Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Rain

It's raining outside my door tonight. I'm not able to sit on the deck with my laptop and guitar, but that's really okay because as much as I love being outside, I love hearing the soft gentle sound of rain. There is a rumble in the distance, but not so close that I have to close the windows, but close enough to remind me, these are the wonderful sounds of a summer night's rain. Many evenings when I get home from work I feel compelled to go out to mow the lawn or pull weeds in my garden; compelled to the point of feeling guilty if I don't. “Make hay while the sun shines” the old adage goes, but what about simply relaxing in the warmth of summer? And while some complain about rainy days, I enjoy the reprieve it brings from all the outdoor work that can consume a body.

Late last night it began to sprinkle, just as it was time for Logan (my dog) to go out for his bedtime walk. I knew it was sprinkling before I stepped outside, but made the decision to not bother with an umbrella, instead turning my face skyward to marvel at the shimmering drops as they fell through the beam of my outside light. Granted when it's a cold rain I tend to pull my hood over my head and lean forward, which may be why the warm gentle rain of last night was so enjoyable. I could watch, unencumbered by heavy clothing as the rain fell; gently rustling the leaves and brushing my cheek.

Being a camper for my entire life, I enjoy the sound of rain on canvas and now on the roof of my camp trailer. There was however one rainstorm I did not completely enjoy. I was in my early twenties, tenting with friends (who after that trip became some of my closest friends) on Mount Desert Island, Maine. I will not bore you with details but sum it up to say we awoke to wet sleeping bags, I then lost the brakes on my car, which forced us to remain the entire day in the rain soaked tent. It was Memorial Day so no garage was open until the next morning. Needless to say, it was a “bonding moment” and every other challenging experience we have had as friends is held up in comparison to that particular day, including a storm in the mountains of Lesotho, Africa.

The weatherman says it is going to rain tomorrow as a front moves across the state. I feel a bit sorry for the vacationers who were planning on going to the beach, but hopefully they will find pleasure in sipping coffee overlooking the storm tossed ocean or take time to sit on the porch of their camp listening to the rustle of the leaves being kissed by the rain. Museums are wonderful indoor distractions for raining afternoons, and there is nothing like a good book, afternoon nap or rousing card game to take time and enjoy. Regardless, the greens look a bit “greener” and the grass is standing taller. Summer doesn't stay long here in the north, so make certain you enjoy every moment of it; stop and listen to the sound of a summer rain.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Living the dream... in part

I'm an outdoor person, I love camping, fishing, traveling, sitting outside beside a fire...etc. Most of my winter pictures are outdoor shots, even though I don't like being outside much during those months. Now, I have this dream, which combines my creative writing side and my love of the outdoors. My dream is to someday be writing songs and blog posts from the front porch of a little house on the ocean. Now, given the rate of my exposure to those who would make me a full time author or composer this pipe dream seems a little “packed solid in the pipe; smoldering,” meaning not likely. But today I decided to live at least part of this dream. I took my laptop out to the table and chairs on the back deck of my house, overlooking my woods. And now, here I sit happily typing away, swatting at mosquitoes (better go get the bug dope) wondering why I hadn't thought of this before.

Dreams are funny things, aren't they. I get a picture in my head of how something should be and am unable to see past it. Oh I can talk a good talk about making small differences in people, and how even the smallest gesture is huge (God delights to use the insignificant – see my other blog “5 & 2” on John 6:9), but when it comes to writing, and I mean both music and blogs, I battle with the feeling of “why bother your audience is small, who do you think you are?” Please someone tell me I am not alone in this feeling. I admire those who can persevere; living part of a dream and pursue the rest over time. My personal life verse is taken from Esther 4:14, “... for such a time as this.” I believe God spoke this verse to me many years ago as an explanation and encouragement, knowing I would need to be able to look at the small stuff through HIS eyes, not my own.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs I want to encourage you to join me in making a commitment to live at least part of your dream, while pursuing the rest. I think I'm going to make a point of charging up my laptop battery, and drag out my guitar so I can sit on my deck writing; living part of my dream. No matter the size of my audience or the condemning voices in my head. If my only readers are my friends and only the wild turkeys in my woods hear me sing I will persevere and pursue... for who knows who will see and hear what I bring to the kingdom, for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14)

Okay time to go in, the mosquitoes are getting quite thick. They are not a part of my dream!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Smelling Summer

