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.

December 29, 2016

SMALLS FALLS, FROZEN

... mt. washington, arctic winter in new england ...
  
... early in the morning john and i drove up to smalls falls on the sandy river to investigate the season's ice cascade ... we'd hoped for some nice sunrise light, but when we got there snow squalls were dropping out of a very low cloud ceiling ...

... john began to play with his new "super-duper" lens ...

... in much warmer weather, of course, both liz and adrien learned to swim in these pools of pristine water ...

... how many times, i ask myself, did i spend a summer afternoon hurling myself from the rocky ledges into the deep basins below ...

... now an icy cavern, in the summer, if you're brave enough to find it, there's a little opening behind the falls within which one can hide away from the world ...

... this day the water and ice performed a phantasmagorical duet ... 

... john trained his lens towards the sound of a woodpecker busily seeking supper in the bark of a tree ...
  
... i, lacking a super-duper lens of my own, instead used my wide angle to create a sort of "where's waldo" image of the feathered creature ...

... as we left the sun came out, gently painting the falls with morning's soft colors ...


It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU





December 23, 2016

WANDERING RI

... i noticed these two outside rasa indian restaurant in east greenwich ...

... after lunch my brother and i stopped to see if grampa's name was on the new police memorial ... it was, which, of course, is proper, but we still haven't been able to figure out the criteria of "deceased, active and retired" that produced the rest of the listing ...

... late at night on february 20, 2003, i was returning to rhode island from a visit with my nephew, jon, in ohio, when i heard on the radio that there had been a large fire in west warwick ... it was late and i was tired, so when i got to my brother's house (he and his wife were away on vacation) i immediately went to bed ... it was the next morning that i learned the extent of the great tragedy that had taken place at the station nightclub a few miles away on cowesett avenue ...

... this part of the memorial sits directly above what was the foundation of the building, within which 100 people died and 230 were injured in the fire ...

... even after well over a hundred million dollars of settlement money, it has taken over thirteen years for the memorial to reach this stage of construction ... finally, however, it appears it will soon be completed ...

... blocks of cut stone where firefighters, arriving within minutes from their station only a few hundred yards up the street, could do naught but watch helplessly as the building was consumed by the explosively propagating flames ... to this day many of the first responders remain traumatized by their memories of the screams and cries that came from within the building ...

... piece by piece a place of remembrance is emerging ...

... marco, on the left, invited me into the off-limits construction area, "come inside, you can take pictures better" ... he and the other workers had accents that to me hinted they might have been born in far distant lands ... the worker on the right, i've forgotten his name, quite proudly remarked, "it's going to be a very, very beautiful when it's finished ... a very nice place for the people" ... i listened to them, and, even more, i marveled at this place we call "america" ...
 

... when i was a very small child the building was a restaurant ... my parents would cart me along to it in the evening after it had closed so they could play cards with the owner ... during the games i would sit beneath the table and make forts for my tiny soldiers using pots and pans from the kitchen ...

... how strange, so very, very strange, the circle of life can be ...

... soon, there will be faces and names to join the spirits inhabiting this place ...

... and, despite what in my opinion remains coverup, denial, and quite obvious legislated obfuscation of responsibility and justice, sometime next summer this will be a place that accepts tears and welcomes peace ...

... i picked up jon at the airport ... after lunch we had an hour before his appointment with the optometrist, so we wandered over to the big river management area ...

... as we strolled along the abandoned highway that crosses the carr river we saw signs warning that it was hunting season ... jon was a tiny bit nervous since we weren't wearing blaze orange ... i was unconcerned, happy that the soft sound of the cascading water was gently washing away some of the thoughts remaining from my visit to the station memorial ...

... remembering the movie "lord of the rings," i decided i didn't want to walk by this tree in the dark of night ...

... layers of light, ending my day ...


December 19, 2016

WANDERING WITH THE WIND CHILL

... saturday john asked, "how about after the ice storm we go out monday morning and see if we can find some nice pictures" ... even knowing that not a small part of his intent was to use the photography as an excuse to get me out of my apartment, i readily agreed, secretly proud of myself for having worked so hard learning how to accept, and happy i've such a friend ...

... it was a cold and overcast, but, per the rules of wanderabouting, we cared not in the least ... we stopped every now and then, looked out the windows of the car, and with no need for discussion started again on our little journey ... along the coast i was about to repeat the process when i spied these two blocks of ice ... intrigued, i zipped and buttoned up and walked down along the bay's rocky low-tide shore ...

... the wind chill was in the single-digits, but i'll not blame it since i know it wasn't the cause of the dullness of my lenses ... over time i've learned that in this situation the cure is to be found in finding something small, simple, overlooked ... in a tiny piece of frozen sea perched atop the barnacle encrusted beach stones my vision began to return ... 

... being careful not slip down to the raft-iced surface of the lagoon, i worked my way to a vantage of an old bridge that crosses route 1 over the ducktrap river ... i thought, "those so familiar to us, who we encounter every day, often we are completely unaware of the graceful beauty of their strength" ...

... "park row," in northport, ignores time ...

... along the marden hill road, a tree ... i estimate it to be about my own age ... there're often times i feel like it looks, something i once thought a bad thing ... in this old guy, however, and many others its ilk, my mind has changed ...

... in one of john's photo captions he said i "cried out" to stop and go back ... odd, i don't remember that ...

... i do recall that at my first glimpse of the old structure i heard it calling, "come back for a visit, patrick ... remember, you used to live here" ... i hadn't, of course, my old houses are in alaska, nebraska, louisiana, on an island in the west indies and another in the mariana's arc across the western pacific ocean—a dozen or more other places, too, none of them along a rocky ridge in central maine ...

