Sunday, November 28, 2010

I greeted the sun at Higgins Beach in Scarborough, sitting in my car. If I'd remembered to pack gloves I might have gotten out and walked the wet sand as the pink glow on the horizon dimmed with the first glimpse of fiery orange in the distance above the leafless trees. Two people walked and talked as their dogs sniffed, scampered and returned to the sides of their owners, bundled head to foot in the chill air. The edges of the waves sparkled in red before they crested. Far out in the open water the hulk of a tanker making for port moved slowly.

Soon I'll be home again, this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll watch the sun rise over Head Harbor Island.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A bit of news - a professor has decided to have a digital camera implanted in his head so he can film his classes. Try to imagine it - he's calling it 'the third eye.' A common enough phrase, in certain circles. A camera in one's head. What does he teach? What happens to imagination? To memory? What can be so important? Where will the camera be implanted? Forehead, presumably. The question posed by the reporter: How will he charge it?

Seems to me that we all carry a camera in our head and it is called a brain. Within our brains we have tremendous capacity for recording sights, sounds, smells, images of infinite variety. We do need to recharge it with food and sleep and, with all due fortune, it lasts a lifetime; and it comes free of charge when we're born.

There's so much more to be said - another time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time to write again here in blog-world, 'cause in my own world I'm writing and need to air out my brain with the things that niggle and get in the way.
There's an ad for grief on the radio - a woman's voice, soft, concerned, dripping with come take my hand, I'll help you. Why? Drugs are the point of the ad. If you're approaching the holidays with grief for a loved one who has died, if your grief gets in the way of your living, if your loved one died six months ago, then call, get drugs and talk therapy. Six months? What is that in a life? What if the loved one who died was a child? A wife? A husband? A mother? And, whoa, after six months you're still grieving.
Here's another scenario: What if you're newly married, or dating, or newly engaged, or have a splendid job, or have moved to your dream spot and you're incredibly happy, and that happiness is 'getting in the way of your living'? Maybe you forget to eat regularly, or exercise, maybe you're not sleeping well, 'cause you're happy. Do you need drugs and talk therapy?
Isn't grief as much a part of the human experience as happiness? Who says six months is too long to grieve? What does 'getting in the way of living' mean? What about indifference? Or is that called 'depression'?
I don't think six months of grieving is extraordinary, or unnatural. Our particular culture doesn't respect grief. Like so many things that are innately human, our fix-it culture considers it an illness, to be treated with drugs and therapy.
Okay, enough . . . for now . . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


 September slips to its center, the tag end of summer descends softly. With all connections to the beginning of a school year worn to nubs, the quiet spreads around me for the third year.
"You've had so much company." I nod or murmur 'Yes,' in agreement. Attempting to explain my idea of company would elicit a blank stare or a hurried, 'You know what I mean." Yes, of course I know what folks mean when they say I've had so much company. They just wouldn't understand what I'd mean if I said I've not had any company. The people visiting in August, and back early in July, were not company, they were family, the people dearest to me in the world, inclusive of those not related.
My daughters total seven. The breakdown: two natural daughters, an adopted daughter, a daughter-in-law, and three granddaughters. My sons, poor dears, total only three - my son, a grandson and son-in-law. Two others wait in the wings, my youngest daughter's close companion and friend, and my oldest granddaughter's affianced. 
Here in the quiet of September I imagine them busy with their lives in Philly, Liverpool, Amherst, Northampton, Cambridge, all so far from the Backfield. Time to take up my pen, listen to the quiet and work.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mud Cove - Sunday

 My orange kayak sports a yellow stern. On bright days it provides a shock of color against the blue water, on foggy days it emerges stealthily, an alien craft, from the gray. Or so I imagine. This afternoon, the tide high, I paddled around Mud Cove, going into the 'Iron Mine' and out again, cruising to the Muffin Rock, then back across the cove. On the charts this little indentation in the shore off The Eastern Bay is labeled just 'mud.' A few rocks to the southwest there is a genuine 'Mud Hole', so designated on the charts. A couple of granite outcroppings to the northeast you can find Pig Gut and Pig Island. As I become a stronger kayaker I'll venture into Pig Gut, until then I'll paddle around Mud Cove. 

