a day at the aquarium

5.19.21 ~ Mystic Aquarium ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Oh what a joyful day it was when our grandchildren and their parents finally arrived for a post-quarantine visit!!! We hadn’t seen them in 18 months. Katherine, who is now called Kat, arrived with an injured foot, which put my dreams of a long walk in the woods or on the beach on hold again, but we managed to have a good time in spite of the challenge. Kat wanted to go to the aquarium so we borrowed a wheelchair and made a day of it.

beluga whale

While she was here Kat attended school (first grade) remotely which was fascinating to observe. When her teacher heard she was going to the aquarium she suggested Kat create a presentation for the class of the things she would see there. So she used her iPad to take videos and stills, as you can see in the picture above. Of course Finn wanted to ride along with his big sister. 🙂

Steller sea lion, the largest of all sea lions
Steller sea lion, napping in the sunshine
Steller sea lion, napping in the water
rhododendron
African penguin
Kat still loves her penguins, filming them swimming underwater

The outdoor marsh habitat was full of life…

turtles
frog
polywog
rhododendron

We spent some time at the Ray Touch Pool…

Larisa and Finn touching stingrays
Kat mastered the touching technique

And took in the California sea lion training show…

I think Kat got better pictures than I did!
California sea lion

So many creatures to see in all the tanks. Tim & I were amazed at all the new exhibits they’ve added. There was some disappointment that the Jurassic Giants exhibit, ‘featuring giant animatronic dinosaurs, two 4D theaters, and visits with frogs and reptiles,’ was closed for renovations.

lions mane jellyfish

We’ve been bringing our own children (sometimes along with their grandparents!) since they were little ones, when this research aquarium was so small it was all in one building. It opened in 1973 and we moved down here in 1976 so I’d say we’ve been coming here for 45 years! Now it’s a sprawling complex, almost impossible to fit all of it into one day of exploring.

Amazon milk frog

The next day I listened as Kat made her virtual presentation to her class. It was fun listening to the voices of the other children as they asked her questions and made comments. She answered them like a marine expert! Her teacher thanked her for taking them along on such a great field trip. 🙂

close to home

5.16.20 ~ eastern painted turtle at Beach Pond, Groton

Last weekend we took a long meandering early morning walk at Eastern Point Beach. No pictures because the place had been trashed, complete with broken beer bottles. We wanted to see it before it opened for the summer because we will not be going there much. Only before or after hours (8am-8pm) when it opens June 20. Still concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19. On the other hand, since people will have to purchase season passes to enter between 8am and 8pm, perhaps the individuals currently vandalizing the place will go elsewhere.

When we drove past Beach Pond Tim spied a turtle sitting on a rock in the pond. He loves turtles. ♡ So we stopped and I got the above photo!

5.16.20 ~ Calf Pasture Overlook, Groton

Then we checked out a nice mini-park with one bench and one picnic table, overlooking Baker Cove. Maybe we’ll come here for our summer outdoor suppers… (Eating in our car, of course. Just in case the virus is on the bench or picnic table.)

And then the next morning we hopped over to the Sparkle Lake Conservation Area, practically in our back yard, and enjoyed some lovely scenery and did some birdwatching.

5.17.20 ~ Sparkle Lake Conservation Area, Groton, Connecticut
5.17.20 ~ gray catbird

The catbird is a bit of a busybody. Its presence should caution you to be extra careful about what you say and to whom. Things will have a greater potential of being made public or being distorted. Its presence can hint at others being overly inquisitive about your own affairs or that you are being so about others.
~ Ted Andrews
(Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small)

5.17.20 ~ red-winged blackbird

Spring is such a lovely time of year.

turtles on the rock in the pond

6.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
6.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

Tim needed an afternoon break from work so we went down to the beach. On our way past Beach Pond he spotted four turtles on a rock! Tim loves turtles. He rushed over to get a better look at them, but they all scrambled off the rock and back into the water. Perhaps they would come back if he retreated.

Eventually one brave soul (above) climbed back up on the rock. In the picture below, to the right of the rock, the head of another turtle can be seen scoping out the situation.

