Remembering the Fawns

Five years ago we woke up to this breathtaking scene on our first full day of a family reunion at Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The day was full of pleasant surprises as I encountered fawns every time I turned around, and a few lovely does, and took many pictures. Following are a few of my favorites, which I dug out of my photo archives, because the memories of that wonderful day keep coming to mind at this time of year.

Little Thunder realized that the mother deer must not be too far off, because only rarely would a mother deer leave her young – and then only to get a drink of water or find a new place to hide her fawn.
~ Ted Ressler
(Whispers in the Forest: A Treasury of American Indian Tales)

Low Tide

5.3.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

…Zoë waiting patiently for her morning sunbath…

Over the years our double-paned sliding-glass doors filled with condensation and became so “foggy” that we could not see out of them. It took us a long time to get around to having them replaced, but we finally did so near the end of April. Zoë was delighted to be able to clearly see the birds and we celebrated by buying two chairs and a little table (at an estate sale) for the balcony.

5.20.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

…an extraordinary piece of driftwood…

Never mind that right on the heels of these sips of joy we had a flood in our basement, a sewer backup. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Funny all the twists and turns life brings. Thank goodness our home insurance is covering the cost of clean up and repair. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I’ll be glad when they finish, but we had to interrupt the process to drive to North Carolina as planned.

Everyone’s experience indicates that everything we are, and everything we do, is simply the movement of existence itself. It’s here that we come to the highest realization indicated in all the great spiritual traditions: we do not exist as anything apart from the flow of nature and that flow is an unformed, inexplicable dance accomplishing itself.
~ Darryl Bailey
(Essence Revisited: Slipping Past the Shadows of Illusion)

For a few days forgetting about the ‘inexplicable unformed flow of nature’ in our basement, we started our journey south and delivered Aunt Flora’s rocking chair. We had a wonderful time visiting family. Nate & Shea drove up from Georgia, and I got to see an old friend from high school who happens to live about 2 miles from Dima & Larisa.

5.20.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

…wondering what it might be from…

And then… Tim got sick with diverticulitis (not again!) which delayed out trip home by a day so the antibiotics he was prescribed could have a chance to start working. Needless to say, we didn’t arrive home feeling particularly refreshed physically, although emotionally we were revitalized for having spent so much time with our children.

5.20.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Last weekend we made it to a local farmers market. This morning we took a walk on the beach – the tide was very low, revealing the largest piece of driftwood I’ve ever seen. Tim estimates it to be 20-25 feet long! What could it possibly have been? This afternoon we ate our farm-to-table lunch out on our new little table on our sunny balcony. Life is good!

5.20.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Provincetown Signs

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

On October 18th, the Rodgers branch of the family headed out to Provincetown, at the very end of the Cape Cod peninsula, where we spent many a vacation when our kids were growing up. We thought it would be deserted, since the summer season is well over, but it was Women’s Week, and the streets were crowded with visitors. Exhausted from the emotions and activities of the previous day, we had lunch and did some shopping, but didn’t stay too long. But before we left I kept taking pictures of signs – there were so many creative ones…

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

 …a couple enjoying Women’s Week festivities together…

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

An historic fishing port, Provincetown is situated at the tip of Cape Cod in an area of spectacular natural beauty, surrounded by miles of dunes and beaches. Provincetown has a diverse and singular history. The Pilgrims first landed in Provincetown in 1620 and signed the Mayflower Compact, a declaration of self-determination and radical thought that characterizes the history and people of Provincetown, even today. Provincetown has been home to sailors, pirates, fishermen, painters, and authors for centuries. In the nineteenth century, Provincetown, with the largest and safest natural harbor on the New England coast, was one of the greatest and busiest seaports in the country. The rich texture of cultural and social influences has produced a sense of place that is uniquely Provincetown. For over a century, these special qualities have attracted artists, tourists, and bohemians who have then blended with the local population and produced a unique community character. Provincetown is truly like nowhere else.
~ Town of Provincetown website

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

…looking towards Pilgrim Monument from out on MacMillan Pier,
where fishing and whale-watching boats are moored in Provincetown Harbor…

10.19.13 ~ Harwich, Massachusetts

…granddaughter Eliza found her own “sign” to bring home…

Dragonfly Tidings

10.17.13 ~ Harwich Center, Massachusetts

…dragonfly magic…

On our mother’s birthday, October 17th, my sister Beverly and I went early to the cemetery in Harwich for some time alone with our parents and our memories, bringing along Papa’s ashes in a nature-inspired wooden casket.  After we placed some flowers around the gravestones of our parents and grandparents, a small red dragonfly landed on our parents’ stone.  Its presence was a special gift…

10.17.13 ~ Harwich Center, Massachusetts

…more dragonfly magic…

A little later, as we were remembering our grandparents, the dragonfly flew over to perch on their gravestone, too, just above the “E” in White.  And there was another special moment after the rest of the family started arriving.  A small red dragonfly landed on my brother-in-law’s shoulder and stayed there for a long while.  John was the one who was Papa’s primary caregiver for all these years, and it was good to have him appreciated and acknowledged in this meaningful way.  I like to think it was the same dragonfly, but can’t know for sure…

10.17.13 ~ Harwich Center, Massachusetts

When we had all gathered around in a circle, Tim read my little essay about my father – I knew I couldn’t read it without sobbing – and then my cousin Matthew read messages from his father (my uncle) and his sister (my cousin).  And then everyone began sharing their own memories.  After that, Beverly lowered the casket full of Papa’s ashes deep into the ground, and then most of us took turns shoveling the earth back over him.  It was a beautiful autumn day and our little ceremony felt so natural and intimate.

