Angels Among Us

As March continued to roar in like a lion, I stepped into the park this morning and was embraced by beauty. Snowflakes, white and pure and eternal drifted my way. Though I was alone, I wasn’t.


For within each flake I felt millions of wings brush against my face–reminding me of those I know who are at the moment downtrodden and have hurdles to conquer. Some may be tiny, others immense, but all were angelic in nature.


As the flakes gathered together, they enhanced the reflection of harmony . . .


and illumination.


They brought Heaven down to earth . . .


and reminded me that even in the darkest hours I hope my friends remember that grace surrounds them.


May they find healing energy,




and unwavering strength–both inner and outer.  Support is everywhere and often floats softly about while carrying a bigger presence.


May they realize they are surrounded by so many angels offering comfort, reassurance and encouragement,


while looking so ordinary that at times they may not be recognized.


May they maintain a sense of balance going forward,


and let the flakes soften any rough edges.


May they listen carefully . . .


and hear whispers in the breeze that I trust will tickle their beings.


May they hear the universe sing (or occasionally quack),


its song as sweet or maybe sweeter than that of the cardinal.


And at the end of the day, may they follow the tracks home, no matter how big . . .


or small.


May they continue to look up as the flakes fall and know that our friendship is a privilege I honor.


May we all recognize the angels among us, innocent and yet brilliant. Even on a days when a nor’easter blows through. Or especially then.

P.S. I was going to dedicate this post to Jin, and Tom, and Cris, and Bob, and Ronny, and Becky, and Bev, and Pammie, and Rosemary,  and so many others. I do dedicate it to them, but really–to everyone for I may not know what you face day in and day out. May you all persist and be strong.





Make Your Own Impressions

A couple of us were honored this morning to share the trail with ten homeschooled kids ranging in age from about four to teenagers. There was even a babe in his mom’s arms, but he choose to sleep through most of our journey as we looked for tracks at Western Foothills Land Trust’s Shepard’s Farm Preserve.

s1-into shepard's farm family preserve

I was wowed by these kids for their knowledge about the natural world was impressive. It was obvious that they’ve spent a lot of time outside not only due to all they had observed and the stories they told me, but also because it was quite cold and they never complained.

s2-the bog and deer tracks

Through a mixed forest and into the bog we searched for and followed tracks–of mice and deer.

s3-into the bog

We so wanted to see those left behind by a predator and thought for sure we would since the deer tracks were plentiful, but today that wasn’t meant to be. We did find where the deer had browsed, peed, scatted and slept.

s4-curious kids

The kids’ curiosity was for more than just tracks and so we stood in awe of a pileated woodpecker tree.

s8-hornet's nest

And a hornet’s nest.

s9-hornest nest in flight

The nest was flying high–on the underwing of a bird sculpture–reminiscent of a certain Tesla Roadster on a rocket.

s10-flying squirrel tracks

After showing them some plaster casts of prints and my scat collection back in the parking lot, we said our goodbyes and I drove on to meet my friend, Jinny Mae.

Not long into our time together, we squealed with delight when we thought we’d made a new discovery. We found squirrel tracks that started about ten feet from any tree and as we looked at the overall pattern we noticed that there were arced lines between the sets of prints that appeared different from the lines behind the sets that we typically encounter. Our brains and hearts worked in unison and we determined that we’d found a trail left behind by a flying squirrel. It was a first for both of us. But . . . as we continued on we began to question our conclusion and we switched back to red squirrel. I don’t know. What I do know is that it was a squirrel. And maybe that’s enough.

s13-beaver dam

We made our way to a beaver pond, again hopeful for interesting tracks, but our best finds were squirrel and mice. Oh, and a domestic dog and its skiing partner.

s22-beaver lodge

We did spy a lodge that we thought might be active, but didn’t risk the journey to check on it for we found ourselves sinking deeper than our comfort zone.

s12-steeple bush gone awry

As we made our way off of the pond, a steeple bush came to our attention–its erect structure gone awry. Uh oh. Had it done something wrong?

s14-pileated woodpecker

And then we heard a pileated woodpecker that we finally spied on a distant tree. Though we both have the good fortune to see them often, we were still thrilled and amazed at its size.


Our next stop was beside the brook that flows out of the pond. I was with Jinny Mae so it was no surprise that we stood for a long time, listening and admiring.


Ice and water always fill us with wonder . . .

s23-ice 3

and awe.


Shadows and textures do as well.


And not to be left out, lungwort.

s5-creating a snow angel

The tracking wasn’t so great, but at the end of the day we’d all delighted in the discoveries and questions and understandings and connections we’d made. And the fun we’d had in doing so.

s7-snow angel

When life gives you snow–make your own impressions.

When Life Gives You Flakes

After a delightful childhood in Connecticut, I began my journey north . . . in search of more snow. And a job, of course. Eventually I found my way to western Maine and love followed–for my guy and for the good fortune of snowy winters. Some are more icy and rainy, but this year–ahhhhhh, what a treat.


I know that not everyone agrees, but when life gives you flakes I hope you can find your way out the door. This was the view that beckoned me this morning, but the door was blocked by sixteen inches of the white stuff so I had to use the front door.


In the past ten days over five feet has piled up on top of the base we already had. My studio can attest to it all.


I wanted to capture the landscape and see what it offered before the sun and wind changed the world. There’s something about the pines plastered in white that makes my heart smile as I step into the woods.


One of my favorite pines is an old wolf tree along the cow path. It’s lovely on any day, but particularly when its arms are outlined.


And beside the path, several large hemlocks offered secret forts beneath their laden branches.


Further along, red maples, their buds growing rounder each day, provided enormous support as a few flakes continued to fall.


Below the maples, I crossed over mouse tracks, surprised to see that they’d ventured forth on a risky mission to find food.


And then I followed a deer run, marvelously straight, along the snowmobile trail.


Where the deer paused to browse, I paused to notice.


And once in a while I spotted deer hair.


Just above, one caught between two hemlock twigs.


There were other observations to make, like the snow wrapped around trees much the way we wear scarves . . .


and woolen ponchos.


Occasionally, treats presented themselves, like this double scoop ice cream cone.


Eventually, the morning light gave way . . .


to the sun.


And I knew it wouldn’t be long until the plops and drips began . . .


releasing the snow one branch at a time.


Rather than see it as a dead end, I long ago chose to embrace winter.


And so this morning, I stopped by the snowy archway, stepped out of my snowshoes . . .


And made a snow angel in the middle of the trail.

When life gives you flakes . . . have fun!

(Back at home, it was time to shovel by the back door and scoop the driveway–our world is getting smaller and we’re all dealing with tunnel vision, but warmer temps are just around the corner.)