Archipelago

archipelago

I have just finished a sad book with a happy ending and cry at the wonder that humanity can not only survive tragedy, but come out the other side as if re-birthed and new again.

Archipelago, by Monique Roffey tells the tale of a father and daughter struggling to survive loss and tragedy. Leaving their home, a constant reminder of the flood and loss of baby Alex, they embark on a sea journey. Not what one might expect when life as they knew it has been forever changed by water. Yet it is the water that helps them to heal in the end. The sea and time.

The title acts as a metaphor for the rifts that rise out of the sea as father and daughter travel aboard Romany. Like the many islands they encounter along the way, there are many breaks that challenge the two in their relationship and their lives.

Ocean, named for her father’s love of the sea learns through repeated lessons, what it means to lose what you cherish most. More importantly, father and daughter both learn what it means to survive and carry on. As they make their way through Caribbean waters, toward the Panama Canal and the Galapagos Islands, Ocean’s wails of grief become lost in the natural world, but somehow seem to draw that world closer to them, with lessons that remind them that life is about giving and taking away.

As they connect with the natural world the pair come to understand what is at the heart of nature, and what is at the heart of their grief. This understanding is what heals them both.

Roffey’s writing gets right down to the intricacies of how human beings handle grief. She is spot on showing us, through Gavin’s thoughts and actions and the way Ocean grapples to understand the deepest hurt when she has no words to express it.

For anyone who has wrestled with their own feelings of loss, the book will remind you that we are all part of the natural world and it is the search for meaning that keeps us going.

Writing Prompt #129

blog wordle

It’s all about birthdays this week!

How do you feel about birthdays?
Do you like to celebrate them, or not so much?

Today’s writing task is to write about birthdays –
maybe one you remember especially well,
maybe your plans for celebrating the next one,
maybe imagining the best celebration ever,
maybe fictionalizing someones. . .

Happy Happy!

Celebrating 60!

My husband’s 60th birthday is today!

He is a thoughtful, interesting, adventurous, intelligent, and fun man.

He knows that reaching 60 years of age is a milestone and he arrived at this age in great health because he takes good care of himself.

He also knows how to celebrate the good things in life – like being 60.

This year he decided to celebrate by challenging himself to complete the Circumburke mountain bike race.

It’s approximately 25 miles around Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. You can see a map of the route here.

While we had done a route similar to this one several years ago, it wasn’t quite the same as doing it competitively.

Dave trained for the big day by taking numerous multi-mile rides in the weeks preceding the race, including three attempts to circumnavigate the mountain on what he thought was the trail to be used on race day.

I have documented the day – at least the beginning of the day and the end of the day. I am sorry to say I was not there for the finish, but his girls were and that pleased him like you wouldn’t believe.

9:00 AM valley fog

9:00 AM valley fog

A beautiful day for a race.

A beautiful day for a race.

In a beautiful setting.

In a beautiful setting.

It's official - no turning back now!

It’s official – no turning back now!

He got the beer glass! He could go home now.

He got the beer glass! He could go home now.

The Power Cookie!

The Power Cookie!

Warming up!

Warming up!

Waiting

Waiting

Mental Preparations

Mental Preparations

Sustenance and contemplation

Sustenance and contemplation

Our friend "Rek-lis"

Our friend “Rek-lis”

And They're Off!

And They’re Off!

It's all good. . .so far

It’s all good. . .so far

Birthday Boy #125 Looking Happy

Birthday Boy #125 Looking Happy

And that’s it for my pictures of the mountain bike race.

They also had a running race – same distance, and there were about 40 competitors for that.

They left about 15 minutes after the bikers took off:

There they go!

There they go!

And here are a couple of little ones cheering on Mom or Dad!

Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders

Dave completed the race in about 5 hours – he hadn’t anticipated that he’d be riding the same trails with 270 other bikers so was slowed down a bit by the crowds.

We cheered him later on at home with a surprise party and a little night time golf competition.

Baylow’s cake really sums up the day. . .

His favorite things. . .

His favorite things. . .

Burke, biking, golf, skiing, and carrot cake. . .

Does it get any better than this?

Oh yes - making a wish for next year's adventure!

