Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Indian Summer Day in Weld

To see the full album, click on the picture above. This will take you to my Facebook album. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The times of our lives ... when we write.

The National Day on Writing this past Friday showcased the many ways we all write. In my post on Facebook, I shared that I write email, marginal notes in articles and books, blog posts, articles, and books. Kim, one of my colleagues in the Maine Writing Project, posted the following powerful piece:

"Today I delivered a eulogy I wrote this past week for an amazing man I loved dearly. At  the service I asked all those present to write as well. Many wrote a memory of this good man. I write what needs to be written." 

This past weekend, we celebrated my brother Allen's 70th birthday in San Antonio, Texas. We also gathered 20 years ago to celebrate his 50th. We see these gatherings as a celebration of Allen, but also of our family, our parents, and those who are coming after us.

In tribute to her father, my niece Julia asked her dad's siblings to write a memory and share a photo. Today, she sent us glimpses of the final product that she shared with her dad last evening in the Bay Area. I can only imagine how moved my brother must have been with the writing and photographs, this gift that his daughter so thoughtfully created.

Writing is ... powerful, passionate, wild & wicked, stressful, clichéd, inviting, happy & gloomy, raucous & gentle, snappy or drawn out, revised, fresh ...

And so very often, writing is love.

Remember to click on the photos to enlarge. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday, Allen!

We gathered in San Antonio over the weekend to celebrate Allen's 70th birthday and, of course, what we believe to be the 20th anniversary of The Kent Open Golf Tournament. Good food, plenty of laughs, and not too much political talk....

The Kent Clan.... the first time we've all been together in 10 years
Earlier on in the week, I gave my sister a hair cut on the 9th floor balcony of her condo overlooking the River Walk. The Texas winds swept away the wisps of hair. Since 2006, Barbara has worn a lot of different hair styles, including "my look." She accepts the endless changes in her body with grace and endures the chemo the only way she knows how: she takes it and keeps on moving. Determined to watch as much of her kids' and grandkids' lives as possible, she's also plain old smitten with her Ken. They're worth this fight.

My sistah and her favorite brotha! ;-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Back from the mountaintop: Writing Resources

Here's a collection of writing resources for both teachers of writing and writers. Click on this photo to access the site.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hiking the Black & White Trail in Rumford

We headed out to Black Mountain today to find the new Black/White trail cut by the Maine Conservation Corps that connects Black Mountain to Whitecap. My plan was to find B/W, poke around a bit looking for a view of Whitecap, and then head home. That didn't happen.
Remember, click on photos to enlarge. 

We hiked BMOM's Woods Trail up onto the old Expert Trail to the top of the new chairlift. Just beyond the chair on the right, there's a small swamp with an orange ribbon in the distance. This marks the trail head that connects BMOM to the Black-White.

This section of the trail winds up to one of the towers that can be seen from the base of the mountain. Just beyond the tower, white hash marks and an orange ribbon mark B/W's trail head.

The first half mile of B/W winds around the top of Black Mountain to the left and then dips toward the valley. The woods changes from a pine forrest to an old hardwood stand. The trail is gentle, well marked, and switches back and forth down to the valley's floor with a few glimpses of Whitecap in the distance. It took about 80 minutes to hike from Black Mountain's parking lot to the valley floor between the two mountains. There, I found a dirt road and a helicopter landing zone (yup). Clearly marked, the B/W Whitecap trail crosses a small stream and then gradually climbs toward the left.
Small swamp at the top of the chair where the trail begins. 

I read in a recent Rumford Times article by Cherri Holland Crockett that B/W connects on the front side of Whitecap, a trail I've seen earlier in the year. About 20 minutes up the back side of Whitecap, we started traversing to the left. We went another 20 minutes of gentle hiking around the belly of Whitecap. Looking at the time of day, I decided to turn around. It took about 3:30 for us to do that loop. It's only a guess, but I think the full loop--BMOM parking lot to top of Whitecap and back--may take 5.5 hours of steady hiking. Again, that's a guess.

November hiking will offer more views of Whitecap from the back side of Black Mountain. And one thing is for sure, after years of looking from the top of Whitecap over toward Black Mountain and wondering if you can get there from here... well, you can... thanks to the Conservation Corps' work in cutting the Black-White Trail.
TV/Radio Tower at top of BMOM 
Black-White trail head at top of Black Mountain
B/W winds around the top of Black Mountain. 

Old hardwood stand back side of BM. 

View of Whitecap from the back side of Black Mountain


Staircase on the first section of B/W Whitecap
Bailey hears a crow that sounds not unlike a dog barking. 

I'm calling these mushrooms "Ladder 'shrooms."
Top of Black Mountain on the Black-White Trail.

Heading down BMOM

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ah, the final beach cigar.

We arrived at Burt's Point for a run at about 4pm after hiking Four Ponds in Rangeley. Temperature: 72 degrees. Cousin Ian is spending his last weekend on the point and, looking at the weekend weather report of rain, this Friday evening was probably Ian's last on the beach for 2012. Ah, the final beach cigar.

Byron Notch, Fall 2008

Hiking Four Ponds and Finding Those Words

Who knew? For decades I've driven up through the Height of Land to Rangeley. At the scenic turnoff, there's a quintessential Maine view of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. About one quarter of a mile before the turnout is a gravel road on the right marked with a partially-built rock wall. This deteriorating road winds up through the rolling western mountains. Bailey and I hiked down several ATV trails on the left to Long Pond, one of the Four Ponds (actually, I read here there are six named ponds and a bog).        
View from the Height of Land––October 5, 2012

Down one trail, we found a cluster of boats, a rustic, backwoods marina. These boats are owned by true fishermen--I suspect they come to this rural outpost for the quiet, their friends, and the fishing. Long Pond has several cabins on the shores but no electricity. It sounds cliché, but Four Ponds is a hidden gem. Next up for us will be a hike of the AT from the Height of Land across to Four Ponds.

While on this hike and leaf-peeping tour that ended with a 40-minute run in Weld, I thought of a new writing project to undertake and worked through several others that are percolating. Although I know that "The writer is the one who stays in the room" (Ron Carlson), it's not news that sometimes you have to get out from behind your computer screen and leave your room to find those words.
Remember to click on the photos to enlarge!