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It’s a puzzle…

I bought this puzzle as a prop for a blog post.  It was a while ago and I can’t remember what I called it or what my point actually was at the time.  Something about life falling into place.  Ha!  I’m sure I was convinced at that moment that happily ever after was just around the corner.  When will I learn that ‘ever after’ is an illusion and right this minute is about all you can count on?

I dumped the puzzle pieces out onto the table and took a picture, and then put them back into the box and forgot all about it.  But while on a trip recently there was a puzzle out on the table and we all attempted to put it together, and failed, but it was fun.  I used to buy a Christmas puzzle every year and we’d all work on it, I loved that family activity.  Consequently I bought a table just for that purpose, one with sides that fold down, and it sat up against the wall ignored most of the year.  Not any more though.  That table is now my do-everything table.  All sewing and crafts, plus it’s where I stick things that I can’t figure out what else to do with but also feel like it would be a sin to just throw them away.  After they sit there long enough they do get tossed, but it’s like the left-overs in the refrigerator, I have to let them age a while before I can feel saintly about getting rid of them.

And so when I got home from that trip I got the irresistible urge to ‘do’ that puzzle, and even though I told myself that I shouldn’t, that I’d wind up mad at myself with a puzzle half-done and some other use for the table in mind, but I dumped it out anyhow.  And sure enough, it has taken over my life ever since.  This is exactly the reason I shouldn’t bake, because no matter how I tell myself I’ll put those cookies in the freezer for ‘company’, I eat them.  I don’t buy candy, bread, and ice cream for exactly the same reason.  I really should listen to that voice in my head once in a while, but I hardly ever do.

Then this long, cold, rainy/overcast, weekend arrived, and I was determined to get that puzzle over-with.  So I could get my sewing machine out.  And by last night I was convinced that the puzzle-maker had screwed up.  I had several puzzle pieces that both belonged in the exact same spot, and there was supposed to be a skinny yellow window in one of the doors of the puzzle, and those pieces were simply not there.  I was composing a scathing letter to Big Ben Puzzles in my head, and there may have been a cuss word or two spoken.  Enter my uncle, who picked up the problem section of puzzle pieces and moved everything one space to the left, and like a miracle everything fell into place!  From now on when I reach an impass in life, and am ready to tear my hair out, I hope I remember to move one space to the left and see how things look from there…11-17puzzleimage211-17puzzleimage

I brilliantly took a picture of the puzzle box, which was small and it was impossible to see the details of the puzzle on the image.  Then I put the picture onto the computer screen and zoomed in and I could roll over the image and see the details.  See the feature photo.  And even that didn’t help.  I’ll never know if I’d have figured it out on my own.  This determination to do everything by myself isn’t always the best idea.

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Rivers and circles…

A favorite author of mine is William Least Heat Moon, and my favorite book of his is Blue Highways.  What struck me when reading this book was his descriptions of the land and scenery as he drove the blue highways on the map, purposely avoiding the major roadways to better appreciate the country and the people who populate it.  He was describing what he saw in his travels, but his descriptions showed me a connection to nature and the land that was so different from my experience.  Was it his Indian heritage that connected him in that special way?  I thought so.

I’m currently reading his River Horse, and have been for months.  It’s in Kindle so I can resurrect it whenever I feel like it, and I’ve forgotten about it for weeks on end.  In it he is attempting to cross the country by river, which, it turns out, is a much more complicated undertaking than I ever would have imagined.  But just now I came across a passage that really spoke to me.  He was quoting the famous Lakota holy man who says in Black Elk Speaks:

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.  In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished.  The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.  The east gave us peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.

I’m certainly not an Indian, and not a deep thinker, but those words struck me because I saw my own journey into the past as a completion of a circle.  And I don’t think that having made the connections that I made on my trip has closed that circle in any way.  The heart-warming whole that it created is still with me…

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'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, connections, coping, death, grief, growing old, loneliness, marriage, memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset

Bob…

His SUV was pulled over at a scenic overlook on Skyline Drive.  The back hatch was open and he was sitting in one of the two chairs he had placed just outside, angled toward the view.  His old=fashioned boom box was playing lovely, soft music, and I thought he was reading, but it turned out he was writing in a journal.  I had also pulled over at the overlook and got out of my car with my camera in my hands.  “You look comfortable,” I said.  “It’s our 50th anniversary,” he said, and I looked  but I didn’t see another person.  “We liked to come here”, he said, and he gestured to the empty chair and said, “She’s right there.”

She had died 7 months before, it was a blessing, he said.  He said that he didn’t want to brag, but his wife was very talented.  She baked and sewed, and she taught him to do those things too.  He said that he has her sewing machine and he is finishing all her projects for her.  They never let the sun set on an argument, he was proud of that.  He said he would always apologize and she would always say that it was okay, and then she would always let it go.  And they had had 10 children, it took him a while to mention that.  He showed me their wedding picture. They were so young.  And I thought of all that still lay ahead of them that day.  He said that he was writing it all down, their whole story, from the day that they met.  He was teary-eyed as he said these things, but he said that he knew that I would understand, and I did.

