Monthly Archives: August 2015

Abrams Pond 2015

Once again, the Lord blessed us, allowing us to be able to get to our favorite vacation spot for the fifth year in a row. Another week at Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Maine. Often I sit and think just how fortunate I am. God has blessed my family and I so many more times than I could count, or even begin to fathom how or why we deserve life’s rewards. So, with humility, I share the pictures that tell the stores of our week in Maine.

You may be standing right next to me as I notice something flying in the sky half a mile away. I am constantly looking to the skies, to the depths of the waters, to the shadows between the trees, or along the sides of the beaten paths. And sometimes, I am fortunate enough to see the life of the wild that is around me.

Wildlife

 

A juvenile eagle welcomes us to Abrams Pond

A juvenile eagle welcomes us to Abrams Pond

 

Great Blue on a grey day

Great Blue and the greys

 

Swimming duck

The ducks are a constant around the dock

 

Our Bald Eagle friend made several appearances during the week

Our Bald Eagle friend made several appearances during the week

 

Of course, we travel as a family. It’s a family vacation. One of the things that we love so much about this place, is the speed of life, or the lack thereof. The kids love the yard, the house, and of course the lake. As the kids grow, so does their enjoyment, and therefore our pleasure. I look at these and I smile. Sometimes, all I can do is trail behind and just try to keep up.

Kids

 

Eyes on the prize

I want to look at the camera but my eyes are on the prize

 

Check out this catch

Check out this catch

 

Lake fun

The sun is down, but that doesn’t stop the kids’ fun on the water

 

Our little fisherman

Is there pride in those eyes of our little fisherman

 

Photo with the fish

All smiles with a handful of fish

 

Proud of their fish

This twin team is proud of their fish

 

That's a proud boy

Different day, probably the same fish

 

The lonely fisherman and his can of Pringles

The lonely fisherman and his can of Pringles

 

Time and space to chill

We love it here, because all ages have time and space to relax

 

Looking for crabs at Acadia Schoodic Point

Looking for crabs at Acadia – Schoodic Point

 

Lonely swimmer blues

Lonely swimmer blues – Lamoine Beach

 

Then there are the scenes we have become accustomed to around Abrams Pond. There are many, and a few of them are captured here. Some might be repetitive from previous years, but we never tire of them.

Scenes

 

Chair by moon reflection

A favorite spot of my wife, day or night

 

Calm reflection

The calm reflection of another perfect evening

 

Lakeside fire

We do love our fires, at home or in Maine

 

The incoming tide creates a river from one basin down to another

The incoming tide creates a river from one basin down to another – Acadia Schoodic Point

 

Moon over the lake

The moon rises in peace

 

Over the hundreds of posts I have published here, I have used thousands and thousands of words to tell stories or share pieces of my life. But then, there’s the sky. The sky that makes the rest look so small. The sky that changes by the second. The sky that can hold my attention for hours at a time. The sky that only God put in its’ place. Graphics nowadays are tremendous on games and screens, but nothing beats the sky in all of its’ grandeur.

Sky

 

Abrams Pond 2015

Afternoon on a splendid day at Abrams Pond 2015

 

Abrams Pond Evening 2015

The silhouettes fish under this gorgeous evening sky at Abrams Pond 2015

 

Abrams Pond Sky 2015

Imagine the senses engaged by welcoming each and every second of the changing evening sky

 

God's canvas

How many times is God’s canvas wiped clean only to be replaced by a picture more beautiful than the one before

 

Huge sky

The lake and its’ 400+ acres just seem smaller on some days

 

Moon rising and reflection

The sky was already beautiful and then the moon was revealed

 

SuperMoon Eve

The eve of Super Moon 2015

 

What else do you need

The air is warm, the breeze just right, the day empty of to do’s, what else could I need

 

All I can say is that, we are hopeful to return to this favorite place in 2016. I thank God for the blessings that allow this trip to come together for five years running. I thank my family, all around, for making this place come to life each summer; I am the beneficiary indeed. Thank you J for all you do to make this place what it is. I, we, enjoy the correspondence we share. And J, I also enjoy sharing my love of this place and the love of baseball with you. Abrams Pond 2015, was completely our pleasure. Thank you.

