historic elm

10.23.18 ~ American Elm ~ Carrboro, North Carolina

The other day I went out with Larisa so she could vote. (They have early voting in North Carolina. Tim & I used absentee ballots before we left Connecticut.) We pulled into the Carrboro Town Hall parking lot and a HUGE tree caught my eye. We parked under its massive branches. I looked at the leaves and said, “I bet that’s an elm tree!” An American Elm.

10.23.18 ~ Carrboro, North Carolina

While Larisa went inside to vote I got out of the car and had a nice long visit with the tree. According to the Town of Carrboro, the elm has a spread of 114 ft (35 m) and a height of 40 ft (12 m). It was registered with the Elm Research Institute in 1985.

10.23.18 ~ American Elm ~ Carrboro, North Carolina

The American elm was the most popular tree to plant in the booming cities of the 19th century, so that by the 20th century many streets were lined with only elms and were shaded in summer by a cathedral-like ceiling of their branches. When Dutch elm disease (which actually originated in Asia) spread to the US in the 1950s, it was able to mow down elm after elm through their grafted root systems or with the help of a beetle. Today, arborists and foresters are careful to plant a diverse range of trees that will not all be vulnerable to any particular pest, disease or weather conditions.
~ The Morton Arboretum website

10.23.18 ~ American Elm ~ Carrboro, North Carolina

Some of my readers may remember Grandmother Elm, the tree I fell in love with when I was going through one of the most difficult years of my life. She was a great source of comfort and wisdom. Interestingly, Grandmother Elm is 60 ft (18 m) high, 20 ft (6 m) taller than Carrboro’s American Elm. But this elm is much wider than the one in Connecticut. Both of them are lovely, just the way they are.

comfort

7.13.18 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Sometimes I think it must have been much easier to live and die at the time of our ancestors, the Vikings.

When they buried their relatives, they also buried many objects together with the body. This was to be sure that the dead would not miss anything in their new environment. It was also an assurance for the family members who remained that they would not become obsessed with spirits of the dead and constantly be reminded of them because their possessions were still scattered all over the tent or mud hut. Very clever.

~ Margareta Magnusson
(The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself & Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter)

7.13.18 ~ Eastern Point ~ my camera decided to go Impressionistic for this distant cormorant

You might guess from my recent choice of reading material that I’m still struggling with the objects and possessions I inherited from our ancestors. Things started piling up around 2008. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years! I have managed to dispose of a lot of stuff but cannot rest on my laurels. What’s left is stacked halfway to the ceiling in a corner of what is supposed to be the genealogy/guest room. The corner takes up almost half the room.

7.13.18 ~ Eastern Point ~ there are three cormorants in this picture, which I didn’t realize until I saw the picture enlarged on the laptop

Trouble is, life (births, illnesses, travels, weddings, visitors, deaths) keeps happening and I need a good chunk of uninterrupted time to roll up my sleeves and dig in. Now that there is a lull in the stream of summer activities I am annoyed by the droning of the air conditioners. But I since learning about the autism I am aware now that I am much more sensitive to noise than neurotypical people, so, I will wait patiently for some cool, dry, quiet weather to return.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We enjoy going to estate sales. We rarely buy anything but a few days ago we found a large file cabinet in excellent shape at a great price. It is now in the genealogy/guest room waiting for me to make use of it. After my grandmother died my grandfather offered us anything we wanted in the house. I chose my grandmother’s mahogany secretary which I still have and treasure. Grandfather said he didn’t want us grandchildren to be burdened with all the stuff. I don’t want my children to be burdened either.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I’m also sad about the changes at my beloved beach. The city has installed a gull repellent system. Every three minutes a recording of a gull in distress blares out from the loudspeakers. There are maybe two or three fearless gulls left on the roof of the beach house. All the laughing gulls are gone, all the different kinds of gulls are gone. I suppose I will never see my friend with the mangled foot again. It’s all too much for me to bear and I’ve been reduced to tears more than once this summer.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I visited my elm tree, Grandmother Elm. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since I have gone! I used to visit all the time when Tim’s brother was living with us, the year he died here of cancer. Now she has small stems and branches growing out at the base of her trunk, covered with leaves. When I read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben I believe he said this was a sign of distress. No other tree in the cemetery was like this. Perhaps she is suffering, too. Still, her wordless wisdom comforted me.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Grandmother Elm

5.14.13.5401
5.14.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Finally, some leaves have appeared on my tree! I think it is an elm tree.

