Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Search of Comfort

"There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere,

and we are all apt to expect too much;

but then, if one scheme of happiness fails,

human nature turns to another;

if the first calculation is wrong,

we make a second better:

we find comfort somewhere."  ~Jane Austen

I took these photos at Great Meadow in Concord, Massachusetts, this week.  Those of you who have read my blog since last spring know that this is one of my favorite spots.  While it's teeming with life most of the year, I almost prefer a still January day when the only sounds are distant planes, the crunch of feet on snow, and the tapping of a woodpecker across the Concord River.  This is a place of great comfort to me, and I need all the comfort I can find right now.  That's why I've also baked a chocolate cake.  What about you, my friends, where do you go or what do you do to seek comfort?  What thing, person, or activity brings you a measure of solace during a tough time?


  1. Gigi,

    Concord is such a beautiful place, and so many creative souls have called it home. I am not surprised that it is also a special place for you. I hope that you know how many of us out here are touched by your tender words, and that we in turn, send our love and comfort to you.

    Take care dear one,


  2. Oh wow, these are gorgeous! Concord is not too far, I shall go and visit it sometimes :)

  3. Thanks, Marjorie. This is definitely one of the places I come for understanding and comfort.

    Do visit Concord, Yelena! There are so many amazing walking trails in the area, and history everywhere you turn. They've done a beautiful job of preserving the natural beauty of the town and surrounding countryside, unlike most places in eastern Massachusetts that have become miles and miles of strip malls. Plus, there's always Walden Pond! Magic.

  4. I'm tellin' you honey, I'd find a whole lot of comfort in being in those shots. What a beautiful place, wonderful photography.

    Mmm and the chocolate cake would just finish it off up for another piece....yeah!

    big hug comin' your way darling.

  5. Kisses, my friend! It's 3 am my time. Can you tell I'm suffering from major insomnia tonight?!

  6. Dear , Gigi!
    Your images are fantastic.

    I was running around the other day, taking photos of nature in the snow. Mostly of trees and especially oaktrees. They are so, so beautiful, standing there...

    I wish you a wonderful day!


  7. Dazzling winter view, Gigi--what a pretty spot! bbbrrr...VERY frosty! We have TONS of the white frosting here at the moment, and it's 0 degrees F today! Your photos capture the chill and special beauty of winter... Right now, as we are literally knee-deep in snow, I find warm comforts most appealing--a cuddle with hubby in the evening, fireplace glowing, a call home to my Mom, knitting a garment for a cousin having a baby soon--knitting it with love, and hot chocolate always boosts spirits too. ;o) Wishing you a day of comfort and JOY, my friend ((HUGS))

  8. What a wise woman Jane Austen was and what a great photographer you are! Leigh

  9. Dearest Gigi

    When I first found your blog I lingered because your photos looked so much like the place where I live and I linger because you seem like such a kindred spirit:)...Walking the trails here in my neighborhood of Arcadia or at the beach restores my soul too...Chocolate cake doesn't hurt either:) Besides that I have found just being with other people helps me...wish I could be with you today...

    When driving to my sister's house on RT 128 I always drive by the exit for Concord and have often thought I need to make a detour someday...haven't gone there since I was a child...

  10. since i'm relatively new to your blog, the photography blew me away of this gorgeous location. the cat tails...swoon - really. i too love untypical places in the winter. this reminds me that i would love to be at the beach now in its sparse beauty.

    in times of comfort i love to cook soup for some reaon. that and my mother's poundcake.

  11. The photos are lovely. Maybe I've missed something, are you okay? For me, comfort is comfy sweatpants, a soft throw, a good book and a cup of tea. Sending good thoughts your way.


  12. Gigi, I am sorry you aren't feeling pink and rosy today....I'm the same color of blue...and like you, looking for solace.
    I find comfort in my dog Kiki's big brown eyes and fur that smells like popcorn. In chocolate's rich sweetness. And in my husband.
    I have my dog and chocolate right now, which will have to suffice until my husband gets home tonight.
    Sending you waves positive energy accross the friends can be comforting, too, sometimes! xo

  13. p.s. forgot to mention that your photographs are beautiful. thank you for sharing them, especially the one with the bird's nest.

  14. I'm sorry to hear about the tough time, and I hope it all gets better soon. The photos are utterly lovely: such stillness and wintery blues.

  15. What a fabulous quote--I adore Jane Austen, but I'd never heard it before. Paired with your photos, it's inspired my morning!

