Summer Scent-iment

Riding with the windows down from my TMS appointment today, the earthy scents of fields and pungent brook waters hit my brain in a nostalgic wave as I drove down the rough country road, longing to get out of my car and run through the meadow down into the brook, if only private property and ticks didn’t exist.

Summer days of childhood in the woods with friends crossed my mind’s picture screen for several seconds before receding back, refusing further examination, as though it were a dream I was straining to recall.

Perhaps it was a dream, and this is all illusion. If so, it’s a very good spell. I really feel like I’m here, like I exist, like this is a meaningful journey. Maybe life’s meaning doesn’t derive from the delivery mechanism, but I sure wish I could figure out what it means to me.

I’m still worried the TMS isn’t working, 21 visits in now, when I’m supposed to notice a difference.

I feel bereft of my old companions and our easy friendship. I wish depression didn’t exist & the elusive mind and life fuckery it creates. But that’s like wishing heart disease, or diabetes away. It’s not going to happen. I need to manage it, regardless of how exhausting the task. Eventually we heal or we succumb, and I have no idea which way it’s going to go.

Ease and balance are important, and I strive for them – try to cultivate them – and drain friends who know they can’t quell my demons so they’d rather not hear about it. I supplicate to whatever gods might exist, so far, to no avail.

I’d like to sink forever into that sweet summer dream: running through the meadow, cooling my body in the water, or exploring the woods – forgetting that time or otherness exists.

The upside is that I’m still here, illusion or not, and I get out of bed every day & make it. Coffee remains a pleasure and a boost, and I redirect my thoughts hundreds of times a day, just as I adjust my posture when I notice I’m slumping.

That’s something, isn’t it?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Sounds Of Summer

Summertime - and the livin' is easy
Summertime – and the livin’ is easy

Summer’s constant buzz and song fills my house.  Crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, and a myriad of other bugs and birds create a constant background hum – either that – or I have horrible tinnitus.

These muggy August nights feature crickets’ constant ‘chee, chee, chee, chee’, while tree frogs sound their ‘bdrrrrr, bdrrrrr’ calls echoing around our hill, quieting close to sunrise, continued by the crickets until long after sunrise when other insects and birds take up the daytime chorus.

The oppressive, humid air makes sleep nearly impossible, even with the fan on high, but I rarely need moisturizer this time of year!

Wisps of hair curl up near my temples and forehead, and a cool shower takes down some of the night’s heat.

A long ago Key West morning suffuses my memory.  I’m stepping into a slightly chilled saltwater pool at our motel in Islamorada.  The surrounding air, so much like this morning, makes me long for the palm tree setting, while nostalgia’s softening gaze helps me forget any of the stress or conflict of that trip as I feel myself cutting through the cooling water of the pool on that lovely morning.

Islamorada Pier - Guy Harvey Outpost
Islamorada Pier

That memory is a happy place I will call to mind as I attend to today’s stress, work and monotonous chores.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Summertime Songs

From musicals like Porgy & Bess, and Grease, to pop songs through every decade, summer songs create, or re-create feelings of freedom, ease, love – especially young love with all that angst and yearning – and even if the heat and humidity are hard to take in the moment, I look back fondly to sticky summer nights spent hanging out with my group of friends, skinny-dipping in the river, or pool-hopping around the neighborhood, with or without permission…

Songs heard in my youth stir me more deeply than newer summer-themed tunes, or even old ones newly discovered. Those tunes center me in time and place unlike most anything else in my life.

The following links worked at this posting, but you can always search the song names yourself if any links become broken.  Perhaps a few are already in your play list!

George Gershwin’s, Summertime, an aria in 1935’s, Porgy and Bess, evokes a haunting sweetness of that which is hoped for, however unattainable, for the impoverished Bess singing to her baby.

Another “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, from 1991, breathes summer’s relative freedom, and speaks to slowing down and enjoying summer’s romantic possibilities.

Eddie Cochran told us there’s no cure for the “Summertime Blues” in his 1958 rockabilly number, referring to his having to work and not getting to be with his girlfriend or friends all out having fun.

The Drifters’ trill about their relaxing seaside summer in 1964’s: Under The Boardwalk.  You can feel summer’s heat, smells, sights, and sounds, while taking a chance at falling in love near the surf, away from the boardwalk’s crowds.

