Captivating. Adorable. Charming.
And then, there’s the Motor Vehicle Bureau

For me, that would probably mean dogs, cats, birds, horses … and anything going on in New England in the Autumn. And, okay … those first few minutes after snow has fallen when the world is hushed and completely white, blanketed in snow so that every little thing is hidden by that perfect white frosting.

Late afternoon with the sun low in the sky

The little white house with the big red tree

The Duke



Sunrise – Home on the Vernal Equinox




Sunset – Jackman, Maine

I hope you will find this all quite captivating. It makes me years to go out and shoot a few more pictures. Except today, we are off to the Motor Vehicle Bureau because — yes, it has come around again and Garry is past 75 and he has to go in and prove he can see and understand simple instructions. I think from this point on in our lives, we are never going to escape again.

At least we can still renew the registration by mail. I’m going to try to deal with this with as little stress as I can manage. Thing beautiful images, oh self. Think sunrise and mountains and rivers and don’t think about bureaucrats.

Today, I am thinking captivating, beautiful



The last two days were gorgeous. Warm enough for shirtsleeves, but not hot. It was perfect late April weather.

Today, the rain has returned. I don’t mind rain. It’s a gray day with a steady rain falling. After nearly  a decade of drought, having rain a couple of days a week is just fine, thank you. I can use the shower and not worry we’ll run out of water!

According to the Official Meteorologists on TV, tomorrow will be all blue skies again. Today, though, we will stay inside and watch the rain fall. It’s not as cold as it was last week. Cool, but not uncomfortable.

It’s a good day for a warm book while cuddled with dogs.



My mind struggles through the fog. Who is that? I hear voices and recognize them. My mom, her sister (my aunt) Pearl. And associated uncles and … who else? My cousin Ruthie?

I’m dreaming because I do know they have all passed. My mother passed more than 30 years ago, the others during the last five years. For some reason, they’ve rented a suite of rooms at a (nice) motel, but no one seems to have remembered to invite me.


I get the phone number and I hurry over, knocking loudly on the door. Suddenly, it’s clear and bright. My Aunt answers the door.

“Your mother can’t talk to you right now,” she said. Kindly. Warm. “Soon,” she says.

“But I need to talk to her, please!” I beg. Finally, my mother comes and she looks a lot younger than I do these days, younger than she was when she passed away so long ago.

“Mom, please tell me …” and I know that she has something terribly important I need to know, but I don’t know what that is.

She smiles. “I will, but I have something else to do first …” and she turns and goes back into the room while the fog closes in around me.

“Mom, don’t go!” I wail.

But she’s gone. I know whatever the secret she is keeping from me is lost. I don’t even know what the secret is. All I know is if I knew that answer, everything would be okay. Everything would be better than okay.

I can’t see her anymore. The mist has taken her and the motel is gone. I’m awake, sort of and I’m so sad. Because I will never know the secret my mother holds, will never even know what important thing I need to know.

And everywhere, there is fog.



It is a gray, misty, drizzly morning during a gray time of year. The dogs are quiet. They don’t like rain. They will romp joyously in snow, but rain makes them hunker down and curl up. They obviously intend to sleep until the sun comes out.


Tomorrow. That should be a sunny day again and everything, everyone, will be brighter.


If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

It is already December. The march to winter grinds along, though so far, it has been merely chilly. And dry. So far, so good.



This week’s topic is the colors of the sense of seeing.  This week you can post anything that stimulates or delights you visually.   Be creative and have fun. Feel free to dig around in your archives for photos if you don’t have anything new.

The muted colors of the misty woods in the early morning

The muted colors of the misty woods in the early morning

The nost pink chrysanthemum

The pinkest chrysanthemum

The brightest sunrise

The brightest sunrise




The thick morning fog fills the valleys and envelopes the mountains surrounding Peacham, Vermont.


When the sun comes up, the fog will burn away, leaving no trace.

72-REFRACTION-sunrise Peacham-Monday_010


A Photo a Week Challenge: Muted Colors

Color is an important part of photography. Some images work best with over-saturated colors; some work best with no colors (I love good black and white photographs). For this week’s challenge, I found a picture that I really liked, but was over-exposed. When I started working on it, I realized that if I muted the colors down, I was able to “save” the photo. And the result looks great and has a slightly nostalgic feel to it.

I love muted colors, the softer and more subtle the better. I had to make a decision. A hard decision. Two pictures out of 100,000.

Morning Mist

Both of these pictures were taken on Ogunquit Beach in Maine, in September. The time was just before five in the morning. It’s daybreak. Mist rolled in from the ocean during the night and has not been burned off by a rising sun. You can see these softest colors only during the earliest hour of light.





This year has flown past. It’s hard to believe it’s already November. Elections are over.  The oak trees are slow to shed their leaves, so our woods are still leafy. The final dropping of the oak leaves won’t happen until December, sometimes as late as January.