10.17.13 ~ Harwich Center, Massachusetts

…returned to the earth…

Our parents are together now.  The next thing I knew, everyone – there were 14 of us – wanted to go to another cemetery in Dennis, to see where our great-grandparents and two generations before them lie buried.  (Swan Lake Cemetery)  It was quite something to show my granddaughter the graves of her 5th-great-grandparents, who were immigrants from Norway and Ireland, and tell her how they met here in America and raised their family on Cape Cod, and how he was a sea-captain…

10.17.13 ~ Harwich, Massachusetts

…favorite things, Papa was very fond of this baby lynx picture in his last years,
we kept it hanging on the wall in his bedroom…

After that little expedition we all made our way over to Yarmouth to eat at the Hearth ‘n’ Kettle, a favorite restaurant of the family.  We toasted those who came before us with Cape Codders (vodka, cranberry juice, lime wedge) and enjoyed a delicious leisurely dinner.  And then we returned to our rented house and had my parents’ favorite birthday cakes as we gathered around the spacious dining room table – lemon jello cake in honor of my mother and chocolate butter-cream in honor of my father.

10.17.13 ~ Harwich, Massachusetts

In the evening we piled into the living room and watched a football game while shelling and munching on peanuts, and drinking Papa’s favorite beer.  It was my kids’ idea – they have fond memories of shelling peanuts with their Grandpa while he was watching football on TV.  It was good to be with family - sharing memories together – some of us had not seen each other in a very long time.

Whenever we were at a funeral, for people or pets, ever since I was a little girl, my father always advised us to remember the good times.  And so we did.

Dominic’s Dragonfly

Dragonfly by Dominic Delgado

On October 16th, Tim & I drove to Providence to pick up Nate, who was flying in from Georgia.  Then it was on to Cape Cod where we had rented a big house (six bedrooms, five bathrooms!) for several days, so the family could gather and bury my father’s ashes together.  When Nate unpacked, he gave me this beautiful gift he brought for me from his nephew, Dominic, age 5.  I kept it standing on my dresser while I was there, a cheerful image to behold each morning when I woke up.  Thank you so much, Dominic!!!

Little did I know there would be more dragonfly magic the next day…

Dinosaurs in the Woods

6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

June 23, 2013, Montville, Connecticut
The Dinosaur Place

6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

…Dominic…

While Nate & Shea were in Connecticut for the wedding, we also spent a fun day at an outdoor Dinosaur Place with them and their nephews.  It was very hot so we were glad to be in the woods most of the time, and enjoyed watching the kids play on the splash pad after our long dinosaur walk.

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I don’t know the names of these dinosaurs, but Dominic knows ALL of them and he’s only 4 years old!  It was fun seeing this lost world through the eyes and imaginations of the little ones.

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…Julius and Dominic…

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…Julius…

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…Dominic…

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…Julius…

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…Dominic enjoying the amazing playground…

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…Dominic…

Wedding in the Woods

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15 June 2013, Orange, Connecticut
Camp Cedarcrest, by the Wepawaug River

6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut

…Dima waiting patiently…

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…Grandma Nina and Vladimir, father of the groom, waiting patiently…

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…Larisa and Tim…
(photo by Susan Kwan)

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…Larisa reading her vows…

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…Dima reading his vows…

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…a kiss…

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…matron and maid of honor, Alyssa and Alicia…

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…Larisa & Dima…Tim & Barbara…

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…our dear friends from Macedonia, Bojan and his sister Ana…

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…Larisa…

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…Dima…

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…Larisa made the dress with help from her friend, Brit…

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…Svetlana, mother of the groom…

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…tradition is that the person getting the bigger bite “controls” the marriage…

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…best man, Dave…

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…Tim, father of the bride…

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…Vlad, father of the groom…

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…Aunt Delorma, who has been a mother to both Tim and me,
and a very special grandaunt to Larisa…

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…the lights of my life, Nate, Larisa and Jon…

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…cousins Erica, Larisa and Erin…

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…cousins Nate, Jon, Larisa, David, Erica and Erin…

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…Larisa and me…

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…Tim and Larisa…

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…Nate and Larisa…

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…Nate, Tim, Dima, Larisa, Barbara and Jon…

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…Larisa and Eliza…

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…Toby and Larisa…

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…Drew, Janet and Tim…

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…my favorite picture!…

Shea helped me out with a lot of the picture-taking, and Svetlana made all the lovely decorations. Dima & Larisa created an amazing wedding and reception, in a perfect setting, and we could not have asked for better weather. A very special day for all of us to remember forever.

An interesting side note – all of the women in the bridal party and the mothers and grandmothers and grandaunt have names that end with an “a.” Larisa; her attendants, Alyssa, Alicia, Erica and Lisa; the mothers, Barbara and Svetlana; Dima’s grandmothers, Nina and Anna; and Larisa’s grandaunt, Delorma.