Summer! Ahhh! Summer has arrived. The best part about the sunny summer is not the long days stretching into nine o’clock evenings. Not the showers frequently offering a needed drink for the garden. Not the green grasses that grow quickly, requiring lawn to be mowed. It’s those delectable, downright
luscious planted flowers that appear.
Our flower garden carpets the backyard, screaming loudly from their landscaped spots as they provide a grand picture of beauty among the radiant tones of red,
vivid shades of purple, hints of stand out yellow and dazzling bright white,
describing pure elegance in the world of planted flowers.
Maine flowers speak loudly of poise and grace, offering shades of fascination
while those splashes of color spring up. Growth appears daily.
A painting without a brush transpires.
A flower summer.
A lovely luminescent summer.
A Maine summer bringing those awe-inspiring flowers to life.
This was a photo taken last summer.
This piece was written today for my writing class at the Rockport Library.
Am I getting old? No, really! Am I reaching old age? It was only yesterday when I performed in a ballet as Snow White with those shiny pink toe shoes ribboned up, eating away at my feet while taking many steps and twirls slipping me into an imaginary world of delight. I was 12!
My hair continues to get thinner as I attempt to wrap skinny thread-like strands around the barrel of a curling iron each day. Creases all over the face are voluminous as I take time to look into the mirror holding a jar of wrinkle remover. The once loved tiny freckles are now called age spots. I cake on newly purchased Clinique #9 Sand-colored make-up. This daily routine is more than a habit. It’s a job!
During decades of teaching, I recall when that make-up came in handy appearing in front of the students and parents. Attempting to involve sixth graders into the world of diagramming sentences, making sure a subject and verb was a daily happening. Producing polished papers occurred weekly. Over a period of thirty years, I had a ball spending twelve-hour days planning, creating, trying to make Ancient Rome come alive with Roman dress and tasting grapes while teaching about life during those times.
I’ve dropped out of volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce and have dismissed myself from the Camden Kitchen Tour responsibilities. Bridge playing has been replaced by MahJongg.
My mind is happily flooded with memories of sailing adventures, the excitement of fly-fishing, screaming happily as the golf ball entered the hole. Traveling while learning about the happenings of life in visited areas all flood my mind. Treasured reflections extensively travel swiftly, swiftly speed by as recalled details are brought back to life through photographs, letters and journals of passing times.
Today the majority of my time is spent finding misplaced car keys or remembering to check the calendar for previously set up dates. I often discover I’ve written that same grocery list on three different scraps of paper found throughout the house. How quickly these behaviors take over, replacing “sharp-as-a-tack” routines.
In her 90’s my mother, told me, “Enjoy the daily adventures. Observe slowly as those memories become a diary of life’s happenings”. Such wise words I try to live by each day.
I love taking trips through remembered experiences.
Cherished matters I thought were so desperately important no longer exist, as a spotlessly clean house gives way to reading a good book and the sailboat has been sold providing time to producing a well-written story.
As I grow older the days change into a quiet, less hectic, peacefulness. I love each stage of life I have experienced, including this one. I am encountering a slowing down reality and need to treasure this piece of my life.
I no longer fit into that size 10 dress, flirting with that good-looking guy who just took my order. I have changed. I am getting older, embracing each day as my mind jumps from previous adventures while treasuring the joy of memories.
What a mess! I walk into the living room and find a coffee table without a spare space for another thing to be put on it, because it’s filled with books and writing materials. I guess it is sort of a desk in the front of the TV, which I don’t need to be watching but instead READING.
Among the reading material sit an outdated 2001 calendar book, Garden Maine Style Daybook, that has tiptoed through time but just couldn’t be tossed. A few great photographs lie within the pages every month. Lovely writing, close to perfection, appear with each picture. One March photograph is accompanied by this sentence: “Voluptuous hydrangeas spill over weathered rails”. It reminds me of teaching again as students were busy making their sentences come alive.
Another easy and often read book contains over 600 quotations in three chapters labeled Books, Readers, Writers. Book Love is published for those who still make quotes part of their writing, bringing some meaning to what one is thinking about. I keep returning to one quote in the READER section that seems to say it all: “A good reader is the one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary and some artistic sense”.
Then there is the Booknotes by Brian Lamb about a host of storytellers, reporters and public figures sharing their words of wisdom about writing. Weekly interviews, with an emphasis on the process of writing and publishing appear in this book. It’s a C-Span book and reading the introduction is an enjoyable description of what the authors are giving us. I turn to the first page and find David McCullough’s name. He talks about his life, his family, adventures he has pursued and examples leading to him being a writer. The chapters are only three to four pages long, filled with “I needed to know that”, as it drew me closer to the writer.
