A Year in Review

CranesJanuary was spent trying to finish my thousand cranes – a resolution I make every year and never quite finish.  I figure a couple more years and they will be done.  I do recommend this to any and everyone.  It’s simple to do and is one of the most meditative things I have ever done.

130227(5)The weather was wintry and exquisitely beautiful.  Each and every storm left behind a landscape that screamed to be walked through on snowshoes and photographed.  The quiet that goes along with weather is restorative and I always look forward to a snowstorms aftermath.

corned-beef-cabbageSt. Patrick’s Day will be one of the most important days of the calendar year to me now, not because I’m Irish but because it was the day I talked to Scott for the first time.  Given up for adoption in 1972 I had come to regard this moment as something that may never happen.  I had left information on a website and through a convoluted chain of events was contacted through an intermediary.  The rest of this year has been spent with each of us getting to know our new family members, a blessing in so, so many ways.

130407 Sugar (3)Sugaring this year was amazing although the snow was rather deep in the beginning.  A lot of work gathering those buckets without the aid of snowshoes.  It makes up for it when we boil and smell that hot maple goodness wafting through the sugar house.

IMG_20130511_104220Spring came in its normal time this year, no hot spells or odd cold snaps and the pear tree was happy.

130609 Throw (2)I made my first overshot throw in wool and discovered a passion for weaving that far and away exceeds any other handwork I have ever done.  My grandfather had wanted me to weave I think, I have a faint recollection of receiving a small, plastic kids loom when I was very young but without someone to teach me.  This has been a special journey with a connection to just about every member of my family.

131225 (4)Every morning the weather cooperates this is what I look at as I drink my first cup of coffee.  There is nothing like walking out the door in your pajamas and sitting in an Adirondack chair overlooking your land.  Day to day the view is different, each having its own beauty.  I feel very, very blessed to have this be such a big part of my life.  It’s grounding.

130817 Heath Fair (3)The end of summer brings with it the fairs.  I took full advantage this year.  Heath Fair is one of my favorites with something for everyone.  I also had some validation with winning a blue ribbon for my weaving.

130818 Wood (4)Wood, wood, wood, we cut and split a lot of wood.  It’s best when it’s like this – family all gathered to make it all go quicker and easier.  It’s also more fun.  Everyone pitched in and Chester thought is was awesome.

130818 Percys PointChester started swimming this summer.  He is a very hot dog when the weather is warm but loves playing fetch more than anything.  This was the perfect solution.  He was a bit of a panic swimmer the first day but after that he looked forward to coming to this spot each and every day we were in Rowe, sometimes twice a day.  He is an amazing animal.

130915 (2)My garden had its issues this year but my popcorn, the experiment of the year was a complete success.  There is no better feeling than finding out there is something new you can grow that’s beautiful and functional.

130904 (1)I went to Belfast, Maine to Fiber College this year and spent quality time with old and new friends and ate lobster every day.  It was a fiber weekend for some but for me it was more about photography.  I need to be alone to do my best work and I came away with images that were everything I wanted them to be.  It was also a time to reminisce about childhood, we spent many summers up this way while I was growing up and I hadn’t been here in a good 30 years.

Red Tree

This autumn the foliage was more beautiful than I had seen it in years.  So many of my friends shared exquisite images of scenes right out their front doors that were breathtaking. Photography slows me down and forces me to look at the details.  The photograph above of the red tree was taken almost at dark.  I drove by it in the center of town, said wow to myself and kept driving.  By the time I got to the bottom of the hill I turned around to capture this.  In my head I initially said “Oh, just take it tomorrow” but a few hundred feet down the road I realized that it wouldn’t be there.  Those are the best photographs, the ones that catch that fleeting moment.

131114 SunsetThis fall I saw some of the most amazing sunsets ever.  Enfield never looked so good under these vibrant skies.  This particular evening it seemed that everyone I knew posted a photograph from a different place.  It was like the sky made everyone stop whatever they were doing to watch.  It’s comforting to know that the people I love were all looking at the sky at almost the same time and then sending what they saw to others.

131129 Bonfire (2)Thanksgiving weekend was about family, our immediate family.  What is usually a crowd was just Bill, me and the two girls, our nuclear family.  It was the first time in so many years that it was just us and it was wonderful.  It’s probably the most difficult thing to experience – the loss of your children to adulthood.  The best time of our lives was raising our girls and they have both turned into amazing, remarkable women.  It was good to have the opportunity to have them all to ourselves.  For a treat Bill built an amazing bonfire to share with them and a couple of their cousins.

131225 (3)Christmas has come and gone, although the remnants are still in the house.  A few decorations will return to their boxes in a week or so and life will begin its new cycle.  There aren’t any resolutions this year for me other than to absorb the gifts around me.  The time seems to go by so fast each year it leaves me breathless.  I will spend the winter months planning the garden, weaving and cooking for the people I love.  I will follow in the rhythm of the seasons and work the way I do for each year.  It may seem a little dull but planning my life around what’s growing or the weather is the most comfortable way for me to live at this moment in time, you just roll with it.  I take every moment spent with the people I love and savor it like a fine wine.  Those times of love and laughter are what sustains me through any other trials that come along.  The simplicity of it is all I need.

