Houston, musings

Reentry

I am very lucky to live in two places: Houston, Texas and Rockport, Maine.  We have just returned to Houston and, oh, what a difference.  Many of those differences make reentry something of a challenge.

Office View HoustonHouston is big and with that comes lots of traffic.  

HoustonRight now I drive the freeways with my heart in my mouth, fearful of changing lanes and intimidated by 18 wheelers closing in urging me to speed up or waiting to pass me by.  

img_7502That is quite a contrast to Maine where most of the roads are two lanes with 50 MPH speed limit which makes driving a bit more leisurely to say nothing of being more scenic.

img_8259As different as it is, there are things I like about being in Houston.  High on the list is Costco where I always come out with much more than  I meant to purchase.  That was especially true on this first visit when having access to so much was overwhelming!

img_8314I like that Houston winter is green with lots of blooming things, the way Maine is in summer.  By the time we leave Maine, most of the color is gone and the landscape takes a break until spring when it reawakens.

img_8332Returning to Houston means going to St. Paul’s UMC, a church I’ve loved for many years.  I appreciate its timeless Gothic architecture, the peacefulness I feel there, the way it provides opportunity for discovering your own faith walk and that it is open to all people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The best part of reentry is returning to my house in the area that has been home to the hubby and me since we’ve been married.  (One of these days I will have to tell you the story of how this house got me elected to office or at least how I think it helped.)

Rockport Pano 6X18

As different as it is, I enjoy the time we spend in Houston, but I must confess that I do miss waking up in the morning, turning my head and looking out on Rockport Harbor.

Rockport Harbor

No matter the season, no matter whether it’s sunny or foggy, I love the view, the activity 

winter/lobster boatsand the sight and sound of lobster boats going out for the day’s work.  The most I see upon waking in Houston is the fence that separates our and the neighbor’s property.

Despite their differences, I am lucky to live in Houston and Rockport, and each helps me appreciate the other a little more.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Maine, Random

Let Summer Begin!

Pipe DreamsUntil Pipe Dreams is back at the dock and we’ve had our first boat outing, summer hasn’t begun.  Thanks to blustery seas, it’s taken a few days to get that first trip underway.

Rockport Pano 6X18Leaving Rockport Harbor behind I begin to see all the familiar sights that are so dear.  

Indian Island Indian Island with its lighthouse still stands guard at the mouth of the harbor, and in the distance a schooner loaded with visitors is powered by a gentle breeze.

islandFarther out are the islands  that separate us from the Atlantic Ocean and make this part of the Maine coast the absolute best for boating.

North Haven/llobster buoysLobster buoys dot the water,

lobster boatsand the lobster guys are out doing their thing which reminds me I haven’t yet had a lobster!

cloudsHigh above are clouds floating in a clear blue sky, and I wonder how life could be any more perfect than at this moment.   I close my eyes in gratitude for the privilege of being in this beautiful place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Houston, Maine, musings

Transitioning

I am very lucky to live in two places I enjoy for very different reasons, but transitioning, especially to Houston, is a bit of a challenge.

Rockport HarborFrom May until November, as soon as my eyes are open I look out the window to Rockport Harbor.  It’s a beautiful view no matter the season, and my last glimpse of it is etched in my mind.

HoustonThis morning I woke up and everything was so unfamiliar.  The view outside the window was a water soaked fence and plants bedraggled by too much rain. The only water is that which flows in the fountain outside the breakfast room, and it looked neglected and sad as did everything around it.

lobster boatI sat for a few minutes wondering where I belong.  I love those months in Maine where we have made wonderful friends with whom we frequently gather.  I love the beauty of the place, the unhurried lifestyle, the boat trips, the islands, the lobster boats and lighthouses. It is the place where I feel so at ease and where my gray hairs and jeaned self fit right in.

Office View HoustonHouston is such a contrast.  It’s BIG, and there’s more of everything from traffic to restaurants to entertainment and shopping opportunities.  It is the place I have lived most of my adult life, and the hubby and I are lucky to live in a wonderful neighborhood where most of our friends still reside. The down side is that people have so many distractions that it can be difficult to spend time together.  Spontaneous gatherings are almost an impossibility. 

MaineHouston is the place that will always seem like home, but there is no question that Maine is the way life should be.

Costco

However, once I go to Costco and get a tennis match or two under my belt, all will seem like normal, at least until May!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Boating, Maine

First Time Out

Pipe DreamsThree weeks Pipe Dreams has been at the dock, and we’ve not taken a single boat ride.  Sometimes life just gets in the way, so at 8 AM when the hubby said, “Get dressed and let’s go on a little cruise,” I didn’t hesitate.

Flag FlyingWith flag flying, we left Rockport Harbor behind.

Indian IslandIn just a few minutes, I began spotting those sights that are both familiar and assure me I am home.  First is Indian Island which I dream about owning.  Would you believe that the current owner’s ancestors bought this enchanting spot for $600?

Maine islandThe harbor opens to the vastness of Penobscot Bay and its many islands that are the last land between Maine and Europe.

schoonerJust ahead of us is one of the numerous windjammers that work the area.  This one appears to be returning with a boat load of people who’ve spent the last 5 days experiencing life on the sea.  That is a trip for the adventurer who doesn’t demand luxury accommodations!

