Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer is ending

We arrived home from our journey to West Quoddy Head and Campobello on Wednesday evening. Papa Bear and I went to one of our favorite Island restaurants for dinner - The Seafood Ketch in Bass Harbor. The food was fabulous. I have the feeling (a feeling, not a fact) that the recent economic times have hit restaurants and other businesses on the Island quite hard. Some are offering what they used to offer but at a reduced quality. Others are offering a smaller selection, at an increased cost. I imagine it must be difficult to be a tourist destination in a time when tourism is down, though we are told that this summer on the Island has been good.

Thursday was catch-up day for the work we missed while away. Friday we did our grocery shopping. Saturday Mama Bear ran for about 5 miles.

Today, Sunday, we went to see the waves at Thunder Hole. One of the hurricanes is off-shore so the waves are up a bit. The picture at the beginning of the blog is of the rocks we were observing prior to them being inundated with waves. I am also attaching a video of the waves. Enjoy! Also know that the sound is missing from the end of the video: I am still trying to learn how to edit videos.

We are coming to realize that summer is drawing to a close - next weekend our beloved Baby Bear and beloved Boo Boo will visit us for Labor Day weekend. It scarely seems possible that we have only a couple more months here, but it is true. The cove, it is lovely at the moment. The tide is going out, The Cat is on the porch sunning herself, we have been reading after our visit to Thunderhole. It is suppose to stay warm with low humidity here for the beginning of the week. Picture and video taken with Mama Bear's Droid-X device.

West Quoddy Head and Campobello

On Tuesday, we drove to the West Quoddy Head light without difficulty. The scenery was pleasant and we were able to see parts of Washington County that we had (until then) only heard about via the news media. We passed a building shaped like and painted to resemble (i.e., it was a bright dusky blue) a blueberry. It was pretty amazing!! The voice on Papa Bear's GPS (known as Bridget, the voice on Mama Bear's GPS is Brenda, though Gypsy - i.e. GPSy - was considered) was unfailingly patient, precise and accurate.

We paid the entrance fee and walked around the grounds of the light, then went inside and viewed the exhibits that told stories of the light. It was authorized by President Thomas Jefferson in 1808, but is not the oldest lighthouse in Maine (which is the light at Cape Elizabeth in Portland, Maine.) I loved the entry in one of the logs: the morning dawned clear, changed to rain, then to snow. A rescue had to be made for a schooner that had run aground. I also loved that at one time the fog warning would happen in the following way: the ferry (I am not certain to where - perhaps Grand Manan, New Brunswick) boat captain would blow the whistle on the ferry, and then the light house keeper would set off a cannon repeatedly. Today they have an automated fog horn, and the light is solar powered.

After exploring the museum in the lighthouse and the grounds a bit more, we went to the nearby picnic area and took the steps to a rocky beach. We spent some time exploring the rocks, watching boats work lobster pots and sail, feeling the wind and watching the water.

We then journeyed to Lubec, Maine, where we spent the night in an inn near the waterfront. From the inn, we could see Campobello Island, New Brunswick. In the morning, we arose, insured that Papa Bear, who had packed light and only had his US state driver's license with him, would be able to return to the United States if we entered the Island, and then went onto the Island. This particular border crossing has what is called a "Friendly Border" because of the International Park on the Island. The park shows President Frankin Delano Roosevelt's summer place.

We went first to the East Quoddy Head light. We were unable to get close to it because it was high tide, but we were able to see the churning waters in the area, the light, and even some whales!!

Our next stop was at the International Park. We went to the visitor's center, saw a film, and many, many pictures that depicted the life and work of President Franklin Roosevelt. From the visitor's center, we went to the see the house. It is lovely. The grounds have beautiful flowers and the view to the Bay of Fundy is spectacular.

The house itself is kept much as it was when the Roosevelt's lived there. One point I feel I need to make is that Roosevelt spent summers growing up on Campobello Island, and then summers there when his family was young. His family continued to spend summers there even after he became too busy to travel there for extended stays. When the family visited, they brought their servants and hired people from the Island to help them.

There are 34 rooms in the home. The first two floors show the house as it was during the time the Roosevelt's lived there. The children were tutored even in the summer, so there was room for the children (five), Eleanor and Franklin, the tutor, and many servants. Water was pumped to holding tanks on the third floor, using a wind mill or a mechanized pump when the wind mill was not working. Campobello Island had no electricity until the 1940's, so the family used kerosene lamps. And the only telephone/telegraph on the Island was about two miles away from the family home. There was a large megaphone that was placed on the porch when they were there and Frankin and Eleanor would use it to call out to the people at the beach. We were told that Eleanor could be heard at times in Eastport, the village across the Bay of Fundy from the home. We were also told that the larger pieces of laundry were sent out to the island for washing and processing; intimates were done on-site by the servants.

One item on a display just outside the house struck me: it said that President Roosevelt had many, many New Deal programs in his attempt to end the Great Depression by spending the country out of it; and that not all of them worked, but some did. It made me think about the current status of our country and about how we seem to want everything to work instantly and well. I wonder if it is us, or the news media. Perhaps journalists need to try to show opposing views of each report: may not earn huge ratings, but would certainly be fairer than some of what we see these days, in my personal opinion.

We had purchased wonderful chocolates in Lubec and considered visiting the store again before we departed, but decided that we would keep the store in mind should we visit again in the future. The trip home was uneventful. We really enjoyed everything we did and Mama Bear is thinking that perhaps next summer we need to plan to visit Campobello again and also each of the ten Maine state parks!!

Pictures are from Papa Bear and are as taken.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Blackberry Harvest

We have blackberries in the yard, and after watching them all summer, they are ripening quickly. I have picked about a quart in about twenty minutes total yesterday and today. It is good that they are quick to harvest as the mosquitos seems to use the movement of the brambles as a key that there is fresh meat nearby. I find I have to sometimes put the bowl beneath where I am harvesting as the berries are so ripe they fall to the ground as the bush moves from the picking. We are comtemplating what to do with them - more sorbet? a cobbler? something else?? Whatever it is will have to await our return: we are going to have a Traveling Tuesday and visit Quoddy Head and Campobello tomorrow. The West Quoddy Head Lightkeepers Association Frequently Asked Questions website about Quoddy Head will tell you where the name Quoddy Head originates.

Saturday and Sunday were quiet days for us. I ran four miles on Saturday and we then ran some errands in town. On Sunday, I was plotting a route on the computer and totally lost track of time and missed worship. After my run this morning, we have been reading, enjoying the quiet, and just relaxing.

Papa Bear has made the pineapple and banana sorbets. They are both good. The pineapple sorbet is especially fabulous.

Papa Bear shared with me that last Saturday was Move-In Day at the school where I used to work. It was apparently hot and humid, but went pretty well from reports I have heard. I did not miss it one bit. I recommend retirement.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday!

Sunset at House on the Cove, August 2010

It is Friday here at the House on the Cove. It is a lovely day, with an on-shore breeze, in the mid-70's, and a blue sky with scattered puffy white clouds.

Monday through Wednesday was my yearly "Girl Friend's Weekend" with my good friend/claimed sister from New York state. When I lived at the House on the Creek, we would meet in southern Pennsylvania, usually in either Philadelphia or Reading, and shop, go to ball games, hike, swim, talk, visit museums ... whatever we found that seemed fun. This year we changed our destination to Boston and, with the help of Baby Bear, had an amazing time. My new telephone, which has GPS that provides excellent directions, also helped.

We arrived just after mid-day on Monday (within 15 minutes of each other!), discovered the roses in the lobby, and then went shopping at the Wrentham Premium Village Outlets. We talked and shopped and found some of the stores offered outlet prices; others did not. I found a tea kettle!! And some much-needed small bowls!! After shopping, we ate dinner at Jalapenos Grill in Walpole and talked while we ate. It was yummy!! We then went back to the hotel for a evening of talk.

On Tuesday, after our morning walk in the nearby neighborhood (another tradition, and it involves our talking), we took our time deciding what to do and found ourselves that afternoon at Houghton's Pond in the The Blue Hills Reservation. What a lovely place! A play ground, a swimming area, a place for picnics, a concession stand (fried dough!), a beach ... in addition to places to hike. We took advantage of the water, which was shallow but fun. And we talked. After returning to the hotel, we ate at the Norwood Chateau for some Italian food and conversation and then went back to the hotel for an evening of talk.

On Wednesday, we arose early, did our walk and talk, and then navigated to Nails and Company in Norwood for manicures (and talking) followed by some shopping for shorts (and talking). We went back to the hotel, had a quick good-bye hug, and we were on our ways home. I discovered I had left my sweater at the spa and called Baby Bear, who retrieved it and will bring it when she and Boo Boo visit soon.

I stopped in Freeport to visit the mother-ship (I think they may call it their flagship) of LL Bean to find some khaki shorts, and then visited a drug store in Ellsworth on the way to purchase some items I was having problems finding here on the Island.

It was great fun!! After arriving home, we watched the Red Sox game, which Baby Bear was attending. She had planned to have dinner with a girl friend, and the girl friend received two tickets to the game, so they changed their plans. I am confident Boo Boo was sad he did not get to go, but I also know that he has sometimes gone to games when one of his friends received tickets, so I think they have an understanding about these opportunities. A home run was hit to the section in which Baby Bear was sitting, and we saw her!!!! A fleeting five seconds of anonymous and slightly blurry fame!!! And yes, you had to know where she was sitting to see her - had we not been DVR'ing it, and able to go back to look at that part of the game very slowly, we would have missed her.

Thursday I did a medium run, and some gardening while Papa Bear scythed, and we went grocery shopping. We did some reading, too, and watched some of the programs on the Discovery Channel and the History Channel, which are favorites of ours. I met with my House on the Creek book club via Skype Thursday evening - they are so patient when the connection drops!! And last night I learned that my doing things - even muting and unmuting - helps the connect stay active and prevents this ocean roar sound. It was great to see them and I know not how they did it, but they found a way to position the ASUS Videophone so that I could see all of them (some of them only some of the time, but it was great to see them!!)!!! (The videophone they are using has its camera fixed at the top which makes it difficult to position so that I can see them and they can see me.) I am so appreciative for the efforts of our techie Librarian who manages to get the connection going each month!!

Today Papa Bear and I arose early to visit the farmer's market for berries, completed the form for the rebate on the network extender we purchased to make our phones work a bit better at home, and went to Bar Harbor in search of heavy cream that was not ultra-pasteurized. We could not find any, so, despite the warnings in the recipe to avoid ultra-pasteurized heavy cream, it is what we have and so is what we will use!! We also stopped in Bar Harbor for breakfast at Jordan's, and visited some shops for some maps and books on the history of the Island.

We will have peach, banana and pineapple sorbets this week. Looks like blackberry and raspberry seasons are over. Peach season will be soon drawing to a close as will the wild blueberry season. It has been a good year for berries, which makes the locals wonder what is in store for winter this year.

The amazing sunset picture is an HDR effort of the amazing Papa Bear!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Berry, Berry Nice Time

While the sunset falls earlier, and the evenings are cooler, and the season is winding down, it is still a good time to be here at the House on the Cove. On Friday, I went to the Farmer's Market and purchased sweet corn, red raspberries, peaches, Maine blueberries (from Washington County) and tomatoes.

After the trip to the Farmer's Market, we went to Cadillac Mountain for a photo shoot (Papa Bear is experimenting). I stayed in the car and read. Then we went to the grocery store.

That evening, we had our long-anticipated dinner: fresh corn, burgers, Real Pickles dills, and Peaks Organic Nut Brown Ale. It was yummy, and the fresh raspberry sorbet was fabulous. Papa Bear has a great recipe now!!

I love it that we have black berries ripening in our yard, that the red raspberries are so sweet, and that the peaches are so yummy. We have made sorbet from most of our fruit: watermelon, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, and blackberries (we seeded the blackberries, and they were store-purchased as we only have a few ripe berries now.)