Oh yes – making a wish for next year’s adventure!

Congratulations honey!

On circumnavigating Burke,
On turning 60,
and on being the best husband a girl could want!

I love you!

Best of the Week VIII

October 18 – 24, 2014

Well, the beautiful colors of fall have ended, so, as I feared, I will be struggling to keep the best of the week going. I believe my strength is with landscapes so bear with me as I try to keep going with some other kinds of shots each week.

Highlight in the Classroom this Week

Highlight in the Classroom this Week

Cohabitation

Cohabitation

On Alert!

On Alert!

Last of the Color

Last of the Color

Soft Morning

Soft Morning

And from Hooked in the Mountains XIV and the Quilt Show at Champlain Valley Exposition:

Quilt Perspective

Quilt Perspective

Scenic Quilt

Scenic Quilt

Child of the Universe- Designed and Hooked by Grace Collette of Chester, NH

Child of the Universe-
Designed and Hooked by Grace Collette of Chester, NH

Rescue of La Bella Julia "A tribute to the brave men of the Coast Guard that rescued my son at sea." Designed and Hooked by Grace Collette

Rescue of La Bella Julia
“A tribute to the brave men of the Coast Guard that rescued my son at sea.”
Designed and Hooked by Grace Collette

Gifts of the Human Kind

This week has been a bit of a challenge in many ways.

Perhaps it’s the damp and dreary weather causing people to appear unenthusiastic, tired, over-worked, and just down right grumpy.

After weeks of beautiful sunny days with luxurious brilliant foliage surrounding us, a few days of cold temperatures, rain, and darkness can be disappointing. Many are surely thinking about the long winter ahead, with feet of snow to move, or wade through, and lots and lots of fuel bills.

Tuesday morning at work, the first three people I saw and said “Good Morning” to in my cheeriest 7:00 am voice, totally didn’t respond. They just slumped on by, giving me pause. Tuesday was a 14 hour work day.

Wednesday I was still tired from Tuesday’s long day, it was still dark out when I went to work and nearly dark when I returned home. Uggh.

However, on Wednesday there was a high moment in my day when author, Tanya Sousa came to my classroom and talked about her work, her writing, her passions, and her recent book, The Starling God.

StarlingGodCover2__90155.1405411531.1280.1280

Right on par with the rest of the week, only about half my students were present when Tanya arrived, and a half dozen of them drifted in over the first 10 minutes of her presentation, pink slips in hand. Tanya was unfazed and carried on, her passion for her work evident as she shard her stories with the class.

Tanya 1

What she may not know, but I do, is that while the students were not enthusiastic, they were, in their own way, enthralled. It was a subdued kind of captivation, but it was evident to one who has spent many hours with the group. In the ensuing days I will gush my enthusiasm all over the classroom, oozing the value of having the author so available to us to learn from, and hope that some of that enthusiasm sticks to one or two, who will then seek out other opportunities that will enrich their lives.

It’s a great challenge for adults to get across the incredible value of seeking out ways to enhance ones own life to a fifteen-year-old. That doesn’t stop me from trying, however. Like Tanya’s book, which gives humanity a new way of looking at and thinking about our feathered cohabitants of the earth, I strive to give my students new ways of looking at themselves and the world around them every day.

Since I’ve met Tanya, read her book, begun to think about birds in new ways, and learned of murmurations, I have had the experience of seeing flocks of birds murmurate, and have made new friends who will continue to lead me in new directions; all of which has tightened the circle of humanity.

As a person, I thrive on these new experiences, one leading to the next, and the next, and the next. As an educator, I understand the importance of relying on one other and that it truly does take a village to raise, and educate, a child.

Earlier this year, as I gushed my passion for books all over the classroom, one student said, “A book could never change a person’s life.” Since that day I think continually of ways to help this student understand that books, even a single one, can change a life. What that young man does not yet understand is that books can lead us to many other things. As the catalyst for what can be a long line of learning, books, or people, or experiences indeed have the power to change a person’s life.

Thank you Tanya, for the new opportunities you’ve brought to my students and myself by sharing your stories with us this week. As you know,

“There is greatness in sharing what we were born to tell.” ~Tanya Sousa

Tanya 2