1966’s, Summer in the City, by The Lovin’ Spoonful, brings you into the city’s grit and grime from the first guitar strains just as Under The Boardwalk conveys a carnival feel from the start.  And while the city heat shimmers off the asphalt, a cooler breeze and romance prevail at night.

Juxtapose that with, In the Summertime, by Mungo Jerry, 1970’s bubble-gum ditty, where finding a date was summer’s full-time pursuit – and dig the mutton chops, man!:

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s released several songs intoning summer’s graces and privileges for young and old alike.  Several appeared in the summer of 1972.

Seals and Crofts’ Summer Breeze, is more folk than pop, and makes me want to lie under my favorite maple watching the leaves sway and hush each other in the warm breezes.

Saturday in the Park, Chicago’s ode to summer, also invokes a festival atmosphere, celebrating old-time holiday conviviality with street vendors and singers.

Alice Cooper’s, School’s Outbrought harder rock and attitude to summer’s opening, and remains one of my top summer songs:

Hot Fun In the Summertime, 1969’s summer hit by Sly and The Family Stone, also speaks to freedom from school in a mellow blues style, just as memorable for its ease and friendliness as Alice Cooper’s is for its ‘screw you’ ethos.

Flash forward to 1977 and The Ramones punking out with Rockaway Beachanother of their non-stop, driving beats insistent on another popular summer pursuit, days at the beach.

I don’t think Sandy Olsson from, Grease, would have been as attracted to one of the Ramones as much as she was to Danny Zuko, because meeting him on the beach was more like a Beach Boys’ dream song than the tough guy he portrayed in front of his friends, confusing poor Sandy.  But, oh, what fun they had in those Summer Nights:

Sandy Olsson could have used Bananarama’s pop tune, Cruel Summer, to console her, but 1983 was too far in the future for the 1950’s character, and besides, it wouldn’t have been broody enough for our melancholy Sandy.  Many of us with broken hearts related to their pop ballad while we danced away our sad summer nights.

A year later, in 1984, Don Henley rocked out smoothly with
The Boys of Summer, crooning his heart out about the girl who got away – while those mean girls kept walking – pushing their Wayfarers a bit further up on their pretty little noses.

While this list isn’t in any particular order, excepting its mostly chronological look at summer songs, no list would be complete without Bryan Adams’, Summer of ’69the youth rockers ode and anthem – finding belonging, following a passion – both in love and artful expression, and the sweet remembrance of summers past.

Make sure you add your favorite summer songs and why you like them in the comments!

Cheers, happy writing, and happy Summer 2016!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Flagging Down Summer

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-betsy-ross-really-make-the-first-american-flag
http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-betsy-ross-really-make-the-first-american-flag

Today is Flag Day.  We learn about and honor what our flag represents in our country, and how to respect our flag.  I was raised a patriot – a lover of America: ‘Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave.’  I believed in the Grand ole’ Flag, and the pledge of allegiance.  America the Beautiful and our National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, still mist up my eyes with every hearing.  Yankee Doodle Dandy was one of my favorite songs as a child, and I even changed the lyrics to reflect being a girl.  I would sing: ‘…a real, live, niece’ – rather than nephew – ‘of my Uncle Sam’, as well as my ‘Yankee Doodle Sweetheart’ being ‘my pal’ to the end where ‘I am that Yankee Doodle gal’.  I never realized it was just a boat-load of propaganda designed to stir up nationalistic fervor and xenophobia.  Every nation on earth does it to lesser or greater extents.

A high wind is blowing all around as I write this out on the summer porch.  Whistling through the windows, I smell cut grass, honeysuckle, roses, and plowed earth on its way through – the scents of early summer.

Although the solstice is over a week away, Memorial Day has always signaled the start of summer for me.  Even though calendars declare that ‘Summer Begins’ with the June solstice, farmers and others close to nature’s cycles know that it’s really the half-way point of the season.  After that, daylight decreases daily with our orbit towards autumn.

www.timeanddate.com
http://www.timeanddate.com

But I’m not to think about that now.  Being here now is my goal as time tends to bunch up the older I get.  I want to have my younger self’s sense of time.  A leisure summer day could seem like a weekend then, but my adult life’s demands and concerns are often greater, along with the broader view of time that age affords.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Marie and Me

Stepping out onto the front porch, I visualize Marie sitting on the old wood-slatted metal glider.

