Thursday, July 5, 2018

White Mountains of New Hampshire

The White Mountains are pretty mountains, not large and not peaked -- although we did not drive to the top of Mt. Washington the eastern US's tallest mountain. The day was rainy, cloudy and we would have seen nothing from the top. They are picturesque and full of quiet pleasures --
a favorite ski area for all of New England. Part of the Appalachian trail runs through them, and they are full of hiking trails.  Even more they are full of streams. And all the streams are full of stones, they have cascades and water falls. They are very pretty and gurgle, rush, and sound delightful.

I have only this one photograph that Leslie took on her phone, it's very typical. Unfortunately my much used and well loved Cannon Sure Shot camera made a couple of loud popping noises and, I'm told, shot a few
sparks. Death throes.  Happily Leslie had the same camera and took quite a few fine photos when we went to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons ten years.  That camera disappeared and she purchased another Cannon but a different model. Then the disappeared camera was found. So she gave me the replacement camera which she had with her but I didn't get any photos. I use a little flip phone still (yes, I'm a borderline Luddite) and I don't know how to transfer photos from that phone to my computer so I don't use it. Actually I realize that ignorance really isn't bliss ... but it's the lazy way out.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Birthday trip

Daughters Rachel (left), me and daughter Leslie at a stop on the Kangamangus highway through the  White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. This photo suggests I should change the name of this blog to Big 8-0...  however this the "More". At 65 I told "the girls" I would only count by 5s  thereafter and we'd celebrate with a road trip someplace we haven't been in the USA. So far we've had very good trips starting with California (Yosemite, etc, unforgettable mud baths at an Indian Wells spa), Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (badgers up close/bison), New Mexico (my bucket list first time to ride a horse--up Wheeler Mountain), and we've just returned from seaside Maine and New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest (but no drive up Mt. Washington because it was clouded in). We mostly explored the Kangamangus Highway (named for an Indian chief).  But also went to the historic Breton Woods grand hotel to see how the 1% have vacationed for some 100 years.

We all like to walk forest trails although I tire quickly on uphills and Leslie has bursitis in one hip, so we did many fairly easy trails-including my favorite actually on Monhegan Island 12 miles off the Maine coast where the forest felt like a fairy tale place. We had the necessary lobster in Maine and in Rockport, NH spent most of a day in the surprisingly large Farnsworth Museum which has many Wyeth paintings (all members of the family), a floor of excellent 20th century superstar painters and a room that had 12 golden Chinese zodiac statues by Ai Weiwei.  What a wonderful museum!!  We didn't have time for their sizable modern museum. (A town to return to!) We stayed in a hotel at a Franciscan Monastery, at a fairly typical motel with a wide lawn down to the water of an inlet and in a  cabin in the woods where we simply could not make a fire start.

After a serious look at the perils of being over 80 --although in a currently quite healthy body-- we agreed we'd all love an 85th celebration to be a cruise to Alaska instead of a road trip ... check back in five years for an update.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer Solstice Approaching

Spring may be the most beautiful month (there's disagreement between spring and autumn) but here on Cape Cod it is the most frustrating season. It comes, it goes, it rains, it's windy, when finally everything blooms, the pollen not only makes those with allergies miserable it covers cars (inside as well as out) lawn furniture and window screens.

But, ah, it's very beautiful. A visit to Heritage Plantation, the 100 acre botanical garden in the town of Sandwich, was beautiful where the rhododendron festival was just ending but most rhodies were still in full flower with huge clusters of blossoms, and the more delicate azeleas were like shyer little sisters to the show off rhodies. The day was beautiful too and we did not yet have to deal with a great summer crowd.

Next will come the hydrangias and I have noticed that both domestic roses and the wild rosa ragusa on the dunes by Long Beach are open, red, pink and white as they always do just as the new chicks of terns an sandpiper are hatching.

So far my early morning walks are quiet and I meet only a few people, it feels like my private beach. But schools are ending, the roads are getting crowded, the summer people are coming. Well, why not? Summer is the very best time to be here and I'm so very glad this where I live.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Spring crop of goslings

Last year when the goslings came to visit thee wre seven with Mama. This year there are six and Papa came too but he walked on ahead and didn't get in the photo.  The seven last year were five by their second visit.  I suspect a couple met the local coyotes or foxes (although I'e seen neither I'm told they are around). I hope the six come back.  It's a bit of a walk for such little ones from across the street  (about half a normal city block) with a rather busy street to cross. But so far I've never seen a goose get hit on this street.

Many people further along our street have turkeys but I had seen only one visitation winter before last. However last week two arrived on a gray drizzling day, I believe male and female. The male stood on my mini patio which was protection from the rain while his mate  roamed the lawn eating whatever it is they find to eat in the grass.  After a while the rather ugly fellow (that red wattle may be attractive to female turkeys but seems like a ragged old bit of garbage to me), ventured into the wet. He  stood on the lawn, fluffed out his feathers making himself look at least a third-again his normal size.  And then he shook like a wet dog.  They did not stay long, this is not their usual territory.

