Tuesday, July 16, 2013


one summer day downeast

Oh summer!  We wait for you for so long, and you're actually here, now!  The days are long, and we spend time walking on dirt roads by the ocean, admiring the tangle of wildflowers on the verge:   

We step down on to the beach, and visit a beloved stump, one I painted nearly ten years when it was still a living spruce tree, with its dark green top casting a wide net of dappled shade on the sand:

Lots of people love this tree - the hollow trunk contains offerings of beach stones, placed carefully like tiny cairns.  And I love this tree still, even in death, taken down as it is to its elemental bones.  Erosion is moving the sand steadily back, but the strong roots still anchor the tree to its home.  I wonder when it will finally float out to sea, perhaps on some high winter tide, after a strong storm finally dislodges it.  When it does, the event will be front page news in the newspaper of my life, that much is certain.  The sea breeze rises and my shirt billows, and I think of Thoreau, from The Maine Woods, out on a walk of his own:

"Talk of mysteries!  Think of our life in nature, - daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, - rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense!  Contact!  Contact!  Who are we? where are we?"

We are so lucky to be here, on this remote beach, far downeast, with no one else around, on this hot July day.  Being tree huggers - nature lovers - contemplating the great mystery.

Ryan's camera-happy lately and follows me around, but I manage to turn the tables on him, once:

And then he wanders off, and I settle in to paint for a while, and try to say something wordless about this glory of a summer day, the blue and sparkle of the ocean, the high fairweather clouds, the dark islands just offshore.  Inland, ninety degrees, but here, facing open ocean, the wind off the water has a distinct chill.

And later, when we swim at high tide, the water is deliciously icy.  Nature!  Summer!  Rocks, trees, wind!  May this season find you similarly blessed, wherever you are!

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