Line indentations in ice
A new perspective: older people don't need to make a concerted effort to exercise purposefully at a gym. Our brains do it for us! How many times do we have to walk back up the stairs and down again before remembering what it was we went there for in the first place? How many times do we have to go back to the mudroom to remember what it was we were there to fetch? How many times do we have to walk out to the garage and back before we remember what it was we went there for? How may times?
For me, if I don't go all the way back to the original location of the thought, I don't manage to retrieve my purpose. So maybe brain blur is nature's sneaky way of keeping us active - being forgetful helps us get our daily exercise in!
🏃🏃🏃🏃🏃 🏃🏃🏃🏃🏃 🏃🏃🏃🏃 🏃🏃🏃🏃🏃
I love the snow dots on the screw/nail heads, the shadow of the railing supports, the grain and lines of the deck panels, and the graduated progress of snowmelt. Oh, and how the nail head lines intersect with the railing shadows. Beautiful!
Ahhhh, it's gorgeous outside ... for now. We await a plowable snowstorm, but I'll take this in the meanwhile. When did I last enjoy my coffee on the deck? As you can see, I have a semi-frown on my brow - I'm not used to the brightness so early in the day.
Sunshine and warm temps,
Breezes that ruffle my hair.
And steaks on the grill!
Writing seems to me to be the perfect autodidact 'sport' - in trying to put my words down authoritatively, I feel the need to investigate, research and absorb the facts of what I'm writing about, so that my 'voice' is authentic, trustworthy and reliable. Writing stories, whether fiction or memoir, requires fact checking, understanding, and expansion of interests. I often find myself going down a rabbit hole and veering off on tangents as I get tangled in the intricacies of delectable information! I feel as if I'm getting snagged on brambles and roots on an ungroomed path, that delay my reaching my destination, but definitely enrich the experience!
It's amazing how much one learns along the way as one writes - it generates its own quest for knowledge.
My recent fraught grocery shopping expedition revived a memory from my college years, in which I had clearly sought solitude amidst a frenzied situation. Without these pockets of peace, I tend to feel battered.
Just over 38 years ago, before Dale and I were married, we traveled to another part of South Africa to participate in the annual students geography conference. There were students from universities all over the country and there was much socializing, and getting-to-know-you group activities over a long weekend. One evening, I wandered off on my own, away from the hubbub, to sit and stare quietly at the moon. I needed some alone time, some time to regroup in the midst of all the socializing and stimulation. It was restorative.
I happily sat against a tree trunk in the dark for some time until Dale appeared, looking for me - he'd noticed I was missing from the crowds, and had come to check that I was feeling okay. He stayed for a bit, and then left me to my peace, allowing me to enjoy my reverie.
Moonlight across Lake Androscoggin, Maine in 2007
Yet another shopping nightmare: I've been spoiled with the Hannaford 'To Go' feature and hadn't ventured into a Market Basket for over 2 months, but there are some things that I can only buy there ... so when I do go, I replenish all the things that have a long shelf life, in multiples. Many of the things I stock up on are very bulky - pickles in enormous jars (in unlimited numbers, as many as I can handle), 2 liter seltzer waters, paper towel packages, a cube of soda cans, 10 lb of potatoes, you get the picture.
Before I was halfway through the store, my cart was full. I felt frazzled. The store was busy (people were stocking up for Super Bowl Sunday - how dare they?), there were reminders of Valentine's Day chocolates everywhere and the music was loud. Plus I wasn't used to crowds, and this was ... a Friday crowd. It was one of the warmest days we'd had this year and sweat was forming on my upper lip under my mask (which very few others were wearing).
Two carts were needed! I knew that if I paid for one full cart and took my groceries out to the car, I'd be more than tempted not to go back in for the second half of the grocery list, which I'd been compiling on my fridge for more than 2 months. I was already overwhelmed and felt like bailing. To add to my space problems, I bring my own rigid shopping baskets for my purchases (the kind that don't fold down and compress, so take up a LOT of the space under my cart and in the child-seat area.) Oh woe!
I remember using 2 carts whilst shopping with my 2 toddlers back in the day, when I learned how to walk between two carts, pushing the handle of the front one and pulling on the basket of the rear one. It wasn't easy, but could be done. At that time, we had one car in the family, which Dale used for getting to work. I'd assemble a long grocery list, and then on the appointed day, get the "bunnies" up and dressed, drive Dale to work and the 3 of us would do our big shop together. It was what we did to get by; you manage. Shopping like this obviously took a long time, and it required me to keep my toddlers entertained, not fighting, and upbeat for the duration. They knew the drill, and behaved well - it meant we had the car for the rest of the day and could go out and do something exciting, like visit the local lake or a friend, plus they'd get to fetch their Dad at the end of the day.
Ok, back to the more current expedition... when I got to the dairy section, it looked as if there was no buttermilk on the assigned shelf. Argh, we'd wanted to make another batch of scones. There had been many things that were temporarily out of stock that day, or there were just two or three items left on the shelf. My entrenched Catholic guilt crept in each time, and I only took one in that case, when I would normally have bought more. I knelt on the outer edge of the dairy case and peeked up onto the back of the topmost shelf - there, lodged at the very back unreachable corner was the treasure I sought. But how to get it? I stepped back down and looked around, but suddenly there weren't any other people nearby - well, no tall ones anyway. There were also no people stocking shelves or using stepladders either. I wasn't going to let this buttermilk challenge defeat me! I needed this little victory. Hmm, what could I use to reach it?
