shelter of the dark

OdilonRedon.thedream
“The Dream” by Odilon Redon

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb-time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.
~ John O’Donohue
(Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

For some reason I’ve been sleeping very well this winter. After the excitement of the holidays drifted away the days now seem very peaceful, the nights long and restful, and my dreams full of sweetness. Perhaps I am creeping back into my own nature. I’ve been “pruning” my family tree by day because it needs a lot of editing every once in a while.

A few Alberta clippers (fast moving snowstorms that seem to originate in Alberta, Canada) have passed through, leaving delightful snow flurries and light coatings of powdery snow. The bitter cold snaps have been more remarkable. The lowest temperature we’ve had here by the shore so far was 2°F (-17°C). Inland has been much colder. Today I will start putting away the solstice decorations. It would be nice to have at least one big snowstorm, a nor’easter, this winter…

forward

Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy

Congratulations to Senator-Elect Chris Murphy!!! I try to refrain from getting into politics on my blog but… So delighted everyone I voted for won last night! Thankfully President Obama and Representative Joe Courtney were re-elected!

We were in line when the polls opened at 6:00 a.m. yesterday. Then we took a ride down to the beach and found that it was closed to the public for the after-storm clean-up, which seems to be well under way. It felt kind of weird not being able to go walk by the water and think about things.

The coastline is bracing for another storm this morning, this time a good old-fashioned nor’easter. Gale-force winds and moderate coastal flooding warnings are already up. Maybe even some snow or freezing rain inland. I hope the people of New York and New Jersey don’t bear the brunt of these latest weather threats. No full moon at least, to make things worse.

timing

I am soooooooooooooooooooooo tired……………..

It was only ten days ago that Auntie came home from the hospital with eight stitches or staples in the back of her head, on the mend, and a few days ago when her doctor removed them in his office. Yesterday Tim & I finished preparing for the big storm and went to bed, content that we were as ready for it as anyone could be.

We only had two hours of sleep when the phone rang. Auntie had fallen yet again and this time she broke her hip or her pelvis. The local hospital felt she would get better care at a bigger hospital so off we went in the wee hours of this morning for another long vigil at an emergency department until they found a bed for her so she could be admitted. When they transferred her from the gurney to the bed, as gently as possible, her cries and screams of pain tore my heart open…

After Auntie got settled and we felt satisfied that she was in good hands we had no choice but to leave her there. The sun was rising behind the gathering clouds – a monster storm is on its way. I saw on the news this evening that the hospital was calling in extra staff and testing its generators in preparation. Governor Malloy has declared a state of emergency. He said the storm is a hurricane blending with a nor’easter and that we could have an eight foot storm surge. The barometric pressure is forecast to be so low it will break all the record lows in this state.

I still haven’t been able to sleep. And now I have an earache.

Must get a cup of green tea and honey and then some sleep now, but I hope to have some time tomorrow to visit blogs and respond to comments. I have much catching up to do in the blogosphere, at least until we lose power! Good night all – things will surely look brighter in the morning.

Japanese Faerie Garden

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
Sakuyu, a Japanese Faerie Garden created by Bobbie Padgett,
DeeDee Charnock, Gay Thorn, Teddi Curtiss & Sheila Wertheimer

Bella, an adventurous world-traveling faerie, changed her name to Kat-Sura after visiting the famous garden in Japan. So enamored with Japanese culture that she returned and built a Japanese-style faerie house complete with tea house and stroll garden. A leader of the faerie community, Kat-Sura invites all the faeries to stroll (or flutter) through her Japanese garden to learn about the plants. They also experience a tea ceremony in her tea house.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower.
~ Samuel Smiles
(Thrift: Or How to Get On in the World)

Oh my! Hurricane Sandy is coming up the coast from the south, there is another early winter storm approaching from the west (remember the Halloween Nor’easter last year?), and arctic air is rushing down from the north, and some meteorologists are telling us to brace ourselves for another “perfect storm.” Remember the one in 1991???

And so the excitement begins – Sandy’s going this way, no, she’s going that way! Where will she make landfall? Will she still be a hurricane when she gets here? On Monday “something” will be happening here on the Connecticut shoreline. So will she threaten our son and his family in Georgia on her way up here?

My sister called this morning wanting to know what our plans are. I worry about them up there in the woods surrounded by trees that might fall on the house. She worries about us down here by the sound and vulnerable to the storm surge. We know where to find higher ground, though, and the evacuation plan is in place should it be needed.

There’s concern over the full moon on Monday, and how it will pull even more water into Long Island Sound and cause major coastal flooding and beach erosion.

I love storms, as long as they don’t get too exciting. We will go out tonight and stock up on bottled water, peanut butter and crackers and canned sardines, just in case. And we’ll be keeping our eyes on all the weather reports!

covered with boulders

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Winter is well over the half-way point and we’ve had no snow to show for it. After last winter’s record-breaking snowfall amounts this is a bit unsettling. We did have a lot of snow and power outages for that freak Halloween Nor’easter in October, but that was an autumn storm, not truly a winter storm… What strange weather.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Bulbs are coming up months too early. Witch hazel is blooming at Mystic Seaport. Tim & I went for a walk on Saturday at Haley Farm State Park, looking for photo opportunities. The birds were chirping away as if it was a sunny spring day! This time it was warm enough for my fingers to hold the camera and take 86 pictures. Perhaps I should have tried a landscape setting for a few of them. But I’m still getting used to holding it properly and finding the shutter button at the same time…

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Caleb Haley of Haley Farm

Caleb Haley owned and farmed this land in Noank, Connecticut, and took on the daunting task of building stone walls between the pastures all over the property. The crumbling foundations of his house, stables and barns remain. In October of 1898, Walter Hill came from New York to visit his friend here and wrote an account of their time together. Excerpts following are from the Haley Farm Souvenir Book, found transcribed at the Groton History Online website.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

