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.

August 30, 2013

LISTENING

... this morning i left the apartment to share breakfast and a picture taking stroll with a friend ... also, i hoped that for him i could somehow be a good listener ... [i know, you're absolutely correct, that's something of which i'm always needing more practice] ... as i walked across the parking lot the morning sky called to me ...


... it said, "this little tree only appears to be alone" ...

... sometimes i'm a tree, and, many of you, you've been my sky ... with all your help, i'm still trying to learn how to be a beautiful sky, if for no other reason than it makes me a much stronger tree ...

August 25, 2013

ANOTHER WIRE BRIDGE AFTERNOON

... liz and i decided to have a picnic at the wire bridge ... she brought all sorts of yummy snacks, and, thinking that if the zombie apocalypse should occur while were up along the river we'd need more to eat, we also stopped to get some pizza at the country store in north anson ...

... liz is a "rock mover" ... she started her career by moving the giant stone that over the years had slowly ground its way from the center of the earth right up through the asphault in the middle of her mother's driveway ... from there, she progressed to the backyard and garden ... now she's on a quest to decorate her gram's yard with various pebbles, stones, boulders, and rocks ... i think in an earlier life she was a hardy new england farmer ... "damn rocks ... g*d put 'em here to test me ... got to move 'em all if i want head of the line when i get to heaven" ...

... after lunch, and a rest, of course, we enjoyed swimming in the stream ... okay, so while i swam she looked for rocks ...

... while liz wandered the banks of the carrabessett, i decided to find out if my little waterproof camera was waterproof ... years ago, adrien borrowed it when she went to hawaii ... over the phone, "dad, the camera doesn't work anymore" ... i told her not to worry, that over a four-year period i'd more than gotten my money's worth out of it taking pictures along the reef in grand cayman ... "put it in a jar with some rice, then go buy yourself a new one" ... when she brought it home i did some research, learned that it was about one-third the price of the camera to have it "refurbished" ... before sending it off, i took it apart, air dried the insides, then let all the pieces sit for a few days ... when i put it back together it worked ... !!! ... since then, however, i've used it only for shooting in poor weather, or when i needed a pocket camera ... today i decided to take it underwater and find out what would happen ...

... liz struck up a conversation with this little boy, i think his name is tristan ... "do you know my grandmother," he asked ... "no," she answered, "this is just such a nice place for people to meet" ...

... as i lay atop one of the boulders in the middle of the stream, suckin' up the sun's heat stored within the water-smoothed pegmatite, liz was teaching tristan to skip stones ...



... liz is a great teacher, and tristan seemed a willing pupil ... at first, he didn't quite comprehend the concept that the rocks wouldn't skip if there were people standing between him and the water, but after a few very near misses he began to get the idea ...

... my wonderful daughter, liz, in her teacher's hands she draws in these little boys so they find exciting a simple river rock ...

... i know, a somewhat over-hdred HDR photograph ... clouds would've probably made the difference, but even with a plain blue sky i couldn't resist trying ...

 ... always a teacher, lesson goes right to the bell ... "how to get the sand out from between your toes" ... yea, that one's way more important than that algebra stuff they kept telling us over and over that we wouldn't be able survive without knowing ...

... that's a julia smile, absolutely, and those of you who know her ma are most likely commenting as to how remarkable is the dna molecule that it allows a mother can pass on her pretty face to her daughter ... me, always, i see my little baby girl playing with joyful abandon in a very happy mountain stream ...

... liz left the rocks, moved ... the camera leaked ...

... at the end of the day, here, from this very special place, part of me never really departs ...

August 24, 2013

A STROLL ALONG THE KENNEBEC

... no motorcycle—it's in the shop for repairs—so i decided to take a little stroll along the walking strail that follows the west bank of the kennebec river from waterville to fairfield ...

... my first stop was the opera house ... you have to appreciate a town office that makes an effort to help you enjoy paying your parking tickets ...