There is nothing quite like summer in Maine. Many people love to come to Maine as was evident this past weekend with a 12 mile plus back up coming out of the state. I counted myself very blessed to call Maine home, and even though I am “from away” I was taught at an early age to love the “Pine Tree State.” There are a number of “hot spots” here, Bar Harbor, the Southern Maine Coast, the Belgrade lakes, Moosehead and Baxter State park. I have learned there are generally two types of people who visit Maine, those who love the ocean and those who love the woods. My siblings are good examples of this for my brother, were he to live here would have a house on the ocean. My sister however does not feel her visit is complete without a pilgrimage to Mount Katahdin; regardless of where she is staying in this big state. I am a mixture of the two; a product of parents who split their vacation time between the ocean and the woods (although I am admittedly, more inclined to ocean.) I have vivid memories of days spent in Lubec and others of moose watching at the base of Mount Katahdin.

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and Campobello Island are good places to go if you like both woods and salt water, for there the “...deep-voiced neighboring ocean... answers the wail of the forest.” (H.W. Longfellow, Evangeline) The smell of spruce, moss, wild roses and lupine mingle with the smell of salt, clam flats and fog. Many people do not like the smell of clam flats, comparing it to the smell of manure (and that is being gentile!) But like the taste of Moxie, you need to be “raised” with it to appreciate it. My father had a great deal of influence on me, for I remember as a young child when crossing the Piscataqua River Bridge into Maine my father would roll down all the windows; breathe deeply and remark on how clean the air was. Even now, as I cross the bridge I open my windows and breathe deeply all the while thinking of Daddy.

This entire post is the product of my ride to Connecticut last week. It was a hot, steamy night inland, but as I neared Portland, I saw and felt the fog as my nostrils filled with the glorious scent of salt water and wild roses. I love that smell, for it is Maine to me, the only thing missing was the spruce. Often we are encouraged to take time to smell the roses, referring to taking time; slowing down. But I want to encourage you to simply smell. Barbecues, flowers, freshly mowed grass, trees and bushes, rocks as they are heated in the sun, pavement and new tar. As you drive through your day, roll down your windows and breathe deeply, smell summer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Evanescent Musing

I'll admit, I'm a weirdo when it comes to language. The older I get the worse I get about words, spelling and grammar. The other night I was watching a documentary on the Royal Family and someone used the word “Anachronistic” when speaking of the pomp and pageantry that so often accompanies official functions. I loved the word “anachronistic” and since my muse is quite evanescent, I thought I would take time to write about “big” words. I'll add the definitions at the end, so you don't have to look them up, but humor me if you will. In 2013, Wayne State University published a list of the top 10 words worth reviving. Of these words I've chosen my favorites. So here goes my attempt to use them in this post.

I dislike buncombe, and persiflage, although I'll admit I'm given to persiflage when with my friends. I don't enjoy listening to those who natter, which is probably why I don't listen to news programs or political forums. I find myself wishing to dragoon them to loftier plains of precise speaking as they attempt to winkle my sympathies. Unfortunately, I consider most news and public speakers Troglodytes, hence my penchant toward not watching the nightly news; as that gives me the fantods. I know I can be mawkish about the English language and may be perceived as chelonian and anachronistic in today's world.

Phew, there is my attempt, the only word left on the list from Wayne State is Cerulean, I'm just not certain how to use this word. It is a beautiful word and I like having cerulean colored clothes, but.... I guess I just used it. I did use a couple of others because I liked them, hopefully you won't consider my offering simply nattering. Either way, I hope this foray into the world of archaic words inspires you. One last parting thought, don't let the troglodytes give you the fantods; keep looking up into the beautiful cerulean sky.


Anachronism. something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time
Evanescent: soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

Wayne State University's 2013 top 10 list of words worth reviving:

Buncombe. Rubbish; nonsense; empty or misleading talk. 

Cerulean. The blue of the sky.

Chelonian. Like a turtle.

Dragoon. To compel by coercion; to force someone to do something they'd rather not.

Fantods. Extreme anxiety, distress, nervousness or irritability.

Mawkish. Excessively sentimental; sappy; hopelessly trite.

Natter. To talk aimlessly, often at great length; rarely, it means simply to converse.

Persiflage. Banter; frivolous talk. 

Troglodyte. Literally, a cave-dweller. More frequently a backward, mentally sluggish person.

Winkle. To pry out or extract something; from the process of removing the snail from an edible periwinkle.