 

Chester Swims

Chester swimming –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln25i3bAA8A

Percy’s Point is one of our favorite spots right now.  It’s quiet, peaceful and the perfect spot for Chester to getting his swimming in.  He’s come a long way since his first swim in June.  I was afraid my water dog would be a panic swimmer forever.  Not so, he LOVES it.

Dusk on Pelham Lake

130818 Percys Point

 

Percy’s Point on Pelham Lake has become one of my favorite places to bring Chester.  The lake is such a calm, quiet place.  This particular spot boasts a few picnic tables and a couple of benches.  I was leaning against one of the tables the other day and realized my father had made all of them a few years ago.

We started visiting this spot out of necessity.  Chester likes to be in water when he gets hot but the only water on our property now is a slimy, muddy little brook that is trickling water from the beaver pond above it.  There is no other word to describe it other than gross – and stinky.  When he’s hot he will go into the reeds around it and lies down so he comes out covered with this rust colored goo, yuck.  We’ve tried hosing him off but it’s pretty ineffective and he won’t get into the pool we have for the dogs.  Usually I hose most of the mud off and then bring him to the lake and make him swim for a while until he’s clean.  He thinks this is quite a treat and we are now wondering if he goes into that muck just so I’ll take him to the lake.  Hmmmmm.

There are times that are particularly nice to bring him there.  Last night I was canning and didn’t get to go until almost dusk.  On the way a coyote crossed the road in front of my car.  They elicit fear in many and if there is a pack of them near your yard at night I can understand that – they are loud and talkative.  I’m thinking they are probably the reason I haven’t seen a rabbit since winter as well as every other critter that usually makes its home around the property.  I have to tell you though, they are a magnificently beautiful animal.  They have the most intense yellow eyes, they stare right through you.

As I was tossing the ball into the pond a couple walked by with their little dog on a leash.  I told them about seeing a coyote not too far from there.  Anyone here that has small animals knows that letting them loose this time of day always runs the risk of losing them.  As beautiful as they are being aware is always the best idea.  Meanwhile Chester kept swimming after his ball paying no attention to the couple or their little dog.  There’s is nothing that keeps him from his game.

Water Dog

130727 Water DogI knew Chester had water dog potential when I saw his huge, webbed feet.  He had a bit of a rough start but everyone has to start somewhere.

I’ve been taking him to Percy’s Point on Pelham Lake once a week to fetch his tennis ball in the water there.  It’s a great spot, no distractions.  It slopes gently into the lake and it’s easy for him to return with his ball.  This is a game he has truly learned to love.

This past weekend we took the next step and brought him boating with us.  We found one of our favorite beaches in a cove on Harriman Reservoir, getting there early enough to secure it.

040718 (1)

The only other thing we needed was a tennis ball.  If Chester has a ball there is nothing that will distract him from the game, other dogs, kids, nothing.

We had him fetch for a good hour and a half which he did joyfully.  His swimming has improved tremendously and he will fetch a ball thrown quite a ways without hesitation.  It’s just what you want in a water dog – of course if we brought the other dogs they would have shown him the ropes.

Buddy and Sophie at the lake

Change

IMG_0396

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.
Zhuangzi

There is a special town meeting tonight in Rowe about plans moving forward regarding the school.  I am going.  I need to be surrounded by townspeople to understand how they are feeling about the whole thing.  I will be living there soon enough so any decisions that are made will effect me.

Change is always difficult for everyone, especially when it is sudden.  The loss of the elementary school was a shock and a blow to the people of Rowe.  The remains of the building are still there 7 months after the fire.  Every time I drive by it I just wish it was gone.  There is something to be said for it still being there though.  It means that everyone has had time to go through their stages of grief if they needed to.  The wound isn’t so raw.  I think it has given us all more time to think about what the town needs as opposed to a knee jerk reaction to the loss.

I think that is something we are seeing far too much of these days, that knee jerk reaction to our problems.  There is no foresight. No one thinks about how anything is going to affect us 15 to 20 years down the line.  You see it with gun control, energy policy, climate change.  Events are reacted to rather than analyzed.  Do something to fix it  right now without thought about what that means in the future.  Just look like you’re getting something done.

I’d like to see thoughtful consideration given to what the town needs.  Put the needs before the wants.  Look at it from the perspective of 5, 10, 30 years from now.  Rowe is the kind of place where properties are handed down for generations so forethought is needed.  It’s easy to feel like you have lost all control due to the actions of others when it comes to the future of our kids, I know I do a lot of the time.  I just hope because this town is truly run as a democracy that every issue is taken into consideration and everyone will feel a need to vote on their future.