A Sliver of Night Sky

 

Night sky 081715

I tried to capture the Northern Lights from my font yard and ended up with this. (30 seconds)

Sunday Morning Peace

Last Sunday morning I found peace in a place I’d never been before. Sitting on the top deck at the rental house in Waves, NC, I prayed, I wrote, I listened, I drifted, I sang, I sat and tried to ponder the depths of blue in the sky above me. The sun was bright. It was at my back. I stared out over Pamlico Sound from my deck perch, and I wondered how the water that was my horizon as far as I could see could be blue but still close to charcoal color and dark purple at the same time.

Mostly though, I listened to gospel hymns and old style country gospel songs as I sang the words I knew, and thought deeply on the applications through life of the words I didn’t. The Outer Banks’ strong breezes dried tears still on my cheeks as I thought of the tender love afforded me by my Lord that I don’t nearly deserve. Emotions bubbled up with the memories of loved ones who sit at His throne now. The sound of the wind, the beauty of harmonies I only wish to conceive, and the silences in the distant corners of my mind, were the peaceful backdrop I so needed that morning.

Blue doesn’t get much more perfect than this

 

In the Garden

Often times, as I stroll through the quiet, God created, wild places, I find myself praying, if not, talking with my Lord. In those moments, the balance of life, my peace of mind, and feeling of blessed assurance is mine; mine alone. It reminds me of the truths found in words to a song I remember singing in church…

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known…”

The joy is mine, and it’s always available; always. Thank you Lord. Oh, to be there now.

In the Garden

The Day on the Lake

Every once in a while, and probably more often than that, it’s good to do the things you talk about doing year after year. For the past several years, whenever we run into some good friends of ours, whether it be through baseball, or hockey, or how ever it is that we run into each other, the discussion invariably leads to the same thing, “you’ve got to come up to the lake with us”, or some variation of that. Yes, it’s been an open invitation, a recurring one at that. Well, over the years, schedules, availability, probably some forgetfulness on our part, among other reasons, have left us another year passed without a trip to visit on the lake. That all ended yesterday.

The captain and I after our return to the marina

The captain and I after our return to the marina

Last week, upon realizing that we had a pretty ‘quiet’ weekend coming up, one of the kids suggested we contact our friends about visiting them up on the lake. Well, I reached out to them via text message and they thought it was a great idea. Days passed, plans were confirmed, ideas shared, and the waiting until Saturday was all that was needed.

Saturday morning arrived, and we packed snacks, drinks, towels, and other items needed to be on the lake. Then again, not being a water, or boating person myself, I am sure we should have brought a few more items than we did. Our friends though, were amply prepared for us and themselves, and nothing was lacking as we boarded their boat at West Alton Marina on Lake Winnipesaukee, here in NH.

Now, I will readily admit that I am not comfortable in water that is any deeper than 5 or 6 feet. Really uncomfortable. I do not swim well, if you could even call it swimming. I was raised on land, with shoes on my feet. I am comfortable in the woods, and up and down mountains, but not in water. My pulse quickens and a fear that I am no longer in control hits me as soon as I drop into water that I cannot stand up and still breathe in. I point this out because it’s very real and very true, but it’s also something that I would like to get better at, or overcome. Of course, I don’t get much practice so that doesn’t help.

So as we (my wife, our three youngest children, and myself) visited with our friends and their two boys, I was quickly reminded how much we enjoy these folks. As we made our way out onto the open spaces of the lake, it was a pleasant reminder of how beautiful this place really is.

The boys

The boys

I have been on and around Lake Winnipesaukee many, many times over the years, but it had been at least 15 years since the last time I was out on the water.

Before too long, the three oldest boys, ages 16, 15, and 14, giving a month or two here and there, were ready to get out and do some tubing. The views in every direction were just gorgeous. The combination of blue sky, warm air, and huge puffy clouds, made for the perfect day on the lake.

The boys made it out onto the huge tube and took their handholds in preparation for the turbulence to come. The appealing backdrop was equalled in beauty by the smiles that were plastered across all of our faces, theirs and ours, as we watched the boys hang on for dear life, sharing in the times of their lives. It was a great time! Then, it was time for my wife and our 5 year old twins to take a turn on the tube. Before climbing out on to the tube, the twins made sure to inform the captain that he should proceed slowly and not go as fast as he had with the older boys. He did oblige.

