of the park service) had marked the trail with little bits of blue paint along the way.

Without those marks I would never have stayed on the trail. It made me think of "life", and how for most things we go through, there are others who have gone before and can show us the way if we seek them out. People like Nevin and Jim who have experienced loss and made it through. And since my very thoughtful niece Kelly gave me Thoreau’s  book Into the Maine Woods to read on this trip, I also thought of Thoreau and his trip to Mt. Ktaadn (the highest summit in New England). He and his companion enlisted the service of two Indian guides who had intimate knowledge of the journey they were to undergo.

Thirdly, I was reminded of what I had read that very morning before starting off my day. From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

“Leave outcomes up to Me. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will all turn out.  Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your Guide and Companion. Live in the now,concentrating on staying in step with Me. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help.  When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My Presence.  Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me.”

These little readings seem to always have a message for me at just the right time. J

The view from the top of Mt. Acadia:

At 6:30 I accompanied Susan, Steve and Mary to an evening full of music and great conversation. They are part of a group that meets once a month for a musical program followed by a sing along. Tonight’s program was a set of songs performed by Diana and Crow, a native American Indian couple.  Their music was beautiful and moving. (My list of splendid people is growing steadily!)
Saturday was a day trip Down East (down east is a sailing term… I would say I went “up northJ)
Included in the days events:
*A long slide in the car on some “black ice.” Whew!
*A visit to a lovely art gallery called Chapter Two. It was filled with different kinds of beautiful  art and owned and operated by Garry and Rosemary who just happen to be two more splendid people.
*A walk on the rocks at Schoodic Point. The winds were VERY strong and the waves donning their “white caps”.

A few more images from the outing:

Sunday was an eventful and wonderful day which I will share a bit about in a later post.
I realized last night that I have reached the half way mark of my time here. I must say it has exceeded my expectations in every way.

“What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything, and who having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually holding out to him as he journeyeth on his way, misses nothing he can fairly lay his hands on.”  Lawrence Stern

I pray I will have eyes to see what God through all of His Creation is holding out to me. I want to fairly lay my hands on all that is good.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What a walk will do.....

Good morning dear friends.  Yesterday after an early morning walk to Fernald Point, I drove to Ellsworth to see about purchasing a computer battery. There were none to be had (chuckle chuckle). The drive was not in vain though, as I was able to pick up a few things from the Walmart store for Alan and his wife. It pleased me to be able to be of service to him in some way. (In the meantime, in case you are interested, i say a prayer and hope for the best each time i open the computer. :) )

On the way home I stopped for two more nature walks. One to a lake called “Lake Wood” and the other through a park near Bar Harbor called the “Wild Acadia Gardens” which this time of year turned out to be a wonderful long saunter though an old grove of birch trees.
I echo the sentiments of John Burroughs when he says:

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.”

From Fernald Point Road: (This particular walk took me by some buildings. My friend Susan told me, when the shades are all drawn you know the occupants are gone for the winter.) 

From Lake Wood:

Nature will bear the closest inspection.  She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. " ~Henry David Thoreau

From the Wild Gardens of Acadia:

"Sometimes Thou may'st walk in Groves, 
which being full of Majestie will much advance the Soul."
-  Thomas Vaughan,  Anima Magica Abscondita

The Psalms tell us that "The Heavens declare the Glory of God and the Earth shows forth his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech and night to night declares knowledge."

This day spoke lovingly and clearly to my soul.  Pure gift.