Sunday, June 5, 2016

5 on 5

On the beach in Bournemouth
Hello, chickadees!  I'm excited to participate in 5 on 5 this month, along with some wonderful photographers I know.  We share our five favorite photos from the past month.  My favorite photos from May are all from a journey Mr. Magpie and I took to England and Belgium, where he was giving talks for a couple of weeks. We were both teaching our online summer classes while we were there, too, so it was a challenge to juggle work, travel, spending time with friends and colleagues, and just soaking up the ambiance and energy of places that we love.  I returned home completely exhausted, but feeling incredibly lucky that I got to be back in England--and was able to explore a bit of Belgium, too!

A grave in the cemetery at St Alfege's Church in Greenwich
Over the years, London has come to feel like a home away from home for us.  When we're there we often stay in Greenwich, which is a Borough of London, but it's located east of the city center, on the south side of the Thames, across from the Isle of Dogs.  Greenwich is incredibly beautiful, and we like to stay at a wonderful B&B there, hopping on the Docklands Light Railway or the Thames Clipper boat when we need to get into the city proper.

Gravensteen Castle in Ghent, Belgium
Midway through the trip, we took the Eurostar to Belgium, so Todd could give a talk in Ghent, and we snuck in a day in glorious Bruges, too.  Both felt like magical fairy tale cities, and I will be back to post much more about them very soon.  I'd never visited Belgium before, but I hope I'll have the chance to return.

One of the many gorgeous store floral displays for #chelseainbloom during the Chelsea Flower Show
Meanwhile, back in London, the Chelsea Flower show was in full swing by the time we returned.  I didn't manage to snag us last-minute tickets, because I wasn't willing to hand over $300 apiece, but we spent a wonderful afternoon at the Chelsea Physic Garden and wandering past the gorgeous floral displays in the shop windows of Sloane Square.

On Princelet Street near Spitalfields
We don't spend a lot of time doing typical tourist stuff in London anymore, preferring to go to neighborhood markets, or to wander through lesser-known gardens and quirky, off-beat museums, sampling street food along the way.  I'm working on a fun post about some hidden treasures to experience if you're looking for something a little off the beaten tourist path in and around London.

Thanks do much for stopping in, my friends.  If you'd like to take a peek at Stephanie's beautiful photographs, her link is here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mingle Magazine

I've been meaning to post some especially lovely news here, my friends.  This month I have the tremendous pleasure of sharing the pages of Mingle Magazine with several of the incredible women who attended Finding Stillness 2015.   We wrote a collaborative feature about the time we spent together, taking photographs, going on hikes, sharing meals, and just finding time for our creative selves at Kim Klassen's The Studio in Rivers, Manitoba.  If you've read my blog post about it, you know what a transformative week it was for me, so to get to work with my photographer friends on this piece for Mingle was pure joy.  I was especially excited that I got to spend a lot of time with Diana Foster to edit the text and gather the photos for the piece.  She is a consummate professional, but she's also sweet and smart and down to earth, and I felt so lucky that we worked on this project together.

I hope you are well, and that every single day finds you doing something you love--even if only for half an hour, but hopefully for longer.  I am finishing up a semester with my writing students over the next couple of weeks, which is bittersweet for me, because this has been an especially productive and exciting semester.  Watching my students' work grow and develop is always rewarding, but this time around has been especially magical.  I feel privileged to witness and be a small part of their creative journeys.  Besides teaching, I've got several photo and writing projects in the works, which I'll keep sharing with you, of course.  And I'm just getting back out into the garden, so there will be photos galore coming soon of new plantings and spring beauties as they begin to emerge.  

More soon from the Maine coast, chickadees! xo Gigi  

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable." ~Mary Oliver

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

5 on 5

I'm happy to be back with my March 5 on 5 post!  Even though I shot and processed a ton of photos this past month, I felt myself drawn to these shots I took during a very unexpected snowstorm here on the coast at the beginning of the month.  Todd and I were headed south to Boston for the day, and the blizzard came on so fast and furious that we decided to cancel our plans and just hang out here in southern Maine instead.  It ended up being a fairy tale snow globe of an afternoon during which we spotted this fox carrying his lunch of a wee mousie across the snowy lawn of a grand old home by the seashore.  

This shot of Nubble Light in York looks peaceful enough, but I cannot tell you how bitterly cold and windy it was!  I was nearly blown into the water getting the shots above and below.  In the lighthouse photo I know that the water looks peaceful, but that's just my crop.  The shot below is literally what was going on just a few yards away.  I stood in the same spot for both of these pictures, just turning my body slightly.  I've actually never come so close to being hurt while taking a photo. 

We had a beautiful thaw immediately after this storm, complete with crocuses blooming in our yard, trees budding, grass greening, and the tulips and daffs beginning to poke through the soil.  Then today, April 4th, we woke to 16 degrees Fahrenheit and another snowstorm.  I took a short, again very chilly, walk through the West End Cemetery here in Portland after lunch, stopping to pay a visit to one of my favorite gravestone, this beautiful willow marker of Dorothy Abbot.  The West End is the most gorgeous neighborhood in Portland, full of late 19th-century homes, many of them built after the Great Fire of July 4, 1866, which destroyed much of the city.  We are fortunate today that much of Victorian Portland still survives.  A stroll through the stunning West End down to the quaint Old Port still gives one a strong sense of what this seaport must have felt like in the 19th century.

If you'd like to see more 5 on 5, head on over to this post by Leanne Godbey Hymes.  I hope you're well, my friends!  I'll be back soon, hopefully with much more spring-like photos and thoughts to share.  xo Gigi