She came back East to see some family, and help her brother struggling with issues Marie had dealt with before.  I had moved in with her and her husband in California when my son was a toddler, spending two years in San Diego, and when I knew I couldn’t make it out there, I came home to Massachusetts, where I’ve been ever since.

Marie spent an overnight with me up here – us falling into the easy friendship we’ve had since the fifth grade – but I also saw us with fresh eyes too.  She and I went through so much together, and we’ll always be soul-sisters, but I saw our differences, and somewhat prefer my idealized version of her.

Those differences haven’t ruined our bond, but I see how much I’ve changed from the inexperienced young woman I was to who I am now.  It shouldn’t have affected me so much – it’s simply that we’ve matured differently, even if our essential selves are intact – but I felt a loss – of innocence perhaps? – of youth?

Maybe her presence emphasized time’s passage, and what we can never get back, or never attain, but also, that I like who I am, that I’m comfortable with my beliefs, or lack thereof, and mostly of where life has led me.  I can’t do anything about what I didn’t accomplish; I can only do the best with whatever time I have left.

Remembering the sweetest times of our visit, driving to the old farmhouse where she lived when we first met, as well as the house I lived in by the railroad tracks, both laughing and tearing up as we pondered the past.

I didn’t know that my dearest memory would be of her sitting on the porch glider that bright summer morning, the humid air sticking exposed skin to the seat, us breathing in the heady scent of honeysuckle wafting on the scant breezes, saying how nice it was at the same time, with me winning the first to tap her arm and say ‘owe me a Coke’.

 

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Dog Days In The Garden

My shorts and shirt cling wherever they touch, sun scorches my back as I rip weeds between the tomatoes. Grass roots deep, but not deeper than my three-pronged cultivator snares them, ripping through the packed earth. Some grass and weeds grow close to the garden plants and removing them is like surgery.

The shadows lengthen across the yard, my work only half done. Water dribbles down my chin, cooling the narrow channel it finds to run down to my damp bra.  I’m tempted to dump most of the bottle over my face and neck, but drinking it is more refreshing for now.  My knees and back complain after several minutes of stooping, or staying in one position for too long.

A stray mosquito buzzes my ear – it won’t be long before the outlier signals the army for a blood meal on me, and I stride over to the carrot bed, some grass indistinguishable from carrot at the soil.  I thin nearly a dozen more carrots than I meant to, deciding to leave the rest for the next day.

The corn and squash languish in the sun, chicken manure and water are needed, but they’ll have to endure until tomorrow.

Dirt-smeared, sweat-stained, but satisfied with a day’s work, I trudge up to the cabin, dumping the last bit of water over my face, enjoying the rivulets that careen down my face and chest, even though I know a cool shower is not far off.

I say a prayer to the Universe that blight doesn’t strike the tomatoes this year, and, come harvest, that we get more crops than the bugs have.

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©seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

A Sticky Situation

Bare legs stick to the wooden seat, pulling up as though it were a bandage I’m pulling off as I rise to find my hoodie.  It’s not cold, but the clammy air has me chilled.  The bloated sky threatens rain, and the dead air hangs inside too – all the open windows and doors allowing in a subtle mist, evening out the airscape – as I wonder if this is what it’s like to be in the horse latitudes.

The napkins in the holder on the table facing me are slumped over as though drunk, and my feet are uncomfortable on the gummed-feeling floor boards.

I slip on my flip-flops, and take off my recently donned sweatshirt as it proves too warm, and sultry is too good a word for the day.  Oppressive is too harsh, so dull, or limp, fit better, but still doesn’t capture the quality.

I once stayed on my sister’s boyfriend’s refurbished tugboat, and we moored in the harbor for the night.  That was a sultry summer night, wisps of my hair making ringlets from the damp air, our faces shiny and tacky from the humidity as we talked, laughed, ate, and drank until well into the early morning, and I finally drifted off to sleep on the padded bench I was sitting on.  Someone had covered me with one of the wool blankets my sister’s boyfriend had stowed several of for such occasions, and I woke up early, scratchy from the blanket, and clammy from the still misty air, but grateful for the covering when I saw that the blanket was wet with beads of dew, as though I had been lightly rained on while sleeping.

The clouds finally burst as I write, and I think at least the garden is grateful for the rain, but the pitter-patter and constant hum makes me sleepy, although I have so much to do.