But a couple days ago a female (possibly the same one) arrived on the mini-patio while I was eating breakfast about 7:00. Again it was a wet, drizzly day. She simply stood occasionally moving her head back and forth or up and down but doing nothing at all. I got tired of watching her, got washed and dressed. She was still there. I began wondering if she has turkey-Alzheimers and got lost and didn't know how to go home.  I went to twork on some quilting ... for uite a while. Sometimes before 10:00 she went away.  I didn't see her leave.

Those are my largish avian visitors.   Usually gulls next on the flat roof of this builing and make a lot of noise as they come and go seeking or perhaps bringing food back for sitting mates. But it's been quiet this spring.  I'ma most desultry bird watcher.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Brief Respite

A photo from last winter which I'm sure will recreate itself in the next not-very-many weeks. We had light snow and intense cold for about ten days. An unusual start to our winter but in this age of climate change the unusual is expected.  Then we had five or so days of suddenly spring-like temperatures and mild winds -- a delight!  Now it's very cold again, but seasonably so this time. So far the snow has simply been occasional errant flakes.  I'm sure we all expect much more soon.

Our seasons, especially spring, are always very changeable from day to day, week to week. I have learned to try to take notice of what each day is. I don't like the face-freezing winds, I don't like the black ice that surrounds my car in the parking lot. I walk with great caution, this is a time of broken wrists and sprained ankles and more serious injuries and I want none of them. I've written a small poem about our brief respite of thaw.


Unseen crows in full cry
warm, wet fog wraps its wisps
among bare tree tops
a gossamer veil blending
into a skimmed milk sky
ice melts into puddles
hopeful hints of far off spring.
In this temperate latitude
adjustment to fickle weather
is an unchanging fact of life.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

On a Cold Morning in January

In our lengthy "cold snap" with the temperatures not above freezing for a couple of weeks writing about anything except the cold is difficult.

Fortunately here in the central part of Cape Cod we had almost none of the serious snow that crippled much of the East Coast.

I am warm at home and bundle up appropriately when I must go out.  I am trying to look on the bright side so I have written a short poem which I hope will be the first of three or four short poems about this January.


Globes of gold on my breakfast table
in a blue bowl beside a plate of toast,
their thin rinds pierced by a thumb nail,
I tear them easily to find the  sweet slices
of fruit, inhaling the tang of citric acid.
Hello to a day of sunlight, biting cold,
the satisfaction of a warm home
and  opportunity to write about delight
on a winter morning. I wish everyone could
start their day with such simple satisfaction.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year -- New Post

2018!    As a child one cannot imagine living to a day so distant.  But here it is and here I am, the first morning of this new year.  I changed the header to a season appropriate photo. We're in a deep freeze, have been four days already and more to come this week. It was 5 degrees at 6:00 and not to get much warmer today. However the sun is bright and sparkling on the very light layer of snow that drifted down more than 24 hours ago.

The year started auspiciously, although I was in bed at 12:00 drifting toward sleep, I went to a new year's eve party for the first time in a great many years. A fine party in a lovely house with a group of people, most of whom I knew and some of whom I met for the first time. Good talk, good food, drinks were not limited except by our well-learned caution. The only time voices were raised was not out of raucous excitement but to accomodate those who were hard of hearing. We were mostly over 70. This blog was to started to write about life from 70-onward, so it's not  surprising that guests began to drift away as of about 10:30. I gave one guest a ride home about 11:00 and was pleased that the roads were nearly empty. Younger people -- which is to say the majority -- were gathered wherever and waiting for the stroke of midnight. But we had experienced many a stroke of midnight and realized that on a very, very cold night settling under a nice warm duvet was a wonderful place to be.

This morning started well for me. The first email I opened was an acceptance of a poem I submitted to a small publication. They suggested it would be published in the middle of the month so more about that later. It's a bit of a political rant -- well, actually a serious political rant and timely.  I said to the group last night that I am very happy to have found myself accepted in a group of people who mostly have the same political views I have. But when the mutual distress reached a repetitive point, I raised my voice to change the subject a little to the future technology we and our children's children will live with by asking a question that set me thinking several weeks ago:  will the generation that  is in grade school now have to learn to drive? 

One man immediately said, "No. And the infrastructure will be abandoned because the cars will be like hovercraft." Someone else pointed out that some kinds of machinery will still be used on the ground. And so it went, remembering the kinds of telephones we have all experienced, the days before television  and when it was a pleasure to fly, not the ordeal that it is today. S my generation considered the state of the world and the unimaginable future. Probably no previous generation has been so aware that the future is utterly beyond our ability to conceive because we realize that we could not have imagined Skype, or the medical procedures that gave several people new knees, and so on.  Ah, brave new world ... or maybe that is not the correct adjective at all.