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A breath of fresh air

High tide in the marsh.

You can’t change who you are, but you can change what you have in your head, you can refresh what you’re thinking about, you can put some fresh air in your head.

~ Ernesto Bertarelli

Slowness means cleaving perfectly to time, so closely that the seconds fall one by one, drop by drop like the steady dripping of a tap on stone. This stretching of time deepens space. It is one of the secrets of walking: a slow approach to landscapes that gradually renders them familiar. Like the regular encounters that deepen friendship.

~  Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

Visiting the daylilies.

It’s been a good week here at the ranch.  Busy, but mostly with good things.  It seems so important, especially these days, to fill one’s life with mostly good things.  In that regard, I took a small break from the news.  Instead, I spent more time doing mostly good things.

The orange glow of summer.

A good friend came to visit.  J arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Thursday morning.  She’s been an incredible source of support for a long time.  We met online via the now defunct Quit Smoking Diaries, and every now and then we get together outside of cyberspace in what a lot of people refer to as the real world.  It was great to spend some time with her, walking around the property, watching the sunset at the Point, playing Shut the Box, and gabbing with each other about this, that, and the other thing.  J is an artist, one that I admire (and I love, love, love her latest body of work: Misbegotten Sea Creatures and not just because there is one named after me) and we spent a little time on Thursday morning drawing while we were conversing about life, the universe, and everything.  It was pretty cool to look up from my own work every now and then to watch as her latest drawing/sea creature was being birthed.

A little twist and a curl.

I’ve been drawing and playing with pastels.  I haven’t been too successful just yet with the pastels, but it’s been fun trying.  I did ruin something I liked by trying an art hack I found on YouTube.  Art “hack” is about right, in the sense of mediocre standards.  Word of advice:  Don’t use hairspray as a fixative for pastels.  Or at least not cheap hairspray.  It doesn’t work.

Another orange glow of summer.

The weather started out hot and humid at the beginning of the week.  On Thursday a cool front rolled in, drying and freshening the air.  Even though the temperature was still in the 80’s, the freshness of the breeze made it feel cooler.  I took advantage of it by spending time out in the woods and on the dock.  The water in the creek, the river, and the pond have darkened over the past few weeks.  It’s a phenomenon that happens every summer.  I think it’s related to tannins from the trees, but I’m not entirely sure.

Goodnight, sun.

I have been spending time with books, too.  I finished reading Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi.  It’s considered a YA novel.  The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series got me interested in YA novels, and I read one every now and then.  Children of Blood and Bone was getting such great reviews that I decided to give it a go.  I’m glad I did.  It was quite good.  Adeyemi has created a world of magic based in West African culture and folklore, something I know little about.  NPR describes the book as “a feast for hungry readers.”  I am looking forward to the sequel.  If you do read the book, be sure to read the author’s note at the end.

Soft and gentle waves.

I’m currently reading three (yikes) books.  I usually limit it to two, but one, Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography by David Ulrich, is a book I’ll be working with, dipping into from time to time as I do the exercises.  You might see some of the results of those exercises here at Ye Olde Blogge.

Sun and cloud reflections on the water.

I am still making my way through Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul and enjoying her take on setting goals with soul (I think that’s how she puts it).  The third book is Birdology by Sy Montgomery, a brilliant book about birds and the author’s adventures with birds ranging from her flock of chickens (The Ladies), to rescuing baby hummingbirds, to falconry (which I found particularly fascinating), and other birds.  I’m currently on the chapter about pigeons.  I’ve learned a lot and been entertained at the same time.  I think it was Eliza who mentioned the book at some point.  Thank you for the recommendation.

I became fascinated (almost mesmerized) by the way the light and reflections were playing on the waves.

M has been out on his maiden voyage with the boat.  He went with a friend who knows something about boats and boating, a suggestion I made because it seemed like a good idea to have someone who has experience mentor him a bit.  I am, as you know, a reluctant sailor.  I’ve been in no hurry to make my maiden voyage.  I’m told all went well and both guys had a lot of fun.  I’ll be going out when I no longer feel seasick on land.  The antibiotics I’m taking make me lightheaded (I call it “listing” but it’s a mild case of vertigo) and nauseous.  That happens sometimes when I take antibiotics.  My hand, the one Izzy bit, is healing well.  That’s another factor in my reluctance to go out on the boat.  Best to let that heal first.

Softly waving.

The gardens continue to do well in spite of the all the rain we had in April and May and the beginning of June.  Drainage is quite good here on the ranch.  The rainwater makes its way quickly into the pond, the marsh, and the little rain garden.  It wasn’t always like that.  M has done a lot of work to make it so (unclogging ditches and the streamlets, dry except when it rains, that run into the creek, marsh, and pond).

Learning to see.

The weeds, of course, grow like gangbusters and it’s difficult to keep up.  The new lavender plants I put in the flower garden, replacing those that died over the winter, are doing well.  The butterfly bushes, which I thought I might have killed when I pruned them way back, are flowering.  The beauty berry shrub is also flowering, along with the yucca and foxglove.  We planted the foxglove about two years ago.  It seemed to die shortly after we planted it.  It didn’t come up at all last year.  This year it miraculously sprung up and is producing flowers like crazy.  The zinnias are growing.  No flowers yet, but maybe in a few weeks.