5.14.13.5396
5.14.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

My grandparents had an elm tree on the northwest corner of their house lot. Its branches and leaves could almost be touched when looking out the window of the green bedroom, feeling like the leaf canopy of this elm in the above picture.

5.14.13.5403
5.14.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.
~ Hal Borland
(Countryman: A Summary of Belief)

5.13.13.5384
Zoë ~ 5.13.13
5.14.13.5439
flag flying outside our fish market today ~ 5.14.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Toby went into the hospital for cancer surgery five days ago, and will probably be staying there for another week or so. The day he went into the hospital I had to go up to my father’s house for a few days to help out with the ancient ones. Chelsea had some time off so my aunt Em from Maryland came up and she and I tried our best to fill Chelsea’s shoes! It’s good to be back home now and slip into a more “normal” routine again, at least for a little while.

Up at my dad’s it was so quiet without Bernie around, but I was able to get outside for a short walk and take a few pictures. Later, while sitting on the porch watching birds with Dad, I experimented with the telescopic lens and got a fairly decent picture of a nuthatch (below), if a little blurry! But next time I think I will use the sports setting with the auto-shoot feature. It worked so well today with the flag picture this morning (above), which was whipping in the wind.  Enjoy!

5.10.13.5328
a nuthatch ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5232
pansies for Bernie ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5236
branch shadows playing with the roots of my hemlock tree ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5237
trillium ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5258
garden steps ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5263
primrose ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5275
life and death on a maple leaf, spider eating a lady bug ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
5.10.13.5287
garden whimsy ~ 5.10.13 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

garden angels

5.6.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut
an angel in my garden ~ 5.6.13

Our lives have taken on a surreal quality, a numbness, in recent weeks. Tim’s brother Toby is now living with us, and sadly, has been diagnosed with incurable bladder cancer. A few days after receiving this devastating news, we were stunned to hear that Tim’s cousin has also been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Radical treatments will buy them both a little time, but how much is uncertain. This is all so uncomfortably familiar, having lost three of our middle-aged parents to cancer when we were young adults. And yet, this is now all so terribly new to us, cancer striking our generation for the first time. Insidious, unrelenting, cruel…

5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
new elm leaf ~ 5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Zoë has been wonderful company for me – I’m thinking of getting a cat harness and leash for her so she can come out into the garden with me. She seems rambunctious enough to enjoy an outdoor adventure. 🙂 Toby is doing angelic things in my garden – he loves gardening and it gives him something satisfying and distracting to do between medical appointments. And Scarby has been wonderful company for Tim – she is coming out of hiding more often and enjoys sitting on the cat tree to look out the window and soak up the sun. She often sits on his desk and watches him work.

The other day I sent Tim a link to an article, how to calculate tree height using a smartphone. And then, Voilà!!! Mr. Logic found the app and used it on our next visit to my tree! He determined that my tree is 60 feet tall! (That’s about 18 meters tall for those of you on the metric system.) An interesting bit of information to ponder, since I still cannot see the shape of its leaves just yet.

