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.

June 26, 2015

ERRAND WANDERABOUT

... john said, "i have to run down to western maine to pick up some maps that are mine, want to go with me" ... you know me, i'm always for a wanderabout of any sort, especially one for which the excuse is so absolutely thin ... "maps ... envelope ... post office" ... nah, not something i said to him until the day was almost over ...

... we stopped at the shaker village near sabbath day lake, where i enjoyed watching john use his new wide-angle zoom to get up close and personal with the sheep ...

... in the museum we met mr. charles c. perry, who is a master wood carver ...

... he's created a wonderful collection of little wooden creatures ...

... i got the very distinct impression that he enjoyed talking about his fantastic menagerie as much as we enjoyed listening to him ...

... there are only three shakers left in this community, but they seem to do a good job of keeping everything neat and tidy ...

... i always find that i connect to their architecture's aesthetic functionality ...

... when i was a child this sort of thing was relatively common ... in spring, when school ended, a voice from kitchen window, "summer doesn't begin until the fence is painted ... now, and i've no reticence in using the word "sadly," it seems that pre-made plastic fences are the norm, and another of the ways we marked our lives is naught but a routine purchase at the local home supplies big box ...

... inspecting some of the shaker crafts, i began to suspect that my daughter, liz, is a secret member of their community ... both her grandmothers, too ...

... "molasses drops" i can understand, and i suppose with some stretching of one's imagination "cow tales" could be considered typical of an agricultural community, but, as for the little bag labeled "mike & ikes," of that i wonder a tiny bit ... i did notice that apparently shakers are macbook pro users, another score for the faithful ...

... if i applied to the "united society of christ's second appearing," even if well-intentioned, i doubt if they'd issue me a membership card ... putting aside all the specific religious disagreements we might have, including but not limited to the fact that as a rational agnostic i don't specifically believe in the "first appearing," there's one particular aspect of earthly life the shakers have chosen to eschew that i'm just not quite ready to give up ... with a rather dramatic 33% surge in membership, however, i'm sure the only active shaker community in america will get along just fine without me ...

... i wasn't paying much attention, so i can't recall the name of the town john side-tripped us to so that he could investigate one of his favorite roadside attractions, another odd mileage sign ...

... i think someday john should take a trip to alaska ...

... as a kid my family took ten days to drive what was then 1,700 miles of unpaved wilderness road ... i remember this as being a modest collection stretching along the side of the alcan highway, now there are well over 60,000 placards in the "signpost forest" ...

... we stopped for lunch ... again, having not been paying attention, i don't recall where we were ... i do, however, have a most excellent recollection of the roast beef sandwich i enjoyed ...

... on the way home we stopped at the songo locks, where we watched as this miniature version of the panama canal was used by a little pleasure boat ... actually, considering that these locks were put into operation almost 90 years before their more famous brethren to the south opened for business, perhaps i should more accurately state that the panama canal is just a larger version of the songo locks ... the "uphill" journey is free, it's $6.00 to go in the other direction ... over fifty years old, the wooden gates are approaching the end of their service life ...

... on the dam next to the locks i was fascinated by this huge worm gear ...

... i like this snapshot because i can see the shadow of my head ...

... the sun ended gently a wonderful day ...

June 24, 2015

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU

Some trails are happy ones
Others are blue
It's the way you ride the trail that counts
Here's a happy one for you

Happy trails to you
Until we meet again
Happy trails to you
Keep smiling until then


Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring that sunny weather

Happy trails to you
'Til we meet again

Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring that sunny weather


Happy trails to you
'Til we meet again
'Til we meet again

FRANCIS OCTAVIA SMITH

June 23, 2015

AURORA BOREALIS ADDENDUM

... faithful to the photographers' credo, john took time to snap a picture of me ...

... by the way, don't be misled by the capability of modern technology ... when these images were taken it was completely dark to the unaided eye at ground level, we had to use flashlights to see to set our cameras ... 

... okay, yes, if the thought came to you you're absolutely correct ... "snap a picture" is a bit of a misstatement ... we both very carefully set up our tripods, then i held perfectly still during the 30-seconds his camera's shutter was open ... not exactly a candid, eh ... give me some credit, however, for remaining motionless during the exposure even when a ginormous mosquito landed on my cheek, with his needlelike organic syringe pieced a major blood vessel, then proceeded to suck about a quart of blood out of my face ... to tell the truth, i'm still a bit woozy, but, nevertheless, john got the shot ...

