Darkness and Light


Good morning everyone. OK, so this blog does not have a whole lot to do with schooners or windjammers or sailing vacations so if you want to leave now I will not be offended. Today is the winter solstice, as you know, the shortest amount of daylight in our calendar year here in the northern hemisphere. Of course it is the summer solstice on the other side of the equator. So I guess if you wanted to celebrate the summer solstice you wouldn’t be at all in the wrong. I would applaud your ability to see outside the box.Map from Wikipedia commons

Living and sailing in the mid latitudes (remember, Maine is half way to the North Pole) as we do, we experience a balance that spans a year’s time, maybe many years’ time. To feel the darkness of winter creeping quietly into our homes is not as bad it may appear from the outside. This is our season to rest… emotionally if not physically. We know it takes more physical energy to live and work here in winter. But when the sun goes down and I nestle under a pile of blankets and quilts I feel in tune like the bear who has gone to den. It is what we are meant to do. Tomorrow the light begins to return to our hemisphere, the days lengthen imperceptibly for the next six weeks, and then quite perceptibly until the equinox just three months away. On and on it goes. The overall balance requires the patience and wisdom to see the long run of the seasons. I love the darkness because I know the coming light. I think the acorn has it right, biding its time in the frozen soil, patiently waiting for the warmth of spring and the growth of summer.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Puzzling Picture


Good morning everyone. Another busy week has come and gone here at the global headquarters. Katie and Ali prepped and painted windows and the beige cabin skylight covers. They also painted the bottoms of the yawl boats with a mixture of boiled linseed oil and turpentine to help keep them from drying out. Jen and the aforementioned elves spent yesterday getting our annual holiday calendar ready to mail. I have another e-newsletter ready to go. If you haven’t signed up for our e-newsletter visit the home page and get yourself on the mailing list. My day job this week has been helping a local contractor build and install a platform for the probate judge’s bench down at the county courthouse. With a maple floor and all white oak panelling it looks quite good if I do say so myself.

The accompanying photograph here was given to us recently by a passenger though I can’t for the life of me remember who. Please claim responsibility if this is yours. Mary Day is rafted up to the Hawkins’ Chesapeake Bay buyboat “Columbia” which they used during the off-season to transport goods to the islands. Now I assume the fine gentleman in the foreground is waving and not giving us a silly face. The photograph gives me a real sense of the changes Mary Day has been through. No more spars painted buff. She no longer berths at what is now the fisherman’s float in Camden. The staysail used to be loose footed and the forestay passed through the spike bowsprit. The shrouds have ratlines on opposing sides instead of the ratboards we have now. How many other changes can you see? There are quite few still to list but you will need a real careful eye to find them. What is different about the hull? How did guests get aboard? Ok Will Shortz… get cracking on this puzzle!

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

The Family Tree


Good morning everyone. Yesterday we had our first measurable snowfall here at the global headquarters. Not to miss one moment of it the kids were outside early. The childhood joy of making a snowman or having that first snowball fight of the season is as pure as any I know. We took time yesterday to get into the woods to get our family Christmas tree as well. We have a special corner of our woods where we walk. It is kind of a shame to drop a 25 foot tall tree to get the top 8 feet but that is what we have. The leftover bows go to making swags for the windows so nothing really goes to waste. The kids took turns bringing the tree out of the woods. All I can say is “different strokes for different folks.” I personally would have used the tractor.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good

Witch Hazel


Good morning everyone. We hope you folks all survived the Thanksgiving holiday without too much in the way of personal growth. When folks ask me what kind of shape I am in I can reply, with great confidence, round! We travelled over the river and through the woods to the Adirondacks for some time with family. Happy to be back after a few days of slow time we are once again at it in full force.

Winter cold temperatures have arrived with teens and low 20s the rule each morning. Frost is slowly working its way into the ground. The last of the leaves have blown from the trees (yeah… we get to rake again) and witch hazel blossoms still cling to a few of the trees along our drive. Witch hazel is a most amazing small tree (or big shrub) that is the very last blossoming plant in the woods. As a matter of fact the flower petals can even hang on through the long snowy winter. Seeds are dispersed almost a full year later when the ground is dry. The magical branch from the tree is used for “water witching” with the most sensitive divining forks reportedly coming from a north/south orientation on the trunk. Most folks are aware of the astringent properties of witch hazel and how well that helps to soothe rashes, bug bites, poison ivy, minor bruises and scratches and even hemorrhoids. All of this cool stuff aside I find inspiration in the idea that even with the dark days of winter upon us this late flowering tree affirms life blossoming and spreading it leaves when everyone else has given up the ghost.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.