Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Season of Change

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
by Albert Camus

With summer's passing comes autumn. Reminding us that change is constant. As the fall season dazzles us with its flush of vibrant colors I am reminded that life is a cycle with no end. What dies will soon be reborn again into another shape, another form.

This past summer was not what I had hoped for in both the garden and in life outside of the garden gate. The weather was a challenge for even the most seasoned master gardener and for me the novice it was a time to learn and to be patience.

As summer ended with the passing of 2 people I loved dearly the garden became a metaphor for what I was experiencing in life. As the flowers began to fade so did the leaves on the trees - turning from a soft, subtle green to a crispy golden yellow. The vegetable garden brought forth its final bounty as the once lush vines of squash shriveled back into the earth.

For me autumn always brought me a tinge of sadness. Even with its beauty I was always reminded that the long, dark, cold winters of New England were just around the corner. But, this autumn I seem to have a new perspective. Happy to say goodbye to the trials of this past summer I'm looking forward to the clean slate that winter will bring. Cutting back the dead stems in the perennial bed and cleaning out the vegetable garden has been cathartic for me. This winter will provide a must needed respite as I look forward to a new day, a new year, a new spring.

For now I will relish in the crispness of the autumn air. I will enjoy the sounds of leaves crunching beneath my feet and the wafting scents of burning wood, harvested apples, and homemade pumpkin pie.

Instead of this being the end it will be the start of a new beginning. A spring of sorts in its own right as life sleeps for a while in preparation of its rebirth.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Visit to the Knob

This past Saturday would have been J.P.'s 80 birthday. Although he is only with us in spirit now the family celebrated his birthday by visiting some of the places he loved the most - the ocean front on Cape Cod with spectacular views of Nantucket sound and its cliff side lighthouses.

On this day the air was crisp and clean with scents of autumn and the saltiness of the Atlantic ocean. Not a cloud was in the sky as we made a pilgrimage out to the Knob on Quissett Harbor in Falmouth, Massachusetts to pay tribute to the man we loved so much.

At the bottom of the cliff on the Knob 2 fishermen were casting their lines hoping for a good catch. The view is so magnificent that I don't think they really cared if they caught a thing.

After visiting the Knob we hiked back to our cars and drove out to the Nobska Point Lighthouse.

An art class was camped out on the beach doing watercolor paintings. Below you can see the teacher at her easel.

As our day ended we left the beach at Woods Hole in Falmouth and headed home for a family dinner of baked ziti as we gathered around the table to reminisce.

At the evenings end we made a champagne toast to J.P. and lit the candles on a birthday cake in his honor. His wife, children, and grandchildren gathered around the cake to blow out the candles in unison. Although we knew one wish wouldn't come true we all took comfort in being together as a family. For it is indeed true that love never dies.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Farewell J.P.

There are some people that come in to your life and touch you like a bright light from above. I was fortunate to know such a person and Andy was blessed enough to call him Dad. But, when God calls that person back home the loss we feel seems to numb us to our core.

On September 9, Andy's father returned home to heaven. Although I had only known J.P. for 10 years he was in every sense a father to me too. I loved him with all my heart and relished the time we spent together debating all kinds of subjects. J.P. was a kind soul whose generosity saw no bounds. Such generosity was evident as he practiced dentristy and took care of patients who had no money or insurance to pay for dental care. He was a modest man who preferred to be called J.P. instead of Dr. Jean Paul Grenon.

Of all the joys in his life (and sports was one of them) his family brought him the most happiness. With his loving wife Fleurette by his side he watched his 3 children grow to have families of their own and relished in being called Pepere by 5 wonderful grandchildren.

We will miss you J.P. We will miss watching the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics games with you. We will miss debating politics with you and the many other subjects you were so passionate about. We will miss seeing you sit at the head of the table and carving the turkey during holiday dinners. We will miss the twinkle in your eye.... your kind smile.... your sense of humor (the "Charlie Brown" ornament will forever have a place of prominence on our Christmas tree.) You live on in our memories, our hearts, and our souls. We know you continue to be with us in spirit as you watch over us from heaven.

