# 41 The Memory of Color

The Memory of Color.

Skybluepink. That’s a color my Dad taught me when I was a little girl. You know this color too, just probably not by this name. Skybluepink fills late afternoon skies or, sometimes like this morning, it shows up at sunrise. When those particular colors fill the sky I hear “skybluepink ” in my mind and I smile in immediate response, the very non-nostalgic me remembering my Dad. Every time.

I’m thinking that you, too, have color memories, secret joys attached to cherished moments. I can picture in my mind’s eye, my first awareness of pink light at sunset bathing a usually very green Vermont hillside with intense rose-colored light which felt like fairies were remaking the world. And surely you have stood on dew-wet morning grass as the sun rose after a night rainfall, the rays of yellow light streaming, outlining each leaf with golden edges, the moment so beautiful nothing else need be asked of the coming day which had already made it to spectacular.

Some days color is the  highlight, and some days the lack of color is what is most remarkable For some of us, the awareness of color is reward enough for simply being.

#37 Astronomical High Tide

Astronomical High Tide.

The first questions to ask:  How big is the passing storm system?  What is its timing in relationship to the full moon?

Follow with: Checking the National Weather Service / NOAA forecasting website which provides detailed information on predicted wind direction and speed (in knots), and sea heights.

Followed by: Tide/Tidal search for the closest coastal near your location. (a few miles of coast line can make a difference) giving high/low tide times.

To complete the picture: The National Data Center Buoy App, real time measurements from instruments on that buoy you can see from shore giving exact wind speed and direction, wave height, wave  frequency and more.

Living on the edge of open ocean the dangers are obvious.  But the loveliness of marsh, the serene grasses and placid waters, can become swollen masses altering contours of wildlife refuges, tidal rivers, house distances from rising waters along marsh roadways. Serious business all.

Mostly, day-to-day life goes on. But ears or eyes stay alert for two phrases in proximity: “Astronomical High Tide” and the dreaded “Nor’easter”.

Together they scream “Watch Out!”. That’s when specific information becomes critical.

Note. For more information on astronomical high tides: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/restles4.html

# 36 / # 37 Star Shine / Lemonade Out of Lemons.

Star Shine.

Four a.m. Both the sky and the water are black. Venus and Jupiter are hanging low in the east just above the water. Their light is a shimmering path: star shine. Being awake to see this is a privilege, a joy, a revelation.

I once read that for human life to function at its optimum the ideal would be two periods of sleep separated, three or four hours long in each segment. The idea behind the theory is that eight hours of sleep at one time divides the waking/conscious mind and the sleeping body/unconscious mind for too long, a disconnect where flow is interrupted. My thought on this theory is that such a wake/sleep pattern would require true darkness, darkness without streetlights or floodlights illuminating the driveway but being up and active at night would require artificial light or not much would get accomplished. In any case the ideal behind the theory and the demands of modern life seem mismatched, even if the principle has merit. It might however, be a soothing thought for those with insomnia, those who feel out of step with those who profess to sleep deeply, while it offers hints of other possibile alternatives and a way to change perspective.

And star shine might not be missed.

 

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Lemonade Out of Lemons.

Awake once again at 4 a.m., apparently a magic hour. Hanging in the sky just a bit above the water’s horizon is a threesomed beauty: Venus to the left and down a bit from a glowing crescent moon and hanging a bit further to the right and upward,  a bit fainter Jupiter. The diagonally close line of brilliance pulls me out of bed, gaping at the sight. Other points of light dot this totally clear black sky, planets, stars, satellites, and whatevers shining into the winter’s night cold.

The blessedly calm ocean can be seen by the light of these shining bodies. A quick check tells me it’s three degrees with a ten mph wind out there but, while the heat is still blowing out of the ductwork, I can sit in the window and marvel that I am not sleeping through this gift of nature.

 

 

#34 First Light

First light.

Six a.m. First light this morning is a steak of graywhite along the horizon line separating sky from water, merely a slight promise another day will come forth. The ocean’s background sound is a low rumble, the sound of a jet engine distantly high above flying in cloud cover, registered as “up-there-somewhere”.

Every day’s beginning, planned or widely wildly open, dreaded or ripely anticipated, special or ordinary, lonely or too crammed, once all these string of days were taken for granted (and maybe some still are) but the accumulated lot now carry the heft of underlying awareness. These days, each day actually is precious, holding the possibility of ordinary, or not, and either is welcomed.

Didn’t we, as children, understand this? The bookends of old and young, the balance we did not see although in all those busybusybusy in-between years we surely noticed the magnetic attraction of the bond between grandparents and their separated-by-one-generation children, each feeling altered time of the day’s beginning.

