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 sixth 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.

March 31, 2015

WANDERABOUT NEWS

... after a nice, albeit too short, visit in new jersey with phil and his family, it was on to wilmington, north carolina ... our first stop was the beach, where it took awhile to find the pier that was one of the goals of our journey ...

... i know absolutely nothing about it, but i'm assured that fans of "dawson's creek" will recognize this scene ...

 ... to me, of course, it was just a chance to play with perspective ...

... except for a couple of hardy wet-suited surfers, a few others on their own wanderabouts, and this interesting shore bird, we had the beach all to ourselves ...

... soon to be elbow-to-elbow with tourists and sun worshipers, even in a brisk wind it was nice to be able to enjoy the beach like this ...

... again, admitting to my ignorance, adrien informed me that the hordes of twenty-five year-old young women we encountered were reliving their teen years and brought to tears of joy as they stood in front of this particular door ...

... hidden away in one of wilmington's less developed neighborhoods, still we encountered others on their own "one tree hill" wanderabouts ...

... personally, i was much more impressed by the battleship u.s.s. north carolina proudly displaying her 15 world war II battle stars ...

... heading across north carolina we negotiated the twisty roads until we found "the road to nowhere" ...

... it was only a short hike from the car to the tunnel ...

... adrien celebrated, as is her way ...

... adrien then hiked to the end of this "broken promise" ... when the huge public works projects dammed up the rivers, the new lakes cut off access to the cemeteries where local residents' loved ones were buried ... the federal government promised to construct a road for access, but, after building only 12 miles, decided that it was "environmentally unsound" to complete the route ... the congress voted a settlement payment of $55,000,000 ... it still has not paid ... now, it seems, swain county, north carolina, has something in common with the native americans, bikini islanders, and many veterans ... [that's an editorial comment—i'll not apologize for it] ...

... for adrien, this is #48 ...

... in chattanooga, tennessee, we drove to the top of lookout mountain, where we enjoyed the beautiful view ...

... i climbed out onto one of the rocky outcroppings so adrien could scream at me, "you're crazy, dad" ...

... the land below the mountain was mostly farmland when the confederate and union armies fought desperately in the "battle in the clouds" ...

... now, all is peaceful ...

... families with picnic baskets, young lovers, and wanderers including adrien and me, we all shared this quiet moment with the ghosts ...

... the next day we descended 1,200 feet beneath lookout mountain to gaze upon the greatest subterranean waterfall in north america ...

... in 1928, after leo lambert had discovered that his expensive tunnel had cut into an 18-inch void in the limestone formation, and after he'd spent seventeen hours exploring the dark passage, on his second journey into the abyss he brought his wife with him to joy in his fabulous discovery, which he named "ruby falls" in her honor ... this, i like very much ...

... we chanced upon on of the mountain's feathered residents ...

... [okay, i admit it, it was a sculpture—but, still cool] ...

... "rock city's" unusual formations were fascinating ...

... and, once again, we thoroughly enjoyed the view ...

... i thought virginia might be a bit of a stretch, but on a perfectly clear day it is, according to surveyors and witnesses, visible from lookout mountain ...

... and, last but hardly least, having waited so long for winter to depart maine and new hampshire, this was a most welcome sight ...

... tonight was thunderstorms from the motel balcony as we cooked up our pasta on the camp stove ...

... what great fun ...







March 26, 2015

WANDERABOUT!!!!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!
DR. SEUSS

... we're heading out ... minus first/last legs, here's our "plan" ...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
MARK TWAIN

March 21, 2015

"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES"

... having used pa's clunky old argus and little jewel-like wittnauer festival, i was still surprised when he said to me, "you can take my petri up to the u.s.o. show" ... me—allowed to leave the house with his precious single-lens-reflex camera—i was breathless ...

