Sunday, 30 September 2012


Heavy rain today... and the critters and birds are as hungry as ever.
We've decided to put out three small piles of seed on the deck railing so that there is not to much squabbling. Its comic to watch the bluejays dive-bomb the chipmunks and then watch the chipmunks take a running charge at the bluejays... all part of the rich tapestry.

The deepening reds and golds of the fall have begun to spread more widely now and it won't be long before leaf fall is complete.

So, today, in-between meetings with students and entering data about absences and make-up work and upcoming graduation and writing emails informing the students about all the upcoming events next weekend...between all of these things...this is where my mind went.

It went to kayaking.

Ever since our time at Long Lake and my first experience in one of these, I have longed to go again. To float out across the water in a silent and calming manner. Perhaps this is the exercise for me in this season, which is so full of chatter and busyness and an inability to deeply rest.

Or...maybe I have happened upon my next passion...

I truly hope that this is the case.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The swift and the slow...

I took this photograph in Sedona, Arizona in the spring of 2008. Against a deep blue sky, two contrails slowly made their way across the vast expanse of atmosphere. 
Beneath them, the red rocks of Sedona sat, still as ages.
I've converted this for black and white and it seems there is a heightened sense of 
storytelling about the moment. 
Souls flitting by at 40000 feet... rocks standing still at 6000 feet.


As Nicholas has been studying photography and revisiting raw images he shot over the past decade, both of us have had an increased yearning to revisit the western states.

In a wonderful synchronicity, one of my new colleagues, a beautiful spirit, just won an all-expense paid trip for two to Sedona in Arizona. And the giver of that can imagine? She and a friend are spending 5 days at Sedona's most exquisite resort and spa.

This, another of Nicholas' incredible photographs is of my favourite place in Sedona...Cathedral Rock. This photo is taken from the side of a fast-moving creek that flows below it...even in black and white, without the brilliance of the red, I am so deeply drawn to this place. There is a spirit, a sacredness to certain places...and this is one that resonates with the depths of me.

We have decided that our first big US vacation, probably next Spring, when the house is complete...will be a trip to Sedona...Alaska and Hawaii are next on our wish list...

It brings me such joy to imagine being at Cathedral Rock once more. (and we found out we can fly from Ithaca to Phoenix...via Philadelphia...but hey, that is a bonus as well!)


Friday, 28 September 2012

Autumnal shapes...

Judy and I have been exploring the 62 acres here... paths lead off into the woods and bushes down to a beaver pond set deep in the forest. No sign of beavers yet... but it will exciting to glimpse them when we do.
Here at the house the leaves are falling and vegetation is changing daily. 

Today has been foggy with intermittent rain. Colours change in the grey light, becoming almost heightened.

But last night, on our way to dinner in Ithaca...this was our blessing...
Spectacular striations of shadow and light graced the evening sky. It was absolutely breathtaking.

We are getting incredibly excited about the work that will soon commence, the home that will begin to take shape, our new life, which will continue to unfold.

An unusual development in my spirit has happened in relation to this new development (the mortgage and build). I feel quite saddened that the land we own will be gouged by great machinery and that I will be altering it according to my own vision.

I have decided that I will make a personal covenant, perhaps in the form of a ritual, on our land. In this way, I will consciously honour it, give gratitude for it, and commit to honouring it. The concept of ownership is an odd one to me, especially when it applies to land or property, so this ritual or ceremony will be an opportunity for me to vow to nurture it, to create art and opportunities for healing and growth and the transformation of body, mind and spirit for all who come into our writing and painting studios, and into my healing room...

I will ask our land on Applewood Lane to bless the work of our lives...and we will honour it and create a sanctuary of beauty and peace.


Thursday, 27 September 2012


We have a small family of chickadees who visit the deck many times during the day. They are lovely birds, flitting in and out of the wisteria bush, eating a few nuts and then flying off to the trees on the other side of the pond.

They and the downy woodpeckers have equal rights amongst our feeders and its wonderful to watch them all taking turns.
The chipmunks seem baffled by the hanging nut feeder and stare almost mournfully down at it every day: it all seems beyond their reach and so they tuck into the seeds piled on the timbers of the deck.
There has been no further sign of the Cooper's Hawk since the other day... 