Saturday was a long run for me - 3.5 miles. Papa Bear worked in the yard. We did some errands in the afternoon, and had another nice dinner that evening.

Today was worship at St. John's for me. The Rev. Vesta Kowalski led us, and talked about how Christ in Luke tells us we should be able to see what is going to happen, but that we never seem to: we are always surprised by it, especially when disasters happen, and so we live reactively. And she wondered if it was because we did not want to see it so we do not look, or if it is that we are simply too self-centered to look outside ourselves, or if we are incapable to see what is coming or that we see it but refuse to act. We know how to react and respond, but perhaps we do not know how to prevent. She talked about how churches are communities - we care for each other, and for those outside our walls. She talked about how young people are surprised that churches have this purpose as a part of who they are. She shared that a recent study indicated that young people want churches to be places of mentorship - both for their lives as Christians and their lives outside the Church, they want civility, they want transparency and they want integrity. She shared that so often what we want to do is to recreate what we had at a time in the past when we were comfortable with what was happening, instead of looking forward to where we are called to be. We need to be community. We need to be community within and to spread that community without.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Kowalski and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

Laundry, reading, Red Sox and prep for my trip to Boston tomorrow took up the remainder of the day. Papa Bear took some time to make seedless blackberry sorbet. It was amazing!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Date Night: Dinner, Music and the Stars!!

On Thursday we decided to extend our anticipation of our hamburger, sweet corn, and pickles meal (which means we decided to delay our grocery shopping) and instead go out-to-dinner in Bar Harbor and then attend the final summer concert of the Bar Harbor Town Band on the Village Green. This picture is of the clouds in the sky before the concert began (and before the sun set.)

We journeyed to Bar Harbor and searched for a place to park. The parking daemon was busy as the parking lots were full, but a kind woman with a car with New York plates let us know we could have her spot and then extricated her vehicle from the spot so that only we could get it.

We went to Rupununi's for dinner. The food was, as usual, fabulous and the Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale was a perfect accompaniment to both our dinners!

After dinner, we returned to our car to get our chairs and went to the Village Green. The band was beginning to assemble, and I took a moment to re-introduce myself to the band leader. I had met him many years ago when his wife was a graduate student at the University of Virginia. I remember talking with him and his sharing that he was from Bar Harbor and hoped to move back here one day. He shared in our short conversation that they had returned here immediately after his wife finished at UVa, and that they now have two children. He asked if I could play the clarinet, which I cannot. There were fewer musicians for this concert than the concert on July 4th, and they played more technical pieces, but it was still a fun time for all, with children circling the bandstand and people of all ages enjoying the music. Our chairs worked well and we were comfortable during the concert, which ended, as always, with the playing (and singing) of the Star Spangled Banner. If you are curious about the sweatshirts and jackets, yet, they were needed: it was a cool evening as soon as the sun set.

We were anticipating another trip out near midnight to view the Perseid Meteor Shower, but decided to take a side trip on the way home to see what was viewable then. We went to the Seawall Picnic Area (it is opposite the Seawall Campground). The parking area faces east, so we stopped for a bit. The time was about 9:30 or 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and we were able to see a meteor about every 2 or 3 minutes. Some were small white teardrops that fell almost directly down as a firework might, and others streaked across the sky. One was a huge burning orange streak that winked out suddenly. It was amazing. And it was a bit chilly, so we got back into the car and made our way home.

What a perfect evening!!

High Dynamic Range Pictures

When someone takes a photograph, what they want is an image to remind them of what they were seeing at the time the photograph was taken. In most cases, the camera cannot begin to approximate what we see. Mama Bear struggles with pictures that involve water: the colors and hues that abound in these environs, and the ability to see beneath the water's surface, is difficult to replicate with a camera. Papa Bear also struggles - to show both the colors of the vegetation and that of the sky when the camera wants to key on one or the other and usually thereby renders the picture somehow not quite was was seen. The dilemma is not a new one: photographers for years have debated what-I-took vs. what-I-saw and how much, if any, post-processing of a photograph is appropriate and/or allowed. Ansel Adams, for example, used a number of techniques to render his images, among them dodging and burning.

