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.

February 2, 2013

BIRTHDAY ON THE ICE


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i drove out to east pond to wish the best of birthdays to my great friend, chuck ... for those of you not in the know, he and i taught together for twenty-eight years, much of that time across a hall from one another ... we were, to put it in very precise educational terms, the very best of teams ... we cared about kids, our core philosophies were in perfect synch, and, most important, we both believed that applied by a practiced master a little bit of good ol' b***s*** could go a long way towards making a bad day better or transforming otherwise dry subject matter into exciting fun ... neither of us ever thought that there could be too much laughter in a classroom ...

... chuck and ann live in the little house to the left in the picture, their front yard is east pond ... chuck is standing above one of our favorite spots, a tree trunk that lies on the muddy bottom of the pond ... often on a summer or fall evening we will swim out and stand atop the tree, which offers enough of a perch that we can relax with only our heads out of the water ... we'll solve a few of the world's problems, comment on the amount of algae in the water, rag about a certain state governor who we both believe never got past the title of the book "being a state governor for dummies" ... after a few minutes, however, we always come to talking about our girls, our lives, how both of us have been so very lucky for all that we have seen and done ... i think that this is the reason the tree ended up in this spot ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... the ice is thick enough that a car could be driven across the lake, although a lack of snow and the recent rains followed by well-below freezing temperatures have made the surface so slippery that i imagine it would be a rather interesting experience ... it is frightening fun to hear the groans and great snapping cracking sounds as the surface of the lake adjusts itself to the wind and movement of the water below ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... here huge fissures, possibly a result of the recent four days of unseasonably warm weather, have become resealed with clear ice ... a long time ago, when i was a child living in alaska, i fell through the ice on a pond while i was skating ... i still remember the cold, how it almost stopped my heart, and how absolutely afraid i was until my brother, he who remembered everything in the boy scout handbook, carefully worked his way on his belly to the edge of where i'd broken through the ice ... "just relax ... don't move around ... hold my hand ... there you go, i'm not going to let you sink" ... i knew he wouldn't, not ever, so, although i admit to worrying a bit that i was going to turn into a popsicle, i had no fear in me as we waited for some grown-ups to come help him pull me from the icy water ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... although the truth of the matter is that in these times the residents of this state are defined as being those who can work the buttons of their smart phones while wearing mittens, i still believe that this picture portrays the characteristics of a "true mainer" ... ayuh, yessir, by gorry ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... "hmmmm, so ... so, if i was to put some studs into my motorcycle tires ... wear my heavy boots ... i wonder if it would work" ... don't let my calm demeanor fool you, as chuck was taking this picture the wind chill was probably about 0°F ...







SUE & PA


PETRI FLEX V-KURIBAYASHI 55mm-F8-1/125th-ISO50 AGFACHROME

... beth, my sister-in-law, posted on facebook an old picture of my sister sue and i was reminded of this agfachrome slide i had tucked away waiting to be scanned ...

... sue and pa, playing around in the front yard of 1212a mango drive, our house on guam ... the little dog eating his fleas is named "dusty," i believe (probably a stray, my sister to homeless and wounded critters has always been like a magnet to iron filings) ... the yard is trimmed, per military base regulations ... the shrubs are a bit ragged, which leads me to believe that this picture was taken in the rainy season during which it was almost impossible to keep the growth trimmed back ... i'd guess that this is october or november of 1967 ...

... of course, what you can't see in this photograph are the thousands of giant african land snails which lived in holes in the lawn and under the bushes—during the wet season it was a daily chore to knock them from beneath the roof eaves—and the giant toads which had been introduced on the island to get rid of the snails, but were never really up to the task ...

... alison said to me, "how come you didn't get your dad's great smile" ... i've always wondered about that ... for sure, as we were all to so very sadly discover, he also hid his great sadness, and it could be there were times his magnificent grin was a tool he used more to encourage our happiness than express his own ... mostly, however, i think he was a man who as an adult retained the ability to allow his emotions to explode out ... one thing we never questioned was pa's mood ... now that i reflect upon it, however, that was perhaps not always such a good thing since it often allowed us to make assumptions which served our own very selfish needs ... 

... still, after all these years, i do so miss his great smile ...