A little black book, where chapters are only a page long, is a quiet time read. A sketch beside each writing is usually a deep thought that requires some thinking. It’s entitled 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White. Judy sent it to me months ago and I love it! The first sentence in the Author’s Note reads “Art is an idea that belongs to everyone”. Each page is dedicated to an “art thought”. This book also sits right by a living room chair and continually gets picked up when thinking about art on a different and deeper scale.
When I am composing these stories each week I find myself constantly referring to the book Why We Write About Ourselves where authors leave us with personal suggestions on routines to try when writing. This sort of a writing Bible for me as words come from accomplished authors.
The Magic of Memoir describes the challenges that occur while writing our stories and discovering things about ourselves, giving us tips for dealing with “practical writing”.
I’m not sure why Writing a Novel was purchased. There must be something in it that motivated me to buy it. I’m still searching for it.
Then on a lighter note is a “grand memoir” by Rick Bragg called All Over but the Shoutin’ that is filled with great writing and so far a good story where words get read while relaxing in the afternoon.
The TV Guide seems to fly into my lap around 5:00 and the saved People, lurks in the shadows, taking a place beside the good literature. For there are days when “trash” delights the eye over deep thinking reads.
Here sits all kind of literature which continues to motivate me to WRITE, referring to these reads often. I can't get rid of them! They are a part of me. So, I continue to pull one of them off the shelf when I'm stuck on the written word.
Every week when I decide what to write about I look over many friend’s writings. Some from the newspaper, others from articles in local magazines and a shared typewritten piece that close friends want me to read. All writings so very different, yet equally as good in their messaging.
Leon and I went to Warren for lunch at this new restaurant. I was up at the counter ordering a great juicy hamburger when this gal came up and said, “Barb! Is that you?” Oh, my gosh! There stood a friend that worked in Once a Tree, a shop in Camden. I haven’t seen her in forever and became absolutely delighted to catch a chance to talk with her.
She was my height, a long narrow nose, brownish hair, much thinner than I and one beautiful smile showing as we hugged again. “It’s so good to see you” were excited thoughts that came out of her mouth.
When we last saw each other I had purchased her slim homemade paperback book of poetry, which is sitting on my bedstead, referring to often when writing my blog pieces. We made plans to get together when more time was available.
All the way home I talked to Leon about writing poetry for diversion in some my weekly pieces of shared stories. Then thoughts appeared about teaching sixth graders how to make up their own poems, which I found to be a somewhat difficult task because I wasn’t sure myself how to do this.
We looked through a mass of poetry books, studying the poems, taking them apart and capturing the meaning of each. Attempting to write our own quickly became a happening. Jotting down some experiences we faced during the week and expressing them in simple poems. I was always so grateful that there were good writers. Work could be looked at, shared, with some learning taking place.
Move ahead 20 years and I find a Maine neighbor girl, Hannah, writing such poems. I was so blown away as her writings won the student contest of the 2012 Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Her book entitled Piano Notes on Pavement were purchased and distributed to Dallas and Maine friends. I gave her writings to all the area public libraries along with copies distributed to the schools. They served as gifts for many.
One of her poems that became my favorite is:
Trees change from their bright green attire
To burgundy, crimson, and scarlet
Mums transition into their fluffy mauve dresses
Grass blades jump into new bronzed pantsuits
Apples replace their emerald coverings
With golden, maroon, and jade ones
Corn swaps its lime green shawls
for fresh russet coats
The fashion show beings.
WOW! Personification at its finest is shared in this piece of writing. Can you even believe a 5th grader wrote that? It got my pen moving in the poetry direction.
On the back cover one sentence gave me reason to dive right into that book: “Put on magical sunglasses and look for a diamond desert, frogs croaking Morse code, and the lost star.”
I haven’t seen Hannah around for a several years. She moved away. I can only imagine she is burning up the world with her violin and more poetry writing. She is truly gifted and wants to share her talents with the world. All I can say is “good luck, Hannah, with all your creative adventures.”
I must return to writing some poetry as I find it so relaxing to look out at a bit of nature while having loving words grow around it.
I received this book in 2017 when Hannah was in 5th grade. She must be in high school playing the violin, reading a book and writing. Good luck in whatever adventures you choose to take part in, Hannah.
I'm sure they will be a huge success.
I’m a lover of winter! I love everything about it. The sight of whiteness gives me a thrill while sitting in a mood of a well-deserved and deeply enjoyed quiet time. The temperature reads are richly earned as the busyness of summer and the traveling in fall have pretty much slowed down in winter.
