Mind-ful, Wonder-ful Art

I’m thankful for today’s art-ful offerings.

The day began with a sketching workshop at Hewnoaks Artist Colony that was led by visual artist Pamela Moulton as part of the Greater Lovell Land Trust’s Wellness Series.

I sketched the circle of life for a Mica Cone 😉

And then the fun continued as I tramped along the Leach Link Trail in Evans Notch with Pam Katz and Bob Katz.

A mountain. Train tracks. Topographical map. Zippers. Stitching sample.

Radiating out. In. Chunks. Lines. Shades. Puzzling.

Zigzag. The end?

Hardly the end for lines continue. Into. Infinity. Over. Under. Indents. Outdents. Is that a word?

Waiting for a pollinator. Already pollinated. Color. Lack of color. The past. The future. Was. To be.

Pearly Eye. Circles. Lines. Stained Glass. Overlap. Shades of brown. Shades of gray. Bull’s eye. Target. 

Water. Rocks. Flowing. Refreshing. Life giving. Carved. By. Nature. Nurturing. Cold. River.

Ebony. Jewel. Big eyes. Little guy. Damsel. Fly.

Thanks to all for letting me be a part of your day. Mind-ful. Art-ful. Nature-ful. Wonder-ful.

Book of October: Writing My Will

Judy Steinbergh has fed me repeatedly. She’s nourished my body and soul with actual food, but also with her poetry and prose. And recently, she gifted me one of her books entitled Writing My Will.


Though it’s her poems about Maine that I love the most in this collection, I feel honored not only to have been the recipient of such a gift, but also to be offered the opportunity to peek into her life and share the path that she’s walked through marriage and motherhood, divorce and death.


I hear Judy’s voice even when she isn’t reading to me. And I covet her descriptions and command of lyrical language and imagery, especially as she captures the natural world:

“. . . after speculating on the slap of water, whir of wings,

out of the grainy dusk, some creature bursts

from the forest. Before we focus on its shape,

almost before it can be named,

it twists back, leaps, makes its escape.”

~ excerpt from “Wild Things”

or this one:

“. . . roughs the lake up like the wrong direction of fur

until it is leaping dolphins and whales in rows

until it is sleek stampeding panthers in droves

until we, in our small boats, are driven to shore.”

~excerpt from “The Wind”


Each summer, she’s gathered her own poems, and those of other landscape poets, and shared them with an intimate group of writers through a workshop co-sponsored by the Greater Lovell Land Trust, Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony at the Hewnoaks property overlooking Kezar Lake in Lovell, Maine. After talking about rhythm and form, and having us read her works and others, she sends us off to find a comfortable spot in which to contemplate and write.


Poets young and old flock to her and she embraces all with a listening ear and mentoring manner.


And sometimes we travel the path together, either hunting for mushrooms, looking at plants and any of the millions of other things that capture our attention, or spending time writing and sketching.

Judy has written five books of poetry, three poetry teaching texts, and recorded other works. She’s the Poet Laureate for the town of Brookline, Massachusetts. And she teaches and mentors students and teachers for Troubadour, Inc. throughout greater Boston and serves as Poet-in-Residence in various communities.

This particular book, Writing My Will, is an assortment of Judy’s treasures from her family, including her dying mother, to the natural world that embraces her. Based on the theme, she’s divided it into sections: Heirlooms; My Mother Comes Back to Life; What Memories Will Rise; Talking Physics With My Son; This Wild; Meeting the Birthmother; Long  Distance; The Art of Granddaughters; Working on Words; Elegies; Writing My Will.

And it ends with one most apropos for this month:

October Song

Wild asters and the birds whir over

in flocks, Queen Anne’s Lace curls up

by the docks, the tide runs out,

runs out like it hurts, our step

is so light on this earth.

I love these times alone, thinking

about how my children have grown,

and how I come into this age

illuminated, softened

as the marsh’s edge.

And the tide runs out, as forceful

as birth, as if nothing else mattered

but rushing away and rushing back in

twice a day. Our step

is so light on this earth.

We’re given October like a gift, the leaves

on the warp, the light on the weft,

and the gold drips through

like cider from the press; we know,

we know that our lives are blessed.

But the tide runs out, runs out like it hurts,

what were fields of water only hours ago

are meadows now when the tide

is low; our step is so light

on the earth. Wild asters. All

we are sure of is change, that maple

and sumac will turn into flame, this softness

will pass and the winter be harsh

till the green shoots push

up through the marsh. And the tide

rushes in like a thirst and will keep

its rhythm even after our time,

the seasons, too, will repeat

their design. Our step

is so light on the earth.

And so, dear Judy, as my thank you for the gift of your book, I want to now share a melody of photos from previous autumns, all taken during Octobers past in your beloved Maine locale when you can’t be here. (Well, maybe one is from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont–shhhh!)















“Our step is so light on the earth”

Book of October: Writing My Will–Poems and Prose, by Judith W. Steinbergh, Talking Stone Press, 2001.






Brief Retreat at HewnOaks Artist Colony

Brief Retreat


Stepping out the door,

I immediately spot

the round-leaved pyrola

in bloom

with elongated pistils

arcing below

its petals of white

turned downward,

as if too shy

to share

its inner beauty.

p-mole ridge

Walking across the lawn,

I notice

a sudden change

in the ground

below my feet—

from solid to cushy,

where a raised ridge

about six inches across

snakes through the grass,

the work

of a mole

whose tedious tunneling

through the earth

is hardly ever

recognized as favorable.

p-red and white pines

p-red and white pines 2

Making my way

down the gravel road,

I find myself

in the land

of giant pines—

both red and white,

and so,

I bend my head

into a birder’s pose

to see their crowns—

so tall are they,

with branches and needles


even with

a neighboring hemlock,

as each vies

for the sun’s

life-giving rays.

p-trees kissing 1

Turning to the trees

beside them,

I spy

another white pine;

this one directly

connected to a hemlock,

like kissing cousins,

their trunks

naturally grafted,

providing internal support

as they

figure out

how to share

the space.