Skyline Drive was on my agenda from the day I left Florida in the first place.  I wanted to see color, but this color wasn’t the colorful trip that I intended.  I was going to try to be there for the fall scenery and I came close.  And I had just complained about the twists and turns of the roads in PA, and there I was purposely choosing to travel on a 100+ mile road of nothing but twists, and turns, and mountains.  But I was glad I was there today.  It was the perfect day to be there, because it was the day I met Bob…

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Southport

It was my last day at the campground in Boothbay and I was determined to see as many more lighthouses as I could manage by car.  I had missed the lighthouse cruise the week before and the next was one scheduled for the day after I left.  So I set my sights on Southport.  Have you ever looked at the coast of Maine on a map?  Another camper told me that he had just seen a map on the wall of a friend’s house, and that he had grown up in New England, but he also had never realized that the coastline of Maine is made up of lots of little islands, and/or peninsulas.  I thanked him because I thought I was the only one who had been in the dark on the subject.

You enter Southport by crossing a bridge, which I did, and then parked to go back to the bridge for pictures.  I rushed when I saw that the ‘drawbridge’ had actually swung open to let a little boat pass through.  And three sailboats were lined up to go through in the opposite direction.  The keeper said that during the summer the bridge operates on a schedule. on the hour and the half hour.  He was very friendly and said that any place I saw a town pier or beach I could go and park for pictures, and off I went.

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I spent a lot of time debating what to do when I found Hendricks Head lighthouse.  The view from the beach was a bit obscured, and the only option for a possible better view was to climb a rocky mound on the beach.  It didn’t look too intimidating from a distance, but up close it was slippery and with no good foot or hand holds.  While I debated I told my entire life history to a woman on the beach, Ginny, and met her husband Dave, such nice people.  She said that it was an easy climb, but then she wasn’t climbing it either.  So it wasn’t so much that I chickened-out, but I said to myself that I’m having too much fun, and I have too far to go yet, to risk a trip-ending injury and/or wrecking the camera.  I feel like I’ve been in touch with my five-year-old self recently, but now and then the adult in me needs to step in and lay down the law.SouthportHendricksHeadSouthportHendricksHead2Southportsailboat

I moved on to a dock and got out the big lens and tripod, but it seems like every photo I used was from the 18-400 new lens.  And I’ve wracked my brain looking at the maps to figure out which lighthouses I did see.   I think it’s Burnt Island Light closer in, and Cuckold’s Light Station way out in the distance.  No mention in the book on how that one got it’s name.SouthportsceneSouthporttrapsSouthportscenelighthouseSouthportscenelighthouse2SouthportBurntIslandFinally, one from the big lens, guess I’ll keep it!  I apologize if I’ve gotten the lighthouses wrong.  My mind is boggled, it stopped raining, and all I want to do is head out someplace.  Never know where until I get there!

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Along the way…

I chose the shortest, most coastal, route to Acadia National Park that the GPS showed me.  The most scenic, I thought.  But it’s taxing to have to keep track of the ever changing speed limits, and glimpses of pretty oceanfront scenery with no place to pull over for pictures is a tease.  Which explains why I stopped at the only scenic overlook that I saw on the way.  As I took a couple of pictures I realized that I was looking at the bridge that my native Maine friends had talked about over the winter.  The Penobscot Narrows bridge. Penobscot1Penobscot3 From their description I expected it to be a longer expanse, but I also remembered that they had talked about an observatory at the top of one of the towers.  I hoped I’d have the energy to take the same route back so that I could stop and check it out.  I knew that at the end of a long day, with a long drive back, I’d be tempted to take the highway, But I didn’t and I’m glad about that.Penobscot4Penobscot2Penobscot.jpgPenobscot5

The view from 420 feet up proved to be as lovely as my friends described, but getting pictures through the smudged plexiglass was a challenge.  I have a trip to the zoo with my photo group to thank for the fact that any of the pictures turned out at all.  The instructions we received there proved to be the key.  And the road to home was calling me, like any good old-fart would, I wanted to be back before dark, so I didn’t explore Ft. Knox.  (Not  that Ft. Knox, this is Maine after all.)  And the town looked quaint also, but it was getting late so I headed back out.  And I got back to the campground just in time for karaoke!  And met a new friend who leaped into action when I said I wanted a beer.  Her name is Sue, I figured I’d remember that.  Another nice day, to add to all the nice days so far…

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Acadia National Park…

I think I have to thank the invention of the GPS for the ability to be on the road, by myself, and managing to get from point A to point B with very little problem.   It was a 2 1/2 drive to Acadia on Friday, not too far to go to check another bucket list destination off my list.  I drove the Acadia Loop Road, stopping at every turn-out to take pictures, even when each one was a view of the same scenery but from a slightly different angle.  My photo group is planning a trip to this park in October, and they’ll probably have the addition of fall colors to enjoy while they are here.  I quickly realized that jumping in and out of the car and attempting to set up the heavy tripod and my biggest, heaviest lens wasn’t going to work so well, so it was back to the new camera and lens.  I hate to admit it but it’s all I use now, and I’m so glad to have it. From my point of view it was a clear, sunny day, with blue sky and puffy white clouds.  The water color was bluer than the sky was.  But the distant scene was in mist, so zooming in for details was frustrating.  A very enjoyable day, but I was glad to get home to the camper…Acadia1Acadia2Acadia3Acadia4Acadia5Acadia6Acadia7Acadia8Acadia9Acadia10Acadia11Acadia12

A friend from Maine messaged me to be sure to go to the Jordan House for lunch, and try the pop-overs.  I no sooner read that and there was the Jordan House, but I must have arrived right after several buses had unloaded their passengers.  So I opted for grab-and-go on the upstairs balcony.  Darn, those pop-overs were calling me.