cattails, sand, shells

11.17.20 ~ Beach Pond ~ Groton, Connecticut

Yesterday we took a walk by the pond adjacent to our beach and enjoyed a chilly day that felt a lot more like late fall than it did during the recent warm spell. The temperature when we started our walk was 39°F (4°C) so we bundled up in winter jackets.

Sunday night we had a cold front come through with gale force winds and some more needed rain. We lost power for 45 minutes in the middle of the night and even lit some candles. The new moon had made it a very dark night. It was good to see some water in this pond once again.

All of a sudden I had the revelation of how enchanting my pond was.
~ Claude Monet
(Concise Encyclopedia of Semantics)

song sparrow
Canada goose
another Canada goose

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.

~ Mary Oliver
(In Blackwater Woods)

11.17.20 ~ Eastern Point ~ Groton, Connecticut

As we walked from the pond over to the beach we found sand along the side of the road, blown off the beach during the storm. And an oak leaf from a distant somewhere. The sand had shifted around on the beach itself. In the winter they don’t comb the sand like they do in the summer, so one can see what nature decides to do with the shoreline.

New London Ledge Light on the horizon and Tyler House

During the storm a tall tree at the beach came down and someone posted a picture of it on social media on Monday, lying flat on the lawn. But it was gone before we got to the beach on Tuesday, so the city had made quick work of that clean up. There were people operating equipment, working on the playground renovation. I’m looking forward to bringing our grandchildren here again some day.

The waves were bigger and louder than usual. In fact, we heard them while we were at the pond. Little tiny breakers. Most of the time Long Island Sound is pretty smooth.

looking out at New London Ledge Light

Quite a few treasures had been deposited on the beach. Ocean offerings.

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(Gift from the Sea)

another oak leaf far from home

The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.
~ Vincent Van Gogh
(Letter to Theo van Gogh, October 31, 1876)

36 thoughts on “cattails, sand, shells”

  1. Love your close-ups images around the pond – especially the red fruit. Brown vegetation has a way of making a good picture, too. Then to the beach! woo hoo …. but given the winds, I imagine a bit fierce. Thanks for the stroll.

    1. Thank you, Frank. I find I’m drawn to close-up photography. It’s so much easier to compose and focus on than scenery. We were bundled up for the wind chill and both of us prefer cold weather so we were fine! Nothing like coming home with rosy cheeks. 🙂

  2. What a generous post! All of the images are just wonderful. I especially like the red berries in the second photo as it looks like they have a built-in peace sign! 🙂

    I also like that you intend to bring your grandchildren to this beautiful spot again one day. My grandchildren have yet to visit me in northwest Montana although I’m looking forward to having them soon. So much to see and a postcard every which way you turn.

    Thank you for the explanation of radiation therapy gone astray. Your posts are always so bright and cheerful that one would not know you have this chronic issue. All the best to you and Tim.

    1. Thanks, James! I see the peace sign now that you mention it. 🙂 I think our first goal after we all get vaccinated will be to have our grandchildren come for a visit. I hope yours will come to visit you soon, too. Most of the time I manage to stay focused on gratitude for all the blessings in my life ~ it puts the challenges in their place instead of front and center. I’ve been enjoying your photos immensely ~ thank you!

  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely walk – I felt like I was beside you. Such beautiful nature is a balm to my soul at a time it is difficult to get out. Much gratitude, especially for your photos.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Victoria. It’s wonderful to know you’re enjoying my walks, too. Nature is so very healing for me as well, and I am grateful we’re still able to get out there for our well-being. Many blessings to you at this difficult time.

  4. Barbara, you’ve gifted us today with some real beauties — the quotes are perfect for the photos. I’m partial to the ones of the sand and water — probably because I’m stuck inland when I’d rather be seaside! And I’m getting a kick out of your second Canada goose’s backside, heehee!!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! I liked that goose backside, too! I couldn’t believe my luck when she turned her head to look at the camera — usually I get the back of the head with the backside. lol Sorry you’re stuck inland. I’ve never been far away from the sea for long, I know I’d be homesick if it wasn’t nearby.

  5. This was a truly enchanting beach walk, Barbara, thanks so much. It was a joy to see your finds, like the red berries, all the different stages of the cattails, and the song sparrow and Canada Geese. I also loved seeing the treasures that washed up, espec. “another oak leaf far from home.” I took in each quote appreciatively, and found the final one by Vincent van Gogh espec. powerful.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Jet! I’m so happy you enjoyed our beach walk pictures and appreciated the quotes. The letters people used to write to each other make for fascinating reading and I love many of the thoughts van Gogh shared with his son. The sea has so much to teach us and every time I visit there is a new lesson, spread out before me on the sand or clinging to the rocks.

