Posted in A bit of history, Air, Art, Digital Art, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Weather, WeekendCoffeeShare, Winter, Wonder, Woods

If we were having coffee: Abstractions and reflections

Circling the tree.
Circling the tree.

We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are – as far as we know – the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don’t know that, but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we’re combined in such a way that we can describe what it’s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.

~ Mark Strand

Hypothetical.
Hypothetical.

If we were having coffee, I would be delighted to see you again.  Big hugs, if you are amenable to hugs.  Come on in!  It’s incredibly warm today, isn’t it?  It almost feels like summer.  That may not bode well for those of us (me) who don’t care for hot weather.  If it’s near 80°F now, what will it be like in July and August?

Let’s get something to drink and nosh on, and take our food and beverages out to the deck.  We’ll be in the shade for a while and that should keep us from getting too hot or from getting too much sun.  Do you think it’s possible to get a sunburn in this hemisphere during this time of year?  I’m not sure, but I’d rather not test it (or have to put sunscreen on just yet because that stuff is obnoxious and makes my eyes burn, even the hypoallergenic varieties).

Abridged.
Abridged.

I can offer you the usual assortment of teas, coffee, and sparkling or still water.  I was thinking about making up a plate of nachos for our snack today.  It’s an indulgence, but I think we should indulge every now and then.  I’ll be sure to pile on lots of veggies with the cheese.  If you want something a little healthier, there’s always hummus and veggies.

Abridged, the original. So, not abridged.
Abridged, the original. So, not abridged.

How are you?  What have you been doing lately?  Have you gone on any good walks or hikes?  Are you seeing signs of spring (or fall) yet?  Has life been treating you kindly and well, harshly and not so well, or something in between?  Have you traveled anywhere?  Seen any new sights?  Have you gone to any concerts or plays?  Read any good books or seen any good films?

Found. (Glass pitcher found on the property.)
Light and glass, an abstract. (Glass pitcher found on the property.)

I had hoped to tell you that I finally finished reading The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson.  Alas, not yet.  I just couldn’t find the time to finish it up this week.  I’m almost there, and should be reading something else by the time the next coffee chat rolls around.  I haven’t yet picked out the next book to read, but I’m thinking it will be something easy on the brain.

Mural in Cambridge.
Mural in Cambridge.

As for films, M and I watched Denial last weekend instead of the Janis Joplin biopic.  Elisa mentioned watching Denial in one of her comments so I went looking for it.  The film is a historical drama about a Holocaust denier who sues a Holocaust scholar for libel.  I thought it was well done.  After reading a couple of reviews that mention the film doesn’t quite do the story or book justice, I’d like to read the book.  That’s been happening quite a bit to me lately.  Back in the olden days, when I spent more time reading (and less time on the internet!), chances were pretty good that if I movie was based on a book, I’d read the book before seeing the movie.  Not so much anymore.

A barbershop in Cambridge.
A shop in Cambridge.

If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that some of the images in today’s post were heavily manipulated by me in order to produce something abstract.  It’s something I used to do for the fun of it, and I was inspired by Gabe in his (Almost) Wordless Wednesday post to try my hand at it again.  Some of the other images are from a sunset walk in Cambridge, Maryland, one night this week.  I took them with my phone.  The rest were taken around the ranch this week.

On one of the main streets in Cambridge.
On one of the main streets in Cambridge.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that it has been a mostly quiet week here on the Wabi Sabi Ranch.  The Great Bathroom Renovation continues.  We thought we would be finished by now.  *sigh*  We’ve had to ask friends and family to put off visits until it’s completed.  Hopefully this project will be nearing its end soon.  M finished installing the flooring.  He’s painting the walls today and will be installing the new toilet sometime this week if all goes well.  There have been a few plumbing glitches along the way.  I think that’s all taken care of now.

