Sea Blue Lens


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Scene & Story: April 2017

Robin Redbreast

April in Maine is known as mud season for good reason. We had snow. We had snowmelt. We had rain, lots of it, and more fog than I remember from previous springs. The water in the river rose a couple of feet. The photo above was taken on a day that was very typical of this year’s April.

Many years ago, I read in a newspaper advice column that you can tell if a rainstorm will be short or long by watching the birds in your yard. If all the birds disappear when the rain starts, it will only be a brief shower. If they ignore the rain and go about their usual business, you’ll know the rain is going to continue for some time. Birds need to eat often and can’t afford to take a day off from hunting and gathering food just to avoid getting wet.

I’ve found this bit of folklore to be pretty accurate. After all, our ancestors needed to use their experience and observations of nature to forecast the weather for themselves in the days before satellites and radar and 6:00 news broadcasts. On the day I took this photo, it had been raining for hours and the trees and brush at the river’s edge were busy with hopping and fluttering winged creatures.

Several robins left the trees for the grass below my window, exploring the newly thawed earth for tasty treats. This one perched on the picnic table for a good look around before strutting across it and joining his fellows on the ground. I could almost imagine him sighing and asking, “How much longer is this going to go on?”

Well, Mr. Robin, you tell me.

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Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one other in our photography and writing. I hope you’ll join us! Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


19 Comments

Scene & Story: March 2017

Still Waiting

I didn’t take a lot of photos in March. The weather wasn’t very conducive to taking photo walks — it was actually worse overall than January and February. The photo above was taken on the official first day of spring, during a break in a series of snowstorms.

March, for me, is the month of waiting. Spring doesn’t really come to Maine in March, no matter what the calendar says about the Spring Equinox. It’s not unusual to have cold weather and new snow even into early April. I love the snow and the stark beauty of bare branches in winter. But by the end of March, I’m more than ready for Spring to show her pretty face!

Last year, I took a photo of myself on April 1, standing by the open gate at the entrance to this covered footbridge. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I was grinning with delight because the park had been opened for the first time since the previous November. Inside the park, the grass was greening up and bulbs and perennials were already sprouting.

This year . . . it’s going to be a while before that gate gets unlocked. As I write this, it’s April 1 again — about 9 p.m. — and I haven’t even been out of the house today. Snow began falling about dinnertime yesterday, and by this morning the world was rendered in black and white again. We’ve got about 10 inches and it’s still falling lightly.

So I’m still waiting. Waiting for the ground to thaw, the rain to fall, the grass and leaves and flowers to grow. I’m eager to go outside without a coat, scarf, and gloves. I’m hungry for the smell of spring, and most of all, for color!

And I’m waiting for my little park to be open again. I’m sure it won’t be long!

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Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one other in our photography and writing. We’d love for you to join us. Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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Scene & Story: February 2017

My favorite photographs are often the most serendipitous ones, the unexpected subjects that catch my eye and take me by surprise. I took a lot of photos in February, most of them outdoors: landscapes, seascapes, and snowy nature shots. Maybe that’s why this one stood out when I reviewed my photos for this month’s Scene & Story.

LightMagicA Trick of the Light

One morning in early February, I got up at a ridiculous pre-dawn hour to meet a friend for breakfast. (I’m not much of a pre-dawn sort of person, but she’s worth it.) Now, my apartment’s windows all face west. Therefore, I never get morning sun in my home, and it was still dark as I got out of bed and quickly got ready to go.

The sky was brightening by the time I came downstairs, but the living room was still dim and shadowy. Imagine my surprise when I turned toward the door to leave and discovered this beautiful golden light and shadow there. It must be some kind of magic!

In reality, I quickly realized it was just ordinary…what?…physics, I guess. The rising sun was striking the windows of a building across the river, and the angle was just right for the light to reflect into my west-facing windows and shine all the way across the room to illuminate the door on the opposite wall.

But you know what? I’ve never seen it before in the two and a half years I’ve lived here. There are probably only a couple of days a year when everything lines up perfectly, and I just happened to be there at that exact moment. It felt like a gift, and I left the house with a smile on my face and a skip in my step.

Serendipity. That’s magic enough for me.

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Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one other in our photography and writing. We’d love for you to join us. Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


24 Comments

Scene & Story: January 2017

river ripplesRenewal

It’s not much of a scene. Not much of a story, either, really. My heart hurts more with every day that passes. I need to stay informed, to push back against the tide of hate and anger and fear that seems to be rising all around. How to do that without becoming overwhelmed with anger and hate myself? Or simply drowning in the sorrow of it all?

