It’s been one of those super busy weeks for me that just sped by! I, like a lot of us, feel like I should be able to do it all, and then need to take a moment to calm myself when a panic arises with the realization that maybe it won’t get done after all.
I send my column in on a Sunday. After a full Saturday of appointments and trouble-shooting mishaps something possessed me to get my grocery shopping out of the way. So, after lugging in the groceries well beyond my dinner hour, hungry and exhausted, it was all I could do but to stare at my blank computer screen. Nothing was springing to mind as a way to begin. Since our hamlet lacks a village, there is a shortage of events to discuss during the sleepier months. Now is the time that I really appreciate tips from readers … so, please don’t be shy! In the end, I decided it was best to rest, and surely inspiration would call on me with the freshness of the morning.
The beautiful thing about living in our area is that inspiration is everywhere in the landscape and the stratosphere. For instance, it’s my morning habit to step outside shortly upon awakening to spend a quiet moment or two gazing upward and giving thanks for the new day. Stepping outside Last Sunday morning, I was delighted to be greeted with puffy cloud dolphins, an elephant, a friendly shark, and a whale, and a cottontail bunny all floating along happily together above me as if wishing me a good morning. I just turned 47 … yikes! But, in that moment, I was really only about 8 years old again.
Whatever the season, it feels like we are constantly being favored from above with an extraordinary quality of light that transforms our already beautiful land and seascapes into heart-stopping works of pure magic. This weekend, Ashawagh Hall presents a new art show “Four Points of View” that showcases different interpretations of local landscapes as demonstrated in the works of four gifted artists. The paintings of Kirsten Benfield, Pingree Louchheim, Richard Udice, and Jerry Schwabe will be a treat for the eyes. The opening reception will be Saturday, November 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For further inspiration, I was happy to be able to attend “The Springs Memories” event “Diary of a Bayman,” sponsored by the Springs Historical Society at the Springs Church. It warmed my heart to see such a fantastic turnout of familiar faces from my childhood, and the atmosphere was homey with coffee and homemade cookies offered. Bernice Miller Bennett treated an enthralled audience to excerpts from her father, Dwayne Miller’s 1945 diary. Dwayne was a “Green River Miller,” Bernice explained, meaning he was born and buried in Green River with a headstone whose epitaph reads “Bayman,” because her mother wanted to ensure there would be no doubt to future cemetery visitors that her husband was indeed a Bonacker. She began by sharing a touching poem that she had written about her dad called “The Grave.” Her dad was 43 years old at the time of this diary, and died at the age of 68. “It was a difficult life to be a bayman,” Bernice told us. A family of four, “we lived by the tide and the weather” she said. Sure enough, each entry began with the direction of the wind and the description of the climate, and detailed the catch of each day as well as the exact money earned. Bernice delivered a warm, funny, and touching tribute to her father that brought back a floodgate of memories for many of us, and gifted us all with a special glimpse into the Springs of yesteryear.
I was too shy to share my memory that Sunday. So, I’ll share it here with you. My little sister, Jina, and I were taken out to my dad’s fish traps only a few times growing up, and for a good reason. The last time, I was about ten years old and my sister was six. As our dad was scooping his catch into the little boat, Jina made a sad face. She felt sorry for the flopping, frantic fish. So to cheer her, I had her quietly help me toss the fish overboard behind our dad’s back. When my dad finished clearing his trap and turned to survey his bounty, the boat was nearly empty. We literally threw away his day’s pay! “The Springs Memories” series is such a wonderful program. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when there’s another one. Thank you, Springs Historical Society and a special thank you to Bernice Miller Bennett for sharing her father’s diary with us.
My November birthday on the 8th is always bittersweet because exactly a week later was the birthday of my sweet sister who has been residing with my mother and all the other angels since 2001. I miss her greatly, and I am touched that so many others do, too. We grew up loving Shakespeare and reading the plays aloud. In the Springs School 8th grade play, Jina had the lead role in “Romeo and Juliet.” Her headstone in our family plot on Windmill Lane is inscribed from that play “The all-seeing sun n’er saw her match since first the world begun.” It’s fitting and true. Love to Jina and to all of our collective “angels.” Until next time, happy week all!