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GUMO?

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In the National Park Service shop I was puzzled by black tee shirts with GUMO in large letters on the front.  Goo-moh?  How was I supposed to know it should be pronounced Gwa-moh?  It took me a moment or two to make the translation.  The Park Service’s standard use of two letters of two words coding for the parks does not work when U is functioning as a consonant.  I was at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.Peak0219

 

The park was crowded.  The clerk said it was spring break, but I saw many older couples too.  The date was March 9, just before the reality of the coronavirus epidemic hit us all.  That morning in the busy little shop will remain my “before” image; so much we did not know.

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Fortunately, our national monuments, landscapes and parks will be here to come back to.  This park has one unusual historical landmark, the remains of buildings from a stop on the Butterfield Stage Route.

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The Butterfield mail route ran through these mountains from 1851 to 1859, when a safer route was chosen.  Then in 1861 the Civil War interrupted it.  For a business that only lasted ten years, the Butterfield Stage has a big place in southwestern lore.  Since they needed to change horses every twenty miles there are many ruins across the southwest, but few are as easy to get to as this one.

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Small Visitor

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I discovered a turtle in my yard.  I first found him by a wall, later trying to climb over a hose on the other side of the back yard.

P1000975One day he or she was in the driveway, so I carried the creature back inside the gate and left him/her by a wall, near green growing things, after I took a few pictures.  The markings on the back are lovely, but gave me no clue about the species.

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I thought he might have left, but saw him again a few days later -he crossed the yard again, and apparently come out to dry out a bit after rain.

No further sightings in over a week.  I like to think my back yard is a hospitable place.  I hope you enjoyed your stay, little one!

Some Fall Color

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The four-wing saltbush is displaying its golden seed pods.

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I have several clumps of chrysanthemums.

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They’ve come from Easter flowers at our church.  Over time I’ve had trouble finding places for them.  One I planted between two bushes which grew bigger than I expected.P1000670

I had to go around behind the fence to notice them.  Fortunately they look nice indoors, though they are not long lasting cut flowers.

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On Wednesday there was a very colorful sunrise.

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It has rained every day since.  It’s time to go back into my burrow.  I have a lot more digging to do.

Gray Rock

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Or is it grey?P1000592A recent crossword puzzle had the clue: “grey and ochre”.  I knew as soon as I counted the squares that the answer was “colours.”   It’s that British “U” as in honour or labour.  I might not have caught on right away if I hadn’t been thinking about gray and grey – because I tend to switch between the two.  And I wasn’t conscious that “ochre” was a British spelling.  The “U” problem I had learned from work as a copyeditor.

This gray is Deer Isle granite.  On closer inspection it turns out the color is a combination of gray, white and black bits.  When it is polished the black shows up even more.P1000589This small rock I found on our beach.  The large one is from a recent hike.  Nearby, I saw these flowers, whose names I wish I knew.P1000594

Shore Hike

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Maine is a huge state, but there are small hiking trails tucked away in unlikely places.  One is called Shore Acres, a walk through woods to the eastern shore of Deer Isle.  P1000568The trail is often swampy, but this year it was dry.P1000565

There’s plenty of moss, even in the middle of the trail.P1000567

Huge granite boulders are characteristic of the eastern side of the island. P1000569

This pink granite is not Deer Isle Granite, however.  That has more black and gray, less pink. It was near high tide, when the boulders look their best, I think.P1000570

The trail back from the shore to the parking area is called Stonewall trail.  Who is Stonewall, I wondered.  Here he is.P1000580

A short walk, only a mile and a half, but someone has to maintain it.P1000582

This sign made me think of blogger Russel Ray (http://russelrayphotos2.com/)  I suspect he could make a whole post about this Anonymous, to whom we owe so many traditional songs and melodies.  And this Anonymous works all year, on an island that depends on summer people.

Sunrises

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What is it that makes a sunrise so attractive? The ephemeral nature of it is no doubt part of it.  The clouds don’t stop moving so that their effect can be admired.11.15 sunrise

The difficulty of capturing a sunrise is surely part of the attraction. Painters are naturally interested in sunrise and sunset because the colors are so varied and hard to reproduce.  I can’t do a sunrise justice in a poem, because there aren’t enough names for all the variations in the color, and people don’t agree on the names there are.  Photography has its own complications of capturing the shifting light against darkness elsewhere.11.16 sunrise

In our household we are such creatures of the clock that we only notice the sunrise at a few brief periods of the year. The rest of the time we are up too early or too late.  The problem of being too late is obvious.  The problem of being too early is caused by my inability to put off getting to work – near a window through which the sunrise does not appear.

These photos were taken on two consecutive mornings―this past weekend. Two very different beginnings of two different days.  This morning there were no clouds at all to create any colors.

Maine Woods

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woods early

A few pictures from a hike I took recently through woods toward a beach.  It was a warm day, good to be walking among the trees, in and out of the sun.

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The path was often exposed roots.  Apparently trees don’t mind being crowded.

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The destination was this bar formed by low tide.  It is a real beach, and a popular one, though that doesn’t show here.  Two children were building sand castles at the far side; other people were set up with awnings and towels.  A lot to carry in for a mile, I thought.  I soon returned to the shade of the woods.

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Maine Rocks

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rocks 1

Rocky Beach

Dropped stock
from an enormous
overturned truck.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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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