Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30: Overheard conversations

Dining al fresco--
man at next table
talks about someone I know.

July 29: Raspberries

So sweet--
one ripe raspberry
offered up in her hand.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28: Good book

Rain and clinging mist,
my head in the clouds all day--
unfinished book.

Reading CB Anderson's excellent book RIVER TALK. Perfect reading for a rainy summer day: resonant stories of life in the rural mill towns of western Maine, full of poignantly drawn characters living their ordinary, beautiful lives.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27 (2): Sunday afternoon

Curled up on the couch next to the cat, reading poetry while the cat eyes a sparrow out the window...

Rainy Sunday--
jazz on the stereo,
sparrow also singing.

July 27: Rainy day with books

Finally, it rains.
I'm home alone
reading erotic poetry.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26: In the back yard

River turned mirror.
When I turn off the mower,
goldfinch's chatter.

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25: Big red Sun

Low hazy red sun.
Fin de siecle moment--
how long will we last?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24: Hay!

Roadside bales of hay.
I can't help saying out loud
what's on my mind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23: Yard bird

First thing this morning--
sudden wren serenade
while I check my email.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22: Out with my niece

Waiting for our food
at the Waterfront,
we play Mad Libs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21: West Quoddy Head, on the path to the Bog

Impression on the trail
where a grouse once bathed.
Spruce, moss keep secrets well.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20: Puffin Quest

Went Down East to join a bunch of birder friends on Andy Patterson's charter boat out of Cutler to Machias Seal Island, in search of a Tufted Puffin that has been seen there sporadically over the past few weeks.

What's the big deal? Well, the Tufted Puffin is a bird of the Pacific Ocean; only three or four have been observed in the Atlantic, ever. This one's been hanging out around this amazing seabird nesting island--a disputed US/Canadian territory--along with thousands of its alcid relatives: Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and Common Murres.

Fourteen birds looking for one bird among thousands, but the seas were calm and skies clear, making it a perfect afternoon to linger offshore and scan for hours from the gently rocking boat. If the Tufted Puffin had been there, we'd have found it. And we had such an awesome time trying that we didn't mind that it wasn't there. As they often say, in the end it was all about the quest, all about the calm and beauty we found on the way.

Machias Seal Island Light 
Atlantic Puffins and one Common Murre
Alcids offshore
A strange sea lullaby--
lapping of waves on island,
seabirds' mews and groans.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19: Doldrums

By six a.m.
even the singing vireo
is bored with his song.

July 18: Domestic dispute

Late night, back road,
woman blocking a stopped car--
we've all been there.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17: In the milkweed patch

Patch of milkweed--
bees also pause to enjoy
the fragrant beauty.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16: Grocery store

I say "thank you" twice
to the young grocery bagger,
but she won't look at me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15: Night gulls in Portland

After the rainstorm
pale forms of gulls flit
above Longfellow Square.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14: Sailing in sun and fog

My friend Jacob took me out in his sailboat today, a J40 named Ex Libris. We sailed from Rockland Harbor out to the Fox Islands Thorofare between North Haven and Vinalhaven, and then back to her home mooring in Camden Harbor. The fog settled in by the time we'd sailed past the Rockland Breakwater. We sailed on through it out to the islands, where it was a perfect, sunny summer day, then back through the fog bank to reach home, where the sun was also shining.

Sailing through the fog, with only the radar to tell you where you are, there's a sense of existing very much in the present. No geographic borders seem to exist and space seems transient, shifting with the waves and wind. I was reminded (in both a literal and figurative way) of the classical Japanese Buddhist concept of "the floating world," which refers to the ephemerality of our dream-like material existence.

No horizon here,
just sea and fog--
our own floating world.

Fog bank and clouds above North Haven
Camden Hills
Boat in fog
Approaching Camden Harbor

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 13: Camden Harbor

Ospreys overhead
as we down our cocktails.
All's right with the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12: Moon-viewing from the beach

We've come here just for this:
full moon rising over bay,
bare feet in sand.

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11: Moonrise

Rising full moon
hasn't yet scaled
the oak trees next door.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10: Fat Full Moon

Full moon over the harbor.
This rich life we lead--
dining al fresco with friends.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9: Happy Hour

Swifts chatter overhead
while we sip cocktails, laugh
on the patio.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8: Hopeful

Milkweed blooming now,
but no Monarchs here yet.
Not yet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7: Catbird cacophony

Our meeting pauses
when the catbird starts to sing
outside the office.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 4 - 6: In the North Woods

Another travelogue:
My husband Paul and I headed up to the North Woods for the long holiday weekend, staying two nights at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Gorman Chairbank Lodge and Cabins. This was hardly roughing it: our log cabin featured a comfy bed and wood stove, and we were served sumptuous, family-style meals (and drinks) in the main lodge, which also housed a sitting area/library and bright, clean bathrooms with hot showers--all running off-the-grid. We were grateful for this comfort, as it made the wet weather bearable.