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The twins absolutely loved being on the tube, and before we knew it, they were asking for the captain to speed up, little by little.

Mom and the twins asking for more speed

Mom and the twins asking for more speed

They were quite proud of themselves when their time was up and we loaded them back on the boat. Their smiles ran from ear to ear.

With the engine off, and the boat resting in some tranquil cove on New Hampshire’s largest lake (44,586 acres), our captain thought it was a good time to cool off. Before I knew it, he jumped into the lake from the boat. His facial expressions showed just how good the dip in the lake felt. Shortly thereafter, despite my fears and what I know about myself, I said that I can’t make this trip out to the lake without cooling off myself. Of course I had no idea what the approaching afternoon held in store for me. Either way, I jumped into the lake. I had no idea how deep the water was, and I really didn’t care.

Mare and the twins enjoying some tubing on Winnipesaukee

Mare and the twins enjoying some tubing on Winnipesaukee

The water was such a pleasant temperature, cool enough to refresh, but warm enough not to sting or numb. I floundered a bit while trying to remain calm and be in control while I made my way back to the ladder on the back of the boat. I climbed aboard, refreshed by the waters, and relieved to be back on the boat.

From there, there was another round of tubing, or two, and everyone was enjoying their time together. Then we hit open waters for a bit as we made our way over to the area of the lake known as Winter Harbor. We found a suitable spot to drop anchor and relax for a while in the shallow depths. The water was only 11 or 12 feet deep in this spot. Once the boat was secured, and spacing was appropriate among the other boats in the area, we turned to lunch.

The captain, and Mrs. captain converted a bench seat into a nice little table, they opened hatches and hiding spots that revealed toys for play on the water, food, drinks, and all kinds of things that made the day feel like a day in the comforts of home.

Mrs. captain and my wife enjoying some sunshine and conversation

Mrs. captain and my wife enjoying some sunshine and conversation

The radio was playing tunes from Jimmy Buffett, and the grill was fired up. Before long, sausages and hot dogs were cooked, and chips were shared. It was a great spot, with great friends, and wonderfully tasty food as well. Everyone ate some, and as the comfort of overcoming hunger took effect, everyone looked to play in the sun, or in the water, or both. And we did.

Soon it was just after 1pm, and we had the luxury to turn the radio over to the Red Sox game (my favorite). We had the game on the radio. We had a gorgeous sunny afternoon. We had a group of folks who thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. We had the water, and the wonderful surroundings. We had time; and my, did we enjoy it.

Noodles, Sea Doo Aqua Rangers, life jackets, the tube, and various flotation devices all found their way into our myriad of hands as we explored the water around us. Kids and parents moving back and forth from the water to the boat, and around we went. Before we packed up to leave this little piece of paradise, I noticed that we had spent nearly 7 hours in the same spot. Afternoon in all of its sunny splendor led to a blue skied evening. It was just perfect. I also noticed that I had spent almost the entire time in this cove, in the water. Now, I had a noodle or two, and some strategically placed flotation devices to help me stay above water even when the twins took turns climbing on me or playing around me. I tried to expand my comfort zone a little bit, and it didn’t hurt to spend time in the water.

Aboard Simply Complicated

Aboard Simply Complicated

We had a blast in this little cove. The kids played, explored, and learned more about themselves. We talked. We caught up. We laughed. We laughed a lot. We shared stories. We exchanged examples of parenting techniques. We enjoyed the place. We enjoyed the people. We enjoyed God’s creation around us. We even noticed that the time between our visits was virtually irrelevant as we picked up right where we had left off; good friends enjoying one another’s company.

One of the boats near us started it’s rocket like engine and it scared the kids even though all parties had been given fair warning. But that lasted for only a couple of seconds before the spirit of adventure regained its siege on the youngsters.

Sometime late in the afternoon a boat approached our starboard side and was looking to anchor in the same area where we were. Our captain (in the water) helped them position their boat. They did have more than a few mishaps each with both their bow anchors and their stern anchors, which made for very funny banter between the adults on both boats. No harm done. Before long, their kids onboard (maybe five or six of them), all teenage girls, were in the water alongside our kids, including the three teenage boys. We also had a friend, a 16 year old young lady who had ridden her jet ski to the cove to meet us, who was among our group playing in the cove.