Morning is my favorite time of day and when I am most inspired to take pictures. I’m lucky that the view from my deck — just outside my kitchen — is inspiring.


I think it’s the color and angle of the light that makes it so appealing. Pale yellow in spring, warmer yellow in summer. In autumn, it’s soft amber. In winter, the light is tinged with blue.


I love the way sunlight filters through leaves, but even when the leaves are gone, I love the light, the mist. The reflection of sunlight on snow, the shadows on the tree bark.


Most were taken a few days ago, early in the morning, the first in Jackman, Maine early in October.

While the coffee was brewing, I grabbed a camera and shot a few frames. These  didn’t need processing, just a bit of cropping and resizing.



I’ll have to tell you about the epic drive across northern New England. Not today, but when I’m a little more recovered. It turns out that all the high speed roads in New England run north-south. If you are way up in the far north and need to go somewhere else, westward, which is also in the far north … there are not a lot of roads.


It turned out, you take Route 2 out of Skowhegan. After then, just keep driving, driving, driving, driving until you get to Danville, Vermont. Make a left. Voila.

I am omitting the fun details. It was the most awful journey through magnificent, glorious mountains. They took my breath away while dealing with the dreadful driving and primitive roads made us crazy. Ambivalence redefined. Remarkably, we are alive and here in Peacham, Vermont.


I just have a few of pictures for you of the morning mist rising off the pond, and the river behind the house in which we are absorbing our coffee.


There are stories to tell and I will tell them, but today … we rest. Recuperate. Breathe. And absorb some of the most incredible scenery in the world.

Reader’s Block – F.Y.I – I haven’t read a book since I went on vacation more than a week ago. Barely written anything, either. C’est la vie.




DREAMLIKE images that remind me of Middle Earth … but it’s northern Maine.


These are the mountains along the Canadian border.


Just look out the cabin door or drive a short way down the mountain. A breathtaking world of color, mist, mountains and clouds. Colors so unreal they feel like magic, as if trees are glowing from within.


And down in along Route 201 toward Skowhegan …

path by the cabin in jackman




A Photo a Week Challenge: Into the Woods

A misty morning in January … Our woods, our home. A rare day with no snow on the ground. Maybe the last day of this past winter when there was dry ground. By the end of the month, we will be hip deep in ice and snow.

sun and misty woods

Ogunquit, Maine: Sunrise, Sand, Rivers, Feathered and Other Friends – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumnal equinox in the northern latitudes. September. A week in Ogunquit, Maine. A tiny place but close to the beach and the river.

There are more people on the beach to see the dawn than I ever expected — there just for the peace and the beauty. Before the sun is up, the mist hangs on the sand.

Quiet this time of year. Most tourists are gone, now, so the streets aren’t crowded.

The moment there is a hint of sun, the mist disappears in a matter of seconds.

There is no more perfect time to be on the seashore of Maine than the very earliest part of Autumn.

Comes the sun …

If you are a photographer, you make take it as a sign that God loves you when having hauled your reluctant body out of bed while it’s still dark, then hike half a mile carrying all your gear to the beach while all the starving blood-sucking insects in the state gather to enjoy you as their breakfast buffet.

Suffer for your art? But you get a reward that is more than worth any and all of your efforts, because before you, as the mist burns away, a sunrise and a golden sun so breathtaking rises before you … and you are there and ready.

People of all ages walk along the water before dawn.

This is a day when your camera works perfectly, your batteries don’t run out, your lens is in perfect alignment, your eyes see and you capture exactly what you want to capture … and everything is in focus.

Then come the birds … terns, plovers, and gulls … Breakfast for the feathered residents.

Tiny plovers comfortably share the shore with one Great Black Backed Gull.

It doesn’t happen often. When it does, when it all comes together perfectly … then you must treasure it … savor it … and share it.

At times like these, it makes you remember why you started taking pictures in the first place.

The rising sun reflects on the sand as if it were polished glass.

That morning I discovered wet sand reflects light like a mirror. You can see the way the tide changes the shape of the sand along the shore.

The big seagull seems to be waiting for the sun to come up dissipating the last of the early mist.

The colors change from one second to the next.

Each moment is more beautiful than the one before it. Really, the entire time is probably no more than half an hour, but it’s a lifetime of beauty.

Then, final gold before full sunlight.

Later, I walked to the river and found this house. This is the Ogunquit River, just about a quarter of a mile before it joins the ocean. The house is virtually part of the river.

The only way I could find to get across the river to the house was by this “bridge,” really just a piece of wood across the rapids and falls. I declined to test it.

What happens in times of flood? Interesting place to build!

And finally, on my way back to our room, I found a hint of autumn near the beach in a small woodland area between the marsh and the shore.