These plants growing on the sides of the gorge we visited the other day, reminded me that I am always attracted to things that grow in unlikely places, the thrift on the rocks by the sea in Scotland, these plants on this vertical plane, a fungus on the bark of a tree, all remind me to grow where I am planted.

In this season of my life, newly planted, about to put down roots, I am finding a new joy in all that is about to be revealed. I am reminded that however unlikely the twists and turns of my life, I have always been provided with the light, the nutriment, and the earth in which to grow...

As we are about to break ground....
I am excited about the seeds that will be sown...
The new growth that will begin.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Deeper waters

We heard late last night that our mortgage application has been approved... and so we can now begin the process of building our house at Applewood Lane.
This process is an amazing stepwise journey of trust: of funds set aside, of vision and dreams begun to be made real.
A few more stages are upon us: engineer approval of our house plan and a flood hazard certification certificate as well as a few others and then... the bull dozer will come and dig.

I took this photograph late in the evening a few days ago as the last of the light struck the ageing leaves across the pond. 

Bright shining flower, Bright shining morning.
Morning Glory.

Full of gratitude and thanksgiving and a sense that our lives are about to unfold in a joyous burst of creativity and movement in this new life, as our ability to build our dream home has been set in motion with our mortgage.

Met with our fabulous architect and builder this morning to give him the go-ahead check and so...we...shall...

If all goes to schedule, he will have our plans back from the engineer with any suggestions by Friday, he will then draw up new plans, with suggestions incorporated, over the weekend. These will then go back to the engineer for approval and finally, go to the planning board of Dryden for their seal of approval. It may be a further is all go. And it will be possible to get the foundations fully in before the first snows.

As this stunning gentle periwinkle blossom opens to the light, framed by the deep autumnal hues of the coleus, I revel in the beauty of the dance between the two...and as my first summer transitions to autumn...this is the experience of my spirit, opening wide to the new light.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Changing Colors

Autumn's colors are intensifying all around us. This morning, Judy and I walked into the grounds a little further towards the beaver pond, deep in the woods where I found some glorious sumac trees, glowing in the morning sunshine.

Earlier, a Cooper's hawk had swept up to the deck chasing one of the chipmunks. It was a strange disturbance, but our landlord tells us that the hawk is often about, trying to capture his pigeons.
This evening I will be attending the five hour instruction course to allow me to take my driving test...regrettably it doesn't finish  until 10pm, so it will be a long day.

Golden Rod
Latin name "solidago"
Derived from the Latin words "solidus" and "agere" 
Translating as "make strong" or "make healthy"

This "make healthy" plant is everywhere on our rental property, as well as on the land we now own. It seems fitting, as in this season I am feeling a great need to begin my own healing practice here in New York. Having been largely separate from my hands-on work for nearly 6 months, I am aware that this is a growing desire in my spirit and, literally, my hands...they are longing to begin once more.

At the same time this passion is being fuelled, I am being drawn to the ideas for the garden of our new home. I also want this to have healing qualities, the forms, the plantings, the sculptures, the trees, well...all of it. Here in the cottage we are able to appreciate the vision and design brought into form by our gifted landlord...but, ultimately it is stirring my own creativity and passion...and that is a wonderful feeling...

Monday, 24 September 2012

Colder weather

I guess this little fellow is waiting for his hibernation season...
he and two others have been stuffing their cheeks with all the seed they can get. 
The cold mornings have arrived and its going to get much colder, according to the farmers' almanac forecast for early next year.

Our menagerie outside has been joined by two or three American nuthatches who love the suet feeders we have set up.
Today it is gloriously sunny outside and hard to imagine that snow will come.

Here is the youngest member at the Malloy/Down Cottage Diner...
We are loving watching this little guy learn how to eat the seeds by himself. Nicholas caught them in this moment, both of them at the same angle, side by side. The red colouring is just coming through on the fledgling...they will be beautiful against the white of the snowfall when it comes.

Last night temperatures dropped into the high 40s and we are grateful for the sunshine which is warming the air this morning and afternoon. The seasons are definitely changing...

Today I begin my second position at the massage school, that of clinic supervisor. This basically means I will be helping the students with their practical hands-on clinics, with the public, as well as those they have with one another. It will be a nice addition to my role as co-coordinator of the part time program, which is much more administrative and guidance counsellor oriented. 

As the temperatures have cooled, I have had the desire to get my own massage table up and Nicholas is the lucky recipient of my hands (extremely the table is heated and topped with memory foam). 

We still are waiting for the bank to offer us our mortgage, but I am now beginning to be excited about the healing room I will be creating in our new home. 

Yes...the season is changing...we are moving forward...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Pumpkin Season

This evening I am cooking butternut squash and sweet potato soup for our friends. 
And, the other day, we found an amazing butternut squash oil that tastes like something else altogether. 
We passed Cornell's apple research labs the other day and I spotted these giant pumpkins gleaming in the sunshine.

Outside on the deck a baby cardinal has found our stash of nuts and seeds that the chipmunks consider their own, and, at feeding times, the three blue jays come down and bounce around as they are chased off by the chipmunks. 

And just before they arrived...this little guy showed up again...and again...and again...

Hummingbirds are an absolute delight to watch, so tiny and beautifully formed. We know we will have garden with red being their favourite colour...can't imagine not creating a garden that attracts them.

As the nights grow cooler, the birds are visiting us more often, needing fuel and sustenance....what a joy to be able to provide them with nectar and suet and seed. What a privilege to observe them each day.

For me, this has been a season of pillows and duvets, a few new dishes and chargers in autumnal colours...I recognize that I truly love creating warm and inviting places for friends and family to gather around a table, with candles and conversation, good wine and good truly takes little else to bring me joy...twinkle lights for the balcony will be next on my ambience-creating the night draws in earlier and earlier, they will be a wonderful twinkling presence in the wisteria and in our life here at the cottage. I guess I am missing the fireflies...


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Autumn Equinox

Yesterday morning, after a night of heavy rain, I went downstairs soon after dawn to see the sun peeking through the trees and a mist hovering about the pond. Gradually, over the next half hour or so, the light grew stronger and the mists swirled and gathered. It was a moment that encapsulated the sense of a changing season.

I took some film of the mist and will be working on a cinematic idea over the next few weeks. Let's see where it goes.

Here, with the help of long-exposure photography, is a photo of one of the dozens of waterfalls that grace our life here in the Ithaca area.

Waterfalls have such a unique sort of energy, in a way it is like the ocean for me, and I have been told that both emit negative ions into the atmosphere...these ions help disperse stagnant energy and depression in some felt that for me.

Not that I am depressed, or stagnated, not really...but I was incredibly tired, still grieving, still reeling in many ways, from all that has recently unfolded.

But, after this beautiful walk down the gorge, after the storms, after the glorious light almost beckoned to my spirit,  from across the pond, as I sipped my cup of coffee, and it filtered through the majestic, red-barked evergreens...after these moments, I am lifted.

My sense of knowing that this move is absolutely the right one for us, my sense that my job is a remarkable fit, my sense the the home we are about to build and the creative space for art and holistic health that will be nurtured within it....all of this seems closer to my consciousness...and all of this seems to be connected to spending time in this most extraordinary landscape, celebrating all the gifts of the natural world.

I am grateful.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Autumn progresses

Judy and I visited Robert H Treman State park yesterday, and walked by the spectacular gorges and, admittedly scant, waterfalls. I can't wait to see them in winter.

Leaf fall is beginning, everywhere and this afternoon, with a big weather front coming up to the North East, the pond was strewn with blown leaves. There is a tornado watch out for parts of Eastern New York State!

The leaves falling create opportunity for reflecting on change.
And, as I tell my students, "Change is the only constant in life..."

Here, the autumn leaves in the pure water flowing through the gorge at Robert Treman State Park, have snagged on a large stone. Illuminated by the sun, and holding fast in the gentle current, they gave me an opportunity to experience a visual metaphor of transition. 