... i watched a young woman escort her children across the "two cent bridge" ... all the way across they kept breaking free of her hands ... the little girl stopped every few feet to take in a slightly different perspective of the view, the little boy grabbed ahold of just about every metal girder and strut his little fingers could grasp ... scolding and clucking like a mother hen with errant chicks, still she allowed them their little explorations ... i liked this ...


... along the banks of the river are huge quarried stones placed to stem erosion ...


... these're some kind of forest weed ... i always wonder, was the rose the same, just another prickly plant with a pretty flower until someone decided it would look good planted in their back yard ...


... what a strange looking being ... then again, i wonder what it thinks when it looks at me ...


... along the trail, river on one side and, above, the railroad yard on the other ...  between these, for but a brief moment, i found it as if the forest had never ben cut, pavement and asphalt didn't exist, and time hadn't yet been measured ...


"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."
—HENRY DAVID THOREAU

August 22, 2013

THE ACCIDENT, REDUX


... notice that even with two grown men pushing, when roger gets on the motorcycle the wind begins to move it backwards down the mountain ...

ANOTHER MOXIE MOMENT


... there're some who chastise  "you're crazy for riding a motorcycle at your age" ... well, doing this to my ol' knees isn't exactly smart, either ...


BENEATH THE BRIDGE, A NYMPH

... just to be clear, i did a bit of research and it is quite obvious that my choice of vocabulary is perfectly appropriate ...



... every year just about this time my dear friend, alison, takes me on what we've decided qualifies as a "tradition," our annual outing to the wire bridge in north new portland ...


... along for the fun, of course, are "the girls," kaylee and bella ... forever fresh, the memories of my own little girls spending hours in the river constructing rock dams and chasing minnows makes the little beach all that more special a place ...


... as with liz and adrien, with kaylee and bella i get to take lots of pictures ... for sure, i've no specific memory of either of my daughters moving in close to lick cheez-it crumbs off my chin, but i wouldn't be surprised if one of them remembers doing so ...


... on the slippery boulders courage is the order of the day ...


... under the noon-day sun of a hot summer day, as was this afternoon, the girls do love the coolness of the water ...


... in the middle of the cheerfully gurgling steam, these great pals take a moment to share quiet respite ...


... my rotator cuff now in much better shape than it was after the tearing it took this spring, i swim and swim and swim until once again my orthopedist's voice echoes in my ears, "it's going to take a long, long time, patrick, be patient" ... yea, right, as if that's ever been my strong suite ...


... okay, to be completely fair, i'll admit that i kept yelling from the river bank, "spin your head ... c'mon, one more time ... okay ... okay, now spin it again" ... what can i say, that hair, that smile, no real photographer could resist ...


... leave your watch and cell phone at home, or, if that's just too much to ask, then lock them in the car ... take a book, a blanket, your river shoes, and a picnic lunch ... sit beneath the bridge, relax, let go ... don't worry, i promise, you'll know when you should leave—and when you must ...

... after i got back to waterville i did a couple of errands, then jumped in my car and went out to the lake to finish the day by sharing a sunset swim and supper with chuck, anne, and joyce ... 







August 20, 2013

CABOT TRAIL WANDERABOUT - EPILOGUE

... for each of us, roads never travelled before, sights first seen, new people to enjoy meeting ... for me, in addition to enjoying the company of roger, eric, and jon, it was an experience in which i learned more riding my motorcycle cross country, important lessons if next year i'm going to attempt a wanderabout across the united states to astoria, oregon ... roger summed it up best, "no fights, we all got along, we had fun on the road and, with the exception of a few scrapes and bruises, arrived back home safe and sound" ... i hope all of you enjoyed the trip ...

"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled."
MUHAMMAD

"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."
TIM CAHILL

August 16, 2013

CABOT TRAIL WANDERABOUT - 3RD ENTRY

... as we left sydney behind and traversed boularderie island we we buffeted by intense winds ... at one point during the ride we descended a steep hill through a tunnel of large trees lining both sides of the road ... using beaufort scale indicators, such as the movement of branches and trunks, i estimate the winds exceeded fifty miles-per-hour ... if that wasn't bad enough, we soon found that we had to cross a bridge over the fjord-like channel separating cape breton from boularderie ... as i negotiated the narrow roadway decking beneath the huge steel arch, heavily loaded lumber company trucks rushing towards me, the winds swirled around my motorcycle from every direction, including above and below the bike ... for seconds that seemed hours, it became one of the few times in my life a purely physical situation brought me to a state of almost mind-numbing dread ...