The white-gray-black palette has been joined by pink and orange that steadfastly turns the gray to blue. The shadows in the cold room begin to lessen. I struggle to keep my mind blank and free for as long as I can because “empty” stretches time and awareness.

It is where peace lives.

# 33 Pitch Black

Pitch Black.

Still a couple of hours before sunrise. The room—cold and very very dark—the near perfect black breached by only the light of a few offshore buoys, dots of a greenish-blue tinge barely enough to interrupt.

I wonder how few of us who love such darkness remain. Even when we work hard at keeping it we now have to contend with the energy vampire lights on so many devices–the smoke detectors, the fridge, even the toothbrush all have annoying darkness intruders, little dots of red or green or blue glowing in the night.

Blackness feels like a health elixir, enveloping my being like a soothing cloak, the perfect balance to sitting in the streaming window sunshine of the morning. The equation of dark with danger, the idea of flooding night spaces with artificial light for safety, baffles me. I came to this over years of camping. Flashlights, considered essential night tools, taught me that our eyes adjust accordingly and using one created a false dependency. Turning it off quickly allows seeing in different ways. Experiment: walk outside on a starry night with a bright flashlight then turn it off and watch how soon you become aware of the brightness of the stars, even being able to see your shadow from starlight.

I’ve read a few articles on light pollution and the possible links to disease. There are dire warnings. How lovely it might be to shut down the lights of buildings when not in use, saving energy and possibly contributing to health at the same time. Could street lights be dimmed or extinguished in the wee morning hours?

How would our lives change if more of us could experience true dark?

#32 Together. Alone.

Together. Alone.

Starlings swoop over the roof of the house, a whirl of wings and motion, coming to the feeders all at once, together, cramming as many bird bodies as possible into the fairly small swinging platform, heads bobbing up and down, emptying it of seed as fast as possible.

Finches arrive in smaller groups, as do the sparrows, lightly perching on the sunflower feeder, taking turns flying to and from the small trees nearby. Other species, Bluejays or Crows, seem to arrive in various small groups or parings. The woodpeckers, Downy or Hairy or Red Bellied, come alone. In summer, Hummingbirds also seem to be solitary as they zoom by.

The Common Eiders have come together, moving in large numbers, the striking black/white males numerous among the brown females, all strongly swimming back and forth in the currents just off shore. They will stay gathered this way until they pair off, then separate, while the young are growing, months of banded mothers minding their ducklings together, males out of sight or watching from afar.

I’ve been a single woman for many years. I often travel alone whether over distance or on daily errands but I see most other women in pairs or groups, with friends or families. I am often aware that my seemingly solitary life is strongly different from others, this awareness both visual and vocal, over a long period of time and circumstance. When times are good, like now, I am privileged to have both single and married women as friends and we share life stories in thoughtful conversations allowing a wider way of understanding both the past and present of our lives.

Long ago, when paired, I took for granted that “paired” was how the world worked best. That was followed by years of seeing myself as an outcast then, at last, coming to feel joyous for the freedom I had with time and space, alone  enough to become an observer and thinker about such things. It is never that being alone, being paired, or tied tightly with others, means one way is preferable to all others but rather, the flow of being or watching is what gives meaning, allows understanding, makes life’s progress rich and deep.

I watch with interest the activity at the feeders or in big box stores. Who shows up and with whom? And why?  Solitary individuals versus those who prefer to move in groups–I wonder if there is a way to see bird or human activity in any kind of comparative way, furthering understanding of either, or both?

#31 Work

Work.

The overnight rain has changed over to snow. Dawn’s light made evident an angry gray chop coming out of the north, an unpleasant morning. Puttering about, engrossed in household routine, I looked out upon hearing a motor. A sit-low-in-the water lobster boat was making its way away from shore, the view of it blurred by the snowfall and gray murk hanging over the water. Soon it would disappear into the “marine layer”, out of hearing and out of sight but not out of mind.

The work done by those who make their living from the sea can be viewed through many prisms and I am not qualified to do anything but observe from my window. I can think of the hard physical toil that must be part of such work but I wonder if it is accompanied also by a sense of freedom, of provenance, or desperation, making a living as one can? At a one point in my life I worked hard via the homestead model, of physical labor that comes with large gardens, putting food by, and tending to pigs and chickens, yet I understand that I know nothing of the magnitude of sea work.

Late in the afternoon as the light began to fail I saw the same lobster boat headed home, still the only boat I saw out there all day. I hoped there was a good catch coming home with it. One intrepid boat moving steadily out then back. May you stay safe today and always. Godspeed.