Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year and a Word

We woke up yesterday to find our  backyard blanketed in many more inches of snow than we had expected.  It was the thick, heavy snow that bends small trees to the ground and breaks off large limbs from the great white pines.  It also temporarily turns our funny little garden shed into an enchanted fairy tale cottage.  

Earlier in the week we'd walked the icy trails at Gilsland Farm, seeking quiet amidst the chaos of the season.  This year's holidays have felt even more tumultuous than usual.  I think the news of the world after this long, often terrible, year has left many of us exhausted.

In the face of unrest and suffering in the world, I've found myself turning more and more to the wintery landscapes and seascapes of my home state for solace.  It's there in the bone-colored branches of birches, the grey ocean waves laced with white, and the dry tufts of frozen grass in open fields that I look for the escape my heart longs for.

I haven't become a complete hermit, I promise.  I welcome the cries of seagulls as I walk the cobblestoned streets of Portland, the rush of winter robins' wings overhead in the trees, and the laughter of school kids swooping down hillsides on makeshift sleds.

And the companionship of loved ones.  I'm not always up for talking these days, but I am almost always up for a walk, and a shared cup of something warm when we return home.

Choosing my word for 2017 was easy.  I didn't even think about it.  I just knew: peace.  That's all I hope for this year.  Peace for those I love, for myself, and for the world.  Over the summer I taught myself how to play ukulele, and one of the first songs I learned how to play was John Lennon's "Imagine."  As I learned the chords and gradually discovered how to weave the words in as I played, I found myself experiencing the song in a new way.  I've always loved the lyrics, but each time I now come to "Imagine all the people, living life in peace," I feel it so strongly that I often have to stop playing for a few moments.  Peace is what I hope for, for me and for you, my friends.  I will do my best to help make it happen in the tiny ways that I know how.  Wishing you a year of joyful adventures, truly funny moments, inspiration, love, and peace.  xo Gigi

Monday, December 5, 2016

Five on Five

Hello, my friends!  Once again, I'm joining in with some photographer friends to share five of my favorite photographs from the past month.  When I look through the shots I took from the past thirty or so days, I feel a tremendous rush of very mixed emotions.  I can't go on without saying that the world feels like it flipped upside down since the last time I posted, and I can honestly say that November 2016 was one of the most surreal months in my lifetime.  I promised myself that after some truly terrible experiences on Facebook early in the month, I would keep my blog a politics-free zone, so I won't talk about any of it here, but I will say that the photo above is of a place that has become a safe haven for Todd and me.  In October we bought a small, rustic cottage on a lake here in Maine, and I took this shot on the afternoon of election day.  It's part of the view from the little beach in front of our camp.  We've already begun work on the place, and we've got lots more to do, but I can hardly wait until spring, when we can start really using the place.  I promise to share photos and stories of the journey.

When life has been too hectic to make it up the camp, we've taken some great walks.  I took the two shots above and below at one of our favorite birding spots, Gilsland Farm, in Falmouth.  It's the home of Maine Audubon, and I can think of few places I'd rather walk at this time of year as autumn dips into winter.

My sister and I spent a couple of days earlier this month making wreaths.  I hung this berry and rose hip wreath up on my shed one night, only to come out in the morning and discover that it had snowed overnight, making the wreath far more beautiful than my humble imagination ever could have. 

I've been teaching and developing classes quite a bit this fall, and haven't had much time for my still life work, but I bought a couple of absolutely incredible pomegranates a couple of weeks ago, and when I combined them with the berries we'd gathered for wreaths, I just knew I had to find a little time for taking some still life photos.  This one below is one of my favorites from the session.

As we head towards the solstice, I wish you much peace and joy, my friends!  May you spend time with the people you love most, may you be warm and safe from harm, and may you discover inspiration in unexpected places.  

If you'd like to see five of my talented friend Stephanie's beautiful photographs from the past month, click here.

More soon! xo Gigi