Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

November 28, 2016

AFTER THE DENTIST EMERGENCY WANDERABOUT

... short version, the hygienist remarked, "oh, that doesn't look so good" ... translated into modern american english, another meaning of that phrase is "price of a used car" ... anyhow, after doctor examines the x-rays i'll know more ... in the meantime, john took over for my frazzled brain and guided us on a nice little afternoon wanderabout ...

... from cape cod hill, the western mountains are already in a winter that's heading our way ...

... thinking of ansel, another take ...

... we stopped to explore a little cemetery alongside the seavey-connor road ... as the setting sun drenched the old tombstones with a most remarkable light i paid my respects to a comrade ...

... prevailing for a billion years, they must be amused at our hubris ... "only the rocks live forever ... only the rocks live forever"—they but laugh even more ...

... along the marshy shore of parker pond, first ice ...

... at the edge of winter, soft, gentle color ...

... john was attempting to capture the sunset ... not that the back of his head isn't totally lacking compositional appeal, but i yelled from across the road, "turn sideways" ...

... a moment later he snuck up behind me and did the same ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER
... not all that good a picture, but i'm sure you'll enjoy ...

November 25, 2016

THANKSGIVING PARADE

... after our thanksgiving supper on wednesday, i helped liz and adrien set up a little village in the bookstore's main street display window ... i look at these two, and, to paraphrase the real "iron man," i know i am the luckiest person on the face of the earth ... happy thanksgiving ... !!! ...

... friday after thanksgiving is one of our annual "traditions," the waterville holiday parade ... liz settled in to her favorite viewing location, my bedroom window ... adrien and i decided the brisk wind and almost freezing rain made our usual vantage point on the roof too miserable to enjoy, so we settled for one of the windows in the abandoned 1930s dance studio that looks out over main street ...

... we thought the event might be canceled due to the weather ... as it began i questioned the wisdom of holding it in such cold and damp conditions, and wondered about the sanity of parents in bringing their small children out on such a miserable night as this ...

... once the festivities developed, however, it became clear to us that no matter how corny they might be parades are good for the soul ... as usual, miss tiffany's dancing girls were precisely choreographed and neatly attired—including their fascinatingly flashing shoes ...

... kids at the center of it all, how wonderful ...

... what great fun for a child, to be famous the length of main street ...

... adrien loves parades ...

... because, at their very best, this is what parades are about ...

... towards the end of the parade i decided to play with my camera ...

... because, after all ...

... a camera is just another kind of brush ...

I'll march my band out,
I will beat my drum,
And if I'm fanned out,
Your turn at bat, sir,
At least I didn't fake it.
Hat, sir, I guess I didn't make it.
Get ready for me, love,
'Cause I'm a "comer,"
I simply gotta march,
My heart's a drummer.
Nobody, no, nobody
Is gonna rain on my parade!
B.MERRILL

November 20, 2016

THE WOODEN BRIDGE

[A REMINDER, IF YOU CLICK ON AN IMAGE THE PICTURES WILL SHOW FULL SCREEN]

... for mid-november in these parts it was a wonderfully temperate day ... john, "let's go take some pictures" ... me, "i'm good to go" ... john, "where do you want to go" ... me, "you're the man with the plan, i'll leave it up to you" ... we made a long wander up past bethel and the sunday river resort, the last stretch of the drive a road that was new to me ... at the end was the "artist's covered bridge" spanning the sunday river ... don't be fooled by the shadows into thinking it was early evening, this far north this time of year the sun disappears around four o'clock and there's little dusk between sunset and the dark of night ...

... i cursed a bit when the car parked at the end of the bridge, but i reminded myself that, after all, that's what bridges're for, and went about exploring the functionality of this geometric composition ...

... the bridge was constructed in 1872, more than a hundred years before this tree first sprouted ... hopefully the span'll survive past the completion of the fungi's work ...

... as if the thick planks were burning embers, the bridge seemed afire in the glow of the setting sun ... appropriate when you think of why so few of these wooden covered bridges remain ...

... with the super-wide angle rokinon 12mm attached to my fuji x-t1, i found the right spot, threw all photographic caution and restraint to the winds, and snapped this picture ...

... john had been wandering around in the stream bed below the bridge, i managed to snap a shot as he emerged from the woods ...

... heading north into grafton notch on the bear river road, route 26, after our sunset we pulled to the side of the road to admire day still playing out on the rocky ridge above ...


... i'd left my tripod mount at home [that's right, the technical term photographers use for this is "big duh"], but thinking back to the day when i didn't have a tripod i proceeded to prop my camera against the rocky cliff at the downstream end of the falls ...

