Musings: The Golden Hour

From my nature writing journal, Fall 2015

I was sitting on the front porch reading and watching the half dozen crows that were making a raucous in the trees across the road. The crows cawed loudly. The squirrels scurried about. A blue jay screeched its name, “Jay, Jay,” in the distance. Fall was quietly descending a little every day. I could see a tinge of golden brown in the grasses on the other shore across the river. Gazing with a squint to better my focus my eyes, I realized there was a great blue heron slowly moving in the river grass along the shore, looking for its evening meal.

All of a sudden there was a riotous and rowdy clambering in the trees coming from the crows and then a crash followed by a great fluttering of black wings. It was late afternoon. “Surely, those crows were up to no good,” I thought to myself. Continue reading

Musings: The Path Less Traveled

hellcat dikeThe dike trail at Hellcat Swamp in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was opened for a week not long ago. As I walked the trail on the outer western edge of the Refuge, along the banks of the Plum Island River, I could feel the sun so warm and comforting on my back.

There was a special sense of peace felt there walking in this space that see when ever I make a trip to the Refuge.. I asked so often as I stop at Northpool Overlook, “what is out there?” Continue reading

A Carolina Wren Comes to Roost

Last night I just discovered a Carolina Wren sleeping under the eaves on my front porch. My first reaction was what the heck is that little brown thing up there in the corner? I have red squirrels, chipmunks and field mice around the yard. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a little rodent or some other strange creature. Finally after peering out the door at it for a time, I opened the front door, went out and walked up underneath it. As I slowly, quietly walked up below it, I realized it was a little bird. It didn’t flinch a feather as I stood there a couple of feet beneath it, peering up at in the light of the porch lamp. After observing it from different angles and being certain I was not disturbing it in any way, I went inside and grabbed my camera to take some photos, because it looked so strange all puffed up there, roosting in the corner as it was.

little carolina wren sleeping in the porch eaves

I knew it was not a Sparrow and given the coloring, I thought it must be Wren of some sort. Checking my bird book, I determined it must be a Carolina Wren. My first instinct, once I realized it was a Wee Little Wren, a favorite bird of mine, was to take it down from the corner and hold the poor little creature in my hands to warm it up. It made me cold to see it up there roosting in the corner instead of in a warm nest or bird house somewhere. I myself was shivering from the chill in the air.

“Why was it not roosting in a bird house,” I questioned myself? “There are plenty of bird houses about in the yard,” I told myself.  “Perhaps it is new to the neighborhood, as I am,” I thought. Perhaps it is lost and sought shelter here on my front porch.  Continue reading

Letting Go or Holding On: Part Four

Letting Go and Holding On is a four-part short memoir essay, which is part of a larger creative non-fiction project that I am working on…

Part Four:

“What was it,” I asked myself, “that kept me hanging on to a faint hope that barely had a glimmer of light on the surface?” Was it the darkness in his soul that reminded me of my own darkness? He was a complex man, and I a complex woman. The danger signs had always been there. But it was never intentional. Like two schooners passing in the bay, we each tossed out a lifeline and we became entangled. Entangled and then trapped in some all-encompassing soul drama of unfulfilled emotion and passion.

It wrenched at my sensibilities with all of the weight of the dozens of boxes of books I carried with me each time I moved. There were words in those boxes of books. Words I could not express, but someone else did. There were words in those boxes. Words of love, words of wisdom, words of pain, words of self-discovery, words of social significance. Those were all the words I struggled to share and I clung to them like a lover waiting for her romance to blossom and grow as a rose grows in warm sun.

How does one find the strength to let go of something that one does not possess but holds dear? How does one stop memories that flood the mind like a tidal wave each day, rolling in and out of the heart like thunder across the plain? This existence seems barren and cold without the desired one… Yet there is no basis, is there, for the desire? Is it love or is it the illusion of love that is so attractive? Is it the man or the illusion of the man that is so attractive? These are the questions I ask myself daily and I have as yet to find an answer for them.

And still, I hold on, clinging to the vine of desire as though it were a lifeline tossed over the edge of the precipice while I dangle like a fish on a hook, waiting, waiting, waiting for he who may never return. I covet that which I cannot have and I covet that which I do not need. It is a paradox is it not. The paradox of holding on to things that one may no longer need or want. The paradox of life at any age in which you realize you have unfilled connections, desires and emotions. These are the things that haunt me.

These are the things that I pack in my boxes and haul about with me. They are not my baggage, they are my stuff and they are my dreams. These are the things I allow myself to wallow in, wishing for something more than I have. Understanding that connections made on the map of the universe, must be played out, despite the pain. From these things, I learn every day. And so, I keep them close. All the stuffs and the man. For now. Because I am learning from them. “When the learning stops, I will let them go,” I say to myself. Until then I hold on; I pack them up again in boxes again and again, hauling the weight of boxes of books and rocks and unrequited love with me wherever I go.