As Papa Bear has been working with his camera this summer, he has been exploring post-processing mechanisms to render a photograph closer to what his eye saw when he took the picture. He does not want to paint the photos to arbitrary values, but to take multiple images of a single object and then to integrate the multiple images, pulling the blue of the sky and the green of the vegetation together in a single image that shows them both as his eye saw them (or such is my understanding of the process used). The technique for this type of rendering is called High Dynamic Range (HDR). The photos below show on of his attempts to use this technique and show both his input photographs and the resultant output photograph. The photos were taken on our Beech Mountain hike. Papa Bear uses comptuer programs to do the HDR blending - they selects what is seen as best values and uses them. In this instance, there were only two input pictures. Note that I have used a program to shrink the number of pixels in his pictures (as I always do for space reasons), and I kept them all the same size so that you could better compare them. Also note that not all pictures need this processing, and what you are seeing today, though similar to photos in previous blog posts, is new: this is the first time Papa Bear has shared an HDR picture with me.

Input - Vegetation

Input - Sky


Result after HDR


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Best Package of the Year

At a local store, we purchased and fell in love with some organic pickles crafted in Massachusetts. After eating one jar, purchasing another, and eating it, the store had no more. We talked with the store's owner, who said the pickles had not sold that well, so he was reluctant to order more. We checked the Real Pickles website and found another local store that was suppose to carry them. We could not find them there, and were told they would consider ordering them, but after we checked twice for them and did not find them, we ordered four jars. (Note: these dill pickles are fabulous but the company only ships to New England, New York and New Jersey addresses.) Yesterday the pickles arrived!!! We are looking forward to hamburgers, corn and dill pickles for dinner tonight. I believe that of all the packages we have received thus far this summer, this package is our favorite, and hence the best. We are still pondering how we get enough pickles to Virginia to last until we return next spring ...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales

We have been enjoying cool days and even cooler nights of late. It has been rainy, foggy and sunny. We have had fun with weather folklore and are pleased to report the following:

Rain before seven, clear by eleven. This saying seems true. In our experience, if it rains before seven o'clock, it is usually not raining by eleven o'clock. It might not be clear-blue-skies clear, but it is not raining. We have verified this definitely in the evening and believe it is usually true in the morning, too.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. We have experienced that if we have a red sunset, the night is peaceful and the following day usually is nice. We have not been awake enough to see what color the sky is in the morning to make comment on that part of the folklore.

Mare's tail and mackerel scales make tall ships carry short sails. This saying, too, seems true. When we see the high level cirrus clouds (the mare's tails) and the clumpy altocumulous clouds and they seem to foretell that wind is on the way.

Of course, we can also watch the local television weather forecast, tune to the weather channel on the television, listen to the radio, check the weather on our computers or on our phones, but it is more fun for us to look at clouds, skies, and perhaps a weather map and to try to determine for ourselves what the weather will be. Today is is bright and sunny. We have a bit of an onshore breeze which seems to be mitigating the temperature, which is in the mid-60's right now.

Sunday was church at St. John's. The Rev. Jeffery Lewis talked to us on our responsibilities as Christians to keep the boat we share (the earth) whole from a people perspective and from an environmental perspective. He reminded us that captains of boats never step down to a life boat, they only step up to one, after all measures to save the ship have failed. We need to be alert to keep our ship afloat and healthy. And yes, this was all based on the day's scriptures.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Lewis and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

Sunday afternoon I made a chicken stew that was served with bow tie pasta. Sunday evening I went to a concert in Bar Harbor at St. Saviour's. The Mt. Desert Summer Chorale presented a program named “Of Psalms and Kings.” (They had also done the program on Saturday evening.) The evening featured Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs (sung in what I think was Hebrew), Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (sung in what I think was Latin) and music by Parry, Emlen/Stookey and Handel, with soloists Donald Wilkinson, Stephanie Leonardi, Miriam Schildkret,and Clayton W. Smith. The music was wonderfully done and I am so happy that I went with the person from church who invited me. Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) was there, sitting two rows in front of me. He and Mr. Emlen (who was also present) took a bow. There were also members of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra performing. There was a harpist and her parents sat next to us. The parents hid from her until after the performance (literally crouching behind amidst the pews when there were instrument changes.) After the performance, after the bows, as people began to leave, the harpist was looking around, spotted her parents, and a huge smile spread across her face and she ran to hug them. It was heartwarming to see.