... still, i could hear the ghosts within, "oh, patrick, such a fool you can be ... do you really believe the clapboards and joists and trim molding are what we're talking about ... those're simply the enclosure within which we exist ... of course you lived here ... within is everyone's home, including yours ... not 'homes,' dear child, simply 'home' ... you know because of the word it places before your heart" ...

... "welcome" ...

... so i stood in the door, entered, and remembered ...

... as i turned the corner to descend, ma, "make your bed before you come downstairs" ...

... tucked away for the night on christmas eve, we cupped our ears to capture the very faint sounds that we knew were evidence of a most wonderful magic ...

... after curfew, to avoid another grounding, trying desperately to remember the stair's unbelievably complicated creaking combination ...

... my brother and i, after a triple-dog-dare, in a large cardboard box winning the olympic bobsled gold ...

... pa, in the dark after a swing shift at the command center ... strange, that he could do the stairs silently but would always forgot about the tiny little squeak the hinge made when he cracked my bedroom door to peek in ... i would keep my eyes closed until i heard the sound again, then, in that perfect moment, fall asleep in his embrace ...

... i look and think, "my, how sad, so cold and alone in a frozen field" ...

... he looks at me and thinks, "my, how sad, such a pathetic coat you wear, while i'm quite comfortably enjoying having a beautiful pasture all to myself" ...

.. from the marden hill road ... left center of the image's upper-third line find the steeple of colby's lorimer chapel ... follow the ridge line right until you are about one-third from the right edge of the image ... that's where i live ...

wind chill freezes my skin
i can dress warm
but, as for my soul,
i must find a way to burn
LEE ALLEN

December 11, 2016

WANDERABOUTING MISCELLANIA

... no rhyme or reason for this assemblage, which, of course, is to admit that i just can't discern the connections ... cases like this, i leave it to you ... here's a shot of the two-penny bridge taken with a rather extreme wide-angle lens i bought for adrien as a sort of "stocking stuffer" ... 16mm equivalent, 180° angle of view ... it's actually meant for surveillance video but a chinese company cleverly repackaged it as a very inexpensive camera lens ...

... two portraits ... for the image of john i revisited some files from a visit we made last winter ... gary and alison took me to lunch after i shot their christmas card pictures—the look on his face i think the patriots were doing something wrong ...

... always a good friend, thus fully aware of my current mental state, john invited me up the holiday service at the colby chapel ... laura, his wife, is a ringer in the colby handbell choir ... i'm not much of a church goer, so i was surprised when the music and emotional warmth made me suddenly miss sunday mornings at john gray in west bay, grand cayman ...


... john and laura ...

... posted to facebook a few days ago, but one i didn't want the rest of you to miss ... middle of the night, i couldn't sleep ...


... yesterday evening ellen hosted a book signing by patrick bagley ... like my brother, patrick has a very interesting face, and, just as it is with michael, i found it a great challenge trying to capture his expressions ...

... this afternoon, both as exercise and "mood management," i went for a long walk ... i turned off most of my brain, even for picture taking ... these're mostly the result of me pausing for a few seconds and snapping without much conscious involvement in the process ...


... i never tire of the hathaway building ...


... alone in the skateboard "park," a young man disproves some of the generalities made about "kids these days" ...

... i looked up, raised the camera to my eyes, cranked the focus barrel until it hit the infinity stop then backed it of about a zillionth of a degree, and pressed the shutter button ...


... "no, ansel, i'm fully aware it's not hernandez, new mexico ... but it is my home" ...

... walkabouting can be a great many things, including serving as "Rx" (from latin, by the way, a command "to take") ...

December 1, 2016

WANDERABOUTING THE FIRST SNOW

... john called, "it's going to snow, i'll pick you up and we'll go wanderabouting and find some pictures" ... there're two types of new englanders, john's of the variety who still get excited when we get the first snowfall of the season ... we skidded around the landscape until we found ourselves alongside a familiar field in liberty ...
   
... this is john's favorite tree ... of course, that makes it one of my favorite trees, too ... yes, i admit it, i did think to edit out the hay bailer ... compositional reason prevailed, however, so what-you-see-is-what-i-saw ...
   
... leaving the field i challenged myself to do something interesting with the distant buildings and the faint traces of farming equipment ...
   
... we stopped at the mill pond in—well, i can't remember where ... i can recall that the old mill is going to be disassembled and moved to another state where it will be a working museum ... good that it's to survive, i suppose, but sad that it will have to leave its lifetime home ... i hope that over in vermont the other buildings are friendly ...
      
... i had the old olympus 50mm f/1.4 on the camera ... considering the wet in the air, i didn't want to change lenses and risk mucking up my fuji's sensor, so i made the effort to snap a landscape picture using what on my camera is effectively almost a 2x telephoto ...
   
... the door to the old mill ... i think this is my "shot of the day" ...

Here from the brow of the hill I look,
Through a lattice of boughs and leaves,
On the old gray mill with its gambrel roof,
And the moss on its rotting eaves.
I hear the clatter that jars its walls, 
And the rushing water’s sound,
And I see the black floats rise and fall
As the wheel goes slowly round.

I rode there often when I was young,
With my grist on the horse before, 
And talked with Nelly, the miller’s girl,
As I waited my turn at the door;
And while she tossed her ringlets brown,
And flirted and chatted so free,
The wheel might stop or the wheel might go, 
It was all the same to me.

’T is twenty years since last I stood
On the spot where I stand to-day,
And Nelly is wed, and the miller is dead,
And the mill and I are gray. 
But both, till we fall into ruin and wreck,
To our fortune of toil are bound;
And the man goes, and the stream flows,
And the wheel moves slowly round. 

THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH