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.

July 30, 2013

AMANDA GETS HER WHEELS

... to the observant among you, yes, that little suzuki used to be mine ... [break for a bit of a sob session] ... amanda did great in the driving course, not counting a tiny little deviation from the "keep it upright" rule, and passed the license test just fine ... since she's heading back out to sea she had to garage the bike, so i served as her wingperson for the drive to winslow ... when reconnected the battery the bike started clean and purred like a little kitten, making me more than a little bit proud of my maintenance skills ...

... i'm really happy with my bmw, for sure, but still i'll admit i miss that monster headlamp ... that's what a motorcycle should look like ...

July 29, 2013

BEACH BEAUTY

... i may’ve posted this one some time ago, but even if so it’s one of my favorites and i can’t see the harm in the repetition ...


... i’m guessing that this was taking on guam, either the n.c.s. or tarague beach, sometime between 1965 and 1968 ... in his tidy half-printing/half-cursive handwriting pa neatly inscribed the cardboard slide mount, “gaynel on the beach—what a babe” ... the picture of course, brings to me great memories, while each time i read again the annotation i’m brought to most wonderfully sad tears ...

... beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair,
offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity
that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time ...
ALBERT CAMUS

BEACH KIDS

... circa 1966-1967, possibly along the northern stretch of guam’s tumon beach, just below the ruins of the world war ii japanese gun emplacement ... suzie, my sister, is already anticipating the 80’s hair fashions, while it is obvious that leaving childhood behind me i’m clearly on the way to having a single eyebrow ... i can’t imagine the two of us coincidently looking like this, so i’m sure pa must’ve issued some sort of “look serious” command ... 

IT’S MY “BRUDDER’S” BIRTHDAY

... to my dear brother, michael, right now with his wife up in a jet plane heading to hawaii, my wishes for a most happy-happy-happy birthday ...

... this is a picture of mike demonstrating his merit badge earning archery skills ... this is not a picture of the unique archery game he invented ... we would all stand in a huddle out in the “big yard” beyond the white post ... he would shoot an arrow straight up ... then we would all run like chickens with their heads chopped off, each of us desperately seeking something to hold over our head or trying to scurry into a place that offered at least minimal protection from the falling projectile ... worst came to worst, it was a mad scramble to tuck beneath the legs of whoever was using the little red wagon as a shield ... person closet to impact got to be “it” ... ah, yes, my brother, ever a creative soul ... i’m not even going get into the “packing-a-trout-with-explosives” phase of his childhood dementia, i’ll just leave it by saying that to this day over one-half century later i’m still finding bits of yech in my hair ...

July 28, 2013

BAGS, FINALLY

... brackets installed and bags attached ... courtesy of happy trail  motorcycle gear, the mojave bags will each hold almost 30 liters ... that, the almost 35 liters capacity of my top bag (now only to be attached as needed), my "tank" bag (another recycled camera case that works better than anything i could find along the motorcycle aisles), and an additional waterproof stow bag that fits beneath the tank bag, provides over 100 liters of space within which to pack everything i need for serious long-distance cross country wanderabouts ... the expedition riding bulletin boards inform me that the mojave bag's waterproof liners work exceptionally well, another plus for my choice ... new brunswick and novia scotia this august, another step towards what i hope will be next year's coast-to-coast-to-coast journey ...

July 26, 2013

JOHN'S FLOWERS

... john offered a gentle reminder that a rainy day should be a reason, not an excuse, so i took a little walk to enjoy the coolness of a misty summer afternoon ... these're for john ... (remember, if you click on a picture a slide show will pop up displaying all the pictures for the day's journal entry) ... 





The rain to the wind said,
"You push and I'll pelt."
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
ROBERT FROST






July 25, 2013

MEETING PLACE


... i've a rather sketchy memory of ma telling me that she met pa somewhere near the king george memorial in georgetown, grand cayman ... do any of you know any more than this ...

THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE


There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
ROBERT W. SERVICE

... june 1962, on our epic journey down the alcan highway ... looking at the curly hair on the smaller of the two, i've no doubt that she's my sister, sue, and, after very close examination of the original slide with a magnifying lens i'm going to go out on a limb and certify that the young man is my brother, michael ... as a child the poems of robert w. service were my favorites, and "the cremation of sam mcgee" is one we all memorized to the point that chanting it in unison was a frequent pass-the-miles activity ...

TWO LITTLE GIRLS

... color slides taken a quarter-century or so apart ... 


... old orchard beach, maine ...


... nunaka valley, anchorage, alaska ...

MY "NEW" RIDING BUDDY

... i used to have a dark-haired riding buddy ... alas, she seems to have disappeared, to be replaced by a new blondie-locks pal with whom to go two-wheelin' ...


... taking a cue from jacqueline, i'd consider changing my hair color, too, but for now i have to admit that as it is it's a perfect match for my grey/black/silver bmw ... of course, working from that line of esthetic reasoning i've a feeling it might not be too long before i'm going to need to start looking for an all-white motorcycle ...

July 23, 2013

CAYMAN IMAGES

... my friends and relatives in grand cayman, perhaps you can help out with these ... the first i think i know ...


... but of this next one i've no idea ...


... since these color slides are in mounts i don't recognize, i'm pretty sure my father must have taken these pictures ...


... these one is of georgetown harbour, i've some of my own showing the boats on davits ...


... slide mount and composition indicates that most likely i took this last picture ... i've a recollection of seeing the boat in the background somewhere along the beach down near east end ... i don't recognize the gentleman, and i have to wonder if he was someone my father knew or it was just that i found him to be an interesting subject ...

... all of these photographs are dated sometime in the mid-70s ... anyone, anything to add ... ??? ...




July 20, 2013

MY OWN CONUS

... after my last journal postings i thought i might've kept one of the pictures i took of some the conus textile shells i found along the reef, so i searched through the plastic cases i keep my slides in ... box number four was the charm ...


... here's a shot from a website showing what the little snails look like in their natural habitat ...


... oddly enough, despite the deadly nature of the venom they could inject i never felt any real fear picking up one of these creatures ... rather, when diving my angst was a result of the images my overactive imagination created of a giant clam grabbing ahold of my foot while i was free diving and clamping shut to hold me down until i became fish food ...



RESPITE

... the wire bridge, in north new portland ... older than the brooklyn bridge, the original main cables and covered supporting structures are over 150 years old ...

... last sunday, a scorcher of a summer day, this couple, and a family out of sight to the left of the photograph, were the "crowd" with whom i shared the cool, clear waters of the carrabassett river ...

... my little spot on the riverbank is just above the rock in the center of the picture ...

... i wish i could bring each and every one of you here for a picnic and a swim ...

PHOTOSNOBBERY

... met a photographer who said to me, "i don't do any photoshopping ... i do real photography" ... [he also made sure i learned how many megapixels big his camera's sensor was, which i'm thinking he somehow related to the size of something not a lens] ...

... here's an original, snapped on west bay's iron shore, near the fishing place just south of the turtle farm ...


... here's the same image, "photoshopped" to appear as it did to my eyes ...


... another example, taken near the chinaman's in newport, rhode island ...


... from the digital image file, my "negative," this is how my mind embraced the scene ...


... if you asked ansel adams, "i'm thinking of becoming better at printing my images ... what should i bring with me into the darkroom," his response would most likely be, "knowledge of the zone system, your eyes, your esthetic sensibility, a sandwich, and, always, the following:"


... for those of you who are completely involved in photography as a "digital" medium, in the ancient "chemical era" these were the tools used to correct/adjust/manipulate images ...

... when i first began to take pictures i would encounter "real" photographers who would scoff at my little olympus rangefinder, commenting, "well, someday you'll get a real camera, like mine, a leica," or, "when you're really serious you'll start shooting 2-1/4 negatives," or, my absolute favorite, "why, your ektachrome film is just fine, for amateurs, real photographers only shoot kodachrome" ... some things seem to never change, do they ...

