Sunday, March 30, 2014
The snow has all melted and the calendar may say spring but there aren't many obvious signs yet along the Bournedale Trail at the Cape Cod Canal.
I came upon these feather remains of a gull.lying in the trail. I wonder how it came to this fate? Gulls don't fly in the woods. Was he flying by overhead and just died and fell? Did he die elsewhere and was dragged here by a fox or other critter? Where are the rest of the feathers? Seems an odd place to end up for a gull.
The picnic area at the Herring Pond parking area is quiet. This tree knot reminds me of an owl's eye - or the eye of Sauron.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Just when it looked like spring was really here and the ice was almost completely melted....... along comes a late "winter storm - a classic nor'easter" racing north along the east coast of the United States targeting blizzard conditions for southeast New England, Cape Cod, and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
But, as is sometimes the case, the storm track moved easterly and all we got was strong winds and maybe an inch of snow. I was almost disappointed. Almost.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Late afternoon shadows and light on the westward side of the Plymouth Rock Memorial. (Or maybe tall gray pushrods pressing down on gray rounds of bread dough?)
This vintage Dodge was sitting at idle along the Town Dock. That characteristic rumbling exhaust sound instantly transported me back to the late 1960's era of "muscle cars."
A pair of very small offices/booths also on Plymouth Town Dock. These small structures are common at many New England harbors to provide protection from the elements for charter operators to greet customers.
Even gulls can enjoy a nap in the warm sunshine on a cold spring day. This platform tied to a buoy provides the gulls with good protection from land predators - including overly excited toddlers who want to chase them.
"Massasoit, Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, Protector and Preserver of the Pilgrims, 1621" is scribed onto the plaque at the base of this towering tribute to the great Native American Chief.
Adjacent to the Massasoit statue is this simple plaque on a large stone. It speaks for itself.
Peeling paint on an enclosed porch.
This wall along the harbor seems to be designed to discourage folks from sitting on it. Looks effective for that purpose. On the other hand, it doesn't seem very effective as a warm welcome to showcase "America's Hometown."
Monday, March 24, 2014
I enjoy wandering around a place on foot and seeing what there is to see. Sometimes, I just sit in a beautiful place and contemplate the moment. It's handy when that place is within walking distance of home. Dull and uninspired? Perhaps.
One thing I will NEVER do (and I don't like to use the word 'never'), is make a bet that requires the loser to swim at White Horse Beach on a day when the water temperature is 34 degrees F and the air temp is about the same. I think this group of young men just learned that important life lesson.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
These plant stalks spent the winter sticking out of the pond. Some strange sequence of freezing and melting has created these mushroom-shaped cones of ice. Just another example of the endless wonders of pond life. The pond is a place where life unfolds at its own pace - geese and swans and herons honk or squawk or flap by, buffleheads and cormorants dive and resurface, a turtle or muskrat slips smoothly beneath the surface of the water, the wind rustles through the trees, with or without leaves, a squirrel or rodent scurries by - it is the inexorable march of the seasons on parade as the winter gives way to the warmth and longer days of spring.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I find that as a retired man, often with neither somewhere I have to be nor something I have to do, it is possible to slow down and re-learn the simple pleasures in life - like sitting in a patch of sunlight, listening to the sounds of the world, and just being in the simple moment of livingness. No need to fret about the things to do, or the things done, or the things not done - just being in the moment. Milo the cat is a good role model. Of course he never had a job so he's been practicing longer than I have.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
One of the pleasures of retirement is that now when it snows, I don't have to go out in it and drive somewhere like I did when I was a working man. That changes my perspective about snow. It allows me to enjoy the amazing beauty and child-like wonder of a silent snowfall instead of being concerned about shoveling, slick roads, traffic congestion, or accidents.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Although it's cold water, the melting ice means the tender underwater shoots are available for eating.
Still, there is a lot of ice in the shallow end of the pond where food would normally be more plentiful and accessible.
I have sometimes complained about having to go to the climate-controlled supermarket to get food. Instead, if I imagine having to stick my head underwater in winter just to eat cold, waterlogged plants to survive, perhaps that will end my complaints.
Monday, March 17, 2014
This is either my recent angiogram or a tall stand of oak trees without leaves. If it's trees, they will soon be bursting with new green spring growth - if it's my angiogram I hope nothing is bursting.
The backlit white fuzz of magnolia buds are showing signs that they know spring is near.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
A flock of Canada Geese leave open water of Bartlett Pond for a march across the remaining ice. This is a full color image but the falling snow showers and clouds and overcast have reduced the entire world to only black, white, and gray - and cold.
