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.

September 23, 2018

WANDERABOUTING THE COMMON GROUND


... laura and john took me to the common ground fair in unity ... for those of you not in the know, it's an organic farming/back-to-nature/sustainable resource/traditional crafts/natural living skills & philosophies event that's been held in central maine since 1977 ... this year well over 60,000 people attended the fair ...

... it was a bright-sun day, something not always appreciated by photographers, and i wasn't really in a picture-taking mood, so for the most part i just enjoyed wandering around with john and inspecting the exhibits and presentions ...

... much "organically grown" produce was for sale ...
  

... my pa would've greatly appreciated this woman's "moose dropping" crafts ...
  

... i found this display of dried flowers most attractive ...
  

... if these turkeys could've read my mind—well, let's all be happy that they don't know how to read the calendar ...
  

... i was fascinated with the recumbent bike i tried ...
  
COURTESY JOHN MEADER

... while john and i were sitting down taking a little lemonade break i noticed that another fairgoer had discovered an unofficial entrance to a crowded presentation ... no, it wasn't a girlie show ... in fact, it was an organic lifestyle speaker and the feet belonged to a pleasant young lady ...
  

... john's friends were doing henna tattoos ...
  

... i've always wanted to get a tattoo, and i really liked their work, so maybe—nah, i think they, too, use needles for the permanent kind of body art ...
  

... these two were having a great time watching all the people walk by ...
  
  

... laura and john ...
  

... yea, john meader, a cosmic clown ...
  

... we watched one dog herd geese, while another dog had to go to time-out for biting the sheep ... we saw a pig the size of a small car ... there was a rabbit that looked like a giant lint-ball, a nifty home-made wooden backpack that fits snug into the bow of a canoe, and a man showing the beautiful knives he had made ... we laughed along with the little children as on pieces of cardboard they slid down a straw blanketed hill ... the brick oven pizza was yummy, as was the rest of the food we enjoyed with our noses ... 

... what a wonderful day ...


September 9, 2018

NARRAGANSETT BAY CRUISEABOUT

  
... one of the definers of a family is how it reacts to crisis or tragedy ... in this saddest of times, still my brother says to me, "friday, your birthday  present is a sunset lighthouse viewing cruise of narragansett bay" ... had he cancelled, which would have been completely understandable, for me the thought alone would've been the best of gifts, so to board the boat and head out onto the water was more than a wonderful marking of the anniversary of my birth, it turned out to be a joyful celebration of life itself ...

... on the runway at the old quonset naval station we noticed a plainly painted boeing 747 ... without going into specific details, should the zombie appocylpse take place it is from this aircraft (or one of its siblings) that the human resurgence will be directed ... 
   
  
... the plum island light, now a rather pricey b&b (not for sleepwalkers, for sure) ...
   
  
... the new "jamestown-verazzano bridge" ... yes, it's clearly an improvement over the old structure, but it's not near as thrilling to cross ...
   
  
... sameen enjoyed listening to an ol' salt tell exciting tales of the sea ...
   
  
... you can see the towers of the pell bridge behind the dutch island lighthouse ...
   
   
... over 150 years old, the beavertail light and the point upon which it is perched is one of my favorite places in the world ... many an hour i spent here not attending college classes ...
   
   
... i'm submitting this one to the crest toothpaste company ... ...
   
  
... a long, long time ago, say forty-seven years or so, at low tide, some of my friends and i jumped into the water in front of the lighthouse and raced out to the buoy and back again ... no, i didn't win, but it was great fun ...
   
   
... fifty-five (thanks for the catch, liz) sixty-five years ago a young socialite with a degree in french literature danced away her wedding reception on hammersmith farm's great lawn ... her war-hero politician husband would eventually be elected the 35th president of the united states and she would become one of the most beloved and admired women in the world ...
   
   
... along our route were many graceful sailing vessels ...
   
   
... while moored alongside some of the "lifestyles of the rich and famous" yachts were these boats which quite obviously worked for a living ... quaint, for sure, but i'm betting that many of those staying at the hideously expensive hotel on the shore very quickly lose any appreciation of the odor that wafts from the docks up to their rooms ...
   
   
... my brother, clearly, was in his element ... during his coast guard service narragansett bay was his office, and all around him were impressed with his knowledge of its history and geography ...
   
  
... the rose island lighthouse, which is rather surprisingly a relatively affordable place to take a little getaway for a few days ...
   

... in a darkening sky ours was a calm voyage beneath the bridge and back to port ...

... it was a time for us to enjoy sharing the bay and one another ...

... it was a time for us to make pause, and, in the midst of terrible pain and great sorrow, reflect upon the many wonderful blessings in our lives ...

"And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. 
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. 
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. 
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be better.
For they existed."
MAYA ANGELOU

September 3, 2018

WANDERABOUTING OREGON

... at two in the morning i picked up adrien and we headed down to the airport in manchester for our southwest air flight to portland, oregon ... the journey was comfortable, and when we arrived the weather was gorgeous, the uber taxi ride was both pleasant and inexpensive, the rental car was way fancier'n the one we'd bargained for, and enterprise added adrien as a second driver for free (is a bit weird, you'll have to ask her why) ... we headed downtown to do a bit of exploring ...
   