"you don't take a photograph, you make it"
ANSEL ADAMS


IN A JAPANESE WRECK

... wreck diving, when and where in question ... notice the "high-tech" equipment ... tank, two-stage regulator and mouthpiece, lead weights, rubber fins and shin mounted diving knife ... that's it ... our "dive computer" consisted of a waterproof bag containing the repetitive dive tables (kept in the boat), a grease pencil, and a plastic tablet ... after each descent/ascent we had to "do the math" to calculate the next dive's maximum bottom time and decompression stops ...

... sometimes we would "bounce dive" to what i will now admit to having been rather extreme depths, other days we spent hours and hours at the one-atmosphere level, thirty-two feet ... my favorite times, of course, were when i would free-dive to over one-hundred feet searching for rare and/or beautiful shells to sell to the australian tourists, of which the the extremely venomous  conus textile was my favorite ...

PHOTO COURTESY OF ©RICHARD LING

... ma knew about this, but i'm fairly certain she never learned the extent of our explorations ... i told pa, he said, "just be careful, okay" ...

... [sigh] ...

... up in heaven, together again, another thing for which he's probably going to have to suffer an eternity or so being scolded ...


July 13, 2013

ONE DAY-TWO SWIMS

... a nice ride up to the wire bridge ... there were only a few families present, so i had a nice stretch of the river bank all to myself ... i enjoyed a long swim in the carrabassett's cool, clear waters, then relaxed for an hour reading ... when i was leaving i found this "hot rod" parked behind my bike ... clearly not a show car, it's an actual home-made street rod ... 

... another hour's ride, ending on east pond where ann and chuck invited me to join them for supper followed by a boat ride ... the wind was from the southeast so we crossed the lake and parked the boat in the lee of this little island, then enjoyed a nice swim ...

CHESTERVILLE ESKER

... yesterday i took a little wander down to mount vernon, then negotiated the winding road between parker and david ponds until i reached norcross pond in chesterville ... after passing the camps i stopped to take a picture ... seeming just another of maine's many back roads, this stretch of highway is built atop what is known as the "chesterville esker" ...

... at the peak of the last ice age, perhaps 15-25,000 years ago, this landscape was covered by a great sheet of ice over one mile thick ... the top of mount katahdyn, 5,267 feet above sea level, was completely buried beneath the glacier ... of mt. washington's 6,289 feet, only a few hundred feet at the top remained exposed ... try to imagine the pressure at the bottom of over 5,000 feet of ice ... (can't, well, how about if i do the math for you:  it comes to over one ton/square inch) ... at this pressure, and with the tremendous heat generated by the friction of the ice sheet sliding across the land, underneath the glacier huge rivers formed ... when the global climate began to warm, and the ice slowly melted away, these rivers silted up with sand and gravel which had been produced by the grinding action of the glaciers ... left wandering across the landscape after the ice had completely disappeared were long narrow ridges, 30-120 feet in height, usually oriented in a more or less a north-south direction ...

... the first inhabitants of maine, the paleo-Indians of 12,000 b.c.e., as well as the micmac and abnaki, utilized these ridges as pathways ... much later, they would serve as foundations for wagon trails, dirt roads, and, eventually, paved highways ...

... this esker drops off almost sixty feet, to the lake on the left and to a swampy bog on the right ... here's a neat drawing (from wikipedia) ...

... one mile of ice covering the land, so that 15,000 years ago central maine looked like the area in the far left of this photograph ...

... finally, a couple of points to ponder ... first:  contrary to what we taught many years ago, that ice "ages" took thousands and thousands of years to occur, we now know that from what maine is like right now to it looking like the picture can be as little as 50-100 years ... second: "global warming," as serious as it seems, may also be the "trigger" that starts up an ice age ...

... i've  had my bmw just about two months ... even with all the rain, and a week in the shop to have the kickstand switch replaced, i've managed to add almost 5,000 miles to the odometer ...





July 11, 2013

SUNSET

... from my bay window watching the sun set i'm reminded how lucky i have been to have this day ...