... after, all of us stopped to see if a change of underwear was necessary ... jon provided a demonstration of the wind's force ...


... we all laughed, blissfully unaware of how ironic this picture was going to turn out to be ...


... as we headed up the eastern shore of cape breton the singularity of the sea served canvas to the lofty green hills which descended directly into the cool depths of the dark blue waters ...

... after an hour or so, the road cut inland, the route following a great rift glacial valley through the very center of cape breton's rugged wilderness interior ... as we ascended the slope the winds became more and more intense ...


... halfway to the top of the notch, we stopped to take some pictures ...



... eric went first ... as dramatic as this may look, i will remind you that he was being very careful, staying well within the speed limit ... 


... after eric motored around the curve and up into the notch, jon followed ...


... astride my bike, i turned and motioned roger to pose so i could snap a shot of him and his bike ... if you look closely, you can see that he is holding onto his motorcycle as well as using his leg to brace it ... in hindsight, this might've been a clue as to the events which were soon to occur ...

... i popped up my kickstand, put my bike in first, and let out the clutch as i raised the revs to head onto the highway ... at that moment the wind became a powerful swirling gust, tornado like in form ... the handlebars of my b.m.w. were almost wrenched from my hands, and it took all my strength and skill to keep the motorcycle from flipping onto its side ... i knew instantly that stopping would result in a spill, so i applied full throttle and slipped the clutch, mentally crossing my fingers that could get up enough momentum to counter the force of the air ... i picked up speed and headed up the hill ...

... within a few hundred yards i saw another pull off ... from this point my memory is a bit confused ... as near as i can recall, it seemed that eric was attempting to push his bike and jon was making frantic motions in my direction ... as i rolled to a stop it became clear he was warning me of the strength of the wind ... he could barely hold his bike vertical, and i found doing so equally difficult ... realizing that i was taking the full force of the wind across the length of my motorcycle, i tried to drive it a few feet so that it would be headed into the gale ... finally aligning it so i felt i could at least keep it from falling, i saw that jon had pulled alongside me ...

... suddenly, he yelled something about his bike, then jumped off and started running downhill ... i was quite confused, as well as worried that his bike might fall, that mine might do so, that his might fall and hit mine ... i turned to look down hill and saw roger's bike lying at the edge of the highway ...

... first,  i could see that roger was okay ... i wondered why he couldn't pick up his bike ... then i noticed that jon was helping him ... i wondered why the two of them couldn't pick up the bike ... finally, i saw that eric had joined in the effort ... i wondered why three grown men couldn't pick up the motorcycle ...

... it was, well, if not comical or entertaining, an intriguing scene ... afraid to leave the two bikes, fearing they would be blown over, i reached for my camera, thinking, "i should get a picture of this" ...


... as they slowly moved the motorcycle it dawned on me, "damn, it isn't the grade in the road ... they're finding it almost impossible to push the bike against the wind" ... i stopped taking pictures, abandoned mine and jon's motorcycles, got off my bike and headed over to help ... it was only then, as i walked by eric's beautiful red rocket that i saw the damage ...


... call it a two-wheeled "where's waldo," i'll let you find the four major defects ...

... end result:  other'n eric's bruised foot, a result of his bike landing on it, there were no injuries ... the rest, as they say, is mere details ... i took roger's back peg and used a bit of gorilla tape so that it could serve in place of the front, which had been sheered off ... we motored on, stopping for a nice lunch while we let the adrenaline clear from our systems ...

... of the cabot trail, i will leave you to find for yourself how you think it should be described ... for me, after only a single transit of nova scotia's cape breton coast and highlands i will forever consider the place in the same category as bryce canyon, zion, and the pacific coast highway ... simply, if you have not already had the experience, i urge you to make your very own wanderabout along the cabot trail ...