The small, bright green leaf, alongside the yellow and russet, younger and older leaves if you will, are all momentarily held in time and space. 

So, too, am I. 

As I take steps forward in this new life, I am aware that the young parts of myself, the memories...are dancing with the older, the dreams...the energy and enthusiasm of the younger... and the wisdom and patience of the older... are joined together in this moment as the inevitable gift of change takes form and opens my spirit to a new season.

Monday, 17 September 2012

First of the Reds

Judy and I walked in Cornell's arboretum yesterday evening in glorious sunshine. Early autumnal changes were everywhere and it was a fabulous moment for us at the end of the day.

We are fortunate to be only fifteen minutes drive away from such a place... and it reminds me yet again why Ithaca is such a great location to live. 
We have three young blue jays competing with two chipmunks for food on our deck... so I've strategically placed three piles of seed out so they don't squabble too much. This morning I walked out on the deck to see a fearless chipmunk, cheeks full of seed, just staring right at me without running away. Well, I guess they are stocking up for winter.
I suspect the hummingbird has moved south already as I haven't seen it for a day or two.

And after that beautiful walk along pathways through early autumnal foliage...

This was the sky above Cayuga Lake as we drove north along the road back to our cottage. 

The spectacular diffusion of colour in cloud was so incredible we pulled off the busier road and parked alongside a church. Two men were in the parking lot and as they saw Nicholas get out of our car with his camera, they turned to see what he was focusing on.

Their conversation ceased as they, too, marvelled at the extraordinary moment. And it was...only a moment.

It reminded me that so often I plough through my life with tasks and to-dos, so focused on what is ahead, on what needs to be made me wonder if, maybe, I, too, might be looking in the opposite direction of the gift, the opposite direction of the inspiration, my mind chattering away endlessly...

To stay focused on the transitory, whispered, moments of inspiration...this is my heart's desire. For in this is the silence of Creation.


Sunday, 16 September 2012


We returned home from Rochester last night in heavy rain with grey skies and sheet lightning illuminating the horizon from time to time. 
But today, the sun came back out and the temperature is at least twenty degrees cooler than the last few months.
It was an absolute delight to see the hummingbird come by today on several occasions. Its almost as if it is stocking up for a migration. I'm not sure where it is going to go, but I believe it might be Mexico over the winter. It hardly seems possible that this beautiful little creature can travel so far. From what I gather it will be back in late April.
At one point it hovered at the window to the  living room peering in for a few moments and then darted across to the wisteria bush and sat on an outlying twig for a while.

All my photographs so far have been through glass, so I'm hoping I might catch a glimpse of it when I'm out on deck... lets see.

While Nicholas was photographing the hummingbird, I was at my school. The Finger Lakes School of Massage. 

I am working there as a kind of guidance counsellor, vice principal of the part time program in massage therapy. Today was particularly rewarding as I actually also got to teach all afternoon. It was a sort of elective for half the class, while the other half had an assessment of their hands-on skills in Swedish Massage techniques.

This window is a stained-glass interpretation of the school's logo, a tree with new growth, with a crescent moon, it was a gift from the class of 2008.

Throughout the school, there are gifts from graduating classes.

Having only worked here for a few months, I understand that desire to give a gift, for each day I work there, a gift is given to me.

What a blessing...


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bright sunshine

Today, we were woken at just before 6 am by a strange tapping sound at the screen outside the bedroom. I got up to look around and saw nothing, save for the last of the crescent moon lingering in the early dawn sky.
A few minutes later it started again and, again, I could find no source... and then we realised that it must have been a mouse trying to get in to the house, away from the cooler night air.
The sun rose casting its golden light broadly through the pines, and later, the pond was flooded with light. In the afternoon we watched four or five orange coloured dragonflies flit and zoom around and a very large bee came by and spend ages, harvesting pollen from the oregano flowers on the deck.

These small observations of nature encapsulate this time for me... as moment by moment, the day unfolds.

Along with the bees and dragonflies are a host of birds visiting us, feasting on suet and nuts and seeds, as the days grow shorter.