Monday we used to run errands and fix things at the House on the Cove. We found a different board to use to hold the towel racks in place and a tool we can use as a router on it.

Tuesday was what we call a "veg" day: we did not much of anything. I learned to rip music from a CD (yes, should have known how to do it before, now do) and then transferring said music to my phone. I now have many songs to which I can listen while I read. I am also trying to find a good Internet site that will tell me the beats per minute for the songs I have, so that I can make a run playlist from music I like. And I spent time updating my phone apps and gathering some new ones. We did some reading, tried sandwiches from Little Notch for dinner, snuggled with the cat for the thunderstorm, and watched some television. The Red Sox won, which is always a happy event here. My run this morning was great - it was very cool and I kept The Beatles Paperback Writergoing in my head (sans headphones) to maintain my pace. Yes, my pace is slow, but then, I am not a fast runner.

Today's fabulous forest picture is another from my Fun Guy (aka Papa Bear) from our Beech Mountain hike.

Cloud pictures today are from the Wikipedia websites:
Altocumulus mackerel sky
File:Cirrus sky panorama.jpg
and used in accordance with the permissions provided on those sites.

Monday, August 9, 2010

He's a Fun Guy

On Saturday, we went to the Beech Mountain Cliff Trail and explored farther than Mama Bear did with the group from church on Friday. We had so much fun! We went to the parking area on Beech Hill Road and walked up the gentle trail, and then did one of the loops at the top to see some wonderful views out to the Duck Islands and in to Somes Sound. We returned to the car by going out towards Canada Cliffs and then on the Valley Trail. Along the way in and out we saw some interesting rocks, moss, and some beautiful fungi. The amazing photos today are courtesy of my very own Fun Guy, Papa Bear.

View to Ocean

View to Somes

Trees and Water

Loop Trail


Fire Tower

Valley Trail


And the fungi ...



Saturday, August 7, 2010


We spent time this week reading, working, running (all running - well, a slow jog!), getting groceries, chasing auroras, getting our hair cuts, and hiking.

Mama Bear's mother tells the story of a time when Mama Bear was young (eight or younger, based on locale of the story) and Mama Bear was reading inside the house on a nice day. Mama Bear's mother told Mama Bear to put the book down, get out of the house, and do something outside. Reluctantly, Mama Bear put her book down and went outside. When Mama Bear's mother looked outside, she saw Mama Bear sitting on the front porch steps reading a flyer someone had thrown on the porch.

I mention this story because I am finding that now that I can read on my new phone, I am reading more often: it is with me, so when I have a moment, I read. And, because I can download a book from almost any location where I find myself, there is no waiting for a new book to be found. I can see that this could become expensive, but fortunately some books are meant to be savored and/or pondered, so that slows me down a bit.

The book I am presently reading is a savor/ponder book. It is called Prayers for Sale and was written by Sandra Dallas. My book club is reading it - and it is a book I likely would never have picked to read so I am, again, thankful for this group of people who have me read that which I likely would not otherwise have found and enjoyed. In the book, an older woman who is living by herself in the high mining mountains of Colorado is contemplating moving to live with her daughter near the Mississippi River and is spending her summer sharing her stories with a young woman who has come to live in the community. The older woman feels it is important to share her stories so that her memories will live after she departs. In her sharing, she is teaching the young woman what the young woman needs to know to survive in this environment, as well as preserving the history - her history, the history of the time and people there. One line I have loved: "She remembered then that morality was for folks with full bellies, ... " How true, how true: with full bellies, safe places to live, health care and jobs, morality becomes much different and, perhaps, easier. Stories are important and help us to remember and to grow.

