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.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March moonrise

Now and then, we do best to bend the rules a bit.

It is clear to me, 27 months after completing my year of sunrise, that my inclination to post will far exceed my inclination to get up in time to see the dawn face to face, in the open air.  I haven't given up sunrise excursions, but even more, I haven't lost the enchantment of skywatching in general.

I had made a rule for myself - no blog post unless it included new sunrise photos.  But I will bend that rule, now and then, in order to share something I just had to show you.

March has always stood out to me as a month of inspiration.  In Maine, it is the ugliest month.  Today is the ugliest day - frozen drizzle, thick cloud cover, penetrating, damp chill, brown deadness over much of the earth.  And yet - anticipation is there, in the air, if you reach out to feel it with your heart and breathe it into your being.

Last night, just as twilight was fading, I headed outside with the dogs and saw the (nearly) full moon rising.  I cannot help but be stirred by that kind of suspended beauty.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

winter slump, spring awakening

sunrise:  6:36

This is what our Maine world looks like at the advent of spring.

It's funny though...the snow can't hide the fact that spring is in the air.  The light is broader, brighter.  Birdsong is growing in strength and enthusiasm.  I watched a pair of downy woodpeckers locked in a twirling coupling yesterday (talk about a quickie!).  There is a general softening of the atmosphere, snow notwithstanding.

It's a good thing too.  I have slogged through a month in a serious slump (sounds a bit like a Dr. Seuss predicament).  Why is it that I sometimes lose all inspiration to do anything - cook, create, write, innovate, initiate, move, exercise, accomplish, get out of bed...?  And then that judging voice kicks in with disdain, reminding me that I have no excuse to be melancholy or idle.

Maybe what's missing is that thing people call a muse, but it's really something everyone has, not just artists.  It's that spark that ignites our enthusiasm, the twinkle in our eye, the angel on our shoulder, the glowing ember in our soul, pixie dust.  But sometimes it is muffled, snuffed out, or just gone on vacation.

As usual, my canine companions are always helpful in pulling me out of the mire, given the opportunity.  They are heavily featured in today's post, enjoying the snow with their usual abandon.

There is NEWS!  First, I thought I'd link my little pool of readers to some of what I've been up to in print.  I am well over 100 columns for the Bangor Daily News now, and it has been very gratifying work, even though it's occasionally a chore to get the job done.  Here is my web page for the (paper:  http://bangordailynews.com/author/robin-clifford-wood/)

Second - Our year with Aqsa, our teenaged "daughter" from Pakistan, has gone through multiple evolutions.  Like everything truly worthwhile, it's not always easy, but the vastly predominant overall picture is pretty great.  It will be an unforgettable year.  Here's a column update about that: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/05/living/more-tales-of-a-pakistani-teenager-in-maine/

Third - part of the improving picture at home is the growing friendship between Aqsa and our youngest daughter, who rejoined the household in November for a rather undefined period of transition.  T's future is now appearing with greater clarity, since she has decided to accept the offer of admission from Tulane.  It's strange to ponder next fall now, when we will be readjusting back to the empty nest again!

Fourth - I'm going back to school too!  I have been accepted into Stonecoast's low-residency MFA program in creative writing in southern Maine.  My attachment to Maine and Maine's creative people has expanded enormously over the last few years, and I am so excited to be continuing my explorations into the literary world right here in my home state.  One of my great hopes is that the discipline, instruction, networking, and support of the program will give me the nudge I need to finish Rachel Field's story and start in on a few other book projects that have been circling langorously in my brain for years, searching for a place to land.

My first 10 day residency starts in July, but I'll have work to do between now and then, and I plan to keep up the column, at least every other week.

So - time to spring forward!  Crack open the dull shell of hibernation and embrace the muse!  Snow or no snow, it's time for a little rebirth.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Maine, Florida winter scenes

On both February 25th and 26th, 2013, I went out walking to photograph the world at dawn.  The differences between the two mornings were many, beginning with 45 degrees in temperature and 1,800 miles in distance.

Here are some photos in contrast between central Maine and Key Largo, Florida, along with my musings of the moment.


Feb. 25th

A lot of people make the journey from winter's grip to southern climes regularly, but I haven't experienced it often enough to do it without a little sense of wonder.  

I love winter.  I love that fresh cold bite on my cheeks and the energizing impetus to stride briskly in order to generate warmth.  the dogs manifest a similar exuberance to mine, though my middle-aged body can't perform with quite the same acrobatic energy as theirs.

Still, the prospect of taking a break from freezing temperatures and a lukewarm sun is tantalizing.  W're off to spend three nights with my parents in Key Largo - the farthest south I've ever been in Florida.

This lovely snow will still be here when I get back...

Feb 26th
Twenty-four hours later, here I am walking in shorts and a tank top at 7am.  My winter-dried skin is basking in the replenishing moisture of humidity.  I've see a pelican, an egret, and a couple of perky little redheaded woodpeckers - and of course a lot of flowers and palm trees.
There is no doubt that this weather elicits greater relaxation, less guarded self-protection from the elements, greater receptivity to the bathing breezes.  It is lovely to reintroduce my skin to the open air.  
Either way, it's a beautiful world.