A family of blue jays live not far from us, here is one of the handsome young males from one of their broods....
I am reminded each day of the uniqueness of creation, that which I am privileged to observe and that of my own life, which I am privileged to live.

The blue of this bird's feathers, the dark black of his crest, his eye, his bill, the lovely white and blue patches nearer his tail and the soft, last remnants of fluffy down on his belly, all remind me that there is an elegance in every living being, a gift in observing each moment.

This is a place filled with such opportunities and it is my hope to ever deepen my own sense of wonder at it all.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Eleven years ago, Judy and I visited ground zero in Manhattan, two months after the devastation. There were scores of trucks loaded with giant twisted girders heading out of the city and, in the dusky light, the giant scar was a scene from hell, light up by searchlights and beacons.
I created this composite image a few months later, using some photographs of sculpted doves that I had found in the cloisters of Iona Abbey. I imagined them set on the side of one of the surviving buildings at ground zero as an homage to all those who had been murdered.

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by those events and, in particular, to the spirit of regeneration that is in the air.


Shortly after 9/11, Nicholas and I visited Grosvenor Square in London, the location of the American Consulate. The outpouring of support, affection and sympathy was extraordinary. 

Nicholas combined some of those images, along with photos of Manhattan in November of 2011, into photographic montages.

Here is another of my favourites.

The British population reflected the generous outpouring of care shown for Americans and all those who were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.

As we look back, 11 years later, may we never forget the events, may we never forget our shared humanity.


Monday, 10 September 2012

The Last of the Lily Pads...

The light is changing quickly each day; evenings have been flooded with long golden light and, last night, there was almost a frost. 
Judy and I visited our land this evening and disturbed a small rabbit at the edge of our plot. We looked out across Hammond Hill and could see the long shadows glancing from the West.
Taking out our architect's plans, we tried to envisage our planned house. A fabulous ghost right now, but one which is waiting to be shaped into existence.


Like the events of a life, the change of seasons often appears in unexpected and beautifully dramatic fashion.

Here, cradled in the boughs of the poplar just beyond our cottage, is a golden beacon of what is yet-to-come.

Last evening was cool and crisp, today, bright, and just the right amount of warm...I love this part of autumn.

And, as always, I am grateful for the hope that the natural world is forever giving me in its gentle and constant grace and movement.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Autumn Reflections

There is a sense of gathering autumn in the air. This morning, driving down to Ithaca a golden light splashed across the lake and hills, lending a glorious colour to the start of the day. Mists coiled in the valleys and lit up Cornell University atop its hill like a city of dreaming spires.
The sweet corn season is almost over; we've had such succulent corn the last two weeks. 
About our pond, the leaves are turning, slowly and the blue jays and downy woodpeckers are hungry for food.
Tonight, Judy and I are going to hear Mary Chapin Carpenter sing at Ithaca's State Street Theatre...and we're planning to enjoy some mexican food for supper.

So....Ithaca and Autumn are a perfect match.

Tonight we were truly reminded why we chose this city, a cool crisp evening, gourmet food at a restaurant on the Commons, a walk to the theatre (which was sold-out) and a 2 1/2 hour concert by one of our favourite singer/songwriters. 

Judy Collins is coming next month, so I think we will try to hear her as well.

It is true, what they say, that Ithaca has a lot of the great gifts of a big city, but in a small town wrapper.

Here is another of the wonderful sculptures tucked into the gardens on the Commons, cannas with a mosaic many little pleasures to be discovered....feeling deeply held and incredibly blessed by this place we now call home.


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bald Eagle

Today, walking on the treadmill at the Island Health Club, I spotted two swans flying south over Cayuga Inlet; and then, within a minute or so, a bald eagle flew North. It paused a while, mid flight, turned around and then resumed its flight across the lake.
This evening, driving home with Judy from the Finger Lakes School we saw an overhead power line, strewn with hundreds of starlings. They were all facing West...
Today, a tornado touched down not far from New York City and the whole north east was on tornado condition 5. 
I was hoping for a bigger storm this afternoon, but then the rain came down for an hour or two and that was that.
I feel a growing love for this country of extremes... it feels, to me, so far from the intimacy of the English countryside, so far from the small distances of that small island, just off the coast of Europe.
Arriving home, I watched a blue jay pecking at the suet feeder on our deck. It pounced upon the suet as if it was an unlikely gift.
Our evenings are drawing in and the light is becoming softer.