I went for my medium run on Monday and when I checked my watch to see when I should walk, I was beyond the first couple walks, so I just kept running, and have kept running for the remainder of the week. Today was a 40 minute run and it felt great.

Papa Bear is continuing to work with his scythe and is recovering the between-the-house-and-the-cove area. It is looking great and he is having fun doing it.

There were solar flares last weekend and horizon-level auroras were predicted for this area. We went seeking a place to view them near midnight both Wednesday and Thursday, but were thwarted by complete cloud cover on Wednesday and by clouds or fog on the horizon on Thursday. However, all was not lost in our late night journeys. We have found a perfect spot for viewing should future opportunities arise, have viewed pictures from auroras visible on the Island in past years (courtesy of the Internet), and were able, on Thursday, to see the overhead stars. They were, as the heavens tend to be, both amazing and awesome.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Transfiguration in the Episcopal church. A small group of people from St. John's the Divine hiked the Beech Cliff Trail. After looking forward to the hike all week, I almost did not go. This approach to new events seems to be a pattern in my life: I latch onto an idea, anticipate it with eagerness and then, just before it happens, I am filled with dread and apprehension. I know not why. Sometimes I let these feelings stop me. Other times, I push through them, and am usually glad that I did. I wonder if it is a legacy of a time when I went to play with a friend after school (again, younger than 8 years of age) and we had a huge storm and I wanted to be no where more than at home with my own family.

The Beech Cliff Trail is a lovely and gentle trail that winds its way through a birch and other trees and fungi forest and comes out on top of Beech Cliffs which offer startling lovely views. From the flat area, on a clear day, you can see out to the Duck Islands beyond the Cranberry Islands and in the other direction up Somes Sound. The pictures today are from that hike. You can also see down to the Echo Lake beach swimming area (no picture of that.)

After we hiked to the top, we found an out-of-the-way area and, armed with his permit, the clergy person led us in a worship service, reminding us of knowing what we cannot know, and then forgetting it, and of being transformed by our experiences with God. We shared the Eucharist, and then departed for home, using the same trail we used to ascend. I have been pondering tranfigurative moments in my life, recognizing that I have not had a Transfiguration event as was described in the Bible, but still, there have been times when I have been spiritually transformed, which I think counts, hence the pondering.

I am glad I participated in the hike: we carpooled from the Church and had the time to share stories of our lives in the car. Those who grew up here or or have lived here for a long time caught up on families. And while we were on the top of the mountain, one of the wise women with us, 80 years young, told us of an August 6 that happened sixty-five years ago. She was 15, summered in Southwest Harbor, and for whatever reason was finding life in Southwest a bit slow so she rowed across the water to Northeast Harbor. There was a place there where everyone - children, young people and parents - were playing and socializing on the beach. The sirens for the fire station began to sound. They had been told that when the war ended, the sirens would sound, so everyone knew that was what the noise signified. She said everyone began to cheer and hug and celebrate. Someone suggested that they all go to town to ride on the fire truck. As people began to move that way, her father, a clergy person, called (in his best clergy voice, she said) for them to stop. And they did. And they offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the end of the war, a prayer of recovery for the people of Japan (and I do not believe they knew at that time of the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that had brought about the end of the war), and of a healing for the world as the conflicts ended. At the end of the prayer, the crowd made its way to town to ride the fire engine. One person, before leaving, sought out her father and thanked him for leading the prayer. She finished her story by sharing that by 10 p.m. that evening, almost everyone had made their way to churches for impromptu sharing and services. Somehow this story was most appropriate on the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the annivesary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. It was appropriate in every way, and I am most thankful to have heard it.

The words about these lessons are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Dean Henry and the Wise Woman and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

A front moved through last evening, dropping the temperature markedly, and lowering the humidity, so it feels even cooler. Today Papa Bear and Mama Bear will take the Beech Cliffs hike again, to share this special spot with each other.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Quiet Week

How did it get to be August? Time sometimes seems to fly. I am still loving watching the water in the cove change in depth and colors. This morning we had a clear blue sky and the cove was perfectly still so that the far side was mirrored in the water, so exact was the image that at first I thought I saw two new kayaks in the cove though, in truth, it was simply the reflection of the two kayaks that we always see on the far side of the cove. This evening the surface at high tide was rippled by the wind and so, so lovely with the varying shades and hues.