  6. I enjoy the photos as always. And that one photo of beach and water…the seventh from the bottom- and that stone that looked like a speckled egg – wish I has such a beach much closer. the nearest in 1/2 hour away with bus

    1. Thank you, Leelah! I found that wave pattern in the sand unusually striking. Finding the speckled egg stone right next to an oak leaf with purple seaweed clinging to it felt like finding a painting in an art museum. I hope you get to your beach as often as you can — seems like a bus ride might be worth it to get there. 🙂

  7. I remember reading Gift from the Sea in college. I liked it because unlike most of the lit I had to read, AML’s thoughts were quiet and spoke to me. I need to find my copy of her book and re-read it as an adult. I wonder if I kept it?

    1. Even though I’ve read “Gift from the Sea” I don’t remember much from it, except that I liked it. Maybe it is time to read it again from a more mature mindset. I’m wondering, too, if my copy survived one of my many book collection purges…

  8. I enjoyed going on this walk with you Barbara. I learned something here in your post. I have heard the term “beachcomber” and you and Tim were lucky beachcombers and found a few ocean treasures. I did not know that sand was groomed. I assumed the tide created whatever swirls, ridges or smooth surfaces occurred on the sand. I like seeing those “exploding” cattails. I remember the first one I saw, when I saw the photo on the screen, I hurried up and Googled to see if this was some abnormality, seeds – what in the world? Your Canada Goose looks so regal in this tranquil setting. I think Canada Geese are the most photogenic in the water or in flight.

    1. All the swirls and ridges in these picture were created by the tide which was more agitated by the storm, I’m sure. The water was still choppy a day and a half later. But just before the beach officially opens for the summer, a new batch of sand is deposited and then several times a week the wrack line is raked up by hand and then a tractor pulls a large rake over the sand to “comb” it smooth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_cleaning_machine Kind of kills the chance to collect shells in the summer. The winter beach is a chance to explore the way nature intended it to be. I liked the cattails, too. I had never noticed them before this year. Seems like I’m seeing all kinds of undiscovered things like that while on our quarantine walks.

      1. Thanks for the link about the sand cleaning machine Barbara … I had no idea that this was done to sand. I have to admit, I’ve not spent a lot of time on beaches since I don’t live near any beaches, yes rivers and lakes (like Lake Erie Metropark), not beaches or camping grounds with beach access. These are more in the northern suburbs. Look what I am missing! The quarantine has its benefits, albeit small.

        1. You’re welcome, Linda. I think we’re all missing something. Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I’ve never seen a prairie or a desert or a rain forest or the Rocky Mountains, and probably never will.

          1. Yes Barbara – sadly we will all go to our respective graves without fulfilling some travel bucket lists. I often rue my decision not to travel while I was laid off, (but after a respectable amount of time passed after I lost my mom), and see the world some more. So many aspects of travel are now not the same.

    1. Thank you, Donna! That song sparrow shot was a happy accident — I was quite sure I hadn’t captured anything because he was flitting around so quickly! I couldn’t get enough of those cattails. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Melissa, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post. As I metioned in the above comment, the song sparrow shot was a happy accident. 🙂 Van Gogh was a perceptive genius, and could express his observations in his paintings and with his words…

  9. Oh Barbara, you had a marvelous day on the beach, didn’t you? And the treasures that come up with the waves unto the sand…you never know what will appear. I hope you can bring your grandchildren one day. Hopefully sooner than later, and hopefully many times over the years!

    1. I sure did, Kathy! You know, we’ve been living less than a mile away from this beach for 42 years and it’s never the same. A gentle reminder that life is endlessly changing. Keeping our fingers crossed that a vaccine will work to bring our grandchildren here sooner than later!

    1. I do love and appreciate the changing seasons, Sheryl. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and every season has its own magic.

  10. So many treasures washed up along the shore! Isn’t the beach beautiful? I’m sure I have a physical reaction to your peaceful walks, Barbara, they always make me feel so calm. Today, I want to jump in my car and head to the beach though, to experience that same calm in reality. Sadly, a visit to the beach will have to wait for another day, but I have very much enjoyed sharing your beach walk. <3

    1. I’m so happy to know my beach walks give you a dose of calm in the middle of your hectic home renovations and yard and garden work. You’ll get to your beach one of these days! (Maybe after Christmas?) Lately I’ve been keenly aware that our walks keep me sane. When I don’t get out for a few days I can feel the stress and tension from quarantine building up, waking up with a stiff neck some mornings. A walk melts it all away.

      1. I believe nature has the power to heal, Barbara. That’s one of the thousand things I love about gardening, it calms me, and clears my mind. What intrigues me is the way following your walks gives me a similar feeling, even fom the other side of the world. The power of the mind must be one of the strongest elements (or whatever … what exactly IS the mind?) in the world. 🙂

        1. Consciousness is a mystery. Gardening does have the same effect as walking on the beach or in the woods. Sometimes I wish I had more of a garden with our little condo unit, but at least we have plenty of nature trails nearby. Looking at your garden though gives me some of the pleasure, and feels like a little trip to a tropical paradise. 🙂

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