I worked at the Finger Lakes School of Massage all day today, walking through the front door at 8:00 and departing at 5:00. Many of the present faculty and administration are former graduates, so the curriculum and the nature of the study are familiar to them on numbers of levels.

My massage training was in NY city, in a very different environment. It was an excellent education, one that, absolutely, changed the trajectory of my life...but it was really different at its core.

Here, the community of teachers and administrators work diligently to create a living picture of their mission statement. It is rare. It is unique. I am blessed.

Even as we approach the first days of autumn, I feel like these lingering green leaves of late summer, all hope, gentle illumination and a deep sense of peace...


Friday, 7 September 2012

A Step Closer

Our ever patient,  brilliant bank manager at Tompkins County has spent the best part of five hours this week going through our mortgage papers and making sure our mortgage application is as good as it can be. Now, today, we have sent off the formal application and will wait for a commitment letter in a few weeks time. With any luck, we will be able to break ground in October. Our builder is ready and the plans are in place!
I guess we never suspected it would be easy.
I took this photograph of a bristlecone tree at the edge of Grand Canyon back in 2007... five years ago I knew I was going to emigrate to the US, I just didn't know how or when and now, I almost can't believe we are actually here, poised to break ground.


This morning, following quite incredible thunderstorms, these morning glory blossoms were an incredibly inviting sight.

These flowers, along with so many others, are the gifts from our landlord (and lady) to us here in the cottage.

I have forgotten what a particularly spectacular shade of blue they are, as they open to the morning light.

These particular blooms are growing up a trellis, in a raised container, alongside the stairs from our deck to the lower level. 

As I see them here, bright and almost young in spirit, I also am aware of the grounding of the coleus, the deep burgundy just behind them, to the left in this picture. And I am reminded, as I have been so often in this season of our life, that balance is penultimate.

I am also reminded that as we build our home, we will build a new garden. We will love creating that garden, incorporating the sculpture given to Nicholas by his patients when he retired, trees and flowers we love, and and is all beginning to feel like it might just happen!


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A Bigger Splash...

Last night we had rain, thunder and lightning... far flung flashes of light followed by a deep rolling sound.
Our pond looks refreshed for it all, but still several feet below its top.
On Labor day, when we visited our friends who live near Syracuse, the pool was enticing but we shied away from a swim, as the precursor to this storm created an uneasy chill. 
This photograph however was taken in July when the sun shone down on that pool,  lighting up the water like a jewel.

We have moved on a step with our mortgage application... and now wait for a valuation upon our proposal.
Patience, waiting and above all that, a chance to dive in.

I am reminded of the youth of this nation each and every day since I returned. Especially as we find ourselves in the middle of what could, quite possibly, be one of my nation's most important election years. My voter registration is completed and I will proudly cast my ballot for President Obama on Election Day in November.

But, even as I type these words, I am also reminded of America's history....of its unique and compelling unfolding as a nation of immigrants. Many mistakes were made then,and now, of course, but so many things were also done correctly. It is a nation filled with people who dream of a life they could never have had anywhere but here...and, often, those dreams become their reality. The President and First Lady are testament to this truth. 

And now, I am married to an immigrant with dreams of manifesting his love of this country's landscapes into his incredibly elegant expression of reverential beauty and spirit.

Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave....

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

New Visitors...

Our pond has been hosting a Green Heron for the last few weeks. Apparently one has not been spotted here for over fifteen years... I managed to catch a photographic glimpse of it on the other side of the pond this morning, admittedly in rather grey light, but here it is. It would seem to be quite young, at least according to the guidebooks.

We have had light rain today for the first time in weeks and the pond is several feet lower than it should be. 
At night the crickets are still loud and vibrant in the cooling air,  but the frogs have long gone quiet; I suspect they only create their calls in June and early July.