A third cup of coffee might help me stay upright and on task.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Motherhood Ruined Me For Traveling

Going away on a whim used to include making sure I had my toothbrush and a change of clothes, and depending on the time of year, my bathing suit and sunblock.

When my child was born, I tried to keep spontaneity alive, and suffered for it.  Oh, no – I forgot his red blanket!  We have to turn around!  He won’t sleep without it, therefore I won’t sleep without it, therefore anyone with me will be miserable – I’ll make sure of that…  Suffering in silence just isn’t fun.

Today, my child grown, and no longer needing his red blanket – I think – probably takes off on a lark all the time. May the pox of child-rearing fall on his house!

I now pack a minimum of three days worth of crap.  It’s ingrained. I’ve tried to make do, to be free again, but I need the earplugs – and this lamp.  And this ashtray…  I can’t sleep without them.  Sure, we could pick some up at the store, but for me, it would be steal them from the store because our budget is so tight  – yeah, yeah, first world problem – there is no room for anything else.  The credit cards are maxed, and the goal is to pay down, not add.  No, not even $5 which will be closer to $25 by the time the debt is paid down.

A detailed list is a must for me, and the stress surrounding trips takes a lot of fun out of it, for sure. Personal items, check.  Three pairs of underwear for two days.  Yes.  Two pant choices, three shirts, two pairs of shoes, and my sneakers. Should I bring those shoes?  Will I want my sundress?

My mind is an unforgiving landscape, a dark back alley where the worst of humanity gives me a wide berth. You crazy, woman!

Snacks!  We’re on a budget!  Pack sandwich making supplies in smaller containers.  Don’t forget the water!  Who knows if it’s drinkable where we’re going!  Beach stuff, bug spray, sunblock.  Holy crap, we almost forgot the tent!  I guess we could have slept under the stars for a night.  Except, we’ll be in a crowded campground with screaming babies and marauding teens.  Wildlife bothers me much less – at least they’re quiet.

My S.O., on the other hand, packed one day’s worth of clothing, and his toothbrush.

He’s also never been a parent.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Oh, How The Garden Grows

I’ve weeded once.  It’s rained 3 times since then.  I can hear our plants calling out for help as they get crowded out by the faster growing crab grass and weeds – or maybe that’s my guilty imagination.

I’m glad we got it planted reasonably early this year, and as in most things I attempt, I’m not all that enthusiastic about the work, but I do enjoy the harvest.

I’ve also learned to not trust our plants no matter how well we take care of them, and having to compete with the bugs and other critters.  The blight took all our beautiful, plentiful, tomatoes last year, and several cucumbers, and peas failed to thrive too.  The carrots were a bitch to weed and thin, and their yield barely made up for the back-numbing, knee-wrecking work.

Makes you want to run right out and start a garden, doesn’t it?

I do enjoy knowing where and how my food was grown, and that we’re growing organically – no toxic pesticides or GMO’s for us!  I understand the world is full of pesticides and pollution – we can’t escape it all – but I’m not going to help Monsanto or Syngenta, et, al., in any way possible.

Geneticist friends insist GMO’s on their face are bio-identical, but I’ll not have fish genes in my tomatoes – thanks.  I’ll deal with the disappointment of blight and learn how to better care for them without trying to pretend I know better than billions of years of evolution because when geneticists say no negatives were found in test studies, it’s because negatives were not tested for.  That makes a neat solution, but not a livable one.

People can read all the pro and con literature and raw data and make up their minds, or trust that geneticists have their back and don’t need to pander to their funders in any way…

Our garden grows regardless of the tending, I know, but our care, along with nature’s course, will show our final yield.

In the meantime, on we go, bug hats, water, music, and mulch.

Cheers and all the best to the gardeners out there – reluctant or not!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Summer Times

Summertime reminds me most of my next oldest sister, Allona.  I think of my eldest sister, Rachel, too, but Allona was more adventurous and high-spirited.  Allona could also be intractable and bossy, but thankfully those times were less when we were younger.

Allona lived in several Rhode Island towns over the years, some areas better than others. She was gifted with a parrot when she was in her early 20’s, whom she still has.  Her parrot was cool when she first got him, except for his deafening jungle squawking early in the morning & whenever the humans around him got loud.  Now, he’s a cranky old bird who delights in going after exposed toes, or snapping at anyone foolish enough to try to touch him.  Allona has taken very good care of him over the years, but they’ve both grown more ornery over time.  I wouldn’t mind him so much if he could be trained not to squawk so piercingly.

