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.

May 27, 2017

EAGLES

... "tomorrow morning ... ??? ... how early, dad, i need to sleep" ... so it was eight o'clock that i picked up liz and we headed over to the sebasticook river where it once quite literally defined the town of benton falls, maine ... due to the heavy rain yesterday it was a rather soggy walk though the wetland to get to the river bank ...

... "i'm going to count 'em, dad" ...

... working from south to north with her binoculars, liz spotted forty-two eagles ... there were several more flying by, but she only counted the ones in the trees ... we both figure that there were more she couldn't see through the dense foliage, and most likely there was an equal number of birds out of sight around the bend in the river ...

... cleaning up for another day of fishing and feasting, i suppose ...

... glance over my shoulder and a quick snap, not bad considering it was taken with what is technically an "antique," my manual-focus manual-aperture nikkor 300mm ...

... for those fascinated with such things, here's the "beast, the "stovepipe," the "say, is that a lens or are you just wicked happy to see me" ... classic built-like-a-tank construction, and, yes, weighs like an big o'l sherman, too ... !!! ... not even in the ballpark when it comes to modern optical standards, but i can live with that for the bargain that it was ...

... these little bugs creeped the sh*t out of us ... !!! ... they were formed up in this little crowd, but whenever i got within five or six feet as a group they would change the shape of their assemblage and move away from me ... in the movies this is the sort of thing that when you lean close they jump up and enter your body through your ears—i kept my distance ...

... we hiked down the east bank of the river ... actually, it was so steep that the descent was more of a controlled fall ... didn't see many eagles from that vantage, but we did find a really cool hundred-plus year old dump site ... liz scavenged up some broken pieces of colored glass, she's going to try to melt them into beads ...

... as we drove south we noticed this eagle perched along the river ... we were able to observe it for quite awhile from a distance of less than seventy-feet ...

... it was fully aware of us, but seemed to remain comfortable in our presence ...

... eagles're way cool, absolutely, but after spending an hour watching them with liz it was still this expression was the best thing i saw ...

May 24, 2017

WANDERING SPRING

... john and i made a little wanderabout down to boothbay harbor ... businesses are open, but the flatlanders haven't arrived yet so the waterfront was comfortably quiet ... after breakfast i found a sign i liked ...

... rowing out to his yacht ... ??? ... crossing the harbor to see a friend ... ??? ... or, perhaps, and this is what i like to think, he was simply taking a moment to be simple ...

... with these lines is written a thousand-million years of earth's story ...

... this color is the newest page of the tale ...

... life holds on as the rocks themselves change ..

... so unimaginably powerful, the forces within the earth's crust—yet, from when i was a small child, imagine such, indeed, i have ...

... one thrust to the surface from deep within the planet's crust, another that has made the ascent twice, and a tiny creature's remains which are beginning the million-year process of return ... 

... it's not enough that john bought the fancy canon "L" super-duper zoom lens, he now has an extra-cool "doubler" for the glass ... something about "needing it to take pictures of the eclipse this summer" ... ha, yea, right, as if i'd somehow forgotten all the creative reasons i used to come up with when i wanted a new toy ...

... but, weather permitting, he will get a great picture of the eclipse ... in the meantime he's managed to use it to provide proof that, yes, indeed, my hair is lightening up a tiny little bit ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER

... we stopped in newcastle to watch the alwives run ...

... john discovered that the designation of a lens as "super-duper" can be relative ...

... waterville's downtown window-washer is a most friendly fellow ...

... this is supposed to improve our town, i'm going to reserve my judgement until all the optimism is matched with results ...

... down along the river i found that the spring is really here ...

... from my rooftop ...

"Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there's something good about feeling both."
AMY GRANT


... john picked me up and we drove over to a spot on the sebasticook river where a great convocation of eagles and a scattering of osprey were feasting on the alwives ...

... with a thirty-year old manual-focus manual-aperture nikkor 300mm affixed to my fuji x-t1 i was pretty much teetering at the very edge of the performance envelope for this kind of photography ... that didn't really bother me, however, since it was great fun simply watching these fascinating creatures ...

... eagles will eat anything, including trash, but ospreys will only dine on living food ...

... compared to that of humans, the vision of these birds is clearly a super-power, and even in the fading light they easily spotted their prey and then effortlessly snatched it from the water ...

... an older eagle, perhaps satiated after a day of gorging on fresh fish, perched in a nearby tree and preened itself ...

... after a final catch, this bird soared a quarter-mile or so to where a crowd of his kind were congregating in a bit of marsh alongside the river ... i could almost hear him as he landed, "so, whatcha say, fellows, do this again tomorrow" ...

... spring, it seems, is slowly giving way to summer ...



May 20, 2017

AD & DAD—WESTERN WANDERABOUT: DAYS 6-8

... leaving behind us the strange things in the sky, we wandered from roswell north to santa fe ... the verb "wandered" is rather broadly interpreted for this particular leg of our journey, since for the entire 192 miles of route 285 it seemed i barely nudged the wheel of the car only a few times, and the single real turn was into the parking lot of a middle-of-nowhere roadside diner for a lunch break ...

... in santa fe we visited meow wolf's "house of eternal return" ... in what used to be a bowling alley, it's a most complexly convoluted maze filled with both art and great mystery ... how do i describe a place in which you enter a refrigerator, close the door behind you, then turn to exit into a completely different environment ...

... "three's a crowd," they say, but when it's adrien-to-the-third i think the expression is better stated "three's a riot" ...
... we made a little pilgrimage to the loretto chapel so that with our own eyes we could view the "mysterious staircase" ... adrien wasn't all that pleased with me when i said i saw nothing particularly "mysterious" in its design and construction ... a bit of research, turns out i'm not alone in my opinion ... still, in a most beautiful gothic chapel the staircase was a fantistic example of both art and architecture in wood ...