6.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
6.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

He decided to chance it…

6.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
6.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

6.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
6.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

But then his friend suddenly disappeared…

6.12.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
6.12.14 ~ Beach Pond

Too much of Proof affronts Belief
The Turtle will not try
Unless you leave him – then return –
And he has hauled away.
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1240)

adding to life

illustration by Virginia Frances Sterrett
illustration by Virginia Frances Sterrett

The Fantastic or Mythical is a Mode available at all ages for some readers; for others, at none. At all ages, if it is well used by the author and meets the right reader, it has the same power: to generalize while remaining concrete, to present in palpable form not concepts or even experiences but whole classes of experience, and to throw off irrelevancies. But at its best it can do more; it can give us experiences we have never had and thus, instead of ‘commenting on life,’ can add to it.
~ C. S. Lewis
(Of Other Worlds: Essays & Stories)

Mystic Outdoor Art Festival

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

I’ve been a little sad this week, stumbling across a few painful reminders of losses in the past. One reminder was a deeply moving blog post, Silent Death-Alzheimer’s Disease story-1988, with striking photos that hit so close to home, bringing back memories of my grandmother’s decline and reminding me of what my father is going through now.

The idea of crowds and heat and humidity gave me a bit of pause, but today we ventured out to the 54th annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. We were lucky to find a parking spot we didn’t have to pay for and it was not too long a walk to the first booth.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The festival is a professionally juried outdoor art show, with booths for over 250 artists and over 60 crafters to display their works lining the streets of historic Mystic. One must cross over the Mystic River on a bascule drawbridge (above and below) to get from East Main Street to West Main Street in Mystic.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Before we got too far I fell in love with an oil painting of a cat sitting on a chair looking out the window, called “Oliver’s View” by Kimberley Scoble. The artist told me she painted the scene first and then Oliver cooperated by jumping on to the chair and sitting there for twenty minutes looking at something intently, the way cats do.

Because we were at an art show I was totally unprepared for a booth a few spots down for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation. As a kind breast cancer survivor was explaining about the Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut coming up on October 1st I got all choked up and then the tears started. I explained to her that my mother died of breast cancer twenty years ago… I don’t know if this is menopause making me so sensitive… I’m kind of surprised that it hit me like that.

Tim took me away and comforted me as I collected some pamphlets. It took me a while to regain my composure. Now that I’m home I’m thinking maybe the universe is telling me it’s time to get involved in a cause that is obviously so dear to my heart. The woman said if we couldn’t walk the quarter marathon (6.55 miles) we could take part by being in a cheering section. And in October heat and humidity probably wouldn’t be a reason for concern…

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Anyhow, we went on to see many beautiful oil paintings, watercolors, photography, pastels, sculpture, acrylics, pottery, metalwork and crafts. Most were way out of our price range, and many had signs forbidding the taking of pictures. But we did buy some very refreshing all-natural frozen lemonade!

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

On March 6, 2000, there was a fire at the shops on 18-22 West Main Street in Mystic which burned them to the ground. Every plan proposed to rebuild the site has been rejected for one reason or another and it remains as the fire left it. A wall was erected to hide the empty spot, but there are some holes cut out of it for people to look through. For the festival, the wall has been decorated with children’s art.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Another treat was some lovely music we heard before we found the source. This woman was playing an ancient Chinese stringed instrument, a guzheng.

8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
8.13.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

We stopped at the local free-range chicken farm on our way home, and at a farmer’s market for tomatoes, eggplant, squash and cherries. I’m looking forward to autumn and apples – I’ve had enough of summer!

Galápagos Islands

Image: National Georaphic
Image: National Geographic

Doesn’t this look like fun?

Last week a travel catalog came in the mail – not sure how we got on their mailing list – a copy of National Geographic Expeditions for 2011. It’s fun to dream and fantasize… And we did find an expedition cruise we thought we’d both enjoy! As Grandmother used to say, with a twinkle in her eye, you never know just which dreams might come true.

Tim has always loved turtles. Before Walt Disney World in Florida had Animal Kingdom, they had a little place called Discovery Island. For our 20th anniversary we visited it and I have fond memories of Tim lying on his stomach photographing the Galápagos turtles interacting with each other. Interacting very slowly, but Tim has infinite patience and he got some great pictures.

Well, National Geographic has an expedition called “Galápagos Family Odyssey.” It seems about our speed, ten slow-paced days exploring and mingling with the wildlife on several of the Galápagos Islands. “Gaze into the old eyes of a giant sea tortoise…” And I’d love to see courtship dance of the indigenous blue-footed boobies!

Galápagos dreams in January…

And speaking of anniversaries…

Happy 8th Anniversary, Nate & Shea!!!

(¯`’•.¸(¯`’•.¸*♥*¸.•’´¯)¸.•’´¯)