... after a quick lesson in the use of the clip-on light meter (not shown in the photograph), i was off to one of island life's isolation breakers, the military's annual "bob hope u.s.o." show ... down at the football field where they staged the event, i snuck under the ropes and worked my way into the press section ... after a few minutes one of the military police (with whom i was quite familiar professionally, i must admit) came over to bust me ... as he started to grab my shirt to haul me away, one of the navy photographers turned to him and snarled, "leave the kid alone, he's with me" ... the sky cop started to respond, but after a quick glance at the rows of ribbons on the navy guy's chest he shut his mouth and wandered away ... i glanced at the little colored decorations, gulped, and very, very respectfully said, "thanks, chief" ... "no problem, kid, just make sure you look like you know what you're doing, okay" ... here, with my first use of a "modern" camera, a photograph of bob hope ...

... i loved his movies, but hope on stage i never found all that entertaining ... after the show, however, my friends and i got to hang out with ann margaret, whom i found to be one of the absolutely nicest people i've ever met ... as for the navy photographer, well, that was a most important photography lesson, one i've quite often been most appreciative he took the time to teach ...

... and, how odd, that almost a half-century later my current nikons are, in basic form and function, still pretty much identical to that now ancient petri ...

Thanks for the memory 
Of sentimental verse, nothing in my purse 
And chuckles when the preacher said, "For better or for worse" 
How lovely it was 
Thanks for the memory 
Of Shubert's "Serenade," little things of jade 
And traffic jams and anagrams and bills we never paid 
How lovely it was 
We who could laugh over big things, were parted by only a slight thing 
I wonder if we did the right thing 
Oh, well, that's life, I guess 
I love your dress 
Do you? 
It's pretty 
Thanks for the memory 
Of faults that you forgave, rainbows on a wave 
And stockings in the basin when a fellow needs a shave 
Thank you, so much 
Thanks for the memory 
Of tinkly temple bells, alma mater yells 
And Cuban rum and towels from the very best hotels 
Oh, how lovely it was 
Thanks for the memory 
Of cushions on the floor 
Hash with Dinty Moore 
That pair of gay pajamas that you bought and never wore 
Say, by the way 
Whatever became of those pajamas? 
We said goodbye with a highball 
Then I got as high as a steeple 
Did you? 
But we were intelligent people 
No tears, no fuss, hooray for us 
Strictly entre nous 
Darling, how are you? 
And how are all those little dreams 
That never did come true? 
Awfully glad I met you 
Cheerio and tootle-loo 
Thank you 
Thank you so much
RALPH RAINGER & LEO ROBIN

... bob hope would alter the lyrics of this song to bring to either laughter or tears, or both, the particular audience he was entertaining ...

ADDIE AND PEMAQUID GET AQUAINTED

... since she had expressed an interest in learning photography, for a christmas present eric bought my olympus e-p1 for his daughter ... after one cancellation due to illness and another due to a rather nasty spring snowstorm, eric and addie and i finally met up for her first "lesson" ... after stopping for lunch, we headed down through bristol to visit pemaquid point ... it was a beautiful day, made more so by the sight of addie excitedly scampering around exploring the primeval strata ...

... several times i reminded her about staying warm, until i finally realized how as a kid i'd so hated it when ma would tell me the same thing as she, too, forgot that my youthful metabolism was quite capable of maintaining a comfortable body temperature ...

... the tide being quite low, i think the result of a recent rare alignment of moon and sun, we explored the excellent vantage point that is usually submerged beneath the crashing surf line ...

... and, still not quite old enough to know better, for a most dramatic view of the lighthouse i scrambled atop the huge pegmatite outcropping that forms the point of the peninsula ...

... father and daughter posed for a quick snapshot ...

... still in the no-flatlanders-clogging-up-the-streets time of year, we decided to stop in darmiscotta for some hot tea and delicious ice cream ... eric, who doesn't like having his picture taken, afforded me the honor of one of his "GQ" face making sessions ... this was my favorite ...

... with all kidding aside, i'm honored that eric trusts me to the point that he'll relax and let me capture a nice (and more "normal") portrait of him ...


... we had a great time, and we're all looking forward to our next outing, the wire bridge in north new portland ... i so believe that addie is going to be a great photographer (always a teacher, that's me) ...

