31 December 2007

fast away the old year passes

and what a year it was. college teaching, beach vacations, old and new jobs, championship baseball, the birth of the baby girl. my hope for the new year - family happiness, good health for good friends, guardian angels for those in harms way, global sanity, and many more serentipitous opportunities for us all. happy new year!

30 December 2007

noises in the night

black stillness on this night at years end. soft snow falls adding to the depth already present from previous storms. earlier tonight on the edge of the back woods a lone fisher repeatedly cried out as he traversed the property. loud shrieks emitted in anger or frustration, he sounded eerily like a child in distress. had i not known what it was i might even have put on boots and coat and gone to help. as it is i have yet to turn off outside lights lest he return to wail in the darkness once again.

29 December 2007

the girl's christmas

only once have i used someone else's photo in this blog - now i do so again. this was taken by the girl at her house. her christmas tree and yes, the baby girl gazing up at it. ive had this photo for days and am still totally captivated by it and all that it signifies. the simplicity and wonder of the season. the peace and the beauty of the holiday. what's most important at this time of year, now and always.

28 December 2007


five pieces of mail today from presidential hopefuls. eight phone calls from people i dont know urging support for their candidate. thank goodness for caller id. i think i'll be very glad when our primary is over and attention is focused elsewhere. it seems a bit unamerican to say that but its what i feel.

27 December 2007

heav'nly peace

its hard to imagine the turmoil in other parts of the world this day given the fact that its such a peaceful quiet winters day here in new england. it takes a day like today to remind me just how blessed my life really is.

24 December 2007

the night before christmas

three brand new versions of the night before christmas this evening. a mary englebreight cloth book for the baby girl and the grandma moses version for her mother. but the girl gave me the best edition - one with transparent black and white illustrations that project shadows onto a dark wall when you shine a flashlight through them! heres the final page. happy christmas to all and to all a good night!

23 December 2007

wrapping paper

in her eighth year the girl made this wrapping paper from a grocery bag and a two halves of a potato she carved to use as stamps. and she wrapped my christmas gift in it. that present is long forgotten but the paper lives on as an important part of our holiday celebration. each year i wrap one of the girls presents in this same paper being careful not to cut it or fold it excessively or to use too much tape. if calculations are correct, this is the twenty-fourth christmas this paper has been under the tree.


on this longest night of the year, the house is still and candle lit with sacred choral hymns quietly playing as i make preparations for the holiday. outside it is dark despite the nearly full cold moon shining above thick clouds. i burn a candle in the snow to ward off the darkness. a fitting night to begin the season of winter.

22 December 2007

in the wood pile

found this morning amongst the logs, six months or so after some unknown reptile discarded it. papery-thin and delicate, its a complete skin, head to tail. you can even see its eyes.

20 December 2007

the gift of a snow day

one of the best things about working in a school is the arrival of an unanticipated snow day. especially one that comes a few days before christmas. today i wrap, decorate, bake, read and drink spiced chai. and sit in the window with wonder and delight watching the snow fall.

19 December 2007

view from the bridge

this is the river ive gone over at least twice a day for the last twenty years. the bridge over it closed a few days ago and will be out of commission for a very long time while its being rebuilt. its bad enough that the alternative route is up hill and down, a roundabout way to get to most local goods and services. its a pity that my gas bill now has begun to skyrocket with all the extra mileage. but what saddens me the most is that, in my travels, i wont be able to look down and see this beautiful river. not for a long long time.

15 December 2007

cookie day

the girl came with the baby girl and we three generations spent the afternoon baking for christmas like we used to years ago. the dough-rolling and cookie baking were tedious and the decorating more so. but as we worked we passed the time listening to christmas music and talking about holidays past, present, and future. next christmas i'll get the baby girl a chef's hat as she'll be old enough to participate. but for this year she just took in the festivities sitting up by herself on the thick flannel quilt in front of the woodstove.

14 December 2007


the first of the christmas narcissus bulbs is in bloom. even though its only one stem, i can smell it across the room as i fuss in the kitchen tonight.

12 December 2007

under the feeder

this morning while driving down the hill i missed a stunning shot of a long line of fat dark turkeys plodding single file across a snow encrusted field. it could have made a beautiful blog picture and i sure hope santa brings that point and shoot camera. those turkeys must have really wanted to be the subject of todays posting, however. tonight i came home to find the snow under the bird feeders covered with their big turkey footprints.

11 December 2007

the town tree

obviously i moved while making this shot of the christmas tree on the common so you might think this pictures a dud. but i like the way the lights came out. it sort of looks like luminescent candy canes if you tilt your head just so. on second thought, maybe youd need to stand on your head.

10 December 2007

showing my ignorance

todays shirt was made in brunei darussalam. im ashamed to admit that i had to look it up to find out where that even is. not only is the world getting smaller and flatter, the name changes are really hard to keep up with.