 An adult eagle heading out toward Eastern Bay met a 2-year old winging its way toward Mud Cove. The birds slowed down as they approached each other and the older bird turned around and followed its young son or daughter. For the longest time the two birds swooped and turned, glided and plunged, sometimes coming close together, as if the parent was giving advice on technique. Then the parent glided down and perched on rocks at the water's edge. The youngster kept gliding in circles high above the trees, sometimes calling out. The elder watched for about fifteen minutes then joined the youth. They would fly toward each other then arc away in wide circles. The adult then flew off and lit in the top branch of a fir tree while the offspring kept circling and swooping. 

 My kayak rests in the tall grass near the shore, fog gathers out beyond the islands. There are only a few more days when high tide will be right for easy kayaking, then it will be too early in the morning and too late in the evening. But the wonderful thing about the tides is that they change every day and are right much of the time. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Fur Girls

Girls fill my life - wonderful daughters of all varieties - natural, adopted, grand, in-law; and friends, life-long and new, close and casual. And there are the animals, two dogs and two cats. Only one is male, Ketchup, a yellow tiger cat, who sleeps draped over my arm as I write. 
My dogs sleep. Dottie, an elderly Great Pyrenees, lies stretched on the floor in the other room. Phoebe, my little Aussie, lies curled nose to tail on my bed upstairs. Neither has moved a paw this morning indicating they'd like to go out. 
Their absence of desire to be out arises from their experience of yesterday when they went out in the morning not to be allowed back in till the moon had risen in a darkened sky. Poor babies! I didn't want to leave them out, especially Phoebe who prefers to be inside unless she's free to chase a frizbee. Dottie likes lying in the shade on cool grass, but is always pleased to come in late in the afternoon for a bowl of kibble.
Yesterday's banishment was my solution to having three people here, two of whom do not like dogs, and the other who is allergic to them. Had I known how upset Phoebe would be . . . Had I known how much my friends didn't like dogs . . . my life is strewn with "had-I-knowns."
In this case, though, I knew my friends, at least one of them, or thought I did. We'd planned this time during the winter, at first two weeks, then one, the final has been ten days. They would come to my home on the edge of the Atlantic in Downeast Maine, we would write, as we had done together in the past, we'd eat well, and enjoy each others' company, sleep soundly, and generally have a good time. They both knew I had two dogs. They knew! Dottie and Phoebe were not a surprise. 
As soon as they arrived, admired the view, brought in their stuff, started to get settled, the chorus began. I'm not sure of the spelling of 'ewe.' That spelling, of course, is a female sheep. Then there's 'yew,' the tree. As a sound of disgust, which one to use? I'm not sure. I'm only sure that it was the sound that began the chorus, followed by "Get away from me!" "Uck, go away, dog!" Each time either dog approached either woman, the woman would contract, pull her feet under the chair, turn her shoulders away, twist her face in a grimace and say either, "Ewe, get away from me!" or "Uck, go away, dog." 
Then the allergic one arrived. She was only going to be here for one full day. I figured we could cope, and thought we had coped, until I brought the girls in last night. Phoebe's eyes were not filled with reproach, it seemed more profound disappointment and sadness. I gave her a biscuit. She held it loosely in her mouth then dropped it on the floor, turned and walked, with her head low, to the couch and jumped up. She wouldn't look at me and I knew she wouldn't come upstairs even if I enticed her with a biscuit or greenie. Not after she'd dropped the biscuit on the floor. Dottie had eaten it with no hesitation.
Yesterday I noticed that my friends began saying things like, "Dottie's really cute," and "If I liked dogs I'd want one like Phoebe, she's a good size and has a cute face." Naw. I'm not buying it. They just realized that they might never visit here again, that I really like my fur girls and don't like having people show revulsion when the dogs are in the room. They are right. Like me, like my dogs. And if you happen to be allergic to dogs, this is not the place to come. Actually, you don't have to like my dogs but you can't be repulsed by them. 
Phoebe's still on my bed; Dottie's out. I've told Phoebe that my friends are leaving today and we'll get back to our normal way of being. She wagged her stubby tail and allowed me to rub her tummy. She'll probably eat a biscuit if I offer her one.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Through the fog

For the second time this summer we had two, yes TWO, consecutive days of sunshine. Then today dawned - another of fog. Quite lovely and I'm convinced it is nature's moisturizer. The women Downeast have soft, beautiful skin - all thanks to the fog. During those two days of sun you could still see the fog way out beyond the islands, beyond Cutler, from my view. Lurking fog. Someone sent a message yesterday saying that the fishermen said the fog was coming. When I pushed the curtain aside this morning, there was the familiar gray view.

The full moon hides behind fog tonight. I imagine its light cutting a path across the bay. I imagine waking to the unfamiliar glare of early morning sun.