The simple sentences from these grieving parents touched me like poems. From The Daily 360° from nytimes.com
I’ve had a lot of problems
on the water and the land.
I recently lost my daughters…
I used to think only of fish when I came out here.
Now I see my daughter’s faces in the water.
This beach is my home.
I leave my problems in the sea.
I watch my husband fish
and we support each other to leave everything behind.
I focus on my work and it relaxes me.
I’ll never leave this beach
because I forget about my problems here.
I live for the water
and I try to move forward.
There is no other way.
I’ve been posting here less often for a very good reason: after five years of under-employment, I landed a job.
I’ve gone to work for a company called Earth Resources Technology, a prime contractor for NOAA.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration is under the Department of Commerce. That’s because the agency’s sections, oceans and weather, are vital to the American economy. Because of this, I have high hopes that NOAA will escape the worst of EPA’s fate.
Alas, we learned today that the word “science” has been removed from EPA’s mission statement. It find it confusing that people can decide that the tradition of scientific method, patiently carried out over centuries, can suddenly be discounted.
I’m working in the Restoration Center, part of NOAA Fisheries division, whose mission is restoring damaged wetlands and marine environments. Below is an article of the sort I hope to be creating in the near future.
So expect more musings on things of a watery nature from me. From Harsen’s Island, Michigan, to the Everglades, from the Great Dismal Swamp to Piscataway NP (where I live), the wet places have always had my heart.
By the way, I heard the first Spring Peepers yesterday!
I’ve been grumpy about the unseasonably warm weather – over 70° leading up to Christmas just didn’t feel right. But heading into the end of the year, Voila! And it’s so crispy cold that the bay has frozen.
There is a beauty to the frosted morning, a certain chilled pink and blue glaze over lawns and hills. White clouds lift from chimneys like weightless cotton candy. I don’t think of the water as noisy, but the hush when the bay freezes is palpable.
I love winter. It has it’s place in the cycle of life, for hibernation, rest, reflection. It’s a time of meditation, reading and stirring a cauldron full of veggies to warm the belly. For a cat in the lap. For contemplation and planning, for reviewing and resolving to move ahead.
Welcome, winter. Thanks to the Solstice we know your time is limited. I will enjoy you while you’re here.
On November 10, 1975, a wild winter storm was welcome incentive to stay indoors and study. A friend called me the next day to tell me his boat had sunk. We shared our memories of that crummy little boat. Then I told him about the sinking of the Fitgerald and we fell silent, the phone line crackling the way digital lines do not.
I grew up in a family obsessed with marine history in general, and Great Lakes shipping in particular. No wonder; these enormous iron ships passed our home day and night, sun and fog, most months of the year.
Nearly silent, the behemoths carried iron ore, limestone, coal, and grain. Unlike ocean-going ships (that we called ‘Salties’) these freighters were long, low lying, with pilot house fore and crew quarters, engines and tall smoke stack aft. The length of the ship held hatches filled with bulk cargo, usually iron ore or something used in the processing of it.
Living on a river with ship traffic leaves an indelible imprint on your imagination. The world sails by your door every day. The Norwegian flag, Russian sailors, the Queen’s yacht, Canadian ice breakers, Japanese cargo ships, and iron ore: day and night the red earth that became the cars, trucks, girders, refrigerators, screw drivers and kitchen sinks of our modern lives were moving past my door.
If there was one freighter that everyone loved, it was the Edmund Fitzgerald. Why? She was friendly! The Edmund F. would salute you with a long-two shorts whistle if you waved at them or whenever they passed the San Souci Bar, the pinacle of cultural life on the Island. Most ships were business-as-usual, but you could count on a ‘hello!’ from the Fitzgerald, every time.
On October 17-19 I was on retreat with my AWWG sisters in Mathews, VA. I had never visited this part of Virginia before and was smitten with the peace and big sky. This is a bit of my scribblings.
In the Tidewater we have our own weather.
Pattern: clouds march offshore, moving south along the coast. Clear inland. This is counterintuitive to our inland weather, usually West to East.
Broad soft curling rivers of salt marsh sweep and weave, flush and suck, swell and drain up and down the seaboard like lungs. The silt that creeps into corners, the poisons that filter down from our civilized behavior fan out and settle.
But then: the sea fills to bursting, inhales a great wet breath up into the rivers. Back toward their source, breathing saline into small channels, seething between reeds tangled with plastic trash, dragging the scum with her when she falls back away toward the moon.