The theme of the weekend seemed to be WATER. We drove up on the Fourth of July, saw a cow moose feeding in a pond on the way. Ate lunch in Greenville while watching rain fall on Moosehead Lake from inside a restaurant with a leaking roof. Then we hit the muddy dirt roads and drove east into the woods to the camp. Once there, Paul fished off the dock for a while. That night, we listened to the syncopation of raindrops on the metal roof of our cabin while loons called from the pond.

Raindrops and fish rises
pockmark the water.
Across the pond, wren sings.

Even in heavy rain
fireflies flash
under the dark pines.

Saturday we'd intended to hike into Gulf Hagas, "the Grand Canyon of the East," via the Hermitage, a stand of very old white pines along the Appalachian Trail, just across the West Branch of the Pleasant River and below the gorge itself. Thanks to the continuing rain, however, that trail, which requires one to ford the swollen river, was closed. The AMC rangers didn't want anyone washing away downriver. So we hiked in the rain to the Head of the Gulf (the "start" of Gulf Hagas) via a longer, very saturated, slick trail. It was worth it. The rain eventually stopped and the drama of Gulf Hagas could be fully appreciated, as it was running full and high, serious whitewater. We slipped and slid our way along the rim past three different sets of falls (Stair, Billings, Buttermilk; didn't quite make it to The Jaws), then sloshed back up the trail across (and through) many pretty, gushing feeder streams, including a few streams that disappeared into holes in the ground to resurface a few yards downhill.

Rain spatters on leaves,
Buttermilk Falls churns--
we barely hear the wren.

Delicate things persist
amid the torrents:
ferns, lichens, bird song.

Undeterred by rain, us,
thrushes share wild flutesongs
across the wet trail.

Wild strawberries
at trail's end--
slugs found them too.

Last night the sky cleared over the pond just before sunset, touching the treetops with rich golden light. We indulged in hot showers and cranked up the wood stove, before enjoying a big turkey dinner in the Lodge. Before bed, Paul fly-fished in a nearby beaver flowage. Stars shone. High above the pond, the half moon danced closely with Mars and Saturn. Loons called across the pond. Life was good.

Today the river was still running too high for us to attempt a crossing to the Hermitage. So instead we hiked up Laurie's Ledge Trail to a viewpoint from which we could see spruce-topped mountains unfold all the way to Katahdin. Toads and frogs hopped along the still-wet trail, and thrushes and warblers sang amid the dense, leafy forest. We checked out nearby Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins, another AMC camp, then headed out of the woods. In Greenville, before we turned south for home, we enjoyed an excellent lobster crepe at a food truck, Cafe Crepe (which we were happy to learn is also in Freeport). All good adventures should end thus, with an excellent meal.

Backpackers bolder than us fording the waist-deep currents
of the West Branch of the Pleasant River
under the close eye of the AMC ranger one full day after the rain stopped.
Garter snake suns
on our cabin step--
a simple valediction.

From atop a log
toad's golden eyes, staring.
So that's his magic...

Lunch on Moosehead Lake.
Next table, float plane pilot
sets up new charters.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3: Baby birds are bustin' out all over

As I stand here at my desk, three young crows are whining in the driveway, begging one of their parents for food. They're full size and look almost exactly like the adult bird, except their gapes--the insides of their bills--are bright red, and the gape flanges along the edges of their bills are still obvious, giving them a lingering hint of that baby bird look. The parent bird shoves something into the mouth of one of the whiners, and they all shut up for a few minutes. Left on their own, they spread out across the lawn to graze quietly. Two of them peck at unripe blueberry plants. At that age, why not try everything?

Begging young crows--
I'm wondering,
does appetite ever cease?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2: Blue Jay crisis

Blue Jays built a nest on our front porch and hatched out one nestling, now half-grown. Unfortunately today it prematurely bailed out of the nest, and then did it again and again each time Paul replaced it. We can't tell if it hurt itself in the fall or is just weak because its parents are too busy dive-bombing everything in the yard to look after it. But after consulting Avian Haven, the bird rehabilitation place in Freedom, Paul put it in a basket with some soft rags and hung it up by the nest in hopes that the parents will resume tending to it. We have been trying not to care too much, because you just can't get attached to a baby bird, but the vulnerable little thing did hatch on our porch...

This won't end well--
I wish the struggling jay
hadn't clung to my finger.

July 3 update: The baby jay, in rough shape but still alive this morning, was transferred to Avian Haven.

July 1: Hot night out

Went out with a girlfriend for dinner and a gab session. Sat on the harborside deck of Peter Ott's in Camden, where we watched the daysailers head out for sunset cruises and enjoyed the breeze off the water at the end of a long, sultry day.

Sailboats motor out
to catch the breeze.
Conversation turns to sex.