08 December 2007

christmas shopping

shopping for presents is not one of my favorite things to do. but despite the fact that there are only two more weeks til christmas and the stores and parking lots were mobbed, i thought i had a pretty nice time shopping today. got some of the gifts i went for and saw lots of people i know including a few i havent seen in much too long. i sang along with store christmas music and didnt even mind waiting in long lines. but then the trip ended on a low note when the clerk at the coffee place gave me a senior citizen discount on my decaf that im actually not even sure im entitled to. maybe i just looked tired from all that shopping.

06 December 2007

the right hand pocket

i carry lots of things in my pockets. dental floss, hand sanitizer and gum. the day's to-do list. one of those microfiber cloths for cleaning glasses with. and money. bills only since change takes up too much room. however today i mistakenly went off to work with this pocketful of coins. and in the spirit of the season i just jingled all the way all day long.

more ice

who needs icicle lights when you have the real thing? soft light from the kitchen and the doorway lamp makes the ice sparkle and glow this quiet frosty morning.

02 December 2007

ice in the woods

an impromptu walk this afternoon to gather greens for decorating. the air was cold and still. the woods were silent as they often are before a storm. i happened upon this small dark frozen spot, hardly more than a puddle really, but with ice as glossy and smooth as glass. i longed to skate on it in the peaceful stillness of the forest.

storm warning

meteorological conditions are such that a winter storm warning has been posted for much of new england. the potential is there for our first big snow event of the season. we all spring to action - digging out snowshovels and ice scrapers, hanging bird feeders, and finding boots and mittens in backs of closets. here i compost frozen fall pumpkins before they are forgotten under snow and sprout in spring right where they were placed for october decoration. lay in a supply of eggs, flour and sugar lest the christmas cookie mood strike later on. dress the bears warmly for winter. then put on christmas music, watch the sky, and just wait.

01 December 2007

back roads

another back roads excursion this morning as a friend took me on several long and narrow windy little roads to get from one familiar spot to another. up hills and down we passed by farms ringed with stone walls and dotted with modest old houses and barns. and holsteins practically camouflaged in fields dusted with last nights snow.

30 November 2007

just in time for december

turn the calendar to a new month and end this one. then look up to see big fat winddriven snowflakes sparkling outside the window in the doorway light. come december!

28 November 2007

hotel coffee

in truth i dont travel much. but every time i do, i am repeatedly hopeful that the coffee in the hotel room will be better than it was the last time i tried it. again this trip i am wrong. maybe its the water. maybe the little coffee packet is measured wrong. maybe its the single tiny package of creamer not enough to even lighten the brew. all i know is this mornings coffee is once again lousy. and ill probably try it again next time anyway.

26 November 2007

negative space

some months ago i read in a book about negative space, that white space in and around conventional print that sometimes forms an object or symbol. as an example the author used the arrow in the fed ex graphic. now try as i might i can see nothing but that arrow every time a fed ex truck passes by.

25 November 2007

icy cold

an extended cold snap this long thanksgiving weekend. cold enough for mittens and hats and heavy socks. cold enough for frost on the windshield and seeing your breath. so cold that ice has begun to form on pools and ponds and even on the river.

22 November 2007

thanksgiving day

i awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, old and new. ~ralph waldo emerson
also for readers with whom i can share serendipitous moments. ~chris

happy thanksgiving to you all!

20 November 2007

whilst the floor dries

sitting here with my feet on chair rungs, trapped in my work corner by damp flooring, i can do nothing but stare out the window at the season's first snow, long for a cigarette, and ponder how unfair life can be at times. and marvel at the fact that it's never really been that way to me.

19 November 2007

holiday baking

although i don't do it much any more, i love to bake. this is about the only time of the year i can justify doing it. theres always been something soothing about baking for the holidays and for company. last night i made pumpkin bread - for thanksgiving and for giving to friends along with thanksgiving blessings. tonight it was honey cake with an autumn compote of honey, pears, apples, and ginger. i hum as i bake and the kitchen fills with the warmth and spicy scents of the season.

18 November 2007

remnant of summer

washing windows on the other side of the house in the fading afternoon light, i look up to see this tucked into the corner under the eaves. its huge. how it got there i have no idea. whats more, i have no idea what to do with it. sure would be neat to keep it though. a natural work of art.

16 November 2007

when seasons really change

strange mornings this week: frosty ones earlier validating my decision to finally remove window screens last weekend. midweek temperatures so balmy that the woodstove makes the place unbearable and a window must be opened running the risk that a squirrel may enter through the bathroom. now this morning, listening to wind and watching the temperature drop, waiting for snow.

14 November 2007

leaves of oak

oak leaves are so tenacious in late fall. stiff and sturdy hanging on through rain and wind, rattling on their branches. flying sidewards though the air like nature's weather vane.

