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Maine Flowers

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Buttercups

Buttercups

I visited a site which has human as well as natural history.  There was a store, a dock, a farmhouse, even an Indian shell mound.

Daisies

Daisies

Now there is a beach and a meadow.  The native growth has covered all the foundations.

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

That brown area beside the top rose is a stalk with rose hips from last year’s roses.  I once imagined myself as the kind of person who would collect rose hips to make my own tea.  This meadow and its history brought to mind settlers and those who live off what nature provides.

beach

The beach by the meadow

 

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Maine Rocks

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rocks 1

Rocky Beach

Dropped stock
from an enormous
overturned truck.

rocks 2

Thinking About “Stuff”

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I have been reading posts from Jubilee Economics and Simple Living Works, so I decided to try listening to their podcasts (See http://www.jubilee-economics.org/podcast/tag/common-cause).  I recently listened to Number 28, which focused on “Stuff” and reducing our stuff.

I was disappointed.  Gerald Iverson’s main example of reducing stuff involved moving to a retirement home.  He and his wife did very well to reduce their “stuff” down to 30 percent of what they had.

But downsizing for retirement, or moving into a care community is as much pressure from conditions as it is a choice.  It’s part of the life cycle, and seems almost to justify a cycle that goes: acquire, acquire, acquire, then divest, divest.

When my husband and I moved to a smaller retirement home, we calculate that we reduced our “stuff” by about 50 percent.  A few years ago I began to wonder how to do more.  This is partly due to the expectation that I will eventually have to move to a continuing care facility apartment, and to the feeling, “I don’t want to leave this for the kids to deal with.”  But I also wonder what justice really calls for.

The question of justice arises from Lee Van Ham’s “One Earth Project,” which demonstrates that while we claim to understand that there is only one earth, our society operates as if there were five.  Check the link in my blogroll, on the right of the page.

Three years ago I decided to try getting rid of one thing for each day in Lent.  Including Sundays that means 49 items, rounded up to 50.  It turned out to be easy.  I was way over the number before Holy Week arrived.  So the next year I tried again.  It was a little more work, but I had a bookshelf I could turn into a display area, and my storage was much less crowded.

This past Lent I tried again.  It was getting more difficult.  I decided to count folders of old records I discarded (in the category of the things the children won’t have to deal with that’s good, but it doesn’t help anyone else, as gifts to thrift shops and worthy-cause rummage sales do.)  I realized, afterward, that I had hit a psychological snag.  What was the point of giving away things that would leave a gap on the shelf, or an empty space in the china cupboard?  Since I can’t assume that someone will find these items to be just what they want and buy used instead of new, why not let them sit?

I need to do some thinking about this and I was hoping the Common Good Podcast would give me some new insights.  Maybe they’ll take this up again.

Lupines

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lupines blue

Lupines are one of the short-term pleasures of the Coast of Maine.  The Chamber of Commerce here held a Lupine Festival for several years.  Apparently it was not very profitable, either because it rained, as it does a lot in June, or because the lupines came too soon.  This year they are right on schedule, and no festival to greet them.

lupines white

There are still lots of people, both locals and PFAs (that’s People From Away, like me) who stop to enjoy them.  These come from a field near our house, far from the road.  Here they are for you to enjoy.

lupines pink

Another Anniversary

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Today is the 116th anniversary of John Emerson Roberts’s departure from the Unitarian Church.  This move to leave the denomination and create his own “Church of this World” is what makes his an interesting story.  Without that move he would have been one of many successful liberal preachers in the denomination, hardly noticed in the world beyond.

In 1906, when Dr. Roberts decided to take a break from “the Church of this World” after nine years, a reporter for the Kansas City Journal declared that Roberts had fallen away from religion “because his name was Emerson.”  The writer (perhaps it was the paper’s editor) claimed that Roberts was imbued with “Emersonian mysticism.”  He didn’t address the fact that it was Dr. Roberts’s good Baptist parents who gave him this middle name.  Mysticism was not what led Dr. Roberts away from the denominations.  On the contrary, even the Unitarians had too much mysticism for his rational mind.

94933_CoverFrontThis June is also the second anniversary of the publication of my biography of Roberts.  A year ago I was giving talks about the book, which I enjoyed doing very much.  I had to admit, however, that the return on the cost of traveling was not worth it.  Through internet connections I did sell a few books, so this past winter I used LinkedIn ads to draw attention to this site when I posted selections from the book.  I got a nice increase in “views” but no sales.

I was ready to say, “Okay, I’ve done what I could.”  I’d sold some books.  I’d placed them in a few appropriate bookstores.  I’d sent review copies here, there and everywhere.  It seemed like time to put the project behind me.  Then two things happened this spring: the book was given a very favorable review in the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society Journal, and I was invited to write a short summary of Dr. Roberts’s success for Free Inquiry Magazine.  I wait to see what the 117th year since John Emerson Roberts left the Unitarian Church to create his “Church of this World” will bring.

Maine Rocks

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We live near a rocky beach where I like to walk.  Walking on rocks uses the leg muscles differently from a flat surface, so it takes me a few trips to get my “rock legs” back.

low tide

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to tides on my visits to the coast as a child, but at this latitude they are significant.  The vertical difference between high and low tide is about ten feet.  On the sloping beach that covers a wide stretch; all of the rocks in these two photos will be under water at high tide.

seaweed

The highest tides leave little walking space.  The best time to walk is mid-tide or lower, when the rocks have had time to dry out.  (Slipping on a wet rock is definitely dangerous.)  So I am very much aware of the fact that the tides shift by up to an hour each day.  And I wonder what the world would be like if the moon did not take longer or less than 24 hours to go around the earth.  The tides would always be at the same time.  And would the moon look the same to us too, always rising at the same time and in approximately the same shape?  How dull!  The phases of the moon not there to help early humans begin to make calendars!

I was pleased to see that my “tree lizard” had survived the winter.   (See “The Giant Lizard of Lounsberry Beach” posted June 28, 2012.)  While a large log rolled up on the beach by storms often stays there, it is usually tossed around quite a bit, and acquires some new seaweed dressing.

tree withh rock

I’ll be checking in with him to see if there’s a sequel to his story.

 

 

 

Maine Weather

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There’s lots of variety to the weather in Maine.  Not usually tornadoes, which we have escaped coming across the country.  It’s also not usually sunny and warm when we arrive about the first of June.  This year it was.  We know it had been raining, because the stream is running strong. (No, you can’t see the motion in a photograph.)

stream

And we know it has been a cold spring, because the lilacs are in their glory.  Most years they are past or fading when we arrive.

lilacs

So many lilacs that the poem by Alfred Noyes starts running through my mind:

Go down to Kew in lilac time, in lilac time, in lilac time
Go down to Kew in lilac time.  It isn’t far from London.
And you shall wander hand in hand . . .

It’s from Noyes’s most quoted poem, “The Barrel Organ.”  I remember more fondly “The Highway Man” who came riding, riding, “When the moon is a ghostly galleon.”  Neither is great poetry, yet they’ve lasted.  They stick in the brain.  I’ve never been to Kew, and as I look at the moon I sometimes wonder which shape Noyes thought looked like a galleon, but how the words stick!

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