If there is any one thing in which my friend delights more than another, it is the works of improvement which he is carrying forward at Haley Farm, Long Point; so breakfast dispatched we, of course, drove at once to the locality of the improvement now going forward.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

It may be mentioned here, that the land in this vicinity and for miles in all directions is covered with boulders, boulders large and boulders small, sometimes ledges, but boulders in all shapes, boulders in all positions, boulders on boulders—everywhere. The first settlers simply removed or cleared the smaller rocks, such as a horse could easily drag out of the way, leaving hundreds of heavier ones half embedded in the soil in all directions.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Thus thousands upon thousands of acres of splendid soil have been fit for naught but cattle runs of natural pasturage. To clear such land of everything to obstruct the free running of a plow, is a herculean task and it is this wrestling with the stern face of nature, that I found to be the delight of my host. A forenoon spent in watching and assisting in the operations, found me deeply interested. A device called a “Stone-puller” was quite fetching, and was the invention of a near-by resident whom I was disappointed to learn had never realized much out of it, for without it, such operations as are here going forward, would be prohibited by the question of cost. Mr. H— has 428 acres of just such land as described; skirting the shores of L. I. Sound with deep coves running up on either side of his property; forming between them, Long Point, which is all included in the Haley Farm, with the exception of a tract on the extreme point, which is owned by parties who started to boom it for Summer cottage purposes, but came to a dead-lock with the town authorities regarding approaches, and who should bear their cost.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

According to the the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection website:

In 1963 efforts to protect the farm from being sold to developers began. The State of Connecticut agreed to match funds raised for the purchase of the farm. The Groton Open Space Commission led a successful fund raising effort that led to the purchase of the property. Haley Farm became an official Connecticut State Park in July of 1970.

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We found several burls on the outstretched branches of this tree:

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I think this is a private boathouse across the water.  I thought it looked especially cheerful and welcoming!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

So we had a good time poking around our local historic “ruins” and enjoying the scenic views of Palmer Cove. It was nice enjoying a spring day in February, but I’m starting to get a little nervous about what weather we have in store for us this summer. For now, though, perhaps I can manage to stay in the present… It is what it is and what will be will be!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

the chestnut tree

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
lower branches of Dad’s chestnut tree in his garden ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

“We lost the chestnut tree.”

My sister delivered the most important news first. On Sunday we had last talked on our cell phones, and she let me know then that they had lost power at our father’s house, courtesy of the freak Halloween Nor’easter that caught Connecticut by surprise this past weekend, dumping over a foot of heavy wet snow on most of the state. Dad had a cold, and they had the wood stove going trying to keep him warm. Then her cell phone went dead and I heard nothing further.

This afternoon, two days later, she finally was able to make it down to her office and call me from work. They have their power back now, but still no land line or cell phone service. Beverly says I won’t believe the damage up there, although I am seeing many news reports on TV. Apparently the state lost more trees in this storm than we did during Hurricane Irene. With the wood stove they were able to keep Dad’s room at 70°F (21°C), although like many elderly ones, he doesn’t feel comfortable until the temperature is about 80°F (27°C).

When my father was a young man – he is now 89 years old – he found the chestnut sapling in Pennsylvania and brought it home with him, transplanted it in Connecticut soil, and nurtured it to a full-grown, gorgeous tree. When his short-term memory started disappearing several years ago, he would tell me the story over and over, every time I went up for a visit, which used to be several times a week. He looked forward to seeing it outside his window every morning, and was very attached to it, his special tree.

In June of 2010 it bloomed! A lovely scent filled the air. I’ll never forget it.

We used to decorate it with flower garlands for Midsummer.

And now the Halloween Nor’easter of 2011 has uprooted it. Beverly reports that when Dad discovered what had happened he simply said, “This is demoralizing.” I cried when she told me. The storm also took the tops off several oak trees and the yard and the roads are a mess. Poor trees. They’ve taken such a beating this year…

along the river

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
Lieutenant River ~ 10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

It’s snowing like crazy outside, after four hours of rain. The changeover has occurred a lot sooner than predicted, so I’m happy we got up early and finished our errands before the October nor’easter made it here. I bought new slippers while we were out and my feet are delightfully warm and happy now. Time for a few more fairy tale birdhouses!

The Florence Griswold Museum sits on the banks of the Lieutenant River, pictured above. As you can see, the grass is still a summery green and the colors have not changed on all the trees yet. And it is now snowing – three seasons all in the same week. Janet has decided that the Lieutenant River will be a good place to have my first kayaking lesson in the spring.

#7. “The Sea King’s Palace” by Susan Zirlen & Mahady Makrianes (in honor of Pete, a prince among men), based on The Little Mermaid.

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

#9. “Neverland Adventures” by Kristen Thornton, based on Peter Pan.
London, where Peter, Wendy, Michael and John are searching for Peter’s shadow…

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Captain Hook has captured Tinkerbell…

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

#10. “Up a Tree” by Sue Chism, based on Sinbad the Sailor.
Giant birds wrecked Sinbad’s ship…

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

and kidnapped him…

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

#12. “The Troll Bridge Saga” by Sheila Wertheimer & The Museum’s Garden Gang, based on Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Of course this is my favorite fairy tale because it’s Norwegian…

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

That was a freaky hungry troll “under” the bridge!

10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.26.11 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Tomorrow we’re having a Going Away/Halloween party for Nate & Shea and the gang. Cooking two vegetarian slow cooker dinners. Maybe there will be a goblin or two who aren’t camera-shy…