... windy, yes, but it is, indeed, a most magical landscape, a motorcyclist's delight, as long, that is, as he or she keeps in mind the dictum, "you can ride or you can look, but you must be careful of looking while riding" ...


... here, along cape breton's cabot trail, is not a place for inattentiveness ...

... i fell behind and lost myself from our little group ... the three of them motored on for awhile, when they stopped roger dispelled any worries, "we can wait, i know he's taking pictures" ...


... which i was, but too soon i had to stow my camera, reminding myself that with my roadmates i'd still "miles to go before i sleep" ... i was sad, but it was a good feeling, one not of "leaving," but rather of "parting," a new goodness in my heart, knowing that even if i'm not present as witness, the waves and wind are still defining land's end along this most remarkable promontory ...


from this day to the ending of the world,
but we in it shall be remembered-
we few, we happy few, we band of brothers
—W.SHAKESPEARE

... camaraderie, it seems, is defined by neither battlefield nor road, but in the sharing ... as lucky as i am to get to do so, there're times, few and far between, i admit, i so hate being the one who holds the camera ...

August 15, 2013

CABOT TRAIL WANDERABOUT - 2ND ENTRY

... at louisburg we joined into a guided tour of the fort, one in which a very nice lady both entertained and informed us using a great sense of humor and an extensive knowledge of the personal lives of the inhabitants of louisburg ... i will not offer a history lesson here, the fortress is most likely to remain for awhile so i'll leave that for you to find for yourself ...

... one of the young "inhabitants" of the fortress flashed me a smile when she saw me pointing my camera lens in her direction ... i'll remain happy pretending the momentary friendly connection was more than just an item in her job description ...


... in the guardhouse i chanced upon the soldiers preparing for their daily musket firing routine ... i believe this snapshot may be one of the best pictures i've ever made ... perhaps hubris on my part, but if so my artistic soul is perfectly comfortable with the conceit ... for me, the whole point of actually walking through the fortress at louisburg, this image transcends time ...


... the firing of the muskets was very entertaining ... as always, of course, i wonder what it is about the sound and smell of exploding gunpowder that is so intriguing ...


... in the small village outside the fortress jon and eric weren't too mature to resist acting a tiny bit touristy for me ...



... roger, of course, just sat behind me on his motorcycle and chuckled ...

... many of the actors in the fortress appear to be teen-agers or very young adults ... i was told that the girls play "young boys" ... perhaps not completely historically accurate, still, i found their youthful exuberance makes the "show" more fun to watch ...


... in the chapel, of course, the accessories and decorations typical of a french catholic church ... 


... interesting, the fortress at louisburg ... in building it to defend against their spanish and english enemies the french neglected to provided any real defenses on the land side ... the english snuck up in the fog, landed a few miles from the fort, worked their way through the swamp and attacked, taking the fort ... years later when the war had ended, the english bargained back the fort in the peace negotiations ... not too long after that, the english and french once again went to war ... and, once again, the english took the fort with exactly the same tactics as they'd previously used ... this time, again giving the fort back, the english decided enough was enough and blasted the entire compound to rubble ... in the 1960s, as part of a massive government public works project designed to put unemployed miners to work, the fort was reconstructed as a historical monument ...

... i find it somewhat ironic that the fortress at louisburg has served longer as a tourist attraction than it did as a military garrison ... very, very interesting ...

... after visiting the fortress jon led us on a bit of a backroads wander along the coast to the hotel ...

TODAY WE EXPLORED THE CABOT TRAIL

STAY POSTED TO LEARN ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL VIEWS, WINDING ROADS, HOWLING WINDS, AND OUR CRASHES

DON'T WORRY, OTHER'N A MINOR BRUISE AND SOME WOUNDED EGOS, WE'RE ALL OKAY

YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE "3RD ENTRY" FOR THE REST OF THE DETAILS

TOMORROW, PERHAPS, THE TIDE AND ANNE'S HOME