Thank you J.P. for allowing me to know you. May you rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back from Cape Cod

At summer's end we always take a vacation the week before Labor Day. As usual this year we rented a cottage in Chatham on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The cottage is an adorable little beach cottage that is located within walking distance to a nature preserve and Forest Beach. The Forest Beach area is quintessential Cape Cod with sand dunes, marshes, and clapboard cottages. I dream of owning a summer cottage there some day.... well one can only dream... this is one of the most expensive neighborhoods on all of Cape Cod.

Here's a view from the outside of the cottage. I love the blue awnings and weathered look.

This is the dinning area - it looks like at one time it was a screened in porch. We sat here evenings and let the cool breeze blow through as we lit candles and played cards.

The living room.

The fireplace in the living room for cool evenings.

One of the bedrooms.

A very functional kitchen with original beadboard cabinets.

Another view of the living room.

A marina nearby the cottage in Harwich.

The lighthouse in Chatham.

Lighthouse beach - 3 great white sharks were spotted in the waters here while we were there!

This is what happens when you leave your lunch on the beach unattended while going for a dip in the ocean. It all starts with one hungry seagull. (This was not our lunch it belonged to someone near us).

Then a friend joins him for lunch.

Before you know it an entire flock is having a party. Look at the guy laying down in the background - the seagulls didn't even faze him. Amazing because they made a ton of noise.

Another view of Chatham Lighthouse Beach.

A visit to Monomoy Beach and Nature Preserve was loads of fun for Ellie.... you'll see why... below are the steps leading down to the beach. This picture was taken at low tide, but we've been there when the water was right up to the rocky cliffs at high tide.

A horse shoe crab has molted its shell.

Another view of Monomoy Nature Preserve Beach. There are tons of seals right off these shores, which is what brought the great white sharks in for a visit.

Ellie's absolutely favorite thing to do while visiting Monomoy Nature Preserve is to roll around in the seaweed and hide her favorite ball.

I love looking at all the beach cottages around Chatham. Some are large and grand while others are small and cozy. This one was grander than most and had a gorgeous garden.

This isn't a cottage but a family gathering shack. Right after this photo was taken the family that owned it pulled up, threw open the hurricane shutters and had a family barbecue for Labor Day. The shack is right on the beach and has been owned by a Chatham family for decades. It has no running water or electricity so they don't stay there overnight.
Some rocks on the Jeddy at Forest Beach.

Ellie's paw prints.

Another view of Forest Beach... this beach was a short walk from where we stayed for the week.

This shack is called a half way house. It's actually a historical landmark. These shacks were placed along the shore on Cape Cod for ship recked sailors in the late 1800s.

You see these blue boxes all over salt marshes in Cape Cod. They are used to lure and trap horse flies. The flies think it's a horse or cow and they are drawn in to the underside of it and can't escape -- dumb flies -- doesn't look like an animal to me.

Wild flowers growing along the fence at the Forest Beach Nature Preserve.

The salt marsh at Forest Beach.

A row of birdhouses in front of a beach cottage.

Another cottage....

This cottage is for sale at $800,000! It's tiny in size but because it's right on the beach it commands a high price.

More cottages in the Forest Beach area below....

On the 2nd to the last day of our vacation we took a drive to Sandwich, Cape Cod (east of Chatham on the cape). I love this bird house.

A bridge that takes you from the marshes to the ocean beaches.

An osprey nest in Sandwich.

A boardwalk on the marsh in Sandwich, Cape Cod.

Another view of the boardwalk.

The rocky ocean waves in Sandwich.

A great place for kayaking in the salt marsh of Sandwich.

On our final day of vacation we stopped by the Bird Watchers store in Orleans, Cape Cod. I LOVE this store and have to hold back from buying everything in there. Here is Andy haming it up in front of the store with a huge pair of binoculars.

These are fused glass bird baths. I would love to have one.

While vacationing Andy and I did a lot of kayaking. We enjoyed it so much we bought our own. Here's Andy proudly displaying his new purchase. We bought 2 Wilderness Systems Pungo 120s. The lime green one is mine and the yellow is his. We should be able to kayak until early November at least. This weekend we hope to try them out for the first time.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of our Cape Cod vacation. I've got lots of catching up to do with my blogging and can't wait to read what you've all been up to.