The vegetable garden is also doing well.  We picked our first tomato a couple of weeks ago.  Granted, it was a cherry tomato.  It looks like those are going to do very well, as usual.  Hopefully the other tomatoes will grow and ripen better than they did last year.  The lettuces, which we planted in the long planter on the deck, continue to produce.  The romaine and red oakleaf lettuces are doing particularly well.  The arugula bolted a few weeks ago.  We still have kale, and M said he saw some baby cucumbers the last time he was out weeding the veggie garden.

As above.

I reckon that’s about it from me and from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  Thank you so much for visiting.  Let’s go out to the Point for sunset this evening.  I was going to suggest the dock, but you have to make your way through swarms of deerflies and mosquitoes to get there.  We have a bumper crop of both this year.  There may be some out at the Point as well, but the wind usually keeps them away as long as you stay away from the marsh grasses.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:29 PM.  I’ll be there early.  I want to get some pictures of the wheat along the way.  It looks so pretty during the golden hours shortly after sunrise or just before sunset.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Before the light and color give way to night.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  746)  The miraculous way the body works and heals.  747)  The play of light and color on the water and waves at sunset.  748)  Spending time with a good friend.  749)  A trip to Saxis, Virginia to explore and see where we end up when we take some of the back roads on the Eastern Shore.  750)  Ginger beer (the non-alcoholic variety) and ginger tea, probiotics, and a good diet to counteract some of the effects of the antibiotic.

Fading light.


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.

19 thoughts on “A breath of fresh air

  1. Summer heat/humidity do make for lovely sunset photos for some reason. The soft gentle waves photo — they look like they’re moving. Great shot.

    Happy weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Enjoy Danielle LaPorte’s book. In the past, I’ve ordered the workbooks from her website which help you identify your CDFs. They used to come in packages of three so you could work through the process again at a future time. I found the workbooks to be very helpful in identifying mine. I really enjoyed all of your pictures, dear Robin…as I always do. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Carrie. 🙂 A journal came with mine (Ms. LaPorte had some kind of special going on, I think, when I bought The Desire Map). It’s an interesting concept to me — to sit down and figure out what my core desired feelings are and let those be the goal(s).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your photos are beautiful, as they always are. I enjoy being out on the water – at one time we had a boat, but costs of docking, fuel, insurance, etc., eventually became just too much for the use we got out of it. It was a 28’ cabin cruiser and II liked it while we had it – it was neat to go in our own boat to Catalina and sleep onboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. 🙂 Our boat, or I should say M’s boat (because I keep insisting it is his), is a little thing compared to your former boat. 17 feet, I think. A runabout. I think it can handle about six people (although that would be loading it up). M plans to trailer it around so there won’t be any docking fees. All that said — my main objection to the boat was that it would end up being both a time and money pit. Several folks who’ve had boats mentioned both, but M has been determined to get out on the water. Given that the majority of the trails here are water trails, it makes sense. I’m hoping I’ll get over my reluctance once I’ve been out a few times. It all depends on whether or not I get seasick again.


    1. Thank you so much, Eliza. 🙂 I think the veggies do love the heat to a certain extent. Too much of a good thing is, as always, too much. The tomatoes didn’t do well last year in the extreme heat. We got them in the ground earlier this year in hopes that will make a difference.


      1. Do you mulch? That helps keep the moisture even. A few inches of straw is ideal.
        I’ve given up growing tomatoes as they always seem to get late blight, which once in the soil, is hard to eradicate. Weekly spraying with fungicide is a practice that eludes me. 😉


  4. I’ve been ignoring the news too. I can’t stomach it. But ignoring it is making me feel quite guilty. Still, it’s easy to ignore here at the lake with very few TV options if we turn it on at all.

    I too have been mesmerized by the light on the water, and color on the waves here at the lake. I enjoyed seeing yours.

    Your garden sounds lovely…but a lot of work. We didn’t plant anything this year, as we won’t be there to take care of a garden. But my perennial bed will be filled with weeds to pull when I get back. We had to hire someone to cut the grass so that won’t be too bad.

    I sort of feel like just staying here all summer. I guess that’s not realistic. I have a life back there and things I want to do in Michigan. But it’s so easy to get caught up in the Southern slow life here…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn.

      I think the heat of the Southern slow life would drive me back to Michigan if I had that choice. I wish I could summer up in Maine or Nova Scotia or somewhere that’s at least a little cooler than we are here. Going to be in the mid-90’s tomorrow and Tuesday. Bleh.

      I tend to feel guilty, too, when I’m not paying attention to the news. It makes me feel like I’m sending a message (even if that message is just to myself) that says, “I’m safe so I don’t have to pay attention.” But I know I have to take time off every now and then or I’d go crazy with anger, anxiety, fear, whatever the current chaotic feeling of the day/moment happens to be.

      Enjoy your Southern lifestyle, Dawn. Vacations are a time for taking long breaks from everything.


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!

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