Like the trees, there’s an exchange. At first it’s not so obvious, but here is the swish and pulse of our body’s lymphatic health, breathing salt soup life, in and out of our pores.
She seems boundless, indefatigable, infinitely absorbent. We clever ones already test her limits, tinkering with the chemistry set of the globe. It looks like the calcium cities built over eons by coral will be bleached dead before we ever learn their language. And yet they gave us Florida.
Here the dawn comes: extraordinary color the camera won’t get. Greeny sky, violet pink clouds, slate blue waters, all very Maxfield Parrish: smooth fields of tonal color and flawless gradients. The clouds feel muscular, bubbling, and constrained along the beach like eager horses. Later in the day they will wander toward and lumber over us. In the Tidewater we have our own weather.
I’m in the last throes of completing a series of river pictures that have been ‘almost done’ for weeks now. I nudge each of them forward every time I get out the palette, and yet they seem to stay stubbornly in the ‘not quite yet’ camp. ALMOST!!
Last Sunday I completed this one: (click for larger view)
This was one of those summer days when you can feel the thunderstorm wanting to happen. Living on Piscataway Bay gives me the most wonderful relationship with the sky. I am so much more in tune with the movement of weather and celestial bodies than I was living in the big woods.
Moyaone Market this Saturday, October 3rd.
Come on down for new paintings and new things happening at Clearwell Studios
Astrology Rob Brezhny is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and sometimes he knocks my socks off with a profound connection, a pithy quote, a soulful connection. But today it’s just one simple sentence.
The Holy land is everywhere.
I spent my Memorial Day Weekend basking in my new home, enjoying the neighborhood and the house. This was somewhat a wise decision to keep things low key, and somewhat forced house arrest due to budget constraints. It worked out beautifully. With no dollars to spare my food was humble and home-made, my engagement was with neighbors, friends and pets, and my entertainment came from the cycle of the day.
One splendid evening I took a walk with dog Lily and cat Charlee, and we watched herons wading in the sunset waters of Piscataway Bay.
I havent been to Florida for fun in quite a while, and I recently returned from a visit to friend Ferne in St. Petersburg. I had a marvelous time and loved the city, the Gulf, the relaxing, the shopping, and my friend’s excellent hospitality.
A friend of mine has been building her own water park in her back yard, one that includes among other things an outdoor shower and dog wash. I took both dogs for a lovely cedar massage bath and we talked about how summer heat meant seeking relief in the cool of the water.
I’ve been going to the water all my life. I love the rocky forest, adore the sky, dance around the fire, but my Element is irrevocably Water.
Yesterday the heat broke in the afternoon, a great whoosh of wind blew leaves, rattling and bone dry, and thunder rumbled, but not a drop of moisture fell. The thermometer dropped from 103f/39c to 88f/31c and the sense that I was imprisoned indoors lifted. My kayak was still on the car from Monday’s jaunt (more later) and I zipped over to the local launch ramp and managed to get both dogs in with me and go for a paddle. (No pics, alas, since my phone is so water-averse!)
It was glorious, if a bit awkward getting sorted. Lily didn’t want to sit in her seat behind me. Seneca was confused and had trouble arranging her boney arthritic limbs. But eventually, with much splashing and a false start (white poodle swimming behind kayak) we were off. My old dog barked at the waves, my young dog leant against my back, too warm, but reassuring for both of us. I paddled without clobbering anyone. We pushed out against the incoming tide, aided by a breeze from the stern.
I was rewarded by an osprey rush-hour, each bird carrying their fish like a suitcase as they flew. A very large and splendidly marked bald eagle sat prettily in a tree. When I paddled too close, s/he flew out in a circle but returned, showing off the broad white tail, handsome walnut dark wings and snowy crown. Catfish like leviathans leapt near the boat, thrilling that is! What if one managed to flop IN the boat? It’s happened!
A squadron of 21 white egrets flew overhead. We saw terns, tree swallows, geese, a green heron. I heard redwing blackbird, wood thrush and cardinal. Two very tall Great Blues flew in to find a roost, clearly a pair who wanted to be together. It looked tricky, all those long legs trying to perch in a tree.
Then the water breaks into rippled flowing colour of underwater and sky and three shades of each looping forth and back, I feel the most connected, I feel the flow, I feel at home.