almond self-enclosed

“Almond Blossoms” by Antonio Mancini

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet —
all this universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rose and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
(The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke)

Nauset Beach

10.16.17 ~ cloud drama in the sky ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

In October my sister and I spent a couple of nights at the Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge in Orleans on Cape Cod. The big draw was that the motel had a short path to Nauset Beach, a ten mile stretch of seashore facing the open Atlantic. We could hear the waves from our motel room. Pure joy!

10.16.17 ~ eternity ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Wildlife sightings: from the road we saw wild turkeys and a coyote; hopping across our path to the beach we saw a bunny; and at the beach we saw gulls of course, and a little piping plover running along the water’s edge, and a seal bobbing in the waves.

10.16.17 ~ parallax ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

One afternoon we spent two hours meandering on the beach. Nothing but sand, sea and sky as far as our eyes could see. Beverly, the geologist, was collecting stones, and I was taking pictures. And contemplating the universe, the oneness of all things.

10.16.17 ~ gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Being awake. Resting in the happening of this moment, exactly as it is. Relaxing the need to understand or to make things different than they are. Opening the heart. Just this — right here, right now.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Resting in the Happening of this Moment)

10.16.17 ~ posing ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ infinity ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves — the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds — never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.
~ Pema Chödrön
(Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living)

10.16.17 ~ yawning (no sound) ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ dune grass ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ resting ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Few places on the earth possess a nature so powerful and so unspoiled that it would remind anyone living in a concrete world that he once belonged to a pre-industrial civilization.
~ Liv Ullmann
(Changing)

10.16.17 ~ adolescent gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ a young gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

It was windy and chilly and we were bundled up well. I even wore my mittens when I was not taking pictures. But eventually it was time to go back to our room and get ready for dinner. So back up the path to the motel. Our window was the one on the right in the white section of the building. There are only 12 rooms. A quiet, beautiful, windswept place to stay.

10.16.17 ~ view of our room from the path leading to the beach ~ Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, Orleans, Massachusetts

I hope I will come back here again one day…

10.16.17 ~ view from our room, a hill with a path through the brambles, the parking lot and the beach are between the lawn and the water ~ Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, Orleans, Massachusetts

Farewell, Auntie Lil

Lillian Elizabeth (Chomiak) Rioux (1915-2016)

Last autumn we lost our aunt, who lived to be 101 years old. The various stories behind the above drawing presented a puzzle for us but after comparing memories we finally decided that the sketch was probably drawn on one of Auntie’s cruises. She kept it hanging above her bed for as long as I can remember, flanked on either side with the senior high school pictures of my sister and me.

Following is the obituary I wrote for the newspapers:

Lillian Elizabeth (Chomiak) Rioux, 101, of Storrs, Connecticut, died on October 27, 2016, at Mansfield Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, after a short illness.

Lillian was born on January 30, 1915 in New York City, the daughter of the late William & Katherine (Fusiak) Chomiak, both immigrants from Ukraine. She married Leo Oscar Rioux on November 30, 1934 at Montville, Connecticut. Her husband died on June 5, 1957, leaving her a widow for 59 years. Lillian was predeceased by their two sons, Leo Adrian Rioux (1936-1984) and Lance William Rioux (1950-1979).

Lillian was also predeceased by six siblings, Mary Riback, Jon Stephen Chomiak, Augustine Chomiak, Augusta Jean Hereth, Olga Chomiak, and Theodore William Chomiak. She is survived by her sister, Ludmila Sabatiuk of West Virginia, her grandchildren, Leo Rioux, Jr. of Montville and Sarah James of Tennessee, seven nieces and nephews, four great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandson.

Lil was a graduate of Norwich Free Academy and was a seamstress employed at Hendel Manufacturing Company in New London for many years. She was a long time resident of Montville and later moved to Juniper Hill Village in Storrs to live closer to her brother. An avid traveler, beach bum and shell collector, she loved to sew, cook, grow orchids, do jigsaw puzzles and work with her hands.

A memorial gathering will be planned for next spring. Memorial donations can be made to Mansfield Town Senior Center, 303 Maple Rd, Storrs, CT 06268.

We had our memorial gathering for her on May 6, spreading her ashes on the graves of her parents and her husband and two sons, as she had directed. My Aunt Em read to us her memories of Aunt Lil’s earlier years.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s parents, William Chomiak (1882-1965) & Katherine Fusiak (1887-1943), Comstock Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut

Every year on Memorial Day, my father would drive Aunt Lil to these two adjacent cemeteries, so she could plant geraniums in front of the headstones, each one a different shade of red or pink. When my father could no longer drive, my sister and brother-in-law stepped in to take her. As he has been doing for years now, John once again planted the geraniums that meant so much to her, this time with family spreading ashes and telling stories.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s older son, Leo Adrian Rioux (1936-1984), St. Patrick Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut.

