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 seventh 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.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

October 17, 2021

A Bridge to Span the Tide

... as many times you've heard me express, this is one of my most favorite places in the entire world ... here, for me, "was" and "is" and "to be" merge to become a timeless "now" ...

     

     
   ... john and i arrived as the sun was rising, this season aligned with the distant bend in the stream ...
      
      
... ever so slowly day arrived in the valley ...
     
          
... mysterious, and, as i said, timeless, as if my eyes were gazing into any moment in the twelve-thousand years since the glaciers retreated from this landscape ...
     
            
... for forty-plus years i have been searching for the perfect vantage ... this is a quick snapshot, but one which left me feeling i am making progress ...
      
      
... no matter the number of times i've seen it, a hue that always brings me to smile ... 
      

... to the left, a boulder eroded from ancient strata, millions and millions of years old, while to the right a similarly aged rock, both sculpted to these shapes by ice and water within the past twelve thousand years, geologically "recent" times ... 

     
... according to documentation, using cables manufactured in england because there was no such production yet established in america the wire bridge was constructed over one and one-half centuries ago, just after the civil war ... local oral tradition has it that it went up twenty years earlier ... here survives evidence that the bridge was a function of the industry of its time ... 
     
     
... one winter i drove up to witness the huge ice floes that had jammed to within mere inches of the wooden deck supports ... knowing that if the ice rose higher the bridge would be swept away, the national guard was present, prepared with explosive charges to take a huge risk by attempting to blast away the ice ... luckily, and, i'm sure, with great sighs of relief, nature allowed that the bridge's time hadn't yet ended ...
      
     
... i've witnessed far greater loads traversing the span, so the bridge must be much stronger than its posted design capacity ...
       
    
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray
To a chasm vast and deep and wide
Through which was flowing a swollen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The rapids held no fears for him.
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” cried a fellow pilgrim near,
“You’re wasting your time in building here.
Your journey will end with the closing day;
You never again will pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm deep and wide;
Why build you this bridge at even-tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head.
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There follows after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This stream, which has been as naught to me,
To that fair youth may a pitfall be.
He too must cross in the twilight dim —
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”
WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

 ... as i said, timeless ...


Happy Birthday, Tessa!

   
 ... this entry is a bit overdue ... i've been somewhat off the grid of late, in part a malaise permeating these days of the covid, but also because i've been assessing and then reassessing some of the ways i communicate with the world in general and all of you in particular ... more on this in the near future ...

... i drove over to new hampshire so tessa and i could help her celebrate her birthday ...

... first stop was to pick up supplies for the day ... chutters, of course, which was an initiation for this wonderful child ...
      
    
... chutters experts provided tessa with advice ...
 
    
 
     ... making sure there's no hole in the bottom of the bag ...
  

... "yaaaaaaa, happy birthday to me" ...
  
   
... next was a ride up the mountain in a little cable car ...
  

... from the peak was a remarkable view of the valley ...
  

... we than strolled the trail to the "boulder maze" ... huge rocks, many larger than houses, glacier tumbled and jumbled and then strewn along the side of peak, between and below which the resort constructed an elaborate hiking/walking/crouching/crawling trail ... this picture is not tilted ...
  

... for this one i skipped ahead on the bypass trail ...
  

... while watching a couple rehearse their nuptials we enjoyed our lunch at a little wedding amphitheater overlooking the valley ...
  

... niece and aunt, most absolutely destined to be b.f.f. ...
  

... back at the house i explored again sarah's greenery ...
  



  

... for me, perhaps a tiny bit of bittersweet to this wonderful image ...
  

... i know that making the day about tessa was your present to yourself, so happy-happy-happy birthday, adrien ...
  




September 8, 2021

"A Sad Song in de Air"

 ... for a little wanderabout that's been in the to-do file for some time, john loaded his canoe atop his car and we headed north into the woods to to see the "onawa lake trestle" ... from beyond the distant point we paddled over a mile to the lake's outlet ...
 
 
... over 1200 feet long, this remarkable structure allows locomotives pulling stock filled with pulp wood to traverse 130 feet above the ship pond stream's rocky gorge ...

... after viewing the trestle i spent about a half-hour using my 24mm wide-angle to do some close-up photography ...
 

... i was fascinated by the line detail in these leaves ...
 

... summer's ending is gently proclaimed ...
 

... five frames, focus-stacked and hdr merged, well worth almost poking my eye out ...
 
 
... while i was wandering about in the forest john had hiked up to the other end of the trestle ... i was going to do so, too, but accepted his wisdom that my bum knees and the step incline wouldn't make a pleasant combination, so we paddled back to the boat landing ... a strong breeze and wave chop resisting us, i was quite proud when john said i'd done a good job managing "5 out of 10" conditions ... i could hear pa smile ...
 