So I run away, to sit on a granite block at the river’s edge until I’m numb with cold, until I stop thinking, until the flowing water instills a bit of peace within me again. The water that began as raindrops falling on a forest in the mountains many miles away, and that will reach the ocean in just a few miles more. In the ocean it will mix with waters from other mountains, other forests, other rivers. Eventually it will return to the sky, to clouds that will rain down again on still other mountains and forests, forming other rivers. Giving life to other people in other places.

Somehow it comforts me to remember this endless cycle, to watch the river flowing by, its dark waters reflecting a clear blue sky as the lowering sun glints off the ripples. Is there a message here, a metaphor, a reassurance that goodness will ultimately prevail? I don’t know; I only know that it calms me, and a tiny seed of hope begins to grow again.

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Click HERE to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one other in our photography and writing. We’d love for you to join us. Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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Scene & Story: December 2016

dsc_1153Balance

There she stands, that little squirrel, poised and ready to leap. Focused, concentrated, intent upon her destination, the next branch, the next tasty bud. I wonder if she enjoys the leap, that brief moment of flying through the air. I wonder if her tiny heart beats a little faster in anticipation of the launch.

I’d like to be as focused on my next move and as sure of my goals as this little creature, but human lives tend to be more complicated. What do I want to accomplish this year? What do I want to learn, do, create? What do I want to be? To become?

I ponder these questions as I stand poised on the edge of the unknown, at the start of a new year, another new beginning. My heart beats faster in anticipation of the launch. And I hope for moments that will feel like flying.

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It’s official, we have a linkup!
You can find it at Sarah’s Paisley Rain Boots blog.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative effort between myself and Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots. We encourage you to share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit.


14 Comments

Scene & Story, Chapter 3: November 2016

I will admit that November is not my favorite month. In November all those glorious autumn leaves fade and fall. The landscape’s palette turns from brilliant red, orange, and gold to drab gray and brown. Even the sky is gray. Rain soaks those fallen leaves and begins the process of turning them into mulch and humus to nourish future growth. Days grow shorter. The clock gets turned back and, where I live in southern Maine, sunset arrives about four o’clock. This November has felt especially dark. There’s no denying that winter is coming.

Last LeafLast Leaf

Even so, November can still surprise and delight. I chose this photo to represent November because for me it sums up the contradictions of the month. It was a dreary, overcast day. The overnight rain had stopped but was still dripping from every twig. Suddenly, into the reflection of gloomy gray sky and leafless branches, sailed a single yellow leaf, moving quickly with the current. One spot of bright gold, shiny as a new coin, a flash of light in the darkness. Swirling out of sight in a moment, but lingering in heart and mind, a spark of unexpected joy.

November, I might just love you after all.

Please visit my friend Sarah at Paisley Rain Boots for her November Scene and Story.


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Scene & Story, Chapter 2: October 2016

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already seen the image I chose for this month.

Signal FlareSignal Flare

I took this photo on the same day as my hike on the Saco Heath. I was driving home and was only two blocks from my door when I saw this flaming red vine out of the corner of my eye. I drove on home and parked the car, then ran back to frame and shoot the photo. I called it “Signal Flare” for its brilliant color, a sure sign that autumn was truly under way.

Okay, New England fall, colored leaves, pretty picture, and all that. But there’s a reason this photo is meaningful to me.

It was only early October. Virginia Creeper is one of the first plants to show its fall color and I knew there would be so much more to come. I’d already been out with my camera for a good three hours, since around sunrise, and hadn’t had breakfast or even coffee. I was tired and hungry. Surely this could wait? At least until after breakfast…and that coffee!

Better yet, how about tomorrow? (I am an excellent procrastinator.)

But somehow this felt urgent. I needed this photograph, and it couldn’t wait. I didn’t even go in the house first; I just hurried back and got my shot. And guess what? Overnight the rain came, the wind blew, and by the next morning, that vine was stripped bare. I’m so thankful that I captured it when I had the chance.

The older I get, the more conscious I become that tomorrow is a hope, not a promise. This photo is my own personal Signal Flare, a prompt not just to “seize the day” — I’d already done that — but to seize the moment when it presents itself. It may not be there later.

I know myself well enough to know that I won’t always succeed at this. I’m grateful for this image that reminds me to be present, to listen to the quiet voice of my own intuition, and to recognize and receive such fleeting gifts before they slip away.

Be sure to visit Paisley Rain Boots for Sarah’s October Scene & Story.

If you’d like to post your own “Scene & Story,” you’re more than welcome, and we’d love to know about it. We hadn’t planned on a formal linkup, but if you feel like joining in, you could leave a link to your post in the comments.