Defining Lines

“A line is a visual trail of energy that has been drawn across a surface, and is a manifestation of the life energy of the person that made it.” ~Mick Maslen

Much like elements define nature, our lives mark us.

Waters cuts. Wind etches. Sun chars. Lines twist, turn, and cross. Contours, creases, folds, and holes develop.  Sediments shift and adhere like glue. Objects evolve until the original shape is no longer recognizable. Do we do this as people?

Smokers develop lines around their lips. Creases etch their way upon the foreheads of frowners.  We bruise, scar, and break in reaction to pain. We cover our bodies in piercings and tattoos. We overeat or drink excessively creating layers of fat and yellowed skin tones. We sunbathe until we are dark and leathered. Most of these things are our choices. Do we like what we become? Are we recognizable to people of our past? Do we even care?

We wear the marks of our lives, whether we want to or not. We leave our marks behind as well. We often live our lives in haste and don’t give much consideration to what we’re leaving behind. I’m surely guilty of this at times. I want the strokes of my life to be ones of love and peace, but I must keep love and peace in my heart for the lines I draw to be of the same.

I spent last week on the water and under the sun. I certainly look like it. The elements did not carve me into a work of art. I am a combination of weird suntan lines. I have stripes across my feet from the straps of my water shoes. The lower portions of my legs remain untanned as they must have been shaded by the boat. The fronts of my legs are tanned while the backs are white…and there are portions where I missed spraying sunblock so those are now peeling. My arms are tanned (and freckled!) while my back is white because it was beneath a life jacket. The top portions of my legs were covered by the skirt of my swimsuit. Let’s say my pattern is somewhat similar to a calico cat, except without fur, and kittens are cute while this is not!

Anyway….this makes me wonder how “even” the lines of my inner life are. Am I consistent in my thoughts and actions? Do I project myself in straight lines, curves, or a rambling mess of swirls?

“Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change – life itself.” ~Lance Esplund

Cape Lookout: The End Of The Earth

Photo Credit: DirtMan Images

“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” -Christopher Paolini

DirtMan and I have a thing for lighthouses and make an attempt to go to see as many as we can. While we were in Oriental on vacation we took a daytrip to Cape Lookout. We were only about an hour away from Harkers Island so we drove there and took a ferry to Cape Lookout.

The ferry ride took us about three miles offshore to reach Cape Lookout. We weren’t sure how Wylie did great on her first ferry ride. She cozied up to the other passengers and got a little love. When we took off she stretched herself between the passenger’s feet on both sides of the boat. As the boat picked up speed it lifted a bit sending Wylie sliding backwards. Poor thing, she tried to dig her feet in to catch herself to no avail. We all kind of steadied her with our feet.

Cape Lookout is part of the barrier islands that comprise the Outer Banks. It is 56 miles of seashore. One of the islands, Shackleford Banks, is the home of about 110 wild horses. This island is 9 miles long and less than a mile wide. We saw several horses as we passed, but I didn’t take my camera out because I was afraid the salt water spray would damage it. About the time we approached  rain hit us anyway. We got quite a downpour. Luckily it only lasted about twenty minutes and the weather cleared to be a beautiful sunny day.

The lighthouse is located at Cape Lookout National Seashore. DirtMan and I had to stagger our lighthouse tours so that one of us could stay with Wylie. It was one heck of a climb up. I didn’t think the stairs would ever end. I stopped a few times to catch my breath, and my legs were weak by the time I reached the top.

The view was astounding…worth absolutely every step to get there! From the top of the lighthouse you literally view the “end of the earth”.  The climb down was much easier than the climb up. However, after I reached even ground my legs started to wobble and continued for an hour or so while we hiked to the beach and strolled the shoreline.

The water was crystal clear. Water on one side of the island was cooler and choppier than the other. Many people come to the island for the day to enjoy the beach. We met a family from New York who were vacationing nearby and had ridden the ferry over for the day. They brought their dog along as well. Wylie and Garmish became instant friends. They would have loved to play more and on their own terms, but we were required to keep them leashed. Yes, an unleashed pet warrants a $150 fine.