Aha! My eyes lit on the "Maine Woman" magazine I'd picked up at the store entrance (a friend had written one of the articles in it). Reluctant though I was to wrinkle this copy, I rolled it into a tight tube, knelt back up on the edge of the dairy case, reached in with my Maine woman tube, and nudged, knocked and coerced that bottle onto its side and then forwards towards me until I could reach it with my hands - you just never know when you'll need a Maine woman to help you!
I wonder what the people watching the security cameras must have thought!
I got home hungry, since it was way past lunch time, but was super pleased with myself for having solved my problems, and especially for not having had a meltdown! My kids would be proud of me - I'd had to practice what I'd preached to them in the grocery store for so many years.
February warmth! Who would ever have dreamed of such a thing? A high of 50°F made me fling my laundry over the railings on my deck to dry. What bliss! I love how my clothes smell when they've dried outdoors - the atmosphere-crisp smell, from ozone and ultraviolet rays acting on the wet molecules, is so pleasing to me.
But surprisingly the wind was not my friend on this day - unpegged, my clothes blew off the railing and lay in the snow, getting wet again until I noticed and rescued them. When I brought them inside, they were wetter than when they'd come out the spin cycle of the washing machine!
Rachel Carson, wise naturalist and conservationist extraordinaire expressed herself this way 60 years ago:
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
It seem as if we haven't received this message in our lives yet, and I fear that one day, there will be no assurance of nature's patterns if we continue as we are.
Furthermore, it feels almost as if I could have written this, for she has expressed exactly what I feel; it is as if we share something that is elusive to many.
What? The Illustrated "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" by Charlie Mackesy is available as an audiobook ... is this a joke? It's intended as a work of art, a visual storybook.
What next? The illustrated guide to Van Gogh's paintings? I love audiobooks (a new "thing" for me) but seriously, there are limitations to listening only!
Richard Powers is a powerful writer (yes, I'm aware of the aptronym). He is also a powerful advocate for finding our connection to the natural world.
Through his fiction he nudges us to find a way to rejoin nature, and not regard ourselves as separate and exceptional. In his interviews, he reminds us, 'after all, we are not the only game in town'; that it's time to reframe our place in the natural world.
Most potently, he asserts:
Life is something we need to stop correcting.
Life on earth is more resourceful and capable than we think.
I'm in awe.
Steller's sea eagle
Immense, sturdy, rare, vagrant
Off course? Delib'rate?
Seeking new pastures?
Or a confused misjudgement?
Will others follow?
A range expansion?
A sign of climate changes?
Questions to ponder.
I haven't seen this bird on its amazing journey across the U.S. but I've been intrigued by its appearance and sightings, and it seemed prescient to acknowledge it. This multi stanza haiku came to mind as I lay awake in the early hours of the morning, pondering this historic occurrence.
Funny things to consider after playing Scrabble:
The only thing separating a hymn from a hymen is an E! Who knew? (He opened the hymen book in the church pew!)
It just shows how critical correct spelling can be.
And, as in so many things in life and the world - the devil is in the details. This is a very significant E.
Hat with an 'e' would turn to hate
Star with 'e' would be become a stare
I know there are many more such examples, maybe not all as 'critical' as this one - share them in the comments ...
I'm glad I went out onto our deck to get rid of parts of the ice sheet that had been left behind by a previous storm, because this is what I noticed on our wooden cladding.
I think it's SO beautiful - an understated mini universe! Not only are the different lichen arrangements fascinating, but the wood textures and patterns are beautifully varied. There are so many miniature 'worlds' out there that we often overlook, or forget to look at and admire. Don't forget to look ...
I don't know what the soundtrack for a scone-themed post would be; this is a baking, picture theme.
Cranberry with Marmalade
Orange, topped with brown sugar orange zest
Cranberry-rosemary in wedges
Cranberry-rosemary in rounds
Photo by Dale Schultz
I was an emotional and easily scared child growing up. I was afraid of the dark. I was terrified of aquariums. The mosaic dolphin on the bottom of a friend's pool scared me, making me feel as if I was in the dark, vast ocean. Ghosts? The supernatural or paranormal? Too close to my religious fear of the devil and exorcists. I was afraid to not be perfect, afraid I might be arrogant, or unkind, or wilful, in case it would make me too sinful and I'd go to hell - punished, with the threat of fire and brimstone, as is the Catholic way. It made me fearful of imagined demons, of threats, of evil.
I recall a close up photo of a BLACK cat with jade green eyes being used as a full page advert for some innocuous product or other, that I just could not look at as a child. It terrified me! The black cat seemed EVIL. If I was going through a magazine and opened unexpectedly on that page, I'd freak out and SHUT it immediately. Frightened out of my wits! I wouldn't open that issue again. I never saw it long enough to know what product was being advertised!
That was a long time ago, but when I consider it now as an adult, I'm intrigued at how instilling fear was used to control me as a child; how it kept me complacent, disciplined and obedient. I'm happy to say that all these years later, I can now admire and enjoy and revel in a black cat and its green eyes! And I don't think I'm all that obedient!