... how the sculptured landscape was created is a most fascinating story ... i highly recommend you make your own little wanderabout to grafton notch, where the placards and signs will tell the story while the ancient rocks will sing the tale ..

... john, ever seeking the perfect angle ...

... on the way home we found venus floating at our feet ... most remarkable ...

... it's raining today, but yesterday for a few short hours john and i took the road less traveled ... i don't believe the afternoon made "all the difference," but i've absolutely no doubt that difference, indeed, it did make ... as far as i'm concerned, this is what wanderabouting is all about ...

November 14, 2016

SUPER "SUPER" MOON

... at its full phase the moon hasn't been this close to the earth since 1948, before i was born ... in 2024 it's going to orbit even closer to the earth, my plan is that by then i'll have one of those super-duper extra-fancy nikkor lenses, you know, a tube full of expensive glass that a mile away will clearly capture all the details on a gnat's eyelash ...

... we went up to the hinkley-goodwill campus sunday evening for the moonrise ... mid-november, it was nice to enjoy shirtsleeves only temperatures ... john had pre-computed several locations we thought might be interesting, we ended up aligning the moody chapel tower with the rising moon ... i made quite a few exposures, of which this turned out to be the one i liked best ...

... i then turned my attention to john, "hey—hold very, very still," and then took this picture using my nikkor 300mm ... not an easy thing to do, i might add, making a snapshot with an 11x lens ...

... this is a vertical panorama of two hdr'd images, six exposures in all ... although it looks it, the moon has not been pasted in ... i experimented trying to get some of the lunar features to be clear and must admit that i may've overdone the process a tiny bit ... this is a case of having a lens that isn't quite up to what's being asked of it—severe chromatic aberration at the maximum aperature, in this situation very difficult to fix ...

... at five-thirty this morning we were across the river from the capitol building waiting for the flip side of the super-super moon ... in the pre-dawn darkness we became fascinated with the wisps of mist that swirled and whirled around the great copper dome ...

... as the it approached the horizon i realized that the field of view of my 300mm nikkor was far too narrow to capture both the moon and the capitol dome, so rather hastily i swapped out the big lens for my legacy canon 200mm fd lens ... was the right decision, even if it did result in a classic metal lens cap being left behind in the crystal-like frost covered tall grass ...

... seconds later ...

... on the way to breakfast john pulled over so i could snap this picture of the capitol building illuminated by the morning sun ...

... we drove to the sunset diner in belgrade for lots of coffee and a tasty breakfast ... upon entering john headed to the back of the building to wash up ... as i was setting down i heard from a group of older men sitting at a nearby table a question, "is your camera an xt-1 or xt-2" ... so cool ... i was welcomed to their table, where a great conversation concerning "nikon f3hp's" and "nikormat el's" ensued ... [you either know or you don't know, what can i say] ... after john joined us we learned that one of the gentlemen was "the oldest guy in belgrade" ... 94 ... !!! ... we were enthralled by the tales of his experiences in brazil in world war 2 ... his companions were equally fascinating ... at the end of the meal another old guy joined us, "he's the oldest *&^$^*% in belgrade, i'm the oldest nice guy in rome," or something like that ...

... what great fun, what a great morning ... from both john and myself, thank you, moon, thank you very much ...

November 11, 2016

ARMISTICE DAY 2016

... eleven o'clock in the morning on the eleventh of november, ninety-eight years ago ... of those who held their breaths as an unfamiliar silence blanketed softly the red-stained mud, none are left to talk of how they were to have been the last to suffer such insanity ...

... john and i are planning a "big moon" photographic expedition ... after hours and hours of tedious mathematical calculations and a most strenuous process of cartographically applied geometry—okay, i'll 'fess up, we used a website to do all the grunt work—we picked a spot ... this morning we drove over to preview how everything aligns ...

... once we'd checked out the spot we'd chosen john said, "let's go see the biggest tree in maine" ... a bit of wandering, we found the little park along the martin stream road, near where the pavement ends in norridgewock ...

... how fascinating ...  we were later to learn, however, that this huge tree is clearly not the state record holder ... no matter, in this fine morning it served us well so we're not going to tell ...

... as i'm sure all of you who follow my journal remember, per the "photographers' rule" john reciprocated ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER
... in skowhegan we stopped in at the "bank" for coffee and treats ... yum ...

... after returning john to his house i wandered over to the railroad yards ... figuring it made sense to ask if it was okay to walk near the tracks, i went into the office building [yes, i hear you, i'm probably becoming a bit more responsible as i get ... hmmmm, read that "less young"] ... there was only one person around, a young man with a safety vest ... "i'm not going to say it's okay, i'm not going to say it's not okay" ... cool ... using linguist skills taught to me by my dear pa, i interpreted that to mean, "go ahead, it's your a** if you get caught" ... in the yard i found preparations for winter taking place ...