    Surprisingly, I've lately found comfort in exercise. I'm the farthest from an athletic person there could be, but I've found that going to the gym everyday or doing some yoga really helps me to relax and let go of anxieties. Then again, I think a chocolate cake would do the trick, too!

  16. There's a lil place called Piermont, NY & it kinda funnily is right on a Pier. You have the view of the Hudson River, you can see the riverboats, sometimes there's duckies, & it's a beautiful view of Tappan Zee Bridge. I go there when I want to clear my head & not think of anything. =)

    These pictures are just beautiful. I love the one with the footprints in the snow! I hope your feeling better dear. *hugs*

  17. Thanks so much, everyone. And, Sue, you haven't missed anything, I promise. I just had some news this week--the kind that you close your eyes and try to will away, but it's there with you for good. I will be okay, but I will need time to deal with it.

    If I don't leave comments at your beautiful blogs for a little while, please know that I am visiting them and that I *adore* them and you beautiful people who create them. I just need to be quiet for a bit, but I'll be rambling on and on again before you know it.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me realize how beautiful the world can be.


  18. What comforts me:

    -Food, such as piping hot homemade bread with butter.
    -In winter, listening to music by bands like The Radio Department. Sample "Sleeping In" if you get a chance.
    -The Ellen Degeneres show...even if I'm feeling blue, there's at LEAST one point where I burst out laughing.
    -In general, distractions are oddly comforting because they make me forget the thing that is bothering me. So...meeting up with friends, socializing, getting completely obsessed with a TV series I can watch back to back episodes of (i.e. Mad Men! :) , anything that can engage my mind in something else.

  19. Thank you for this. My father died not quite a month ago & it has been hard in ways that I hadn't imagined before it happened. Ours was not an easy relationship & that has created all sorts of twists and turns in this experience.

    I have turned, as I always turn, to poetry to help: both reading it & writing it. And I have been reading the blogs I follow, though at the moment, rarely commenting.

    (my word verification was claness.)

  20. I love your list, Dhvani. Miss you. Let's talk soon.

    I'm so sorry about your father's passing, Em. After my father died, I felt like I couldn't breathe for about two years. That was 25 years ago now, but I still feel it palpably. My thoughts and warm wishes are with you.


  21. Such beautiful photos, Gigi....what comforts me is your beautiful words and photos, bubble baths, long walks by myself and reading good books. When I am going thru a rough period, I need spots of time alone - but I definitely don't close myself off from my loved ones...just bits and pieces of times. Sending love and hugs your way to let you know that whatever you are going thru - you are not alone, you are loved by alot of people! xxoo

  22. Pamela: I am sure Edward is a *huge* comfort! I curl up with Dill & Scout in these times.

    Cathi: You know I feel the same way about you. Thank you.


  23. My dear friend Gigi,
    I'm so sorry that you've had bad news. I'm afraid that we all have to have these sad times and we must cope as best we can. Life throws things at us and we must try to cope. I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you, my friend.
    Your photographs are beautiful and inspiring and very poignant . It sounds and looks a beautiful place.
    Wishing you happier days ahead. With love. XXXX

  24. Gigi - your favourite place looks like just the place I would go. I have never been able to find solace in people, although I treasure and appreciate friends' company. the only place i ever find real solace is in nature or art or both. Inside is the only place I find solace- and a natural outside, like the beautiful place you show in your photos is the type of place I go to help the inside heal... Otherwise I have to lose myself in concentration and forget that I even exist... become what I am doing...
    Take care and warm warm thoughts and hugs for your sad moments. I send you lots of Oranges (it's a great colour with the blue)

  25. First, I am sorry you feel so in need of comfort. But, I am glad that you know how to take care of yourself. As to what brings me comfort, a list. For you:

    * my daughter's hand in mine * beautifully written words * the heft of a book in my hands * quiet hours with no to do list * the weight of warm blankets * the fierce sound of the wind outside as I am cozy in front of a fire * the feeling that comes with my "Amen" at the end of a prayer *

  26. Jackie: Every word you say here is true.
    Ange: Yes, losing myself in the work is exactly what I do, too. You put it beautifully: "become what I am doing." That's my thought exactly. Thank you.
    Relyn: Your list itself is a comfort.


  27. hi sweetie,
    I love knowing I have stood in your favorite place. I love the sweet connection.