It brings back memories of times gone by as I haul a broken wooded sled out of storage, greasing it up and ready to go. From childhood on the path to adulthood, I can remember speeding down the snow-covered hills, guiding my way over bumpy ground straight into a snow bank. Totally my idea of winter happiness.
Then there is the adventure of learning to ice skate on a “not-so-smooth” frozen pond. Memories of sore ankles and frost bitten toes occur with visions of those Olympic skaters going backwards. Their legs flew high in the air and arms displayed so elegantly helped display their abilities to perfection. The twirls often headed me into a graceful but “thuddish” fall. Bright red mittens and a fuzzy stocking hat displayed the desire of the day, while I envisioned being a pro. I mean, isn’t that how you learn to be one of the graceful skaters on TV?
As I grew older snowmobiling became the scene of action during these winter days. Sitting in a colorful snowmobile suit and heavy boots while revving up the motor, we were off like speed demons across acres and acres of pasture in the snow-packed farmlands of Iowa. The excitement glided by quickly with screams of laughter and pure enjoyment.
The best part of this whole winter adventure became the building of snowmen. Large and small with knit hats and carrot noses. Colorful striped or plain red scarves ruled the day. There were pebbled eyes and buttoned front with spiky branches and twigs sitting perfectly where mittens rested. This activity has never stopped as Leon and I magically put Frosty the Snowman by the Little Free Library while Cooper sat watching this surprise happening.
Lastly, its the ice crystal branches forming on tree limbs, seeming to whisper a feeling of peace and mentally moving us to enjoy the scene appearing throughout the windows. This picture, lasting for a few hours or all day long, exploded with the frozen top branches coming closer and closer to the ground, just sitting there. The clouds hang above while a light blue sky takes its place below them. Quite a lovely scene.
I think back on all these fond winter memories. What great times were experienced with family and friends and the love of outside wintertime.
I have trouble sitting around relaxing. Some people can simply hang out and enjoy the day with book in hand, reading. If I get up, pick up that book and begin - my mind seems to wander. The kitchen stove needs cleaned up after the bacon splattered all over the place. I see a load of art work that got started without getting close to ending. I must change up that Little Free Library as books are being taken and hopefully enjoyed.
As I look at next month’s book club read, I start again. FOCUS! Oh, I have to put that laundry in the washer before going to the gym this afternoon. It’s time for Spencer’s walk. My concentration level is not working today.
I think I will go shopping to get needed items - air spray, vitamins, toothpaste. And I love checking out the latest T.J. Maxx things. Now there I could spend a whole day thinking how I could use those many different things, buy gifts - needing a present for someone’s birthday. Then it is off to the Dollar Tree which always provides something I just absolutely need.
My whole point in rambling around about all of this is I need to slow down and READ! Relax with the many books I have because of friend recommendations or book club selections or hearing about a great read on television.
Do I have ADHD? Am I a hyperactive person? Type A? Maybe I need to pick up meditating to slow me down.
Whatever it is something needs to change!
While reading the book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry I come upon a sentence "...book shelves stored albums of photographs that no one opened". I read it twice thinking about all the photos I had stored in boxes and albums over the past fifty years. Filled with remembrances, one snapshot at a time. The color had disappeared and one could hardly identify who was standing there. It gets me thinking about my "photo taking" world.
I began a picture taking adventure while teaching school, keeping a reminder of all the bulletin boards that were changed monthly and maybe reused in following years. Then photo after photo was taken over thirty-five years of students in all sorts of learning situations.
All our traveling adventures with friends needed to be recorded The celebratory dinner parties, special gatherings and all events that needed a picture to really explain what was happening. I didn't want to forget anything that existed in day to day living - year after year.
The computer arrived and completely changed my world of picture taking. The camera stores closed. Kodak picture development went out of business. The purchasing of those rolls of film totally obliterated. A new way of snapping photos took over my expensive camera. Now 12,418 digital images appear on the iPhoto section of my computer.
I became the person creating, cropping, polishing the masterpieces and sharing them daily with friends Writings and pictures on FACEBOOK keep a different form of remembering what I was up to. A blog was designed to display my art work, tell my stories, share my happenings and place those many, many depictions of my life whenever I appeared with a camera!
What am I going to do with all these memories? I have put them on a small computer disc and continue using some on my blog. But the day will arrive when I won't be capturing that best shot anymore, as the beauty of things will be there at the moment I see them, not years after. I have come a long way, just like Harold Fry, where those great tubs and boxes of treasured flashbacks will just be a memory.