... i'm saddened to see this symbol on the side of a train ... i remember my first solo flight across the atlantic in one of the very first of the mighty 747s ... the stewardess asked, "would you like chicken cordon bleu or chateaubriand" ... [this in a cheap seat—those were the days] ... of course, i could but hope that the great mortification i felt didn't show as i whispered, "i don't know what those are" ... the best part is that after she leaned closer and whispered back to me, i felt neither embarrassment nor any sense of being a rube, but only the great joy i've since learned is how it feels when someone treats you with class ...

... the train yard is a fascinating place ... i'm sure that nowadays the workers communicate with cell phones, and that their locations are calculated to the inch using g.p.s. devices ... but, when it comes to deep drifts of snow and howling winds in the emptiness of the north maine woods, the world is still analog ... massive machines, huge nuts and bolts holding things together, giant engines exploding prodigious quantities of fuel, and rugged men and women who on a daily basis know that winter can be a beast—an unforgiving never-relenting beast ...

... i wandered down to the cemetery at the south end of town ... i don't care much for such places, but this time of year idling my car along at barely crawling speed in sunken lanes filled deep with dried leaves is a most relaxing thing ... i believe it's quite possible that piles of dried leaves are something g*d took an extra moment in planning ...

... countless times i've driven over the carter bridge ... i'm also one who knows that when they built it there was an old lady living in a house located on the spot along the shore where the highway was planned to cross ... she refused to sell her property to the state ... one night while she was away there was an accidental fire ...

... was a mother brought down to the river to see the gift her child had created for her ... ??? ... is it a rule that taggers must be secretly sentimental ... ??? ... i don't know ... 

... today was a wonderful day ... thank you, john, for sharing the morning with me ... and, to all who have sacrificed, but especially to my comrades of so long ago, thank you, too ...

November 9, 2016

11.9.16-MORNING THOUGHTS

... on the morning of election day john called, "would you like to go out and paddle the canoe with me" ... many reasons, of course, but especially knowing that he is fully aware of the inefficiency of my paddling skills i was quite honored by the offer ... we put in where route 201a crosses the kennebec river in embden ... after negotiating what to me were some most frightening rapids (john laughing all the time, i'm sure to him the cascading torrent was naught but a very minor surface disturbance) we drifted with the current until we were in the lee of a great black ledge of metamorphosed shale that juts from the river's forested west bank ...

... over 100 individual engravings have been found on the ledge ... there were many more, years ago, before a logging company blasted away much of the rock to clear the channel for the huge rafts of tree trunks they floated down the river ... the markings are very, very difficult to photograph, especially when there is no contrasting light ...

... this one fascinated me ... the algonkians who passed this way, possibly around the time the first europeans were exploring the coast of new england, but equally likely that it was several thousand years ago, carved many images on these rocks ... birds, animals, little houses, various abstract symbols, etc. ... this little guy is most striking, however ... what's poking out from his side is exactly what you think it is ... off to the right, no longer visible, was a line of little dots indicating—well, indicating that the little rigid member did, indeed, function properly ...

... they thought it important to record that before they moved on ...

... when i saw the modern graffiti my first reactions were of dismay and disgust—until, that is, i thought on it a bit ... leah and joey, it seems, did no more and no less than what those ancient travelers had done ... of course, i wish they hadn't scratched their vows across the great fire-breathing dragon, if for no other reason than it took the mighty glooscap seven arrows to kill the damn thing, but— 

—but, i had to remind myself that the only reason any of the prehistoric markings remain is because this side of the ledge is shielded from the abrasive scouring of spring's gravel and sand filled flood waters ... after a certain span of years, quite possibly the same number the happy little man has been sitting here, a great glacier will polish this bit of ledge smooth again and no evidence will remain that either the algonkians, or leah and joey, ever passed this way ...

... but they did ...

... and john and i, and now you, too, know it ...

... and that's what's most important ...

"only the rocks live forever—only the rocks live forever"
GREY WOLF-CENTENNIAL

... this fine morning i was awoken not by my alarm clock nor the noise of business beginning on the street beneath my window ... rather, it was the ringing of my phone that ended my slumber, and this day's fresh consciousness began with my daughter's sweet voice, "dad ... well, how it all turned out ... are you okay ... i just wanted to check" ...

... life is good ... life is very, very good ...

"tomorrow is another day"
SCARLETT O'HARA-GONE WITH THE WIND