  28. such a lovely post...beautiful words to match your beautiful images.

    gigi, i'm so sorry to hear you are going thru a sad time...and i am sending you thoughts of peace and comfort...

    xxo, kim

  29. Gigi, thinking of you and wishing comfort and peace to calm your troubled heart.

  30. Thank you Kim and Angie. You know I'm always checking in on your beautiful blogs, and I'm so grateful that you're out there making magic.


  31. Such and beautiful post...I find that nature, birds and our cats bring much comfort to me and help to keep one balanced and in the present.
    I had very much enjoyed your writing and photos when you were in Maine (I also live in Maine). Now I see you share another favorite spot...Great Meadows, which is located across the street from my father-in-law and is a such treasure in all seasons!
    I wish you inner peace and may your troubled times drift away.

  32. Thank you so much, Nan. You are right, GM is a treasure in all seasons!

  33. My oh my Gigi do you have so many admirers, and rightly so! My cousins live directly across from the Old North Bridge and the Old Manse, so I have spent many, many hours gallivanting around those meadows. You captured the mood and mystery of the place with such precision and beauty, as usual. What a lovely post.

    Big hugs, have a fantastic weekend, and make some crepes!


  34. Crepes--yes! That sounds perfect.

  35. gigi,
    as if you got a day of sunshine in january!
    and.... HUG !

  36. know that you can call any time, right?

  37. ditto what Jonathan said...we miss you, love you, miss you, love you (etc., etc., and on and on).


  38. N&J: I love you more than words can say. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I will call you when I have a clearer picture in my head of what is going on. Please know that i am fine and Todd is fine, and we are doing laundry and hanging out with the cats and writing letters of rec this morning--normal stuff.

    I am lighting birthday candles in my mind for you today, Nancy. Then I make a wish, blow them out, and start all over again. The cake, by the way, is a lemon sponge, and I've layered it with fresh raspberry sauce and lemon curd. There's a little pot of dark chocolate sauce on the side for drizzling. Let's have two helpings. Hell, let's eat the whole damn cake!

  39. I read your post last night and pondered over what comment to make, and then finally I decided to think on it. I am a worrier and went to bed worrying about you. I ended up having a late night conversation with my husband about my blog friends. It is wonderful, interesting and maybe even a bit funny to me that I can lie awake concerned for a friend I haven't yet met.

    I decided to check back in and then I read the above post, and I am relieved to here that you and yours are fine.

    Whenever something was bothering me I would always go to a playground and swing super fast and super high on a swing set. There was a great swing up on a high hill with a great view of the river, my sister and I would go there and swing our hearts out. Always at night, always in silence, with the wind whipping through our hair. It always made me feel better - like I could tackle anything.
    But chocolate cakes work too! Enjoy yours!

    Hugs to you,


  40. GiGi,
    What brings me comfort?
    Well, a walk along the cove with my handsome old dog. Yesterday, I chased down a lobster boat. Got 3 lobsters, steamed them and took over to a friend that just got home from hosp. She lost 16 pounds and isn't eating . Watched her eat a baked pot and Lobster.
    Did her shopping last week.
    That makes me feel good.
    Also cuddling up with my Beautiful dog.

  41. Hi Gigi,
    Sorry I haven't been by in awhile and that you're feeling blue. It's good that you have a place to go.

  42. Hi Gigi,

    Boy have I missed your blog. I enjoyed catching up just now. I am so gladed your shared your island life with us the past few months, it has been so enchanting. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Mine was honestly not as great as anticipated, hence my lack of enthusiasm to even turn on the computer, but it's encouraging to get back to the blog friends who have come to offer such inspiration and joy. Happy New Year my friend.


  43. Oh, I can taste that cake...I'll eat half if you will! But more than that, I can see your face (smiling) and hear your voice (laughing). Let's buy an island.

  44. crunchy snowy walks in beautiful places
    chocolate cake

    you DO have it figured out, I thought so

  45. what a beautiful place...your blog...your place in the world...your words....I walk by the lake and watch the swans flying...

  46. Sending you lot's of comforting vibes, sweet Gigi. I hope all is going well for you. What a wonderful place to wander and take in the quiet spaces. Beautiful pictures.

  47. It's been too long since I've been here! Of course I would find a wonderful post like this as soon as I came back! I love the photos, so dreamy!

    Hope you're having a great start to your new year! And that chocolate cake sounds amazing, I've been craving chocolate cupcakes lately, might have to make them after your inspiration!


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