5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
my tree ~ 5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Janet and I took a train to New York City. We met Larisa at Penn Station and went shopping in the fabric district for material for her wedding dress! She is sewing it herself with a little help from her friends. Seeing her drape the different shades of purple fabric over her body to see which one she liked best, well, they were some of the happiest moments in my life. My lovely daughter is going to be a stunning bride in just a little over a month!

ancient sanctuary

4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
~ William Wordsworth
(Poems in Two Volumes)

4.21.13.5158
my tree ~ 4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

If you look closely you can see Tim’s arms reaching out from behind the tree’s trunk. Wise guy! I didn’t notice this when I was taking the picture! It looks like some buds are just beginning to come out. Here is a better picture of the trunk surrounding the stone corner post I spotted last week:

4.21.13.5148
4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I wonder what kind of plant (below) is coming up at the base of the tree!

4.21.13.5151
4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

On this day I found some new twigs with little buds on them (below). They will probably be be pruned away, considering what befell the dead twig below the new ones.

4.21.13.5152
4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
~ Herman Hesse
(Trees: Reflections & Poems)

The monument below tells a brief story about something that happened locally during the War of 1812 (1812-1815), which was fought between the United States and the British Empire.

4.21.13.5163

~~~

Here rest the remains
of Mr. Thomas
Barratt Powers,
aged 18 years,
late Midshipman of
H.B. Majesty’s Ship
Superb, who was killed
in action in a boat
on the 31st July 1814,
a Native of Market
Bosworth, in the County
of Leicestershire
England.

~~~

On the side of this monument these words are inscribed: “This Monument was erected by the Hon. Capt. Paget, and his Brother Officers as a tribute of respect and esteem.”

No doubt “Hon. Capt. Paget” is British Vice Admiral Sir Charles Paget (1778-1839) who was appointed to the HMS Superb for part of his naval career. According to Wikipedia: “In 1814 he was employed on the coast of North America … entrusted with the command of a squadron stationed off New London and took part in an attack upon Wareham, Massachusetts during the War of 1812.” Wareham is about 100 miles northeast from New London. I wonder how this young sailor came to be buried in this particular cemetery. I wonder if Thomas’ parents were devastated to have their son buried so far away in foreign soil…

CharlesPaget
Sir Charles Paget

Under the cross placed at the bottom of the monument are the words: “British & Colonial G.W.V.A.” The only organization I could find online with an GWVA acronym is Canadian, the Great War Veterans Association, which was formed in 1917, way after the War of 1812. But perhaps they decided to honor the veterans of past wars with plaques, too.

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
~ Agatha Christie
(An Autobiography)

cemetery notes

4.16.13.5083
my tree ~ 4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.16.13.5090
4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

On this occasion it was Janet who brought me to the Stonington Cemetery to visit my newly adopted tree. And this time I photographed her from her other side (above) and noticed something else of interest. It might be difficult to make out, but there is a stone corner post embedded in her roots and trunk. The tree must have grown around the post as she widened in circumference!

4.16.13.5101
the holy family ~ 4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.16.13.5111
♫ It had to be you ♫ wonderful you ♫ had to be you ♫ ~ 4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.16.13.5118
4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A little online research satisfied my curiosity about the woman buried in this grave with a very unique headstone (above), who died at the tragically young age of 51. She was Catherine Voorsanger, an associate curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

4.16.13.5121
buds are emerging ~ 4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.16.13.5130
nooks, crannies and a needle-eye ~ 4.16.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Josh has returned to England now, and Toby awaits further medical tests after an infection, for which he is being treated, clears. We’re getting lots of practice exercising patience as we wait and wait for elusive answers to our questions…

Scarby remains mostly in hiding, but Zoë is enjoying the fresh air coming in the open windows, and watching all the birds and squirrels scurrying and fluttering about near the balcony. She’s getting plenty of exercise chasing the red spot made by a small laser flashlight. Besides pony-tail elastics, it’s the only toy that seems to inspire her to play.

a gentle tree

4.7.13.5078
4.7.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

On March 31st I met a lovely tree in a local cemetery and could not stop thinking about her all week. (See the Lady Patience post.) So I plan to visit her as often as possible and get to know her through the seasons. As is often the case with me, I sensed an energy coming from her but did not notice any of her particular physical characteristics.

