There's no better way to spend a day than to have your face kissed by the ocean's gentle mist as you walk along the shore. Especially if your heart is full from a day packed with laughter and the presence of people who bring great joy. And especially if your heart is full from longing for family and friends whom you miss dearly, near and far.
I thought of you as I took this photo. I held you in my heart and imagined you were next to me. Yes, you. And you. And you, too.
You know who you are. And if you don't, you should.
"The short days are past us now... thus the year balances its accounts. In our latitude we know that each year brings the time when not only the candle but the hearth fire must burn at both ends of the day, symbol not of waste but of warmth and comfort. The sun cuts a small arc far off to the south and shadows and cold lie deep. It is for this time that we, if we live close to the land, lay up the firewood and the fodder. Now we pay for the long days of Summer, pay in the simple currency of daylight. Hour for hour, the accounts are balanced.
And yet, the short days provide their own bonus. The snows come, and dusk and dawn are like no other time of the year. We come to a long Winter night when the moon rides full over a white world and the darkness thins away. For the full-moon night is as long as the longest day of Summer, and the snowy world gleams and glows with an incandescent shimmer.
Year to year, we remember the short days, but we tend to forget the long nights when the moon rides high over a cold and brittle-white world. Not only the moon nights, but the star nights, when it seems one can stand still on a hilltop and touch the Dipper. Who would not cut wood and burn a candle for a few such nights a year?"
-Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons
OK astronomy geeks... with tonight's solstice and lunar eclipse... is tonight the longest and the darkest night ever?
"He draws great lines across the sky; he sees the forests like a carpet beneath him; he sees the hills and valleys as folds and wrinkles in a many colored tapestry; he sees the river as a silver belt connecting remote horizons. We climb mountain peaks to get a glimpse of the spectacle that is hourly spread out beneath him. Dignity, elevation, repose, are his. I would have my thoughts take as wide a sweep. I would be as far removed from the petty cares and turmoils of this noisy and blustering world."
-John Burroughs, Far and Near
I had my life Bald Eagle at Forsythe (Brig) many years ago... I can hardly go there today without remembering that first glimpse of this magical bird.
For the longest time, I just didn't "get" terns. Nowadays I can't seem to get enough of them!
For the beginner, I think they're hard to separate, but the more time I get to spend with them, the clearer the contrasts become.
Distinguishing Royal (foreground) from Caspian (background) had felt so abstract until I saw them on the beach together at Sapelo... even out of focus, the Caspians are burly by comparison and there's no mistaking the red of their bill for that of a Royal.
Note: I'm catching up with posting some old photos that I hadn't yet blogged... these from the beach in October are warming my chilly bones.
The promise of hundreds upon hundreds of Snow Geese drew me to Forsythe NWR this past weekend...
Their handsome white or shades of gray in the blue sky, the black wing feathers, pinkish bills and feet...
All delightful against the winter browns of the salt marsh.
It's difficult to watch any one, as there are so many flying across the marsh from one impoundment to the next...
An Eagle on the horizon doesn't cause the expected panic among them; they sit tight instead and travel across the marsh en masse, at their leisure and to my delight.
*The coastal marshes of NJ are a significant wintering ground for Snow Geese; their numbers will grow into the (hundreds?) of thousands before our waters freeze and they're forced further south to warmer climes. I'm glad for the spectacle of them, here, now.