CRAMMIN'

... roger came over for a bit of help with his studying for a motorcycle instructor's license ... i snapped a picture of him as he agonized a "correct answer" that didn't jive with his rather extensive riding experience ...

... of all the styles of photography, this is my favorite ...

March 14, 2015

FOR "WINTERCRAFT," AND ALL OF YOU

[this post is dedicated to jennifer shea hedberg, who in ice captures light]

... deciding that the only thing left to do was to give spring a little help in arriving, john and i took a little wanderabout up to the wire bridge in north new portland ... in north anson we stopped to watch the river ...

... after avoiding the county sheriff's speed trap on route 16, we paused at the gilman pond dam to take pictures ... still impressive, it's difficult to realize that this was once a very tiny part of a huge water-powered mill complex ...

... a bit more warming and the spot from where i took this picture will be submerged beneath a cascading torrent of frigid water carrying millions of tons of broken shelf ice to the sea ...

... mid-march, the warmth of the late afternoon sun promises spring ...

... at the wire bridge i parked the car, grabbed my camera, then sprinted to record the wanderabout of others ...

... once sharp, spring is in the ice slab's softened edges ...

... winter's end is in the smallest of details ...

... i headed out across the frozen surface because, after all, if i can't ride my motorcycle i might as well do something fun ... i will admit, however, that the grinding and cracking noises were a bit disconcerting ...

 ... john snapped a picture of me crossing the river ... i can only imagine what he was muttering under his breath ...
BY JOHN MEADER

... as i moved from one section of raft ice to another, the ever-so-slight movement of the surface reminded me that it's no longer winter ...

... i was fascinated when i found my own footprints from my previous visit to the wire bridge ... so like the traces of australopithecus afarensis that mary leaky found in laetoli, even if they are destined to disappear in days as opposed to the 3,600,000 year longevity of those ancient impressions ... i like to think that before they melt away another on their own wanderabout will take notice of these tracks and perhaps wonder a bit about who left them  ...

... i'm pretty sure i saw a trout swimming around beneath the ice, but i knew better than to try to get closer to investigate ...

... the sunlight was strong enough to penetrate the thick blocks of ice ...

... massive ice rafts like this, each weighing many tons, were cast up along the shore when a mid-winter thaw brought the stream to brief high water ...

... before the rising temperature can melt this block of ice the spring waters will probably float it back into the stream where the huge boulders will break it up into smaller pieces ...

... i was mesmerized by this ice mountain ...

... here, recorded, a history of this winter ...

... as within me, and you, each and every of the atoms within this ice once swirled around in the heart of a star ... this, i believe, is of the most profound of thoughts ...

... such mystery ...

... did the ice capture, or was it that autumn welcomed the embrace ...

... i wished i was a tiny bird, for just a moment, so i could make quick flight through this frozen passage ...

... it is a photographer's burden, to attempt to capture the indescribable ...

... absorbing the warmth of the sun, a leaf creates a frozen cast in the ice ...

... very soon, for a brief interval before the advent of spring's high water, the entire stream will look like this ...

... a boulder, moved to this spot thousands of years ago by the meltwaters of the last ice age's demise—a suspension bridge, constructed across the stream even as much of the american landscape was still wet with the blood of patriots—an icon of romance ... all is in its place, all belongs ...

... "kaylee's rock," soon it will be alison and bella's place to sit and disappear ... this, i think, is what the wire bridge is for ...

... heading home along katie crotch road (honest), john yelled, "pull over" ... he'd noticed in the stream's dark waters the evening sun was painting an impressionist landscape ...

... john, falling into the place ...

... all that remains of a once mighty tree, soon to begin its journey to the sea ... "only the rocks live forever—only the rocks live forever" ...

... "tranquillity base here," too ...

... john, remembering his duty as a fellow photographer, made sure to snap a picture of me as i tried to avoid falling into the water ...
BY JOHN MEADER

... of this one, it's the first time i've ever really seen in a photograph what ma used to tell me, that she could see pa in my smile ...
BY JOHN MEADER

... pa would've liked this place ... he would've made a little campfire for us to huddle around while he told us a story ...

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say. 
WILLIAM STAFFORD