Summer Flowers

Growing up in and exploring New England has illustrated in my mind with the most striking portraits of every season. The contrasts are obvious and only the most sleepy, unawakend eye would ever miss them. People who have never spent any time in the region are often surprised that summer is fully alive, real, warm and inviting. I remember exploring Waterville Valley in New Hampshire as a boy of seven. The valley was the greenest green I have ever seen. All of the trees were fully developed and looked as if they were perfectly placed exactly where they were supposed to be. The clouds that hung over the mountains looked like silky curtains waiting to be opened by a cosmic hand. Then they would disappear and sun would flood the valley and the river would run swollen and loud for a time. Then there was the feild of wildflowers like colored little dots as far as the eye can see. 

The ocean was also an emblem of seasonal change and illistration. I enjoyed being near and seeing the ocean during all seasons. I remember being on Block Island around the age of twelve watching the fishermen on the shore catching striped bass while the sea spray crashed off the rocks. In winter I would stand on the pier in Naragansett and look out over the ocean, freezing wind coming off the water. I thought about the summer and how crowded the beach would be when the wind became warmer and more inviting. By that time the houses across the street would have window boxes full of summer flowers, summer flowers are the best, prettiest flowers, perfect for taking pictures and for viewing and remebering. 

I recently went back to New England and once again drank in all the summer has to offer. Sitting in my parents house and looking out various windows and glass doors. The yard was in full bloom and visually inviting. My mother took great care in cultivating various areas of her yard and the results are a perfect example of how summer, full blown summer in New England is the pinnacle of a natural portrait. I am very familiar with the planted spaces of that yard. I have seen all of them in every season. I have seen them covered in snow and seen the trees painted in orange, red, gold and yellow. I have seen the flower bed in Spring taking its first tentative steps to summer. All of these scenes are beautiful and meaningful, but there is no comparison to their appearance in the summer, tall, strong , bright and approaching perfection. Standing to be admired and then contrasted against memories of approaching fall and winter. 

Summer flowers,

illustration of the creative powers.

Returning visitors,

adorning various perimeters.

Seasonal greeting,

a visually pleasant meeting.

Summer flowers,

some growing into natural, colored towers.

Carefully shared decorations,

a beautiful aesthetic celebration. 

A mountain meadow,

waving and swaying in an orchestrated libretto.

Summer flowers. 

T.S.Deary 

The Trail

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The trail as it is now is new to my experience. Many years ago, more than thirty at this point, the trail was an unpaved set of railroad tracks, ties and gravel. To our adolescent need for adventure it was a pathway to our own set of adventures. We walked the tracks to the baseball field, to the drug store for soda and cigarettes, hidden from the main road and all those prying eyes. Now the tracks are gone. They only remains of them are the remnants that still stand next to the now paved bike trail. Now, small children and fathers ride bikes along in the summer afternoons, some walk dogs or just stroll along by themselves east to west or west to east passing a summer evening. I had not seen the trail in many years and the situation that brought me there again was full of stress and upheaval. I ber y quickly found that there was still solace and escape to be found now as a grown man no longer a restless teenager. Now as I did then I found exactly what I was looking for. 

Many years ago I walked the.tracks almost every day in the summer. I walked them east to the drug store and then west to.Johnson’s Pond down behind the library to go fishing. Walking the tracks was our pastime and the added rebelliousness made those journeys sweeter and.fertile ground for reminiscing. We were never cognizant of any danger since trains rarely went down the tracks by that time. There was one day that a train did come.by, when I was about 11, and the coins we put in the tracks for the train to run over as a coveted prize for years afterwards. The quiet and solitude was a cherished and welcomed state of relief from the storms that often raged in my mind then. A.daily relief and a welcomed respite. 

Early this present summer my life changed and the familiar became unfamiliar. I returned to my hometown under circumstances unplanned and unpleasant. I needed that solitude once again and I knew exactly where to find it. I spent hours walking along the trail and though the tracks are gone I still found the atmosphere I needed to deal with what was going on. Once again I walked east to west and then west to east. While I walked I listened and I am sure I heard the echoes of long lost voices and in that chorus of nostalgia I was able to cope with the changes forced upon me. 

Glass door and chair

I took this picture because it reminded me of how quickly familiar things in familiar places can change and become a type of mental portal to a new reality. There almost a ghostly quality to the image and to me it evokes absence. There is no familiar person sitting there as I would have expected in this familiar place. The door allows the outside to be seen from the inside or the inside to be seen from the outside. There are two realities here, the outsider and the insider, to me the picture invites the viewer to choose. 

T.S.Deary 

P.A.F.M.

Baskets

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Baskets hold or store things. They store things for later use; correspondence, old cards, magazines, food or clothes. We can return to the places where things are kept in order to put our lives into a sense of persepctive. Returning to the past to reminisce is essential.to being grounded in the present. These baskets are the vessels of memory and a connection to all that helped shape us into who we are now. 

T.S. Deary

P.A.F.M.

Visitors 

Driving north on 17, early summer memories, swimming in the Springs, children days and wildflower times.

Small house set back from the road, painted newly white, fresh cut lawn, inviting door and shares drawn right against the building heat of the day.

Framed by shade trees the old man sits on the porch, thinking of days now long gone, U.S. Marines tattooed on his arm, face etched with lines, from laughing or memory? 

(Only be and others like him know what happened there…..)

Still his stories are captivating and therapeutic, a respite from those ghosts that hang in the air like lingering visitors.

Driving north on 116, the old white church, tall windows, preacher standing on the steps when the sermon ends.

He holds a Bible, dressed in vestments, of color and in his face is hope as the congregation goes home. 

The last to leave blew out the altar candles as the noontime sun filled the windows, replacing light for light and the words of prayers and the sermon hang in the air like lingering visitors. 

The house, once red in my earliest memories, then gold, now long gone, if those walls could talk, there are generational lifetimes spelled out in the cracks of those plaster walls. 

There are words in those walls from long ago conversations,  they hang there as if in a gallery and remain like lingering, conversational visitors….

Sometime over the course of the night the dew settled down into the grass and the moon reflected off the windows of the car, the dust finally settled, only now no cars come by and the night is quiet.

The house across the street, abandoned long ago, broken windows, rotting siding, once new, now drifitng away to an eternity of memory and in this night, in the moonlight, it retains some of its former glory, it sits, wondering when some visitor will rescue it from its current fate…..

T.S. Deary

P.A.F.M.