The story Auntie told me was that it was not permitted for her to be buried in the Catholic cemetery with her husband and sons because she never converted to Catholicism. But she married a Catholic and had her sons baptized in the church. It was her wish to join them in the cemetery by spreading her ashes on their graves.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s husband, Leo Oscar Rioux (1913-1957), and their younger son, Lance William Rioux (1950-1979), St. Patrick Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut.

At the last grave Tim read a poem my sister Beverly wrote in memory of Auntie for the occasion.

They were worker’s hands, never soft, never still.
It took me fifty years to catch them, hold them, keep them safe and warm.
A thousand times I watched them go:
knit and purl
peel and chop
turn the pages
stir the pot.

If hands could talk what would they say?
It took me fifty years to hear them, know them, find out how they spoke.
A thousand times I felt their love:
show and tell
hug and pat
acts of kindness
pet the cat.

I’d come to love her knobby hands
that always showed me what to do.
How those hands have touched my life!
They’ve one more job before they’re through:
stitch and mend
my broken heart.

~ Beverly Chomiak
(Her Hands)

Then we all went to eat at one of her favorite restaurants, Old Tymes in Norwich, finishing the meal with dishes of Auntie’s favorite black raspberry ice cream. ❤

Bass Hollow Boardwalk

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Bass Hollow Boardwalk ~ 10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Because we’ve been to Cape Cod so many times in our lives something I’ve wanted to do was visit a place there that we’ve never been to before. Bass Hollow Boardwalk in Yarmouth sounded enticing.

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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts

This long boardwalk extends out over a salt marsh on the bay side of the Cape and offers some breathtaking views and lots of birds to observe close-up. It was very windy the afternoon we went!

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afternoon shadows and reflections ~ 10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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soul soothing wildness ~ 10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts

I don’t know what kind of shorebirds these are – would appreciate any help with identification!

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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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looking back from the end ~ 10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts
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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.
~ Rachel Carson
(Under the Sea Wind)

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10.11.15 ~ Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Logee’s

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.
~ Matsuo Bashō
(Voices from Earth)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

There is an extraordinary place located in the quiet corner of Connecticut. My sister and I used to frequent Logee’s, a sprawl of greenhouses specializing in rare and tropical plants and fruit trees. But I think it’s been a good ten or twenty years since we’ve been there.

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature: they are like music heard out of a workhouse.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Gifts)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Back in February there was a discussion in the comments here about how nurseries in northern climates don’t open until it’s safe to start planting outdoors in the spring. For the first time in ages, this got me thinking about an exception to that rule, Logee’s, and I was delighted to find out that they are still open year round!

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.
~ Jean Giraudoux
(The Enchanted)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Tim & I made a trip up there on Saturday and the place was still a perfect antidote to the cabin fever which has been plaguing us. Several linked greenhouses are stuffed from floor to ceiling with colorful, bright and cheerful tropical flowers! The aisles were so narrow that two people could not pass by each other or keep from brushing against some of the plants.

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Permission to take pictures was granted and I had a wonderful time shooting right and left, above and below, and at eye-level. An employee was on a step ladder picking fruit from an orange tree, answering questions while he worked. The stifling heat and humidity was a welcome change from the bitter and bone dry air outside.

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
~ Claude Monet
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

I came home with two impulse purchases, a climbing onion and a white Easter cactus. We’ll see how well I care for them. After a nice lunch at the Vanilla Bean Café, we went to see a movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and enjoyed it very much.

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.
~ Gerard de Nerval
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

We noticed on the way home that the temperature outside had crept up to above freezing, just a smidgen! It’s time for the mounds of snow to start melting!

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

What a nice day after being housebound for so long!

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy, than to attempt to fully understand.
~ Henry T. Tuckerman
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

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3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

five years by the sea

"Incoming Tide, Scarboro Maine" by Winslow Homer
“Incoming Tide, Scarboro Maine” by Winslow Homer

Sssh says the ocean
Sssh says the small wave at the shore ~ sssh
not so violent, not
so proud, not
so remarkable.
Sssh
says the surf
crowding around the outcrops,
washing the shore. Sssh,
they say to people,
this is our Earth,
our eternity.
~ Rolf Jacobsen
(Night Open: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen)

...Daddy concentrates, Katie hams it up for the camera...
…while her dad concentrates, Katie hams it up for the camera…

It’s hard to believe this little blog is five years old today! And it’s still a great pleasure, finding images and words to combine and share – I wonder if I will ever tire of it. More and more I am enjoying taking my own pictures, and am hoping to take some great ones when we go to Germany, Italy and Norway this spring. And of course, there will always be more pictures of precious Katie.

Since we are pretty cooped up in the condo because of frequent snowstorms with no melting in between, I’ve been making the best of it, watching Seasons 1 & 2 of Vikings on DVD in preparation for the start of Season 3, on Thor’s Day (Thursday) the 19th.

Thank you all my readers who have left such thoughtful comments over the years! Making friends with you in the blogosphere has enriched my life beyond measure!