Sometimes, just sometimes...when things seem to be cloudy and I can't see my way, a bright flash of sun breaks through the cloud cover, illuminating the distant horizon.

This was the way today felt...for a whole lot of reasons.
The broadband in our cottage got much faster, it isn't perfect yet...but it is better.

I submitted a query letter to a national yoga magazine, the story? The incredible journey of my beloved friend and one wounded UK soldier, who is about to train to become the world's first double-amputee yoga teacher, with her by his side, this autumn at The Kripalu Center here in the USA.

We met we our kitchen designer, finalised some details and began to envision the bathrooms in our new home. Our architect has a meeting with the local engineer to approve the design in anticipation of the application to the town.

And...the bank manager just phoned...could we meet her at her office at 9am tomorrow morning...

The near-relief is palpable.


Monday, 3 September 2012

Upstate New York

Today we visited friends who live near Syracuse, New York and had a splendid day, enjoying the balmy breezes at their home high in the hills there. Looking out at midday we could see Oneida Lake in the distance, glimmering, and then, in the evening, we were greeted with golden light broadcasting long strokes across the tree covered slopes.

It is a glorious location, high up in the hills, south of the Adirondack Mountains.

Much of the land surrounding their home, our cottage and the land we just purchased is farmland. Red barns like these, with their silos alongside, dot the landscape with a symbol I recognise from my childhood. 

Here, tucked in miles and miles of rolling hills and forests, the land was once cleared and someone began a dream of farming, of growing, of raising animals and maybe even a family. 

I think when I see this, I am reminded of one of the phrases Nicholas first used when he spoke to me about me...he said I had "frontier spirit". Being back here once more, I recognise in a very real way what he meant.

We live in a country of immigrants, most of whom dream of a life they will create in this land of opportunity, or who had parents or grandparents who dreamt of a new life in a new land. And, for all its faults and struggles, and they are many, America is indeed a country rich with possibility and beauty and almost unbridled optimism and positivity.

It is good to be home.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

An Ithacan Feast...

Today we visited Ithaca's Farmer's Market for the first time... arriving early, the place seemed empty at first, but within half an hour was teeming with people, displays of food and an amazing cornucopia of scents.

We found a fabulous local cheese, an incredible sourdough garlic bread, a gorgeous wooden cheese board, a beautifully carved wooden spoon, a jar of local honey, a jar of blueberry chutney and last, but not least, a fistful of freshly picked sweet corn.
What an adventure!...


Not only a place for locally-grown foods, but also for artisans and musicians and the community to gather...we were deeply gratified to be one of the newest members to join in sharing the bounty.

And, for me, as an actress and writer, it was also all about the stories...the basket weaver...the jewellery stand being run by the silversmith's good friend...who happily suggested good places to eat and shop near Dryden.
The spirit of the place
The spirit of its people 
The spirit of Ithaca and what draws people to the shores of Cayuga Lake...

All were evident today.

On Labor Day weekend it seemed fitting to purchase homemade cheese, from people who had actually milked the cows, whose milk it began as...

Quite rare to be able to thank people directly for the hard work they have done in raising, growing and creating the food that sustains us.



Saturday, 1 September 2012

Fleeting Moments

I am besotted with this hummingbird.
It is an absolute joy to watch as it flits around like a bee, hovering and sipping at its various sugars.
For now, the only  photographs I have taken have been through a window, which although clean, lends a certain blur to the images I have taken. 
So I hope that I can capture it on the deck with nothing in the way.

Today, the sun beats down and there is a certain, marvellous heat. 


"What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous."
Thomas Merton

I love that these are the words of the son of a painter and a Quaker, a creative and one who seeks peace...always.

I look at this glowing orb and I look within my own spirit.

I do not want to conquer this, to lay claim to this...nor could I ever presume to.

It is not about supremacy, but rather about dignity and respect. 

Respect has always been a word I have cherished. From the Latin root, we can almost translate it as "to see again"...

This moon has asked me to open my eyes anew, to look inward with compassion and deep curiosity. It is amazing what I find when preconception is replaced with reflection.