Moving downhill

with intention,

so as not to slip and fall

on the steep incline

and yet wanting

so desperately

to avoid the gnats

that harass my face

in their annoying fashion,

I wish for a breeze.


p-daylily flower

Spying a splash

of vibrant color,

my attention

suddenly distracted

from the gnats,

I see Daylilies,

the perfect flower

with thee sepals

and three petals,

six stamen,

their anthers

loaded with pollen,

and one pistil

protruding straight out

as she seeks

the offerings of others.

p-meadowsweet 1

p-meadowsweet flowers

p-raindrop reflections

p-ants farming aphids

Rounding a corner

on the road,

I spy a clump

of meadowsweet

standing tall,

its buds

slowly opening

to flowers,

crazy full

of stamens

showing forth

a fireworks display,

and its leaves

holding raindrops

that reflect colors

of the canopy above,

while on one stem

ants farm aphids

in search

of the honeydew

they produce

from sucking

the sugar

out of the plant.

p-sweet-fern patch

p-sweet-fern leaves

Nearing the end

of my journey,

I pause

beside a patch

of sweet-fern,

which isn’t really a fern

for it has a woody stem,

but its presentation

of leaves

appear fernlike,

and I celebrate it

as much

for its look

of curly leaves

extending outward

in every direction,

as for its scent

that tickles my nose

in the most pleasant

of manners.

p-Kezar lake

Standing at last

beside the lake,

I watch dark clouds

flirt with mountains,

and it is here

that I meet

the breeze,

light as can be,

barely ruffling oak leaves

and only slightly swaying

boughs of hemlocks,

while creating

mere ripples

across the water’s surface

that give way

to gentle waves

lapping the tops

of mostly submerged rocks,

just enough

to distract the gnats.

p-HewnOaks 2


Revering the scene

before me,

I give thanks

for I’ve reached Kezar Lake

at HewnOaks Artist Colony,

where each year

due to

the generosity of others

I get to spend

two hours—

a time to listen

as Judith Steinbergh

shares poetry

in form and sound

and encourages all

to notice,

to hear,

to see,

to be,

and then sends us off

as if

we were world renown writers,

and in those moments,

I am renown

in my own world

as I listen

to my muse

and let thoughts form

first in my head

and then

on paper,

all the while contemplating,

writing and taking photos,

and come away blessed

by the voices

I hear

of the flowers,

and moles,

of the trees,

and ferns,

of the lake,

and this place.


I am.

It is enough

no matter

how brief.

Thank you,


for once again

giving me

the opportunity

to retreat.


This morning, the Greater Lovell Land Trust and Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell co-hosted a poetry workshop conducted by poet Judith Steinbergh of Brookline, Massachusetts. The setting: Hewnoaks Artist Colony.

It’s always a special treat to listen to Judy and others read poetry, wander the grounds which overlook Kezar Lake, and share with like-minded people.

Sixteen of us found our voices this morning. Or tried to. Here’s my attempt:

h-hewnoaks 1



Where raindrops jiggle

h-backs of leaves (1)

and leaf backs glow,

h-pine needles

pine needles dangle

h-pine coneIMG_1867

and new cones land,


shrubs sway


and ferns dance,

h-queen anne's lace1

flowers blossom

h-seeds 1IMG_1841

and seeds fly,


feathers pause

h-driftwood (1)

and driftwood poses,

h-white caps 2 (1)

white caps form

h-waves 2 (1)

and waves crash.

h-poets 1 (1)

Hewnoaks, where poets write

h-poets 2 (1)

as the north spirit renews our souls

h-poets 3 (1)

with each gust of fresh air. ~LMH

h-Listening to Ann (1)

Later we gathered inside, out of the wind, to share our offerings–each one a gift.

Thank you, Judy. And Anna. And Ann 😉




Branching Out

I felt privileged this morning to sit under the tall pines overlooking Kezar Lake and the White Mountains while participating in a poetry workshop.

Judy Steinbergh, a published poet and summer resident of Lovell, conducted the workshop for the Greater Lovell Land Trust, Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library and Hewnoaks Artist Colony. The latter graciously served as the setting.

Hewn Oaks porch

From 2012-14, Judy served as the inaugural poet laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts and she has over forty years of experience teaching poetry to students of all ages. It’s a delight to listen to her share her passion for her work and that of others. She epitomizes the rhythm of nature.

And so it was, that after Judy shared examples and techniques with us, we were set free to wander about this magnificent property in search of inspiration. Hewnoaks  was originally established as an artist colony by the Volk family in the 1890s. Today, it is a non-profit organization that gives “artists time and space to create within a natural, rustic environment.”


Hewn Oaks

mountain views


morning view

Finally, I pulled out my hand lens and focused on smaller details.

A Leaf

Life begins

 striped maple buds

As a tree bud

 oak bud 2

Tightly embraced

by Mother Earth.

quaking aspen scales

Its waxy scales


and peachy fuzz

provide protection

leaf unfurling

until it unfurls

new leaves

and gathers energy

new red maple leaves

in the hope


of branching out.

~LMH, 7/22/15