During the week following our meeting a life-threatening health crisis arose for one of Tim’s brothers, Toby. Brother Josh flew from his home in England to California to collect Toby and fly with him here so he could stay with us and seek treatment. So it’s been a very busy week getting Toby settled in for the indefinite and uncertain future.

4.7.13.5080
Larisa ~ 4.7.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees. … Their shades, which, in the early ages, were the temples of religion and philosophy, are still the favorite resort of the studious, the scene of healthful sport for the active and adventurous, and the very sanctuary of peaceful seclusion for the contemplative and sorrowful.
~ Wilson Flagg
(The Atlantic Monthly, June 1868)

I don’t even know what kind of tree “my” tree is! When she puts out some leaves I will be able to identify her, but I wish I could identify her by her bark.

Larisa came for the weekend to visit her uncles, and when I mentioned my new tree she was happy to pop over with me to see her and to pose for a couple of pictures with her, too. On this trip I noticed the tree’s burls – one very large one near the base of the trunk, and perhaps ten much smaller ones above it and below the first branches. And Larisa noticed the shape of the branches – like check marks they arch up and then down before reaching up again.

The kitties are handling all the extra people in the house pretty well. Zoë is blossoming with friendliness and curiosity. Scarby is still pretty shy and anxious, but she stays where she feels safe under Tim’s bed and I suspect she comes out to eat and use the litter pan once everyone is asleep. We’re giving her all the time and space she seems to need. After all, it’s only been a month since her whole world was turned upside down!

lady patience

3.31.13.5010
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Exploring cemeteries is something we enjoy, even ones in which none of our known ancestors lie buried. They are pleasant places to take walks and get some exercise – we even met a couple of joggers in the 22-acre non-sectarian Stonington Cemetery on Easter Sunday.

3.31.13.5011
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Reflecting on the life stories stone carvers have told with their memorial masonry…

3.31.13.5008
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

In the smaller sculpture (above), which is elevated on a pedestal, the woman is leaning on an upright log. In the similar, but larger sculpture (below), the woman is leaning on a pillar.

3.31.13.5013
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A close-up of the same statue…

3.31.13.5015
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The following engraving touched me – how much sorrow the simple word “only” conveys.

3.31.13.5027
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The Stonington Cemetery was incorporated in 1849, expanding a small 18th century burial ground.  A group of Stonington leaders, many of whom made their fortunes as a result of the whaling and shipping trades, came together to design a significant horticultural and aesthetic landscape site responding to the “rural” or “garden” cemetery movement of the time.
~ Stonington Cemetery

3.31.13.5031
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A majestic tree, waiting patiently for spring to begin in earnest…

3.31.13.5036
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A bit of architecture to mark the ATWOOD family plot. I wonder if they could be related, as I have so many Atwoods on my family tree, though my branch settled in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

3.31.13.5039
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A large rough-hewn stone cross – I love its simplicity.

3.31.13.5044
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Following the custom of Laurie Buchanan over at Speaking from the Heart, I selected the word ‘patience’ to focus on in 2013. In a bit of synchronicity I found another statue of a woman in a newer part of the cemetery, much like the ones in the older part. This stone carver gave her a name – PATIENCE. She is leaning on an upright log.

3.31.13.5049
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The ship’s wheel (below) indicates a sailor lies buried here, the grave much more recent than most of the others in this cemetery. The surname sounds Portuguese to me – in the mid-1800s it was primarily immigrant Portuguese sailors who manned the local Stonington whaling fleet.

3.31.13.5052
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

A lovely little garden plot by the woods…

3.31.13.5056
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
3.31.13.5058
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

This anchor (below) decorates a pile, where sailors would secure their boats to the docks with ropes. I’m wondering if this stone is marking the corner of a family cemetery plot. Perhaps the plot was bought but never used, or maybe it is filled with unmarked graves.

3.31.13.5061
3.31.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

All true stories begin and end in a cemetery.
~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(The Shadow of the Wind)