The EndMaybe.

Stay tuned for Nesting on the River.

Letting Go or Holding On: Part Three

Letting Go and Holding On is a four-part short memoir essay, which is part of a larger creative non-fiction project that I am working on…

Part Three:

There are times when you meet someone and you just know there is a connection that goes beyond the norm. You feel this person deeply; you connect with them not as meeting a new friend but as though you have known this person all your life. Sometimes that soul connection is just a brief stop in the trajectory of your life, sometimes they are gone within an instant and sometimes they haunt you, leaving you feeling as though whatever the business was you had with them, they left you and the work is not complete. And so it was that I felt this connection with someone I had no business feeling anything for. He was unavailable on a multitude of levels, and in my heart of hearts, I could not let go of that feeling that he would be back for me one day.

The ultimate Cinderella fantasy, waiting for the white knight to return. But this one was not a white knight by any sense of the imagery or emotion. Oh no, he was a long, lean, agile, dark knight built for speed, riding a gleaming black Harley Davidson. Yes, he was agile and self-possessed yet the self-doubt he possessed could be seen in the corner of his heart space that lay open to my empathic feelers. That and his wry, ironic wit that seemed most prevalent to the unvarnished eye that overlooked the myriad of problems he possessed. Not run of the mill problems, oh no. One could not be so lucky. He was the epitome of the wounded bird. All the more desirable to the healer in me who saw him as someone who needed to be healed, someone who needed to be loved.

I remember when we first met as neighbors, I thought “Oh, a biker. I hope he’s quiet.” The connection did not happen at first. You know how that goes. You pick up a rock on the ground and you feel the weight in your hand. It feels off, you toss it back to the ground. However, something calls you to pick that rock up again, because you saw something in that rock. You realize as you look it over again that it is shaped like a heart. You say, “I need this rock. It belongs in my collection of heart shaped rocks.” These are the hearts of stone. The ones, who slipped, rolled or tumbled out of my life, rarely quietly, most oft they would tumult out of my life like an avalanche.

The hearts of stone are all smooth operators. Fine earthly matter shaped and molded by millennia of natural geological forces. These were the eternal hearts of stone. Most often, it felt like these were the only hearts I ever attracted. And I clung to those hearts of stone, packing them all into boxes; I took those hearts of stone with me each time I moved. They carried a weight heavier than in ounces, they weighed on my heart with all of the magnitude of lost and unrequited love.

Stay tuned for Part Four


Letting Go or Holding On: Part Two

Letting Go and Holding On is a four-part short memoir essay, which is part of a larger creative non-fiction project that I am working on…

Part Two:

So there I was, unpacking all of these fancy dresses and wondering why was I still hanging on to them. Chances are at this point in my life, living in a small coastal town on the north shore of Massachusetts, I was never going to have the need to wear one again. And then there was my daughter Juliet, I could always use her as an excuse to hang on to those dresses. Yes, I thought, “She might wear them someday. She likes vintage clothing.”

The thought of paring down my closet comingles with the thought of paring down my body. I hang on stubbornly, wishing I were forty—forty-five years old again; even fifty would do, still rocking those tight little black dresses and spike heels at the blues bar on Saturday nights. Who was that woman, I ask myself now. “She feels like she was some styling soul sister,” I respond to myself, “She was not my self. No she was just a facet of me back in the day.” In truth, I had begun to separate from that self, a few years before I left Los Angeles, but part of me still hangs on to her clothes now, secretly hoping I can slip into a little black dress and head down to the local blues bar for a Saturday night of good times and good tunes. I have a hard time letting go of things. My memories of these times gone by both haunt and amuse me.

A trip down memory lane, a night out in the blues club, grooving to straight-up, white hot road musicians who regularly toured with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and others. Yes, that was I, in my other life sometime in the 1990’s on the left coast. I rocked my little black dresses and spike heels with my platinum blonde buzz cut. I fit in in there that eclectic city of angels. I was even consider more normal than eclectic there in L.A., unlike here at home where I am a bit avant-garde in my attitude and tastes.

“Look at me now I think,” my hair is long and au natural, in multi-colored streaks of gray, blonde and brown. In fact, my hair is so long that it falls a few inches below my shoulders, the longest it has ever been in my life. He liked my hair long. Somehow, I felt as though I let my hair grow with the instinctual knowledge that he would consume himself in it one day. Yes, it was that sort of connection that we had. I knew the hair would pull him in. And it did. A year and half had gone by from the last time we had seen each other and all he could say was “your hair… please don’t cut your hair.” “I won’t,” I told him.

Stay tuned for Part Three

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