In just a few minutes, I spy Curtis Island with its now defunct lighthouse.

CamdenMore importantly, it marks the entrance to Camden Harbor with its lovely views of Camden where our Maine adventures began.

Camden HarborSlowly we go through the harbor checking out the boats, spotting some familiar ones and noticing some from far away.  Camden with its easy access to restaurants and shops is a popular stopover for visiting vessels.Beech HillOut of Camden Harbor,  we head home, done so many times Pipe Dreams knows her way!  In the distance, I see Beech Hill marked by the stone cottage and the clump of trees sitting atop it.  This is another of the landmarks I always look for on the return.

Rockport Pano 6X18Rounding Indian Island, the whole of Rockport Harbor is ahead and is a view of which I never tire.  This cruise may have been short but it gives me the comfortable feeling that comes with knowing I’m in the right place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Maine

Seeing Differently

In the 23 years we’ve been coming to Maine, this is the earliest we’ve arrived and what a difference.  Snow is melted. Ice is gone from the harbor. Temperatures have risen to the 40’s.  Spring, however, still seems weeks away.

Maine/Rockport HarborIn the yard trees are bare.

IMG_4375Gardens are brown with no hint of the color that is to come.

IMG_4376Their green leaves may have found their way through the cold ground, but tulip blooms are hidden inside.

IMG_4371That I can see, only one lone flower is bravely showing its color.

dirt roadThe dirt road where I walk is not yet open to traffic.  Quite honestly, I wish that were the case all year as it is more peaceful to say nothing of being safer when there are no vehicles on a road heavily used by walkers and bikers.

Rockport HarborRocks where we have summer picnics and often crowded with painters capturing the beauty of the harbor are bare.

IMG_4378Here and there snow melt is rushing to the sea, 

IMG_4381and for the first time I see the beginning of what will become bushy large leafed plants.  I would never have guessed this lovely would be the source of their birth.

StoneledgeReturning from a walk I see our house through the woods, a sight that in a few weeks will disappear.

Rockport HarborOn the harbor, quiet occasionally is interrupted by a lobster boat returning from setting traps and for now paying no attention to the 5 MPH speed limit.

Rockport HarborDocks float languidly waiting to be secured where property owners are lucky enough to have a pier.

Rockport HarborIn preparation for the more than 200 boats that will soon fill the harbor, the harbor master, a most capable female, locates the buoys that will secure the vessels.

eagleAs I sit looking out and thinking of and appreciating the differences I’m noting, look who stops by for a visit. Moments like this are just one of the many things that make life here so different than in Houston.  Without the contrasts, I don’t know that my eyes would be so open in both places.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Metamorphosis Monday

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nature

A Different Pancake

Rockport Harbor/winterOver the years I’ve shared with you photos of Rockport Harbor in winter.  

Rockport Harbor/winterMy visits there during the cold season are just long enough to see ice gathered at the mouth of the harbor

Rockport Harbor/winterand ice floes finding their way out to Penobscot Bay. 

Rockport Harbor - sea smoke 508 MASTER
Courtesy of Peter Ralston

There is the occasional fascinating sea smoke

Rockport Harbor/winterand gulls and ducks holding conventions on the ice.

Courtesy of Mark Van Baalen
Courtesy of Mark Van Baalen

Never, however, have I seen anything like this.  As explained by my friend Mark who sent the photo today, this is “pancake ice” which occurs on the ocean when it gets really cold as it has been now for days. The formations are caused by the gentle rocking of the waves which agitates slush and forms rounded blobs with upturned edges.  He explains that this kind of action is far more common in the Arctic than in Rockport Harbor.

Isn’t it fascinating what nature can do?  As interesting as this sight must be, I think I’d rather be in the warmer climes of Houston!  I am grateful to Mark though for sharing this most interesting information.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine, Winter

Sea Smoke

When I am in Maine, as soon as my eyes open I look to see what’s going on on the harbor.  No matter the season, there’s always something that gets my attention.

winter/sea smokeLast week, for the first time I saw sea smoke which is a fog over the water caused by very cold temperatures.  As soon as I realized what it was I grabbed my camera and stepped outside, barefooted and in PJs.  Can you guess I’m not used to winter?

winter/sea smokeThe sight accented by early morning light was beautiful, and once again I was in awe of the magic of nature.

winter/sea smokeSince it was so cold, there was ice on the harbor, and several of the floes had a convention of gulls on them.  I couldn’t help but wonder if their feet were encased in the ice or if they were just enjoying the ride.

Rockport Harbor - sea smoke 508 MASTERWhile I was happy to have my very own photos of sea smoke, take a look at these to get a feel of how it looked from the mouth of the harbor.

Rockport Harbor - sea smoke 188 MASTERThanks to my friend and talented photographer Peter Ralston for allowing me to use his beautiful shots.

Yes, winter is full of wonder, and while I’m happy to have a few days of it I have to confess to being glad not to have to endure its length in the cold north!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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