... after a nice swim we hiked the track ballast to the end of this most impressive span ...
 

... as i walked onto the trestle i noticed some sort of sign, but, alas, without my reading glasses all i could make out was "no tr- ..." — hmmmm, probably said, "no trains without permit" or something like that ... the trees below are 25-30 feet tall ... !!! ...
 

... from the center of the span  ...
 

... a most beautiful spot, now forever etched onto my "most favorite places" list ...
 

De railroad bridge's
A sad song in de air.
De railroad bridge's
A sad song in de air.
Ever time de trains pass
I wants to go somewhere.

I went down to de station.
Ma heart was in ma mouth.
Went down to de station.
Heart was in ma mouth.
Lookin' for a box car
To roll me to de South.

Homesick blues, Lawd,
'S a terrible thing to have.
Homesick blues is
A terrible thing to have.
To keep from cryin'
I opens ma mouth an' laughs.
 
LANGSTON HUGHES
 

August 27, 2021

If Only for a Cup of Tea!


... last week i drove support for roger's "four-corners of maine walk" ... he began his journey last year in grafton notch, and, cross fingers the creeks don't rise, he should complete circumnavigating maine sometime this fall ... here he begins the final day of this leg of the walk ... over thirty miles up and down hills the previous two days, i'm thinking his eyes're were closed so he could get a tiny bit more sleep before heading north to calais ...
     
 
 
... while things'll be different in the deep dark dennisville (pop. 342) woods, for this section of his adventure i only needed check in with him every couple of hours, so i took the time to wander around in a part of the state through which i've many times traveled but never explored ...

 ... after negotiating several dead end roads on isolated rock peninsulas trying to find the famous "pembroke reversing falls," i finally gave in and stopped at an irving station on route 1 to ask directions ... "oh, we put signs up but some of the local residents take 'em down" ... go figure ...

... the combination of erosion resistant granite sills and ledges and twenty-five foot tides along this coast produce a rather unique phenomena ... the "fine print," of course, is that you never get to see the falls actually reverse ... when the tide comes in, as it was doing so when this picture was taken, a series of very turbulent white-water cascades is created ... later in the day the high tide will be up to the markings on the rocks and this inlet will appear quite calm ... then, per a billion year-old twelve-hour cycle, when the tide goes out a similar event will take place on the other side of the estuary ... thus, it's two visits or a half-day wait to see the "reversing" ...
  
 
 ... there are warnings about the eddies and rip currents and whirlpools that form during the tide change ... as innocuous as this may seem, i'm an experienced aquanaut and it frightens me ... while it most likely wouldn't suck a swimmer beneath the surface, the strong swirling currents and cold water are a deadly combination ...
     

... other spots along the coast are lined with seaside cottages and lifestyles-of-the-right-and-famous summer homes, but here is only a pleasant seaside forest ...
     
 
... caring not what i might say about these waters, double-brested cormorants ("sea ravens") find the reversing falls a perfect place to fish ...
     
 
  
... another of my little excursions was to stop and visit the st. croix island national monument, the international park common to both the united states, the riverbank in the foreground, and canada on the opposite side of the st. croix river ...
 
 
  
... detailed history can be found at the above link, but in a nutshell, while the french landed on this island properly prepared and equipped to set up a colony sixteen years before the arrival of the mayflower, the deaths resulting from scurvy of almost half the settlers brought a decision to move to port royal, nova scotia  ...
   
    
... while the french were far from perfect, they did seem to do a good job of developing positive relationships with the first people ...

... how interesting, that had these french settlers known before the onset of that terrible winter what the first people already knew, that a mug of hot white pine needle tea each morning prevented the debilitation and death inflicted by scurvy ... a tiny little village perched very edge of both a continent and time, but for daily hot tea how the history of north america might have been so very, very different ...
   

... from the side of route 1 just south of calais i viewed this little light house ... i think it is the whitlock's mill light, but if you know i'm mistaken i'll welcome the correction ...

      

... a couple of weeks ago i walked across the street to enjoy the final offering of waterville's summer concert series ...

  
 
... the music was wonderful, and since i cannot here replay it for you to enjoy it'll have to suffice that my pictures somehow convey a sense of the skills and talents of these musicians ...
     

    

    
 
   
    

 
... more than my photographs, perhaps it's best the evening be properly summarized with a snapshot of abigail, the "dancing lady," who spent the entire evening twirlin' and spinning a worn spot into the grass in front of the bandstand ...