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.