Papa Bear's scythe arrived from Scythe Supply. (Papa Bear knows his cubit measurement - from the tip of his longest finger to his elbow - do you?) He spent Tuesday using it to clear the pathway to the shore (which was desperately needed) and Mama Bear worked on rounding the edges of the board that will help to hold the towel holder in place. She used a rasp-like device and then sand paper. More sanding is needed, but the process seems to be working.

Mama Bear has been reading a lot, and most of Wednesday was devoted to devouring a book. I am reading Emilie Richards Ministry is Murder series. I have loved other books of hers that I have read and am loving these, too.

Thursday was a day trip to Bar Harbor - some appointments, a stroll around town, sitting at the dock looking at the boats (the ones we can afford, ones we might like to own, ones we might like to use for a while) and watching activities there (unloading lobster pots, carrying groceries to a boat, boats returning to moorings), and dinner at Rupununi's, which was fabulous. We were going to stay for the Town Band concert on the Green, but grew tired and came home.

Friday we learned that our Droid X's were available in Bangor, so a trip was made to obtain them.

Saturday was spent playing with the new devices: they are more than phones and we are having fun learning to use them and obtaining apps for them. Our favorite app thus far is the tide app: we can quickly see where the tide is and in which direction it is headed and when it will next be low/high.

Today, Sunday, I went to worship at St. John's the Divine in Southwest again. I had confused someone with the various names of the different people leading worship: this person thought I was visiting different congregations. St. John's is having a different person lead worship each week; I am going to one place only.

Today a mobile I have seen in previous years when I have worshiped with them was on display. I suspect it is there as a part of their prayers for peace. It is lovely. Many, many origami cranes in every color of the rainbow hang on the mobile. To the Japanese, the crane is the symbol of longevity and happiness or honor and loyalty. Cranes are difficult to fold and almost impossible to refold if unfolded after initial folding, so messages within them were considered secure as the recipient would know if the crane has been unfolded and refolded. It is said that if someone folds a thousand cranes they will be granted their dearest wish. A two-year old child who survived the atom bomb that was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima but later developed leukemia from the blast latched onto this tradition and from her hospital bed folded cranes hoping that her wish for world peace would come true. She died at age 12 before finishing her 1,000 cranes. Her classmates finished the 1,000 cranes for her, and the cranes were buried with her.

The Reverend Alice Downs led worship today. She shared that the scriptures we read were all about choices. As humans, as Christians, we needed to decide what really matters. Is it our stuff, our comforts or is it God? And of course, it is God. So the choice becomes how do we honor that choice? Hope, love, and light: these are God's gifts to us, for us to share with others. Rev. Down's sermon was longer, and much better crafted, woven and shared, but these were the highlights I now remember.

For the Episcopal parishes on the Island, Friday will be a hike up Beech Mountain to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. I may join them. I am told that some return from this hike sun burned, but that thus far no one has had to wear a veil (a la Moses).

Papa Bear and I spent most of today reading, watching the Sox win, and playing with our phones. I am now reading books on it and find it fun - the phone is light enough to be easy to hold and it is so easy to flip to a new page. We are still learning about the phones and still trying to get them to be the way we want them to be. Papa Bear is graciously helping me as I am always a bit challenged by new technology. I remember when computer mice were introduced. I avoided them as long as I could and when I began to use a computer mouse, it took me weeks to learn to use one effectively. I am, however, persistent and learned to love the mouse and will learn to love this phone, too. Papa Bear has a spinning globe as his "wallpaper". I have a picture of blooming lupine.

My church at the House on the Creek is celebrating next Sunday the memory of the ministry of the child care center it sponsored for years. I will be with them in spirit for that service.

My walk/run program is entering its 9th week. I am loving the running. I am so blessed to be in this place where it is still cool and comfortable at almost any time of day.