Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Her Portland showroom is in the heart of the very hip east side neighborhood on Munjoy Hill. You can also find her tiles at Old Port Specialty Tile just a couple of blocks away on Middle Street.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
I've been thinking about relationships I've known that have weathered tough times and have even thrived after seemingly insurmountable challenges. Less dramatic, but also difficult, is learning how to see the beauty in the every day, the shifts and rhythms of a relationship during times of abundance as well as times when one feels stripped down to the bone, raw, alone. This is perhaps a quieter lesson, but it is one that asks for patience, respect, and no small dose of faith. Expressing this beautifully is the passage below from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea: "Intermittency," she writes, "-- an impossible lesson for human beings to learn. How can one learn to live through the ebb-tides of one's existence? How can one learn to take the trough of the wave?
It is easier to understand here on the beach, where the breathlessly still ebb tides reveal another life below the level which mortals usually reach. In this crystalline moment of suspense, one has a sudden revelation of the secret kingdom at the bottom of the sea. Here in the shallow flats one finds, wading through warm ripples, great horse conchs pivoting on a leg; white sand dollars, marble medallions engraved in the mud; and myriads of bright-colored cochina-clams, glistening in the foam, their shells opening and shutting like butterflies' wings.
So beautiful is the still hour of the sea's withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea's return when the encroaching waves pound up the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally."
I've been rereading this passage off and on all afternoon. It's low tide now as I type this. The waves have pulled back to reveal dinner for the seagulls as well as rocks upon which to sit and soak in the last rays of the afternoon sun. My love sits near me reading a book. Tonight there will be pasta and candles and the moon and stars. We will celebrate the equinox and another autumn together as the tide rolls back in toward the shore.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
On weekends and warm days, you need to fight for a good seat on the open upper deck, but the day I took this shot was windy, so only brave souls toughed it out for the whole journey. Yep, that's Todd on the right. He thinks of the front seat as "his" and doesn't care if it's windy.
Once in Portland, there are endless choices and places to go. I grew up near here, and I went to college here, so even though it's been 18 years since I lived in Portland, I still think of it as home. It is the place where I feel most myself, most comfortable in my own skin. Do you have a place like that, too?
On Wednesdays and Saturdays we go to the farmers' market. I love the picture above because this farmer's young daughter had made the "onions" sign and had arranged this wonderfully minimalist display. Very zen. I liked that her mum had let her do this.
I snapped the picture above on Congress Street where you can find the Maine College of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House, the Portland Library, and loads of funky antiques stores and restaurants. It runs west to east, straight through the city's heart.
Portland's Old Port, down on the waterfront, is the center of tourism and shopping. When I first graduated from college I worked (and played) down here. It's wonderfully local and pretty and hip, even after all these years. Blanche and Mimi is a cool little French-inspired homewares shop.
The east side of Portland is the up and coming hip neighborhood. The area called Munjoy Hill used to be a little bit scary, but today it is the place to go for great shopping and AMAZING food. Portland is a foodie's paradise. I'd choose it over Boston any day, plus it is more reasonable and far less pretentious. The photo above was shot in a great little coffeehouse on India Street called Coffee by Design. They roast their own beans and have a few locations around town.
My cats opened a bakery! No, not really, but I kid you not when I say that this place is phenomenal. If you are in Portland, you must go there!
I want to show you dozens more pretty and inspiring places (oh, like Z Fabrics--I'll take you there in another post), but we mustn't miss the ferry back home!
We make the ferry just in time, and I toss my bag on the bench beside me. It's stuffed with fresh veggies from the market, so tonight I'll make a white bean and swiss chard soup.
A quarter of an hour and one chapter of The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte later, the island landing welcomes us back from our journey to America.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I read or work on my writing for what feels like half an hour, then I look up at the clock, and three hours have passed. I've stopped wearing my watch (gasp). The only thing I rush for is to catch the ferry to the mainland, because unlike everything else around here, it does run like clockwork.
Yesterday I arrived at the post office around lunch time to find the door locked. No worries. I just waited fifteen minutes until the postmistress came back from her lunch break. It was a good excuse to go buy myself a pumpkin pie ice cream "Down Front" and to catch up on the announcements posted on the community bulletin board near the ferry landing.
Moments stretch into whole afternoons, and a brief glimpse of a seashell or a wildflower colors the entire day with a particular mood.
We have always been avid readers, but here, reading does not have to be squeezed into the gaps between appointments and meetings and classes; on the island it is the center of our days again.
Sunlight and shadows shift across a room, a cove, a salt marsh, and with these changes come new thoughts, a new sense of being in the moment.
I forget thirty-five years when I climb among the rocks, collecting heart-shaped stones, sea glass, and shells with which to stuff my pockets.
When the wind picks up and clouds roll in, I am fastened to the view in front of my house, watching wave after wave reach for the shore.
As sunset arrives, the marsh turns golden and the cattails come alive.
We head down the road to see what new towers and totems have been built today.
Bedtime will come when exhaustion takes over. My conscious mind swims on the surface for how long--seconds an hour?--before it dives down deep into the sound of ocean waves and the oblivion it needs before the coming of a new day.