It is your trump
It is your hateful little trump
You pointed fiend,
Which shakes my sudden blood to hatred of you:
It is your small, high, hateful bugle in my ear.
D.H.LAWRENCE

AURORA BOREALIS

... a bit of a hectic start to my day when robert called, "my alternator light is on and i smell something burning" ... i followed him out to our mechanic's, "mickey's wrench" on the norridgewock road, then gave him a ride back to town ... after that i scooted over to roger's to change the oil on my motorcycle, after which he and i headed out on another of his "all the towns in maine" wanderabouts ...

... in norridgewock i snapped a fun picture of "roger york" in front of the little convenience store on main street ...

... after taking the picture i suddenly realized that in all the busyness of my morning i'd neglected to eat, so i went inside and bought a cold tea and a humongous ice cream sandwich ... roger snapped a shot of me on my lunch break ...

... next to the bench was a huge bush covered with little yellow blossoms 

... we stopped in madison to take a picture at the library ... the veterans memorial next to the building was covered with names ... curious, i went inside to find out if the stones listed everyone who had served during the war, or only those who had been stationed "in country" ... the nice librarians, jane and julie, told me they didn't know, but that "i could check with the v.f.w. who maintained the monuments" ...

... later in the evening, just after i'd finished a nice supper of left-over curried chicken and a baked sweet potato stuffed with butter and brown sugar, john called, "reports're saying that there's going to be a good aurora just after dark, want to go take some pictures" ... he picked me up and we headed north to the little pond on the backside of the hinkley school campus ...

... after the sun was down i played around taking pictures of scene illuminated by the setting moon ... these pictures were 30-second exposures taken using my wide-zoom set for 10mm ...

... it seemed as if the clouds were going to prevent us from seeing the aurora, but after awhile the northern sky cleared and we began to discern colorful striations in the sky ... even with the light pollution from the sappi paper mill and the town of skowhegan i managed to snap a picture of the lights ...

... john used his little penlight to "light paint" the road ...

... as a heavy ground mist began to settle on us, and the mosquitos suddenly became very, very hungry, i made one more exposure of the sky ... it was only when i brought the images into photoshop that i realized i'd captured john's camera in the frame ...

Oh, it was wild and weird and wan, and ever in camp o' nights
We would watch and watch the silver dance of the mystic Northern Lights.
And soft they danced from the Polar sky and swept in primrose haze;
And swift they pranced with their silver feet,
and pierced with a blinding blaze.
They danced a cotillion in the sky; they were rose and silver shod;
It was not good for the eyes of man -- 'Twas a sight for the eyes of God.
ROBERT SERVICE

June 20, 2015

LOST [SORTA]

... i drove up to carmel to pick up an item robert had bought in some on-line marketplace ... after that, i decided to wander awhile looking for some lunch ... most conveniently, dysart's truck stop appeared just as my stomach was beginning to get insistent ... a great turkey club sandwich, topped with some fresh raspberry pie, and i was off ... as i completed my before-riding bike inspection i noticed a very, very red motorcycle parked nearby ... i walked over and started up a conversation with its owners, jack and karen ... jack used to drive trucks, and he and his wife have shared several cross-country motorcycle wanderabouts ... this motorcycle is almost twice the weight of my bmw, and its engine is bigger than the motor in my first car ...

 ... after a very friendly chat with this nice couple, i hopped onto my bike and headed out ... pointed southeast, i decided to drive roads without numbers, with a little twist being that i'd alternate left and right turns whenever i came to an unknown lane ...

... soon, although i knew i was someplace between the atlantic ocean, the penobscot river, route 202 and routes 137 & 139, i was completely lost ...

... driving down an unpaved secondary road, most seriously in the proverbial "middle of nowhere," i came across this cemetery ...

... i was drawn to this grave ... i stood in front of the tombstone for several minutes, wondering about charles colson ... "who was he ... what did he do in the navy ... was he a husband, a father" ... ??? ... in this quiet field i found no answers to my questions, but i like to think captain colson appreciated my visit ...