When we left we entered the ferry from the beach rather than the dock. Wylie tried to sink herself into the sand, but DirtMan picked her up and put her on the ferry. We enjoyed a picnic at Harkers Island before heading back to Oriental.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland

Enough Grace For Today


Today I will live with grace.

Blossoms will replace my thorns.

Love will dissolve bitterness.

I will touch with tenderness.

I will hear and see with my heart.

I will walk with patience at my side.

Hope will guide my ways.

Because time is sacred,

I will live in the moment.

Because love is eternal,

I will spread it freely.

I will focus on my blessings.

I choose happiness today and every day.

I choose to walk in grace.

The Joke Is On Me

I have been known to be quite naïve at times. People tend to say things that go over my head… You know how things have double meanings? Well, I usually take it one way and then “get it” later. Yes, I am often the last to get a joke.  Sometimes I am absorbed in my thoughts am completely unaware of what is actually going on anyway.

While we were on vacation last week:

We rowed our canoe into the town marina. I jump off and head to the local coffee shop for some smoothies for us. It is hot outside but I didn’t want to take my life jacket off so I partially unzip it to let in some air. Besides, I might need it if I misstep or the canoe tips on my way off or back onto the boat. It is one of these small town places the locals hang out. I am greeted with small talk by two grey haired men sitting on the porch. They ask if I have a boat and where I’m from. We talk about the canoe and my dog.

I go inside and order our drinks. I listen to the banter between the barista who is an older woman and a few of her regular customers who all appear to be of retirement age. I realize the tourists are their entertainment.  She asks a tall thin man if he’s feeling better. He tells her he’s starting to gain his weight back and is doing well. He comments to another old fellow that he finds it odd he’s not on his laptop. That man replies he just spilled a whole cup of coffee on the keyboard. “Guess there goes five hundred dollars.”

Drinks in tow, I follow the tall thin man out onto the porch. He joins the other two men I conversed with on my way in the store.

“That thing waterproof?’ asks the youngest and only mustached one of the three.

I assume he is speaking of the small plastic container hooked to the side of my water vest.

“I hope so. The package said it was.” They chuckle. The white hair, tanned skin, shorts, and boat shoes make me think they’re retired fishermen passing time away.

“Carry your cell phone in there?” he asks as he rubs his fingers through his mustache and cups his chin in his hand.

“No, it’s just a tad too tall. And my camera is too wide.”

“You carry your weed in there?”

“My what?”

“Your marijuana.” This time I laugh.

“I carry my ID in it. You know, so you guys will know where to ship my body if I have a boating accident out there.” They all laugh again. The one who asked looks down grinning like he’s proud of himself for coming up with that one. The short one smacks his hand on his knee and the tall skinny one claps his hands together.

We keep laughing and talking. They mostly ask questions and I answer. They tell me I look too young to have grown kids…basically we are just schmoozing. I tell them goodbye and go back to the marina.

I don’t fall as I teeter getting in the canoe. It quickly levels out as I sit in my seat. As I zip my water vest up I see the edge of the ziplock bag sticking out above my zipper line. No one other than DirtMan and I know it contains my camera.

I realize they really must think I’m a hippy swinging into town smoking my weed, canoeing and whatever… Or perhaps they are overgrown hippies and not old fisherman after all. Either way the joke is still one me!

Spin Cycle: Comedy

An Oriental Vacation

Oriental, North Carolina that is!

Though we do not own a sailboat, we maneuvered out way through the creeks along the Neuse River via canoe.

The creeks we canoed are as large or larger than most of the rivers I know. We only crossed beneath the Neuse River Bridge for one trip. The water is a bit choppy due to the fishing/shrimp boats and yachts at the marinas.

Homes stretch along the creek banks. Most have private docks.

Some type of watercraft is tied to almost every private dock.

This is the Neuse River Bridge taken from a canoe’s perspective.

A lone sailboat heads to the harbor at dusk.

A day of cloudy skies usually results in lovely colors at sunset.

A quietness settles in the air as dark descends over the marina.

I sit in the silence with the salt air matting my hair. I inhale the briny air. I stare until I could no longer make out the fine line between the water and sky.

