A continuation of the journey that began on January 1, 2010, recorded in "a year of getting up to meet the day." After 365 consecutive sunrise outings in that year, I couldn't bear to give up the dawn. This blog (no longer daily) will be informed and inspired by the rising light of the morning sun.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maine's spring equinox / winter hanging on

Last weekend in Maine was exceptionally beautiful.  Everyone was talking about the full moon that rose in gargantuan splendor on Saturday evening, March 20th.  A crystal clear night was in store, with a morning to match  J and I decided it was a good time to head for the coast for a sunrise outing.  He has been wanting to go to a particular lookout spot that has an exquisite eastern view over the ocean.

It was a day that makes you happy to be a Mainer.  On our way south, we could see that same luminous moon on its way down.  It didn't disappear until just before the sun showed its face.

The dogs had breakfast in the grass as the sun rose.  After sunrise, we went to Camden for human breakfast, then climbed Mt. Battie, where Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote her famous poem:  Renascence  The poem begins with three mountains and a wood, and three small islands in a bay.  Then it travels to the sky's infinity, to death buried in earth, and back again to bursting life.  It was an immediate sensation when she wrote it - quite astonishing for a 20 year old woman in 1912.  Standing in that place...you can feel a hint of what inspired her.

From there we could see Blue Hill in the distance, on the next peninsula up the coast.  Neither of us had ever climbed it - so off we went. 

You could explore the Maine coast all your life -- its endless peninsulas, coves, and little islands -- and never see it all. 

Nothing beats the satisfaction of three worn out dogs at the end of the day.  There are March days that rival any other time of year.  This was one of them.


In contrast - here are some photos from this morning - March 22nd.  You can't make assumptions about seasonal transitions around here.

But - the red-winged blackbird was singing his burrring song in the snowy treetops.  Despite appearances, spring will not be stopped.

Monday, March 14, 2011

why we study history

sunrise: 6:50 (thank you daylight savings time!)

J's father, who died in 2006, has only one sibling still living.  When J's brother planned a possible visit to Uncle T in Texas, it ballooned into a full scale family reunion.  For some reason, the Texas family - which is pretty huge, since one family had 10 children - was barely known by any of J's family as they grew up.

Even though he can't make the reunion trip, J became interested in that branch of his family's history.  He got a trial membership in ancestry.com, and I've barely seen him since.  He is filling in genealogical charts for every branch of his family and mine, tracking some lines back to the 1200's, and discovering lifetime errors in the oral histories that had been passed down to him.

Not only that - he has contacted several family members by phone.  One was a 91 year old great uncle in Washington state.  Neither had any knowledge of the other's existence before, and they talked for 2 hours.  It's pretty cool, overwhelming at times, and the provoker of a great deal of thought about all the people whose lives and stories are somehow linked to our own.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been doing a much smaller retrospect, but maybe no less relevant.  I have been re-reading "a year of getting up to meet the day," my original sunrise blog, with plans to turn it into a book. 

There are so many events I attended, people I spent time with, things that I learned, so many insights that I gained along the way in the course of that year long project -- and I had forgotten so many! 

That is why we study history - our own, our family's, the world's.  One individual human memory is hopelessly limited.  It is no wonder that history constantly repeats itself - no one can remember how it went the first time.  Living in the past is not productive, but looking at the past is enormously so.

We can gain so much insight by recording our thoughts, our observations, our little daily epiphanies.  Then they will be there to remind us, when memory fails.

Back yard update:

The same bird from last March seems to have returned to the same region of our back field, snow notwithstanding.  After a snowy winter, the pond looks to be skatable for the first time this year, after all that rain.  And at last, small patches of visible ground are appearing, but it will be a very long time before all traces of snow have gone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Caribbean sunrise - last day

On this third consecutive rainy March morning in Maine I will post my last installment of sunrise photos from our wonderful week on the Wanderbird, moored off the island of Culebra.  It will be a little inspiration of warmth and sunshine as we sweep debris from the clogged drainage channels in our flooded basement.

My column for this Friday will highlight one of the two boat captains on the Wanderbird - Karen, a Maine native.  They are an inspiring pair, Rick and Karen - living out their dreams through relentless hard work and dedication.  They, no question, were a part of the reason I was so taken by the whole trip.

The fact that they had dogs on board helped too.  One of them, a beautiful 7 month old husky, was a truly meaningful gift from an Inuit family.  They came to cherish Karen's friendship through all of her time visiting the maritime villages in their wanderings.

J and I hope to see these captains on their boat again in their true element - when they are back here up north for the summer.  They are northern people, no doubt, but the way they have adapted their best selves to the southern climes and the local people of Culebra is quite wonderful. 

Here's a photo of the late evening sky on our last day - couldn't resist it.  I loved the sky, and these little cairn sculptures are an interesting practice that brings Culebra and the Inuit cultures together.  In the second one, the Wanderbird is off in the background.

Now it's back to the rain.  On the bright side, it is slowly breaking down months of snow piles.  For the first time in ages, we are seeing the ground again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Caribbean sunrise - and seascapes

 I open with a photograph of another shipboard dawn, taken from the deck of the Wanderbird.

This shot could have been taken almost anywhere.  Dawn skies are transcendent, wherever you go.  The rest of today's post will be an indulgence into seascapes of the sort that will never be seen up here in Maine. 

 On Flamenco beach in Culebra there is an old army tank, rusting peacefully on the shore.  A strange sight in conjunction with the natural serenity surrounding it.

Pelicans are one of my favorite birds.  They were doing a lot of fishing and flying at the tank end of the beach.

We launched our kayaks from the ship on a couple of occasions, to paddle over to shore for snorkeling.  There was yet another world that I never see - that underwater landscape of garden grottos filled with twisting corals and brilliantly colored fishes of all shapes and sizes.  Without an underwater camera, I couldn't capture that world on film.  Memory will have to suffice.

I did get one nice shot of a poor unsuspecting sea turtle that was briefly lifted free of its watery home by my dear husband.  Not a happy turtle, but he was quickly released.