Sunset light on the buildings.
Sunset light on the buildings in Cambridge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had some huge trees pruned this week.  Three of the trees are in the backyard — two loblolly pines and an old oak.  They had some dead branches on them that needed to go before they hurt someone.  One tree is near the vegetable garden — a pin oak.  It was shading the veggie garden during the summer months which retards the growth of the veggies.  We thought about cutting it down, but it’s a beautiful tree with a lovely shape.  We are hoping trimming it back will be enough.  And the last tree is near the cemetery, along the driveway — a loblolly pine that tried to kill my brother when he was visiting over Thanksgiving.  It’s a long story, but suffice it to say nothing was broken other than a branch on the tree and he survived to tell the tale.

Firewood for next year.
Firewood for next year.

The branches that were trimmed away were also huge and will give us enough firewood to get through next winter.  They put the smaller branches through a chipper and I now have a humongous pile of chippings to use for mulch.  The problem with the mulch is that they mixed the pine and oak.  I spent a little time reading up on using pine for mulch in the scrounger’s (flower) garden.  When all is said and done, it will be best to use it for the path and buy some more hardwood mulch for the flower beds.  I read that pine mulch retards germination more than hardwood mulch which will make it perfect for the path as it will mean less weeding.  I hope.

The old oak after the dead branches were removed.
The old oak after the dead branches were removed.

If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that I’ve been enjoying my trips to Cambridge to go to boating/seamanship class.  M and I took a lovely walk through town at sunset, and had salad and pizza for dinner at Carmela’s Cucina.  Both the walk and the food were wonderful.  The class this week was about navigation and plotting a course on a chart.  Fascinating stuff.  We had to plot a course and answer questions about what time we would arrive at a certain spot which also involved figuring out the distance.  Did you know that one minute of latitude equals a nautical mile?  A statute mile, just for the fun of comparison, is about 87% of a nautical mile.

One more shot from Cambridge. I really should take the big camera along next time.
One more shot from Cambridge. I really should take the big camera along next time.

I learned about using a compass and how to take a fix to figure out where you are and whether or not you’re going in the right direction.  Wind, waves, and current can have an effect on your course so it’s a good idea to know how to do that (especially on a long trip).  I learned the difference between true north and magnetic north, and how to use the compass rose on a map.  A GPS system, of course, does away with needing to know all of that, but what if your GPS isn’t working?  Besides, there is something fun about standing over a chart and plotting a course.

Anytime now.
Anytime now.

If we were having coffee, it would be time to turn this over to you.  I have to get out to the garden and start moving some of the mulch around.  You are welcome to come along if you wish.  You can lend a hand or have a seat on the bench and we can continue our chat.  Or you can stay here on the deck and just enjoy the day.  When I finish in the garden, it will be time for a walk.  Come along if you want, and we’ll see what we can see.  The little lawn flowers (such as the Persian speedwell) are in bloom.  I hate to say it or think it but… the grass is growing and will need to be mowed soon.  In February!!  I’m refusing to do it until we reach the month of March.  That’s not too far off.  That will give us time to get the mower blades sharpened before mowing season commences.

In the grass.
In the grass.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and joining me for another coffee chat.  It’s always great to see you.  Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Delicate.
Delicate.

This post is in response to #WeekendCoffeeShare which now has a new home.  Thank you to Nerd In The Brain for taking on the job of hosting it, and to Diana for starting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

Advertisements

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

34 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Abstractions and reflections

  1. Your abstract photos made me blink at first, but then my thought was, yes, those fit the way I’m feeling just now. My life continues quietly, and I’m working to find a way to quiet my thoughts and my mind, to reduce my obsession with our political climate, to accept that things will be what they will be. I have been inking – working on a tile of a portrait of a special friend’s dog for her, which is being more of a challenge than I anticipated. It has to do with the texture of the dog’s hair, the fact that she is white (on a white tile), figuring out the proper approach. I need to start over, but I think I have a better idea of what direction to go now. At least on that small portion of my life. I have been reading – nothing worth mentioning really, since my reading is for pleasure and relaxation. I did just do a preview of a children’s book a friend has written before she sends it to an editor that is interested, and enjoyed this latest version of hers. We still have snow and cold. But the blackbirds were out in the yard in force this morning, so perhaps spring is just over the horizon. And now I must go before this “comment” becomes longer than your post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am doing the same, Carol, in terms of trying to quiet my life and my thoughts, and maybe learn a little bit of acceptance. I do not want to give any more attention to what appears to be an overblown ego. I wish the media (especially now that a lot of them have been banned) would do the same. Concentrate on policies and the GOP, not the man. I suspect it would drive him bonkers. I am beginning to think that’s why he puts on what I think of as the Friday sh*t storms (the immigration ban, the press ban, etc., all happened on a Friday). It’s a way to keep himself in the news all weekend.