Summers in the 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s were often delightful, however.  We’d spend days by the shore, go dancing at night, and mostly enjoy each others’ company playing card games like Pitch or Spades.  Sometimes we’d go camping, my favorite part being the smell of brewing coffee on the camp stove those early mornings.  Camping lost its thrill for me as time went on and my body’s aches rebelled at bed rolls and even at air mattresses, but it was the least expensive option to go anywhere and stay for several days.

Life changed when I had my son.  I wasn’t as carefree anymore, and though we camped a few times when my son was a baby and toddler, it was more stressful than enjoyable.  I camped several times with my son and some of his friends in his pre-teens and teens, but after he was 13 or 14, my company was no longer desirable, which worked out because my body didn’t desire camping anymore either!

I always felt welcome at my sister’s house in my teens and twenties, and considered it a home away from home.  I am still comfortable at my sister’s, but I feel more like a guest these days.  Part of that is maturity – I’m more helpful and recognize that she has an order to her home that she likes, just as I have – so I try to keep my footprint small when I’m there.  In our teens and twenties, I didn’t think about respecting her space and resources – not that I was slovenly or over-consuming – it just wasn’t foremost in my mind back then, and neither was it in hers.

Allona was an energetic, adventurous, go-getter – and she still is – but now her efforts are more inwardly directed.  We figure out what’s important to us as we mature, and, often, our world becomes smaller as we let go of people and things that no longer serve us.

I don’t want to let go of Allona, or any of my family.  They’ve become more precious to me with time’s passage, and now that my son is grown, I feel I’ve reverted back to young adulthood – wanting adventure and close, happy, and carefree friendships to spend my time.  My body’s limitations tell me otherwise, and the sad distance between my son & I, when I had hoped to grow closer as friends once he was an adult on his own.

But today I feel a titillating warm summer breeze calling me to the beach, calling me to adventure, and I wish I were with Allona to share it.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Oh Deer!

English: A pair of (Odocoileus virginianus) gr...
English: A pair of (Odocoileus virginianus) grazing from a tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August and September are melancholic for me.  I enjoy autumn, but I love summer. I mostly love the long summer days.  On the longest days, 9 p.m. saw the final light fading, as my side of the Earth turned away from the sun, and the early summer light made me feel happier.  But, the season is turning now, even though the humid August days belie what’s soon to come.

In July, I moved in with my boyfriend, and we’ve both been adjusting ever since, and trying to make it ‘our’ place, but I do not easily assimilate, which I suppose could be a strength in other circumstances.  Regardless, we’re living in a beautiful rural area, and I’ve seen more wildlife – alive and in road-kill form – than I had in the last several years.  Nearly every morning, and early evening, for instance, several deer graze on the far edge of the yard, near the tree line down in back of the house.  My boyfriend and I noticed a doe with three fawns this spring, and we’ve watched them eating nearly every day.  At first, the fawns mostly nursed while mama ate, but she was weaning them a few weeks ago.  She’d let them suckle for less than a minute and then shake them off – sometimes engaging in a sort of hip-hop dance getting them away from her.

Several weeks ago, mama deer came out with only two fawns over several days, and I was so sad that one of them must have died.  I imagined illegal hunters, and then maybe a coydog, or bob cat, or some other asshole animal, taking down the cute, innocent fawn.  Then, The Lion King, came to my mind, The Circle of Life song looped in my head over the next few days, and I moved onto acceptance in my grief cycle, when lo and behold, mama doe came out one morning with three fawns in tow!  My boyfriend and I wondered aloud what had happened.  He thought maybe it had been two deer families making separate appearances, and while that’s plausible, there’s only the doe and her three fawns out there everyday.  I thought the fawn must have been sick, and laid low for a while.

Which brings me to another thought: where the hell is their dad?  It must be rough for a single-doe family, raising three rambunctious fawns, while papa buck is out there – doing Goddess/God knows what – probably munching on fermented berries and fruits with all the other bucks, not getting back to the thicket until well after dark…

Then again, maybe some asshole mammal took daddy-buck out in the bloom of fatherhood.  The Circle of Life, indeed.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Playing Dress-Up

I would have so many pretty dresses and outfits if I could afford it.  I’ve learned to shop at thrift stores fairly well, and I’m lucky to have friends who often have nice hand-me-downs.  Every once in a while I’m able to splurge and buy something new, but usually I drool over clothes I’d like to have.

