Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Heaven on earth

"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads," reads one of my favorite Easter verses. Consequently, my head is always in the clouds. I am fascinated by the ever-changing vista above.

Dark swirling clouds shroud the sun.
Puffy clouds glide past.
Single seagull circles on a cloudless day.
Reach up and touch the sky.
Beyond the blue.
Heaven on earth.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Rock solid

We are so busy. Consequently, we do the same things every day, seemingly cut off from the world around us.

As New Englanders, we live in a winter climate that is constantly in flux -- snow, sleet, ice, repeat. But most times, we travel from house to car to workplace, then from workplace to car to house, oblivious to anything but the cold.

On Saturday mornings, I seek to take the blinders off and really see. Sometimes I notice the things I omit.

Take rocks, for example. Here at the summer place they are everywhere. Stones are furniture to people who live by the seashore. I can honestly say that some of the best times in my life have been spent sitting on a stone by the sea with my mom.

Yet if I really focus, I realize that they are the vantage point to view the Creator's art.

Standing stones lead the way to the beach.

Don't fence me in. Millions of stones make up this paddock.

Rocks encircle the beach. Sit a spell or cast a line.

Someone walking the beach stacked stones on a picnic table.

This stone wall marks the boundary of our back yard.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Somewhere to be quiet

Going around in circles? Don't know which way to turn?

Backed into a corner? Need a place to hide?

Stuck? Frozen in place?

Come to the seashore

Swiss  theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar said, "Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God, to simply let go in him and gain new strength to go on living."

For me, that special place is the seashore. I come from a long line of island dwellers, and I feel the primeval pull of the sea.

Caressed by wind and comforted by the cadence of waves, I hear the voice of the Creator.

Where is your special place?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Frigid February musings

Sun peaks through leaden skies on this icy morning at the seashore.

Brrrr..... It is bone-chilling cold. I open the truck window to take pictures, holding my breath, clicking quickly and closing it as fast as I can. The world around me is frozen in place, except the sea that refuses to stand still. 

A fisherman rows against the tide to his boat "Something Different."
The postman is not the only brave soul who makes his rounds in all kinds of weather.

Taking the dirt road less traveled to a sheltered cove.

The truck bounces over a gutted beach path. Something sacred is revealed to a solitary soul on a secluded beach. Time to ponder.

Bare branches against blue sky.

These branches will fan and shelter us from the blazing heat this summer, but now they crackle in the wind, frozen in time.

Wait for me. Seagulls step into frigid waters and paddle away.

Even when the thermometer drops to zero, you are never alone at the beach. Sea gulls surround you oblivious to your presence.

Waiting for spring.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


January, so far, has been the stuff of childhood, offering a long stretch of sub-freezing days with little precipitation.

Consequently, everything is iced over.

"I wish I had a river I could skate away on / I wish I had a river so long / I would teach my feet to fly / I wish I had a river I could skate away on."

Those words from the winter song "River" bring back a flood of memories:

Throwing our skates over our shoulders, we walk to our special place in the woods, nature's own skating rink.

Shivering, my red-cheeked younger self sits on a boulder, pulls off my boots and slides warm feet into cold skates, laces them tightly and wobbling, I skate away...

Back in the present, Tiverton is frozen.

The Sakonnet River shimmers with slivers of ice. Seagulls walk and nest on Nanaquaket Pond, instead of swim. 

And all these years later, I am still lured to special spaces of the Creator's design.

Quintessentially, New England, Nanaquaket Pond reflects the sun..
Birds on ice. No skates needed -- sea gulls slide.
Coated with ice, the Nonquit Fish Ladder sparkles.
The inlet that leads to the estuary is packed with ice.
Sea grasses cling tightly to the sand bank as winter winds blow.

Ducks congregate in cold waters, avoiding the ice..

Saturday, January 12, 2019


On foggy winter weekend mornings, I hide at the beach.

Some people run away to the circus.

I ran off to the theater.

Last fall, I spent 32.5 hours holed away in the black-walled, cavernous confines of the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre in Alumnae Hall at Wellesley College.

Taught by a seasoned director of critically acclaimed plays, I, along with ten budding playwrights, sat onstage around a rectangular table armed solely with a copy of Jeffrey Hatcher's "The Art & Craft of Playwriting" and our imaginations.

The class came with a warning: The material presented, discussed and written will contain a range of human behavior from ugly to beautiful, shocking to tender, silly to mortifying, bad to good. These works of art will, with intention, provoke strong emotions and evoke strong memories and associations.”

By the end of the course, we had written and read aloud 50 pages of our own scripts and literally became the playwright of one of our plays performed by the acting class.

This is an excerpt from my one-act play “Better Angels.” The actors were amazing. It is a true story based on a newspaper interview I conducted many years ago. The names are fictitious.

LESLIE: The telephone pole was inside the car; my feet were in the engine compartment. I remember not being able to feel my legs. I panicked because I couldn’t catch my breath.

 (Leslie’s eyes fill with tears.)

LESLIE: I actually saw my life flash before my eyes at the moment of impact. I remember seeing family members who had passed on. I heard their voices calling me.

KATE: Oh, my God, Leslie! You were dying.

LESLIE: Then I saw a hand coming through the twisted metal, and I reached for it. She told me she was a nurse. I told her about the voices. She told me not to listen to them. I was going to be fine. It wasn’t my time yet.

(Kate wipes away tears.)

LESLIE: It took more than an hour for the emergency personnel to cut me out of the car with the Jaws of Life. All the while, I kept asking for the nurse who had promised not to leave me. But the paramedics told me that there was nobody there and that they would take care of me.

(Leslie cries. Kate reaches for her hand.)

LESLIE: Later I found out that my legs and pelvis were shattered. I had massive internal injuries and bleeding, as well as a blood clot. I received Last Rites.

(Leslie suddenly stands up and walks around the room.)

LESLIE: I spent three months in the hospital’s trauma unit, and it took a year of intensive physical therapy for me to walk again.

 (Kate is visibly shaken by the revelation. Her phone rings, and she lets it go to voicemail. Leslie composes herself and goes on.)

LESLIE: A short time after my discharge from the hospital, I arranged to meet the paramedics who had saved my life. They couldn’t believe I was there. They assumed I wasn’t going to make it. Once again, I asked them about the nurse. They told me there was a witness walking his dog in the woods, but there was no nurse.

KATE: No nurse?

LESLIE: The paramedic said that it may have been my mind playing games with me. My body was in shock.
(Leslie sits down.)

LESLIE: Kate, I know that a guardian angel came to me on the night of the accident. I still feel she’s watching over me. It’s a sense of relief – almost like an extra security blanket. I always feel protected.
KATE: I believe you.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Come and see

It's ten days after Christmas, and the warm feelings we associate with the holidays are beginning to fade. So what now?

Come and see.

Sit a spell.
Hang out with close friends.
Do whatever floats your boat.
Horse around.
Reflect on God's blessings.
Get your ducks in a row.