      You’ve reminded me that I have some books for children that I’d like to read before I pass them on to my grandchildren. Some gentle reading might be just the thing. 🙂

      Like

  2. The Mark Strand quote just blew my mind and I’ll be thinking about it for some time to come. I also watched ‘Denial’ and thought it a good movie but want to read the book now. Luckily, I happened to finish my current book last night. :o) The pictures are lovely, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the photos, Robin. I really like both Abridged and Unabridged. 🙂
    Cambridge, MD, looks like a fun place to walk around. I wondered at first if you were in Massachusetts. I’m impressed by your growing nautical knowledge. I have no sense of direction–I can’t imagine trying to find my way on waterways, even with a compass. It sounds very 18th century.
    My husband and I both liked the movie “Denial.” It’s very timely, isn’t it? We saw it before the election. Deborah Lipstadt is still speaking out.

    I’m reading “Epitaph” by Mary Doria Russell. It’s a novel about Tombstone and the OK Corral, which doesn’t sound too exciting, but she’s a wonderful writer. I finished the book that comes before it “Doc” about Doc Holliday, and it was so good, that I had to read this one next.

    Enjoy this beautiful weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 I have no sense of direction either. I think that’s why I love maps so much. (They are called “charts” when they’re used for boating, but they are maps.) It feels very 18th century. That may be one reason why I’m enjoying it. Some of the nautical charts are really beautiful, almost works of art. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, who creates the nautical charts, used to make lithographic prints (since 1862), but they stopped doing that a couple of years ago. M bought a couple of them before they stopped making them and hung them in his man-cave. They’re wonderful.

      It’s another beautiful day. Bright and sunny. The temperature sure dipped overnight, but I don’t mind that. I like cooler weather. Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nautical charts and maps are wonderful to look at, like works of art. I did a little bit of reading on mapmaking when I did my World of the American Revolution. I read one article that discussed differences between some Native American maps and European-American maps–a totally different perspective on viewing the landscape.
        It’s bright and sunny here, too. Hope you’re also having a wonderful Sunday.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My! Your photos are fabulous this week. I love the mural and the firewood and the crocuses. I imagine it’s a little cooler where you are now! It’s down about 20 degrees here from the morning, but still can’t be called cold…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m most impressed with all you are learning and experiencing on your nautical course. I have never known the correlation between a land mile and a nautical mile and now I have to go find out what the correlation is between a kilometre and a nautical mile…… It’s good for the brain to stretch it isn’t it. Your abstract photos are intriguing – I really like the light and glass one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pauline. 🙂 I should have provided the information in kilometres since that was included in the lesson. And yes, it is good to stretch my brain from time to time. I don’t think I’ll use even half of what I’m learning in this boating course, but it has been fun learning it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fun abstracts – ‘Abridged’ would make a great pattern for fabric. Your class sounds interesting – I think it’s great that you are learning new stuff. Inspiring!
    This week’s warm weather melted about a foot of snow off the yard – 6″ to go. 🙂
    Went to see the Met Opera’s ‘Rusalka’ today live in HD at our local theater. It was a terrific production – they have amazing talent, some of the world’s best. ‘O Silver Moon’ is one of my favorite arias, it always brings tears to my eyes! I love the broadcasts that bring these (quite frankly, barely affordable to see in person) productions to theaters for a reasonable cost, and better viewing than I’d ever get in person, that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 I’m hoping to be able to see the opera someday at a theater not too far from us (only about 45 minutes away). I went to YouTube to find and listen to “O Silver Moon.” It’s beautiful. I don’t understand what she’s singing about, but that’s okay. It was a joy for the ears.

      Like

      1. I’m glad you liked it. Rusalka asks the Moon, who is shining everywhere and on everyone, to send a message to her beloved to make him think of her. Romantic and lovely. There is such passion in opera! What I think most amazing is that the performer’s ‘instrument’ is their voice, mastered after years of practice, wow!