The captain, the twins, and I

The captain, the twins, and I

Suddenly the kids were not nearly as interested in being around us, or the boat for that matter. Kids being kids. Love it.

As the captain (also named Steve) and I were chatting with the adults on the other boat, several of whom also jumped into the water and cooled off, we told stories, we answered questions as to who we might know from their corner of the world as it related to ours. From what I could gather, the adults were from Londonderry, NH. This of course is the town where I grew up. We in fact did know some mutual folks, and conversations continued. Some of the time we were in the water, and some of the time, the captain and I were in the water while the adults were aboard their boat several feet above us. Bill and Ellen. Kevin and Rhonda. You all were a genuine treat! We had a great time spending a few afternoon hours next to you folks on stunning Lake Winnipesaukee.

Since, one of my best friends growing up was also named Steve, I smiled when I heard references to Steve1 and Steve2, or the two of us referred to as Steve². For the record, yesterday, I was Steve2. It was a lot of fun interacting with these folks and their kids.

Jackie wanted her picture taken with the captain

Jackie wanted her picture taken with the captain

I know we thoroughly enjoyed the humility of the situation when all of the achievements and status of life are torn away, and what remains is a group of people all treading water in a shallow cove somewhere, just trying to enjoy a perfect NH summer day. There’s something to be said for these moments and participating in them. It was spontaneous. It was real. It was hilarious. It was as it should be.

Eventually it was time for us to pack everything into the spaces afforded by the boat and make our way back from whence we came, across the lake. Mrs. Captain took the wheel for the return trip. The open water was free from traffic. The sun was settling lower into the summer sky making shadows stretch in length. The air was warm but the movement had the kids shifting about looking for shirts and towels to cover their exposed skin. Jackie sat cuddled in my arms, sitting on my lap. Across from me, my wife sat holding Theodore as he drifted off to sleep in her arms for the ride back to the marina. Our return trip ran mostly from north to south, leaving the setting sun on our starboard side. The orange-ish glow created by the setting sun lit up my wifes’ face and her blonde hair pulled back to a ponytail looked so beautiful, like the glow one might picture in a dream. She and I made eye contact in the silence that was the sound of the boat rushing over the open water, and whispered “I love you’s” to each other as we took in the beauty of those moments with the kids, on the water. The kids were happy, the twins were on their parents’ laps, and Mrs. captain performed admirably while our captain relaxed too.

As our rapid movement across the lake produced an ever changing sequence of shadow and light dancing across my wife’s beautiful smile, I smiled, a fortunate man. Similar to how it might look when trying to watch a film from a projector on a backdrop that is anything but a white screen, these flashes of light and shadow danced like memories playing on the big screen as I recalled the day’s’ events so I wouldn’t forget them.

Soon we hit Smalls Cove and returned to the docks. We proceeded to sort belongings and unload the things that needed to be taken elsewhere. Before we left our friends to head for home, we ate. We fired up the grill outside the cabana, and the captain grilled mouthwatering marinated chicken, buffalo chicken sausage, bacon and cheddar burgers, and grilled burger buns.

Theodore had to have his picture taken with the captain as well

Theodore had to have his picture taken with the captain as well

The food, again, was amazing as was the conversation with our friends. It’s always nice to share moments with folks who noticeably avoid agenda, participate in each moment, and who are just as thrilled to be in the same space as we were. What a great time! What a great day! For all of the times that this gathering didn’t happen; What were we thinking?!?!

As I walked to retrieve our vehicle which was parked a few minutes away, I smiled as I thought of the day. I didn’t want the day to end, but I was at peace still because it would be hard to have found a way to spend the day any better than we did. We are so very thankful and equally fortunate.

We packed our van, after making sure we hadn’t missed anything else we brought. We said our goodbyes for now and gave each other hugs. Light from beyond the sunset was clinging to the scene in its’ attempt to keep darkness at bay. As we drove away on the beginning of our return home, the twins piped in with their thoughts on the day. They shared how much they loved the boat and everything having to do with the water. They each said, on their own, another thing about the day that they liked so much, was the captain. In this sense, the captain included both, Mrs. captain and the captain. Even this morning, the twins continued talking about the day on the lake, and the captain.

I know that time will not be any easier to find as we go forward, but I also know that another day on the lake with our friends will, Lord willing, be in our near future. Again, thank you. We are truly blessed.