Also a full color image - even the water is a steely gray. The white swan fits right in to the no-color scheme. Notwithstanding the harshness, there is a quiet beauty in this cold and windy world.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Closed for the winter - I've always envied a business that gets to do that. I recall meeting a man working near a national park in the western United States who owned an ice cream store just outside the park entrance. He closed every year in the late fall, all winter, and early spring and, instead of working, then spent the time living on a warm beach until reopening the store in mid spring.
Winter is the time of the year when I have no valid excuse to procrastinate. I must sit at my desk and get the paperwork done that needs to get done. Tax returns, ugh! But I'm easily distracted from it........for example, by taking a picture of my pen cup walking on the windowsill, or, maybe I can see a squirrel..........or a bird.........or............
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A Dock in Winter's Icy Grip, Bartlett Pond, White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
On my return to White Horse Beach from warm and sunny Mexico, much of Bartlett Pond is still frozen over. This dock rests firmly in the ice. It may not be warm outside but, at least it's a sunny day.
It's about 15 degrees F this morning - colder than I like. Of course, anything below 60 is colder than I like.
The ice has not shifted the dock away yet this year. Some years, it is upside down or otherwise askew or displaced.
Kayaks ready for a ride and gardens still frozen solid.
Proof that spring is coming - a small patch of green - getting greener as the days get longer.
Monday, March 10, 2014
This is my final blog post for this trip. If there is one view I want burned into my retina from this trip, I would have to say it is this one. This is precisely where I sat/reclined/slugged about reading and relaxing in the warm sun and cool breezes of the Riviera Maya. I don't know if I'll ever be back again but, it sure was a wonderful place to escape most of the harsh New England winter.
Same place - slightly different angle - complete with sailboat and playing child.
A slightly wider view includes the standing figure of José - the ever-present security guard for Villas del Mar.
What a great place to visit and live for these past two months!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
In a a recent blog post, linked here at Vacation Reading, I mentioned a few great reads I've enjoyed on this trip. Since that post, I finished reading the book pictured above, Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay. What an extraordinary read it was! The ability of this author to create characters and weave a story is a remarkable demonstration of her literary creativity. The book is set in the Boston and Cape Cod areas and the author is a local Boston College and Harvard University alumnus.
It's a story about love, loss, abandonment, redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing. Universal themes that struck me on a very personal level. This was a powerful read for me. I've already requested her two other books, Deep Down True, and the Shortest Way Home from my public library for when I return home.
Shelter Me, and The Language of Flowers, which I mentioned earlier this trip, were the two most wonderful writings I had the pleasure to read on this trip. They both touched me deeply with their beautiful and powerful stories. For me, these two books demonstrate the magical power of reading at its best - to connect and awaken the reader to a world created in the mind.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tan Man, Agouti, and Guacamole, Villas del Mar, Puerto Aventuras, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Those of you who know me as a pasty white skinny caucasian guy who's never been in the sun, well - forget that. After two months in sunny Mexico, I am now known as the Superhero - TANMAN! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Now, if I could just turn back the clock and make that gray/white hair disappear...........by the way, almost all that tan was acquired from reflected light in the shade. After a few rounds of skin cancer surgeries, I don't purposefully sun myself. (Photo compliments of Amy).
And now, near the very end of my trip, I was sitting calmly outside when an agouti ran by within inches of me. A rare event. They usually stay a good distance away from humans. And even though some of the folks called them "Mexican rats," they seemed more like big guinea pigs to me. They were most easily seen out and about the first hour of daylight and the last hour before sunset.
This is the 357th avocado that I have made into guacamole on this trip. Approximately 55 different batches - my chopping knife barely has an edge anymore - jalapeños, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and limes - chop, chop, chop - they all take a toll. This is the final batch in Mexico on this trip. A sad moment in the heart of a hardcore guacamole lover. What time is it? It is now and always, "Guac-o'clock."
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I've seen two weddings in the past few days. This one included time for the bride and groom with barefeet, sun-warmed sand, and a Beatle-esque walk perfectly in step - seems a good way to begin a new life together.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Eight mangos were found relaxing by the pool - little did they know they were soon to be breakfast.
Some of the other fruits and vegetables were stuck inside and got to play with Nutella instead of going to the pool. They seemed jealous even though Nutella is always good company to have.......
Saturday, March 1, 2014
A nice place to lounge for a while at Villas del Mar.
Kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and swimming are all popular pastimes on the beach in Puerto Aventuras.
This crab is about to be swamped by the wave but after it passed, he was still standing there - must have some really good grippers.
These condo buildings are walking distance just to the south of Villas del Mar along the shoreline. (But VDM has the best sandy beach.)
Destination weddings are a very popular industry all along the Riviera Maya. I've never been known as a wedding crasher but, as I strolled along the beach it was impossible to miss this one going on along the way at the Omni Hotel.
A beautiful bride in a spectacular location on a perfect afternoon.