Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy 11th Birthday, Rowan!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Rowan, the dog who, in some ways, knows me better than I know myself. It's hard to believe my boy is eleven, except when I remember how his face used to have much stronger color. He's not really going gray, he's going white (kind of like me). He used to have such strong reddish color around his eyes, and that has all faded, making his eyes seem darker. That just highlights for me how much Rowan watches me-- those dark eyes are following me much of the day, with his characteristic head bob showing when he's trying to figure out what I'm going to do next. I love seeing that subtle little bob, as he watches me walking along and tries to figure out which way I'll turn.

He's slowing down some, and often prefers to sit in the shade and watch Petra and Milo run, but every now and then he gets a spurt of energy and runs through the yard, his magnificent coat waving in the breeze.

If I say "Just Rowan," he leaps up from the hearth where he's usually sleeping and comes running, knowing that he's going to be the only dog to go outside with me. We were just outside this evening having some birthday fun, just Rowan and me, playing one of our favorite games. I either tell him to wait or sneak around to the far side of something, in this case a bunch of flowers, and then turn to face Rowan. Rowan will sit or stand tall watching me for a moment, then race around to join me, while I try to beat him around to the other side. He always catches up to me, and we laugh together.

We've been playing this game for 11 years now and neither of us has tired of it. I hope I get to play it with my boy for many more years and get to have him walking by my side watching my every move for a long time to come.
Happy Birthday, Rowan! You are a joy and a blessing in so many ways.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nine years ago today...

Nine years ago, a little red puppy was born. I didn't meet her until three weeks later, when I fell in love with a small, sweet puppy who snuggled into my arms and fell asleep.
That may have been a ploy on her part, as that was the last time we saw her asleep until several years had passed.
 Years full of running...
playing with friends...


jumping for joy...

leaping up trees...

 watching for us to come home

being a little sister to Rowan...
snuggling on laps...

and being a faithful shadow..

I can't imagine life without this little red dog. She is my companion whenever I slip out at night to savor the starlight or walk under the full moon. She curls quietly beside my chair whenever I sit to read. She has a contagious way of living fully in the moment that helps me see and experience the fullness of life. With all her idiosyncrasies and quirks, she occupies a unique spot in our home, and with all her devotion and love, she fills our hearts.

Happy Birthday, Petra, and may you have many more years of exuberance and joy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Warblers, Mink, and More

The wildlife have been more abundant or, at least, more apparent than usual around our home this past week. We're in the midst of spring bird migration, which has new species arriving daily from points south. It's hard to concentrate on much else, and Stephen and I have both been prowling around our yard, woods, and swampy area, binoculars in hand, watching and listening for warblers and other birds.

I've been filling sketchbook pages with daily lists of our sightings, which include our regular year-round birds, as well as the new arrivals who will stay for the summer, and those that are just passing through on their way farther north. Some of my sketches are from memory, some I do while observing the birds, and some are from photos (warblers don't sit still long enough for much sketching).

Last Thursday I was walking in the yard, enjoying the sunshine and warmth, both relatively rare this spring until that point, when I saw a mink scampering along the side of the stream, a mouse dangling from his mouth! The last time I saw a mink here was twenty-six years ago when one ran across the driveway in front of my car (I was so excited I drove right off the driveway!). I love knowing that there is a rarely seen but nonetheless fully present parallel world of wildlife that knows our land as their home.

(click on images to enlarge them)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Predawn Musings

Moonlight always calls to me when it shines bright, lighting the outdoors and peering in through windows, beckoning me from the comfort of my bed, from the security of my house. I step outside into the magical light of night, and Petra, somehow knowing when I'm drawn to the moonlit night, leaves her comfortable bed to eagerly but silently join me.  We leave Steve and the other dogs sleeping, while we pad around the yard, filling and quieting heart and soul.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Like a Lion...

March's leonine nature has stepped to the fore, roaring in on a north wind during the night,  painting frost pictures on windows and thickly coating the deck with ice. The previously melting snow is now coated with a thick crust of ice, on which I could walk if it weren't so slippery. The feeders, nearly deserted yesterday, are bustling with birds today. Warm in wool, I watch, as I sip my tea and enjoy winter from my window.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Darkness and Dawn

Darkness and Dawn
I woke up and glanced out the bedroom window to see streaks of light breaking the darkness, crossing the night sky with hints of the new day. Racing to my studio, I painted this in the dark; if I had turned on a light, I would no longer have been able to see what was dim but dramatic in the early dawn light beyond my window. As I look at the sky on such mornings, I can't help wondering how often our lights, sounds, and other ways of adapting our world obscure from our view the often-silent beauty of that which is beyond our control and is far more majestic than anything we can create

This is one of the paintings on display at the East Fishkill Library until Friday this week.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Watercolor 5x7
From early spring through summer, I awaken to the song of a Cardinal, the first herald of the new day. In winter, the Cardinals around my home seem to prefer their cozy perches and they let other birds announce dawn, preferring to wait for the late-rising sun to fully appear. Just in the past week, though, the  Cardinals have started singing their cheerful morning song, which tells me that they believe spring is just around the corner. Much as I love winter, I will welcome the warmth, the sunshine, and the song of spring.

This Cardinal watercolor is currently on display at the East Fishkill Library in Hopewell Junction, NY. If interested in purchasing it, please contact me at

Here are a few of my journal pages from recent days, sketched in between shoveling snow:
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