I saw this dress at ModCloth:

http://www.modcloth.com/shop/dresses/a-bird-of-advice-dress

and think it’s sweet, but I’m not sure it’s the right colors for me.  I think these sandals would work with the dress for casual wear:

http://www.shoes.com/en-US/Product/EC1302543-5091949/Sam+Edelman/Citron_Truffle/Women%27s+Gigi.aspx

or maybe these for a more dressy occasion:

http://www.shoes.com/en-US/Product/08568-5192111/Etienne+Aigner/White/Women%27s+Milo.aspx

Another casual dress I liked from ModCloth is this flower-patterned sun dress, and while it’s not currently for sale, it’s one you can vote on in their ‘Be The Buyer’ section:

http://www.modcloth.com/shop/dresses/sample-1966

I like these dressier sandals for this dress:

http://www.shoes.com/en-US/Product/EC1328961-5187275/Sofft/Mocha/Women%27s+Gissella.aspx

Although these are nice too, for a softer look:

http://www.shoes.com/en-US/Product/24524-5187743/Etienne+Aigner/Coral+Wash/Women%27s+Wolf.aspx

I enjoy trying to accessorize for different effects.  Costuming is another aspect of theater that I learned about in the director’s workshop I took, and maybe I should consider being a clothing buyer as a profession as well?

May you stay cool if you’re somewhere hot (as it is here in Western MA), or find the right temperature for you wherever you are!  Cheers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Thoughts On The Go

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith, Don Knotts a...
Publicity photo of Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Jim Nabors from The Andy Griffith Show. Andy tries to help out the town band, but Barney and Gomer aren’t so sure he’s helping them. The episode is “The Sermon for Today”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been traveling the last few days and haven’t had computer access for more than a couple of minutes.  I got to spend some time with old friends in Maine, and another friend outside of Boston, and now I’m going to visit family in Rhode Island.

I was quite sad to hear that Andy Griffith died – as well as Ernest Borgnine.  Andy Griffith helped me through my childhood by representing the father I wish I had, and by remaining on television through specials and through his Matlock series.  I never watched Matlock more than once or twice, but just knowing he was still around was comforting to me.

Ernest Borgnine didn’t elicit the same kind of emotional response in me that Andy Griffith did, but I found him entertaining and funny (unless he was performing in a serious role, of course).

Time is moving on.  With every person from my parents’ generation that passes away, I feel pulled that much closer to the end of my life’s track as well.  I know I’m still pretty much in the middle of my life – and if I weren’t so tired, I’d celebrate that…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

One of my favorite pilgrimages in this area is the, Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls.  I’ve gone there at least once a summer every year I’ve lived in this area.  One could go each week, perhaps each day, and see something different growing or blooming.  It’s lovely to be there on warm, sunny days, but it’s just as sweet to walk over the bridge in the rain.

Sunflowers are another of my favored summer plants, and I took this picture at the last apartment I lived in a couple of years ago:

Happy June!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

While these photos aren’t showing me all the way down, down I was going!I’m grateful to have these photos because Hurricane Irene’s flooding washed out the area two weeks after these photos were taken.  The town will remove the bridge this spring because of the flood damage, so I’m glad I got to jump one more time.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Ocean Scene

Nothing else attracts me like the ocean does.  I don’t have to be on or in it, but I’m happy to see its wide expanse, listen to the rhythm of the waves, or stand at the water’s edge feeling the wonderful coolness of the rushing water and the way it carves out the sand around and under my feet as the water recedes.

Up in town, it’s fun to sit back and watch people go by, wondering what their everyday lives are like.  It must be tiresome for the year-round residents and shop owners, or maybe they just get used to it as a feature of the seasons.

