Sunday, August 9, 2009


Once the surf emptied of swimmers, the sandpipers came out to feed on these very small and pale purple shellfish.

They follow the waves in and out, looking for the little bubbles in the sand that show where the shellfish are burrowing back under, after having taken a gulp of seawater to strain for algae.

As the evening grew, either they could see me less or they grew used to me, and would let me get a little closer before they flew off squeaking.

Here is the last trace of the setting sun. Unlike the old saying, "red sun at night is a sailor's delight, red sky at morning, a sailor takes warning," this red sun in fact meant it would be raining when dawn came the next day.

This was the night of the full moon. We'd been hoping to see Jupiter and Mercury, but a low cloud-bank rolled in over the ocean.

Much harder to take a picture of the moon than you'd think. The camera doesn't seem to understand what it is you are trying to focus on, and you have to find something to brace your elbows on to keep your hands steady. This took four attempts to get a clean look at the geography of the surface, but lovely colors all the same.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

cape henlopen ferry

A series of images from the cape henlopen to cape may ferry crossing. In the first, to the left, you can see one of the lighthouses. Unfortunately, a thick fog came in from the sea just after I arrived, and my closer takes of the lighthouses were not salvageable. I did like the pilot boats here, and the coloring of the tanker against the ocean, although these two were slightly blurry. In the fourth, of the berth for the ferry, to the slight left of the center is a concrete tower. That is the actual historic cape henlopen lighthouse. On my very first crossing, there were dolphins, but no such luck this time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

bank of the riverpark 1

First section of work on a new painting. This will eventually be the marshy bank of a section of the riverpark that I live on, last spring when the crocuses were all in bloom. I was happy enough while painting this afternoon, but now it all seems a bit childish and unrefined.

Mostly this is blocking and the first bottom layer of color. The near black area is the water itself, through which runs a log. The horizon area is currently a bit of a hassle. Instead of a brighter distant horizon, this is supposed to be a clearing in the woods and a far bank of trees. There isn't an actual section of blue sky. But right now it looks more like a field of wheat and pine trees, which isn't the direction in which I want this to go.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

river park

Series of things seen on a run in the river park on which I live. The water is polluted enough that you are forbidden to swim or fish here, and I have never seen many water birds. There are deer though, as you will see below, some fish and some turtles. These were all taken with my cell phone camera, so they are not very sharp.

The river park was a very old canal, and there are sections of the stone retaining wall which still remain. In some places where the wall has completely fallen, the bank is being eaten away at a good clip. Eventually, in a decade or so, this will all be a broad swamp again.

I had never seen this in seed before, but this is an arrow leaf seed cone. It is the cousin of the skunk cabbage, whose flower I blogged about last year, and also the jack-in-the-pulpit. It doesn't go to seed in the northern States, like New York or Massachusetts, until October, or so the online botanists tell me. Odd considering that I've always observed their spring flowers to bloom only three weeks behind ours.

At first I thought this might be mile-a-minute vine because of its triangular leaves and pale green color, but looking around online, it seems that the infamous m-a-m vine has to have barbed hooks. This vine does not, and does not seem as invasive. So this must be some sort of cousin...

In the northern section of the river park, where it is flatter and there are fewer granite ledges, there are small clearings of these flowers. They are whitish, or else an extremely pale shade of pink, and they attract a swarm of very lively white butterflies, who could not abide my being near them. They had no scent and a very hard stem, which must be why they have survived as wildflowers in civilization.

And this is the fruit of a mayflower. They have large walnut sized white flowers in the spring. Supposedly, if you hide the fruit of the mayflower under your pillow, you will dream of your true love.

I ran right up on two deer before I saw them. At first I only saw the one right by the side of the path, who is only about 20 feet away. I looked around for any others, but didn't see the other deer until this one turned its own head to look at its friend. We looked at each other for a few minutes before they forded the river to the other side. They made a tremendous splash for all their absolute silence in passing through the brush.

Just at the end of the trail by the dam, there are hedges of what I think is feverfew, or Tanacetum parthenium. I am not sure if this stuff grows wild here, or if this has escaped from some one's garden. For all that it is very pretty, it goes largely ignored by the local flying denizens.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

they exist

A visitor to my butterfly bushes....

... is a hummingbird bee, or just "hummer bee." He paid me no mind as long as I just took pictures but got extremely aggressive when I used the flash. Then he would fly at me and collide with my face, even if I had already dropped the camera away. He also took to chasing off the carpenter bees, which is amazing as they can sting and he can't at all. I do not know if he also chased away the small moths, but they did not visit the bush for the few minutes he was there feeding. Or she perhaps. Amazing though how many people tell me they have never heard of or seen one before, and they've lived here all their lives.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save. -Mary Oliver

{And the life I can save is mine, not yours.}