July 8, 2013

"THE LONE RANGER" & MY LITTLE GIRLS

... i arose early to check the weather radar, big yellow splotches over central new hampshire allowed that i'll get another hour or two of sleep before i hop atop my motorcycle to ride home ... advertisement for the movie "the lone ranger" brought to mind one of my most favorite memories ...

... "john ford point" in monument valley, utah, so named because in many of his popular western movies the famous director would include a long shot of his hero astride a horse perched upon the little sandstone outcropping ... "how many movies were filmed here," you ask ... go the listing on i.m.d.b. and take a minute or two to let me know how many you've watched ... 

... notice that beneath liz and adrien the profile of the point has not visibly changed since they casually strolled to the edge twenty-five or so years ago ... considering that this entire region was once the bottom of a deep sea, and that after the continent rose and the water dried there was nothing to be seen here but a vast featureless plain, one is caused to wonder exactly how long it has been that the wind and very sparse rain have been slowly eroding away this dramatic landscape ...

... in this spot the warm desert breeze carries echoes of many voices ... the sweet laughter of my little girls, barked-thru-a-megaphone instructions of a perfectionist movie director, and, always, timeless conversations of "the people" from long, long, long ago ...

  

July 6, 2013

LUNCH WITH MIKE AND BETH

... drove over the new hampshire this morning, making a slight detour through oxford to deliver some maine antiquarian booksellers association brochures to the maine bookhouse ... when i got to freedom mike and beth took me out to lunch ... while we were waiting for our meals to be served i snapped this picture of my brother, michael ...

... mike asked me about my olympus, and while explaining why i've enjoyed using such a "back to basics" camera i asked him to snuggle up to beth ...


... beth is beth, of course, a natural in front of the lens, but as for my dear brother ... well, i'm thinking that all of you who know him might agree that in his entire life this is perhaps the most relaxed looking he has ever appeared in a photograph ... what a handsome couple ...

EVENING SKY

... a nice way to beat the heat, i went for a little ride along the west river road ... when i got to sydney i headed west towards oakland, stopping to snap a picture of this exploding thunderhead ... i'm always fascinated when i notice that as i'm standing in the early evening a distant cloud or mountain top is still bathed in daylight ...

AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY

... my motorcycle and i wandered down mt. vernon way, where jane and carl kindly invited me to supper ... despite a rather intense thunder squall we enjoyed a nice barbecue, after which alex and dale entertained us with a fireworks show ... first part of the display was a bit rocky, especially when one of the giant rocket things exploded on the launch pad, but after that it was noisy great fun ...

... even francis scott key would've been appreciative of their efforts ...

July 4, 2013

AN EXPLORER

... taken at one of my most favorite spots, this image was captured using one of those throw-away cardboard and plastic disposable cameras ...

THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT

... taken along grammy julia's beach, where the storm surge often pushes the sand up to where when this was taken was a thicket of sea grapes, long since displaced by a huge sea wall ...

... i was in rhode island visiting, in late winter or early spring of 2000, i believe, when after much agonizing indecision i finally decided i could afford, barely, to get the olympus e-10 ... i went over to the best buy in warwick but they didn't have one ... while i was visiting with ma i phoned around and learned that there was a single e-10 on the shelf up at the store in attleboro ... she was right in the middle of cooking up one of my favorite meals, "torpedoes," but allowed, "go ahead, i'll keep everything warm" ... i drove [REDACTED] miles-per-hour up i295, purchased the camera, then, without opening the box, drove back to ma's for a most excellent supper ... while we were eating i read the camera's instruction manual over and over, stowing countless torpedoes below decks with one hand as the other explored each of the camera's numerous buttons, dials, and switches ...

... ma said, "you're just like your dad" ...

July 3, 2013

FISHERMAN

... off west bay's boggy sands beach, in grand cayman ... neither "quaint" nor "picturesque," on that beautiful island of a thousand banks and close to hundred times that many registered corporations, he's fishing for his supper ...

... perhaps of interest to some of you, this was taken twelve or thirteen years ago using a now-ancient olympus e-10 with a 3.7 megapixel image sensor ...