 
... ellen had recommend we visit "powell's city of books," so, after some excellent french fries courtesy "the boise fry company," we wandered down to the bookstore ... an hour or so later i had decided that if they offered an apartment inside the store i might just take up residence in portland, oregon ... !!! ... 
   

 
... we would've seen this on the way to crater lake, but since we spent so much time eating french fries and looking at books the last hour of our drive to lemolo lake resort  in the mountains was in pitch-black creepiness ...
   
  
... after a good night's rest, we drove up to crater lake ... at first i was only slightly impressed, but then, as my sense of perspective adjusted to the scale of the place, i was absolutely mesmerized by its grand beauty ...
   
  
... as close as she would get to a 600' drop-off, which, for adrien, is very, very close ...
   

 
... an appropriate spot for prayer and/or meditation ...
   
  
... perched on the precipitous edge of the huge caldera i discovered this to be a place where there was no room in my soul for anything but quiet peace and increased appreciation of the simplicity of being ...
   
  
... that blue—oh, the blue—it's not the sky ...
   
  
... 400,000 years ago volcanic eruptions transformed this landscape ... over time almost all evidence of that cataclysmic time weathered away, and it was only 7,500 years ago, after mount mazama collapsed to form crater lake, that this much more ancient layer was exposed ...
   

 
... now, of course, wind and water and the most humble of living things are slowly erasing the current landscape ...
   
  
... a tour boat passing the "phantom ship" provides a sense of scale ...
   
  
... an ancient eruption covered the land with ash ... as it settled gas vents formed within the layer ... the blanket of ash solidified to rock, the vents filled and in a sense became "fossilized," then, over thousands and thousands of years, weather exposed these strange formations ...
   
  
... not the prettiest of colors, but still fascinating ...
   
  
... although as a photographer i lamented the plain sky, i didn't complain since a week before our visit smoke from forest fires was so thick that none of this scene was visible ...
   
  
... after a night in redmond, followed by a bit of exploring at "the original pancake house," we were off to mt. hood ... viewed from 6,976 feet up the side of mount hood, this is mount jefferson, another of the cascade volcanoes ...
   
  
... a few scenes in the "the shining" were filmed here ...
   
  
... on the side of a volcano we enjoyed watching the skiers, had a little snowball throwing contest, and played with a most fascinating squirrel ...
   

 
... that evening adrien treated me to an scrumptious "captain's plate" at the famous "baldwin saloon" ... the "regulars" were arriving just as we finished our meal ...
   

 
... the decor and artwork by themselves were worth the visit ...
   

 
... on the side of the road, i just had to stop ...
   

 
... in the evening we went down to the dalles dam to enjoy the sunset ...
   

 
... it's a beautiful setting, but i couldn't help but think of celilo falls, which until it was submerged by the impound in 1957 was the oldest continuously inhabited community in north america ... "first people" had lived on this spot for over 15,000 years ... yes, the dam provides electricity, but it is also a clear example that nothing comes without a price ...
   

 
... our next stop was the "bridge of the gods" ... when the european explorers traveled through the columbia river gorge the first people told of a time when the gods had provided a bridge so the those living on either side of the river were no longer isolated from one another ... this story was dismissed as just another myth—until, that is, geologists and paleobotanists proved that about 500 years ago the entire side of the cliff had broken off, slid down, and, indeed, completely blocked the columbia river for many years ...
   
  
... we crossed a footbridge to enjoy the park on thunder island ...
   
  
... from the tip of the island is a magnificent view of the gorge ...
   

 
... on a true wanderabouting whim, after the gorge we stopped at the massive bonneville dam ... i was both thrilled and humbled to take pictures from the same observation landing as had adams, weston, and other of the great photographers i had been so inspired by when i first picked up a camera ...
   

 
... this is a place where the fundamental forces of nature are tamed and focused to our will ...
   
  
... even the guard/docent was fascinated ...
     

 
... we descended beneath the structure to enjoy watching the huge salmon working their way upstream through the fish ladder ...
   

 
... this megastructure generates 5,000,000,000  kWh of of "publicly owned" electricity every year, enough to power a half-million homes ...
   

 
... we watched the cormorants diving for their meals ...
   
  
... and the sea lions, which ranging 200 miles from the ocean are starting to be considered a bit of a nuisance by the salmon fishing industry ... it's so interesting, how animals and plants adapt to a sort of natural law of "supply and demand" ...  
   

 
... a sort of "where's waldo," see if you can spot the salmon ...
   

 
... multnomah falls, with a total drop of 620 feet the "highest waterfall in oregon" (i won't even begin to go into the disagreements as to it's national and continental ranking) ...
   

 ... of course, our trip would not have been complete without a stop at the "last of its kind," the sole remaining blockbuster video rental store ...
   

 
... towards the end of our wanderabout came news of a great tragedy in our family ... this last day became bittersweet, a time spent both enjoying and pondering the mysteries of life ... as we prepared to continue on to the airport, i made an effort to portray the sense of peace and tranquility that this place helped us find ...
   

... this wanderabout ends in great sadness ... i will miss beth, but, as is my way of mourning, i have promised myself to never forget her life ...

I love those who can smile in trouble,
who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm,
and whose conscience approves their conduct,
will pursue their principles unto death.
LEONARDO DA VINCI


An agreeable companion on a journey is as good as a carriage.
PUBILILUS SYRUS - MAXIM 143