13 November 2007


in an effort to personalize the new car im adding a few little vehicle accoutrements. like this webkin for my dashboard. i chose it because it reminded me of a seagull. but the clerk who sold it to me said it was a duck. a friend who noticed it swears its a platypus. and the website where i registered it was no help at all! so im not sure what it is thats coming along with me for the ride. i just know he never criticizes my driving or laughs at me when i sing.

11 November 2007

when you gotta go...

you gotta go. and i did. i really did. so i did. fast. and with my eyes closed the whole time.

09 November 2007

money, money, money

this is the money plant (aka lunaria) down by the sitting spot at the end of the yard. i blogged about it last spring and how it had suddenly materialized after being gone for about ten years. it has since bloomed then formed seeds in flat green pods. now the pods have dried and withered leaving silver dollar disks so starkly white they are visible clear across the yard. looking closely though i now find evidence of all three stages of growth on this one single plant. and in november yet.

07 November 2007


early morning frost lines the top edges of this makeshift fence. if i were taller i'd have gotten a more beautiful shot.

06 November 2007


big astronomical news these nights. a comet previously visible only by telescope has recently exploded for reasons unknown to science. the expansion of the gas cloud has the comet fast approaching the size of jupiter with the result that it is suddenly visible to the naked eye. with binoculars tonight i saw it within the constellation perseus. amidst the pinpoint pricks of light a large fuzzy ball suspended in the night sky right over my head. and right in my own backyard.

04 November 2007

november II

time was when i hated this month. i know lots of people do. dead cold and bleak, the only good things about november were that it was a short month and there were two federal holidays in it. but about twenty years ago, i read "november light" a story by my writer friend gretchen. a wonderful piece full of beautiful imagery and heartfelt emotion. it so changed my perception of november that over time its become my favorite month. so every november at the beginning of the month i plan the night when i ritually make a cup of tea, remove the manuscript from its place in my cupboard, and read it. and it touches my heart all over again.

02 November 2007


the quietest month of the year. by now gardens are turned under, fallen leaves are composted, and wood has been stacked and waits for the woodstove. in the forest, leaves litter the floor and you can see deep in through the trees. dark comes early these november nights with brilliant stars and later moonlight that will illuminate the bare landscape. one still november afternoon snow comes silently drifting from a steel grey sky. november brings frosty mornings, clear chill nights, and a time for peace and pause before winter sets in.

31 October 2007


i had planned on blogging my feet again. my nod to halloween was festive orange green and purple striped toe socks and black birkenstocks (any excuse to wear those!) but then i happened upon a friend who incredibly had more elaborately decorated feet than mine. so im blogging hers instead.
happy halloween.

29 October 2007

world series

a sweep!
the red sox have won the 2007 world series!
mike lowell is the mvp!
let the party begin!!

27 October 2007

serendipity or coincidence?

of late things have happened so serendipitously that its eerie. earlier this week i was counting a large amount of money and counted $710 in bills and $7.10 in coins. wednesday morning there were two emails in my inbox that made reference to, of all things, thistle. and this most recent event: as i was placing a runner on the table trying to make a decision about thanksgiving napery i saw movement outside the window and looked up to see a lone turkey in the yard. in my disbelief i missed the shot of the turkey. so here's a picture of the runner instead.

26 October 2007

new wheels

a new car in the driveway tonight. the purchase finalizes months of shopping and pondering and procrastinating. it is not yet comfortable, not yet fun to drive but i am confident that this will come with time. it does smell good however! this picture taken at the onset of the maiden voyage home when a lucky ladybug landed on the windshield as i turned the key in the ingition.

25 October 2007


my little camera, the one i keep with me all the time, has broken. its been acting funny for a while now. but today the zoom lens heaved a sigh and stopped zooming. the camera wont even turn on now. who knows when ill ever blog again.

23 October 2007

mums the word

chrysanthemums. autumns quintessential flower. one of the best things about the cooler weather. try as i might i cannot grow these. fortunately someone else can - so every year i buy three or four big beautiful plants. this white one is this years favorite.

22 October 2007

19 October 2007

more leaves for hannah

more foliage photographed on a fine october saturday. hannah, this is right across the bridge behind your house. heavy rain last night has muted some of the color and taken down some leaves. this will probably be as good as it gets.

17 October 2007

local color

this one's for the readership in europe and central america and all points south. lest you forget, its the brilliant red of a typical fall afternoon in new england.

16 October 2007


last summer i had a series of unfortunate vacuum cleaner events that began with buying a hoover wind tunnel online from amazon.com. on the day it was to be delivered i waited and waited and finally collected it from the ups guy who was broken down by the side of the road about five miles away. once unpacked i found the unit was faulty - no wind tunnel action. finally it took me about three hours to return the thing to its original packaging so i could ship it back to amazon and get my money back. so do i want to deal with vacuum cleaners any more? i think not. the happy ending is this yellow plastic eureka bagless tool. i bought it used at a yard sale. it works slick. and as testimony to the entire saga, i leave the price tag affixed to it and smile at my resourcefulness every time i use it.