        Like

  7. I really enjoyed catching up with you today, Robin. My son is doing a sailing course and now races in a a little yacht called a FEVA. We have a laser and had to buy another laser as a cheaper way of buying a boat trailer. Having boat the trailer, my husband has had to make a few modifcations to the tow bar or latch using brute force so we can tow the thing.
    I used to think all you needed was a boat to go sailing but it’s much more complicated. I’m hoping we can get the boat out on the water soon.
    I particularly like your photos of the budding flowers. Spring is on the way!
    Hope you have a great week!
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rowena. 🙂 I’m amazed at how much more there is to boating and sailing than just boarding a boat and heading out on the water. There is a lot to consider just in terms of supplies on the boat, number of people, weight, etc. Spring is indeed on the way. Our daffodils and periwinkles are blooming now.

      Like

  8. So LOVE your pics! I admire how you can spin such interesting angles on your subject. 🙂 Sailing! It’s always fascinated me, how much there is to know.. What fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen. 🙂 It’s amazing how much there is to learn about sailing and boating. This is just a general course I’m taking. They have specialized courses for those who want to go more in depth. I can’t imagine going more in depth — my brain is feeling pretty crowded already. lol!

      Like

  9. Robin, if we were having coffee (or tea or wine) I would ask you–were you the one who inspired me to watch Orphan Black? Have you seen this and posted about it? If so…thank you! I am thoroughly absorbed & it’s a good way to spend long winters days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

        1. We just started Season 2 and we’re almost finished with the first disc (I think we have one more episode to go — which would be the fourth on that disc). I almost wish we could stream out here, but then I’d end up binge watching so it’s probably best we can’t. 😀

          Like

  10. Oh my gosh, I LOVED Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age,” and I don’t usually read much science fiction or fantasy. “Snow Crash” is also good, but “Diamond Age” is outstanding. Glad to meet you through Weekend Coffee Share, Robin. I love your photos and will be reading more of your posts in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My favorite images are Abridged and Circling the Tree. I think. Maybe more. The sailing class sounds fun. I had to get a permit to drive a boat when I was 12, but it was just a little boat in a little inland lake…so we weren’t charting anything. My dad tried to explain it to me once, but I was 15 and not so interested. Or thought I couldn’t understand. Who knows what was in the mind of a 15 year old girl…not me for sure and I was there!

    Like

  12. Your photos are fabulous. It is so much fun to alter the originals, isn’t it? I took an on-line photo course and since then, enjoy playing. Hmmm. Maybe I should share them once in a while, eh?
    I made the decision to only read the book after having seen the movie a couple of years ago. A lot less disappointment. I enjoy the movie even more instead of thinking they changed this or that and then the book gives me a whole ‘nother level!
    We had a bunch of rain which has melted a lot of the snow but frankly, I am not going to get too excited… 😉

    Like

  13. Robin! The abstracts (particularly the glass pitcher) were an excellent addition to this mornings coffee share (even if I’m more than a day late 😉 Life has become so chaotic and cluttered lately, I can’t seem to fully grasp at the moving parts as well as I’m normally able to. While not likely your intent, these abstracts are incredibly calming to me today. Reminders that there is beauty and form and purpose, even when I can’t fully recognize it.

    Glad you enjoyed your trips to Cambridge. I’m very familiar with the city of the same name in Mass, but despite living in Maryland while going to med school, I never had the chance to visit the town by the same name in Maryland. Guess my nose was buried too deeply in the books for sightseeing.

    Like

  14. How very cool you are taking the seamanship class. I once took a private lesson at a yacht club in Maine, but we sailed out in our little boat with an instructor and were totally becalmed..she taught us about knots…I do love being in a boat, and can crew a little bit “ready about”, but your class sounds comprehensive and fun.

    Like

  15. Lovely post! I saw signs of spring when I was over in Vancouver recently – crocus, snowdrops and the return of the blue herons. Down here in New Zealand we are seeing the first signs of autumn which means darker mornings and cooler nights.

    Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s