It’s been a wonderfully satisfying weekend spent with family and friends in one of my favorite natural settings.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Rhode Island Family Fun

I drove down to Rhode Island yesterday, and met up with the rest of our vacation group at my next to oldest sister’s house.  Our group consists of both of my sisters, our mother, along with a childhood friend of my sisters and I, and my son, with four of his friends.  We had a fire in the fire-pit last night, and we ate dinner outside under a star-less, but balmy, Pawtucket sky.  The breeze was just perfect, and it sprinkled out a few times, and even though it remained overcast, we never saw the storms that were forecast earlier.  We all had marshmallows and s’mores by the fireside, and joked, and we ‘olders’ told stories of our youth to this ‘think they’re all that’ generation (just as we did), and they seemed surprised that we were so much like them at their age.

My son and his friends slept on the lawn in my sister’s big tent, and we heard them laughing and talking into the wee hours of the morning.  I never sleep well when I’m away from home anyway, but being at the beach all day is so exhausting.

It was a beautiful day and we spent it at Roger Wheeler State Beach, in Sand Hill Cove.  The water temperature was beautiful and I stayed under the umbrella most of the day.  We played in the water and I took lots of pictures of the kids for them, but I forgot my camera, so I’ll have to download whatever they put up on Facebook or Google+.

Now, we’re back at base camp, and the shower queue is long.  I lost my coveted second-in-line spot because I started writing this blog, but it’s still hot enough that even a cold shower will feel great.

Yay for family vacations!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Swashbuckling Isn’t Just For Heroes

Once, when I was about seven or eight, Kyle – the neighborhood bully who was probably in fourth grade for the third time – challenged me to a fight later that day, to have time to gather our arsenal (just like the Wild West, only it was about 2 p.m. rather than high noon).  I showed up dragging a tree limb behind me as my weapon, and Kyle, who showed up empty-handed, probably because he was fighting a girl, hightailed it out of there as soon as he saw my epic cudgel.  I was full of bravado back then, even if I wouldn’t have gotten very far in a fight.  It’s funny to remember that incident now because I could barely pull that branch behind me, let alone fight Kyle with it.

Most of the kids I found myself in trouble with were great adventurers.  We’d roam the neighborhood, cutting through backyards, being yelled at as we went to “go home and mess up your own yard!”.  I found that the worst discovery in a new backyard was a dog.

We had a German Sheppard when I was growing up, who wouldn’t have hurt me or my siblings even if my father had commanded her to, but she would have torn the throat out of anyone else.  Consequently, I was not afraid of dogs in the least, which was remedied one summer day around my eighth or ninth year.

Kyle was often the ringleader in most adventures I had, and we had an uneasy tolerance for one another.  It was that or be bored.  My older siblings didn’t want me hanging around them, and my younger brother would often devolve into tears too easily, or was too little to keep up.

That morning was one of those sweltering-at-10am mid-summer days, the sweat making you uncomfortably sticky and ornery.  Kyle had the idea to bring several of us to a good swimming spot in the Ten-Mile River, but we’d have to take a new way to get there (translation: he had no idea where he was going).

The last yard we cut through had a thick stand of trees and brambles that we had to scramble through, branches whipping those of us unlucky enough to be right behind Kyle, while brambles tore at our legs.  After several complaints Kyle declared that we were ‘pirates’, and what was a few scratches?  If were we sissy-babies about it, we could go home.  No one left.

It was a sweet feeling to be out of the woods, but now we were in territory I’d never been in, and even had I wanted to go home, I would have been lost.  We started to walk through a yard where a dog was lying in the shade of the house, and I thought nothing of it.  Kyle said going through the yard would bring us to the river, and that was fine with me until I heard a low, bone-chilling, growling.  Two of the kids ran back the way we came, but Kyle and I were already half-way through the property, and the dog was between us and the woods.  Kyle told me to stand still, but I had never heard a dog growl like that toward me, and I ran.  Kyle ran too, not wanting to face the dog alone, and just as I hit what I thought would be a sloping hill, I realized too late was a cliff.  I may even have run through the air for a few seconds à la Wile E Coyote.

We were lucky that it was an angled cliff side, so that when we hit we were rushing down the rest of the drop with rocks and gravel – right toward train tracks.  I’d like to make this story much more interesting and say we just missed an oncoming train by inches, but it looked like the tracks weren’t even used anymore.  There were weeds growing all along and in them.

Neither Kyle nor I suffered more damage than scrapes and humiliation, but I would have jumped off that cliff again because that dog was still standing at the edge of the drop-off barking for us to ‘stay the hell off his lawn’!

We never did make it to the Ten-Mile River that day, but I certainly was glad to make it home.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.