I sit in the stillness for a long time. I sit until I am sticky in the night. Though the waves still chop and crash upon the shores as they did under the sun, the bustling waters of day take on a new persona in the darkness. The setting itself is peaceful yet I feel uneasy. The feeling washes over me quickly, but I remain perplexed by the fear I felt.  Perhaps it is simply that it is not familiar territory.

The lights come one, a few at a time. The chatter picks up and echoes into the night…and then the partying begins.


A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.  ~Robert Orben

The river calls; see you in a week!

Too much work, and no vacation,
Deserves at least a small libation.
So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses,
Work’s the curse of the drinking classes.
~Oscar Wilde

Art: Nature in Emotion

Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.~Aristotle


The art of nature.

The nature of art.

Is it one or the other, or can it be both?

Windows are fogged from a midnight rain.

Sun rises over the trees. Birds sing.

Storm clouds threaten…they lower and linger…the sun retreats.

Thunder rolls across and through the pines.

Rain falls, sizzling on the pavement…steam rises through the trees, grey blending to clouded sky. Soil drinks the drops as quickly as they fall. When it is quenched it stores puddles for later relief. We’re all thirsty for something. It’s in our nature. The art is knowing when to reserve.

As in art, nature soothes us, stirs us, awes with beauty, and touches our souls.

Where nature ends and we begin…is there such a place?

Nature paints over its canvas, rewrites the book, and sings another song.

The creativity of nature is enough to inspire us all.

Do you have a favorite painting, sculpture, or song that uses nature as its inspiration? My favorite painting is the one above, “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, and my favorite songs are “Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and “Morning has Broken” by Cat Stevens (I also like the hymn).

Spin Cycle: Art

Ramblings of a Drifter

I’ve always been accused of having my head in the clouds.

Honestly, it’s never been a bad place for me to be.

I float in and out of conversations, dreams, and sometimes worlds.

Without imagination and dreams life would be a lonely place for me.

You see, I’m not lonely. Nor do I mind being alone. I find comfort in myself as well as the nature around me. I only seek the company of those who compliment my serenity.

Truth is I often live inside…I am aware of what is going on around me. I just take the current situation and internalize it. I try to experience it on a different level.

Though I admit sometimes I do miss things like important words or body language. So, I’m not perfect…I’m just a drifter living in an ever changing world.

So while I do try to be attentive to the moment, don’t hate me if you find me staring into space seemingly lost in some other world…I might simply be enjoying the blessings of the moment.

Peace be to you and may you drift among the clouds and song birds today.

May the blue of the sky and and green of the trees be a delight to your eyes.

May you occasionally touch the ground long enough to feel the grass beneath your feet and the sand between your toes.

May you smell the fresh fragrance of the air and feel the crispness against your skin.

May you taste the salt of the sea or your tears, for at some time they were one and the same.

May you be comfortable in your skin and your world.

May you find harmony in life and nature.

May you truly experience and enjoy the blessing today offers you.

The Flow

This river will teach you everything you need to learn. The water follows and trusts the current. It doesn’t try to direct itself but allows itself to be pulled easily and naturally to the ocean. The current knows where it’s going. That’s why it’s the current. The twigs bob merrily along the surface and the fish trust everything the current brings. The water is called by what is greater, the ocean, where the current both begins and ends. And this is how we are led when we trust our source and allow that source to lead us along to the fullest, happiest expression of life. ~James F. Twyman

My earliest memories are connected to the river.

Its slushing song soothed me to sleep at night while the wail of water crashing among the rocks commanded me to rise.

In between those hours the gurgles, hums, whispers, splashes, and roars crept in and out of my breaths and steps of life.

Perhaps this is why I am at home with the river, any river.

The river gave me strength; the freedom to leave knowing I could always return.

Many a time this drowning soul has poured her heartaches into the water.

My tears wedded with the river’s flow to create one continuing force.

Sorrows hidden beneath stone, secrets contained within the banks; the river held my time never spilling my confidences even when it overflowed.

The river holds mysteries of time as it travels to the sea.

I feel my soul traveling with its sacred current.

I am an ancient secret traveling through the shores of time.

Never underestimate the importance of roots and the power of wings…whether they’re found in the river or elsewhere.