... to my surprise, i popped out of the woods near swan lake ... from there i continued my wandering, alternating left and right turns onto twisty back roads and unpaved dirt lanes ... soon i found myself in brooks, where i took a break at ralph's cafe ...

... the decor included icons of my childhood, as well as many i recognized from the world that preceded my life ...

... i ordered iced coffee, which mike perfectly prepared and properly served in a chilled stainless steel carafe ... he related to me some interesting facts about the history of brooks ...

... outside of unity i watch these farmers as they went about their chores in a manner almost identical to how this work was done when this area was first farmed in the early 1800s ...

"Becoming lost is an art."
A.BRADY

CONCENTRATION


"This is how I envision Pat's mind when he is focusing on a shot ... everything around him goes black, other than what he is intently focusing on ... just him, his composition, his vision."
CHAD TRACY

June 19, 2015

WANDERING HANCOCK COUNTY TO STONINGTON

... roger's still on his "all 430 maine towns in one summer" quest, so wednesday we headed out for a little two-day wander across "downeast" maine ... i decided that in addition to snapping pictures of him in front of various signs displaying town names, i would also walk a few steps from my motorcycle at every stop and see if i could find a picture of my own ... for this outing i used my little fuji x-e1 with its rather generic 16-50mm zoom ...

... this is my trusty bmw f650cs ... when i bought the motorcycle two years ago it had 11,300 miles showing on the odometer ... somewhere along this stretch of road the numbers ticked over to 36,000 ... needless to say, i ride a lot, much, much more than the 3-4,000 miles per year most average ... i've pretty much perfected my travel kit, so now all i need to do is sock away enough money and next year will be an epic coast-to-coast-to-coast wanderabout ... [any patrons out there, i'm sure i can figure a way to make it tax deductible] ...

... i read on the internet that the night we were on the road a u.f.o. was seen over orrington ... i'm wondering, perhaps this is a hanger where an extra-terrestrial on a galactic wanderabout hides their f-t-l spacecraft while cleverly disguised they're out slumming with the natives ...

... the glaciers dumped huge boulders all over the hancock county landscape ... if i'd lived in his house when i was a kid the top of that boulder would've been my very own sagarmāthā ... 

... motorcycles and bikers, runners, too, i imagine, can be envious ... roger and i spent hours and hours wandering the countryside along lanes such as this ...

... waiting for warmth, in the cool air along the coast these little flowers seemed content to sleep away the day ...

... these seem to be standard for the walkways of town offices ...

... in winter harbor we met warren blair ... he drives a beautiful blue crown vic ex-cop car, the model with the big engine ... he invited me to see some of the glass art he creates ...

... all along the coast the lupine was in full bloom ... i like lupine because if you're unhappy or angry, or just plain ol' discontent, all you have to do is stand in front of a field of these flowers and within a few minutes you'll have a hard time recalling what it was that was bothering you ...

[WARNING - POLITICAL EXPRESSION]

... read the inscription ... this bothers me, greatly ... once, towns put up beautiful marble or granite monuments, with deep-relief brass plaques ... statues, too ... in the smallest of maine towns it's amazing how many names are on some of the civil and world war memorials ... then, in my lifetime, korea, viet nam, panama, grenada, haiti, dominican republic, kosovo, the "cold war" (amazing how those deaths have been erased), beruit, somolia, iraq #1, iraq #2, afganistan, bosnia, "terror," "isis," and, i'm sure, others i'm forgetting ... [sigh] ... now, from what i can see, those who manage the budgets of small towns are hedging their bets ... as i said, although i don't know why, this bothers me ...

... i thought i'd never been to the town of surry, so roger snapped my picture ... when i got back home i checked my life-map and it turns out i was wrong ... it was a long, long time ago, and it was nice to make a return ...

... more lupine ... you can never see too much lupine, that's my opinion ...

... on the side of the street in stonington ... pretty ...

... in castine, sitting on my motorcycle, this tree offered up a cheery "hello" ...

... i'm still trying to understand this ... any ideas would be greatly appreciated ...

... a little break after lunch ... a moment while roger was checking the map for me to think to myself how incredibly lucky i am ...

... we did about thirty towns ... actually, roger did one more than me when i lost sight of him leaving winter harbor and had to scoot ahead and wait at the mcdonalds in elsworth ...

... what great fun ...