... still on our quest for a certain native handicraft, we wandered the streets of santa fe ... along the way i snapped this picture, one i can find no way of explaining either why i took it or why i like it ... go figure ... (note:  after a thousand miles, and seemingly a thousand stores, we finally found what we were looking for) ...

... in colorado we visited the royal gorge bridge ... i'd heard about this fabulous span when i was a kid, but it was only upon crossing it that i learned it was actually built as a tourist attraction ... 955 feet from the decking to the arkansas river below, from 1929-2001 it was highest bridge in the world ... we found the view spectacular, enough that we saved our money by not trying out the bungee-cord slingshot swing that shoots daring thrill-seekers out over the abyss ... (note: no one knows where the word "bungee" comes from) ...

... in my mind, suspension spans are perhaps the most sublime of all bridges ...

... adrien wanted to take me to see "the garden of the gods" ... i know she wasn't pleased when after a quick glance at google earth i sorta-kinda-a-tiny-bit expressed that i wasn't all that impressed ... luckily she's not one to give in, since it is, indeed, a most fascinating place ... (it turned out that the search term had taken me to a nearby golf course with the same name ... i believe the correct technical term for this is, "big duh, dad") ...

... riding the cog railway up pikes peak we enjoyed the company of kevin and arika ... from the gulf coast of texas, kevin had never seen more than a dusting of snow, and their flight to denver had been his first plane ride ... 14,000 feet up the mountain, with sections from which the view was completely blocked as we traveled within  deep channels cut through massive snow banks, i'm pretty sure kevin's nose wore down a little spot in the window pane ...

... i suppose a "watch for falling rocks" sign would be foolish ...

... i thought a selfie was appropriate for the highest i've ever walked ...

... 2,000 miles, so much fun, so many wonderful things we saw and did ... i'd say, "a perfect wanderabout" ... adrien, however, might qualify it with, "nah, dad, you lose one point for leaving the garmen gps at home" ... which, of course, is the whole point of wanderabouts—if they must be scored it's a "pass/fail" scale should be applied ... you wander you pass, the only way you can fail is if you don't take the first step ...

"It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but is is the journey that matters, in the end."
URSULA K. Le GUIN

May 6, 2017

EDDIE

... john picked me up for a little wanderabout in the rain, if for no other reason than by doing so we undid the adjective "dreary" from the day ... i was mystified that the bubbles kept appearing in the exact same spots, it took me quite a few seconds to realize that the wet tree branch above my head wasn't moving—what can i say, i'll bet even galileo spent a few moments staring through his telescope at the little specks of light surrounding jupiter before he exclaimed, "the bible shows the way to heaven, not the way the heavens go" ...

... castle island camps has been in operation since 1929 ... other'n the fact that it's now within range of a cellphone tower, things haven't really changed all that much ...

... the staff were preparing for the season ...

... weather not good for motorcyle riding, but, nevertheless, a most beautiful day ...

... a day filled with time meant for the most simple of things ... 

... a day in which we're reminded that in new england summer is earned ...

... this time of year, in maine, patience is the byword ...

... in rome john's head turned as we passed nickerson lane, and i said, "go ahead, let's see where it goes" ... always a delight to me, a road i've never driven ... we went by an older man who was trenching the rain water away from his driveway, then almost immediately turned around when we came to a "private drive" sign ... on the way back up the lane i motioned for john to pull over, and i rolled down my window ...

... eddie eckhart ... 91 years old ... "they made me in new brunswick, canada, but ma came over the border for me to be born" ... "i'm getting all new teeth next week" ... john finally turned off the car's engine as entranced we sat and listened to a most fascinating history ...

... i'd noticed something odd after first shaking hands with eddie, but it didn't really register ... later john told me that he'd seen that eddie had only three fingers on one of his hands ... in our conversation eddie said something to the effect that he'd injured his hand while ice fishing ... it was then i saw that he was missing a digit ...

... i took ahold of his hand, "well, it seems to me there's not a scar to be seen"

... eddie laughed, "oh, no, i was born with only three fingers on that hand" ...

... he'd told us about how in world war ii he was a flight engineer/mechanic on a giant martin "mariner" flying boat ... i was surprised, "but ... well, how did you get in the service with a missing finger" ...

... "had worked my way through part of the process before it was noticed ... clerk said to me, 'you can't be in the service, you should be classified 4F, physically unfit for duty'" ... eddie chuckled as he continued his story, "i grabbed him by his collars and lifted him up from his chair ... 'unfit ... !!! ... 4F ... does this seem like 4F ... you're going to take me or i'll go join the japanese army'" ...

... a different time, one in which a processing clerk knew an attitude like eddie's was the path to victory ... or, perhaps, that same clerk realized that stamping a few papers and yelling, "next," was a far easier way to earn his pay than to confront a man who was clearly a force to be reckoned with ... whatever the reason, eddie ended up serving ...

... photographic panic, for just a second, when i realized that from my car seat the 50mm lens on my camera was too long for a good portrait ... "take a deep breath," i reminded myself, "you know how to do this" ... as i leaned back into the seat eddie most graciously took a step backwards, "make sure to get the hat in the picture" ...

... in the driver's seat, equally boxed in, john somehow managed to get a great shot of the two of us ... offering up in advance to john any artistic apologies he might deserve, i took his raw image file and worked it up a bit ... nothing very complicated, for sure, just corrected a tiny bit of chubbiness in my cheeks that absolutely had to have been the result of lens distortion, then i styled the image as a sort of old-time snapshot ...


... for the little wanderabout, john, thank you, and, eddie, for much, much more than just your service, thank you very much ...