Each month (or as monthly as I can manage) I will change the photos on my “static” pages.  My husband, Ray Faass, is almost always the photographer and his images are beautiful.  When an image comes down I will put it here in what he calls “a preview of past attractions.” 

Click on an image to enlarge it–it’s worth the extra two seconds!

In a tradition two summers old we go to Atlantic City to spend a week on the sand with our daughter, son-in-law, and our grandson, Matthew.

Staying as much as possible in the shadow of what was once called the Steel Pier we kick balls.

Build sand castles.

Eat Gold Fish.

When the sun is straight up we retreat to the hotel for lunch and naps. We return to the water’s edge as the sun sinks.

We leave little on the beach that marks the fact we were there–a foot print, a crumbling tower of sand–nothing that will survive the next tide, but the beach stays with us through the long winter months.  

In the summer the garden I consider my own belongs, in reality, to many others. 

Some, like the lizards and spiders are there to eat the insects attracted by this oasis of lush greenery (it was a dry summer).

Others are there to eat the garden itself–and since we use no pesticides they usually get away with it.

This particular garden spider has strung its web over my Early Doll tomatoes.

Yellow Jessamine is the flower that crowns trees and bushes in early spring here in North Florida.  Climbing as high as it can it garlands bare branches, taking in the sun. 

Before winter is quite ready to let go, the Jessamine promises spring to anyone who takes the time to look up. 

All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested–but taken in visually Jessamine is a cure for winter.

Every year I make an author visit to Dalton, a north Georgia town today dominated by carpet mills, but less than a mile from the hotel where we stay the past asserts itself along a ridge line that is now part of the Pinhoti Trail.

This stone wall was built over a five month period by Confederate soldiers. Boulders were also propped along the ridge line and pushed over, cutting swaths through the Union troops that attacked on May 8, 1864 in what is known as The Battle of Dug Gap.

In the morning mist it is not hard to feel the presence of those young soldiers, crouched behind the wall, wondering if they will live out the day.

It is amazing how silly and yes, desperate, a person can get when they have to have some “fun” publicity photos.  

For an honest assessment of this effort you have only to check out the facial expression on my dog, Moo. 

That is the most embarrassed expression that can be managed by a creature whose face is obscured by fur.

Or maybe she just wishes she were wearing the other hat.

This is the tideline on St. George Island one early morning in November, but it could be almost anywhere on the Atlantic coast.

Those who walk the beach always look down, scavenging what has been cast out by the sea, and  leaving the evidence of their own passage in the sand–until the next rising tide washes their foot prints away.  

I can’t imagine taking this walk without ending up with a sandy pocketful of shells. 

The St. Marks lighthouse is an old friend.  For several years Ray and I followed its beacon through the dark to meet up with other pre-dawn butterfly enthusiasts to tag monarchs on their annual migration.  St. Marks is one of the places from which the butterflies depart, setting out across the water as if they know exactly where they are going.  And perhaps they do.  Although we have not made the trip to the lighthouse for a while the tagging project continues, because we humans are not as certain as the butterflies.  

Every summer my family gathers in Wilton, Maine.  Not really a tourist destination, Wilton was the home of Bass Shoes before the company closed its factory. 

The Maine Summer is short, the flowers quick to bloom.  The gladiolas in this picture and the sunflowers in the next are blooming on the hill beside the road to the you-pick blueberry farm.  I especially like the gladiolas. 

“Glads” as they are called in my family, are the flowers my taciturn Swedish grandfather grew in huge numbers.  It was perhaps the only time he ever got carried away, ordering bulbs from fancy catalogs. 

He planted about an acre of them, then the wettest winter in memory rotted them all in the ground.  Chastened, he went back to more practical plants, like carrots.

This photo was shot at Bluebird, the ten acres we co-own with gopher tortoises, harvester ants, wild turkeys and an array of spiders.  Shot deep in the Fall, the Sassafras leaves have flamed red.  The next rain or stiff wind will strip the branches bare. 

Also shot at Bluebird, this web was luffing in a light breeze early one grey morning. 

Strung between the branches of the peach tree, it was spangled with dew.

It was an August morning, misty and still cool. Ray and I walked the road that runs beside Chesterwood, the studio of Daniel Chester French, the sculptor who created the statue for the Lincoln Memorial. 

Follow the road and you will see the two-story barn doors that allowed the finished statue of Lincoln to be taken out of French’s studio.

I arrived at the writer’s retreat on St. George Island freshly treated for a skin cancer on my face. 

What a place to be with after-care instructions that said, in capital letters, NO SUN for three days. 

Keeping vampire hours, with only a little cheating (and my back to the sun) I walked the beach, casting a large shadow while up at the retreat house writers stared intently at their computer screens–their own personal suns.

I will sing anywhere, anytime–especially if I get to harmonize. 

On this summer evening I’m harmonizing with Craig, who stands to my left. 

Craig is my singing partner in “Hot Tamale,” but sometimes Craig instigates a guerilla performance with friends, in this case Gordon Halleck on washtub and Chris Ash on lead guitar–and just beyond the edge of the frame, Paul Harvey on congas. 

For this particular performance we converged on the gazebo at Lake Ella and did our best to look official.

I remember that blue dress!  The pink one my sister, Claudia, is wearing too.  They come from the period when my mother sewed us matching dresses for each major liturgical celebration.  Poor Claudia got to wear both dresses.  Hers first, and then mine when I out-grew.

In my lap is Dido, my favorite doll.


§ 11 Responses to Gallery.

  • Andy Cooper says:

    I’m so glad I followed your facebook link to your blog. The stories are wonderful, and it’s a bit like being with you again. How I miss those laundry room discussions with Ray and his “forbidden” cigars; time with Josie, just learning to walk, you in the kitchen, or as we were wont to do, singing. Except for Noonan, those were great times. But then again, they did lead me to Dan.

    Pom pom daddy fondle me and shave my noodles down.



    • Mary says:

      Those dresses remind me of someone else who magically produced matching outfits for my sister and myself. Mine was Swiss dot blue and my sisters was Swiss dot yellow . We also had matching jackets! Thinking of my mother this Mother’s Day.


  • And how about those pot luck dinners when each of us brought whatever we had and we made something up on the spot? Yes, those were great times.

    You know we have my Dad’s house if you and Dan want to visit. Bet we could still make something up when dinner time comes around.


  • Linda Guy says:

    Just discovered the Gallery. These photos are beautiful!


    • Thanks Linda. I love them too. When I first met Ray he was the photographer for The Baltimore Zoo (and I was the illustrator). He has a great eye for composition and the ability to hold very still in the natural world and observe what is happening–and then release the shutter at the exact right moment!


  • Moo is a darling side kick, and your sister Claudia (and getting to wear both dresses) are the kinds of details that welcome us into your delightful and optimistic experiences. Thank you.


  • Whoa, countless posts I’m reading through are auto created crapola. It’s fantastic to see
    a piece of writing that isn’t and actually provides me with some reliable info I can use. Book-marked for later! Thx!


  • Quite a sweet walk thru the gallery!


  • Lorraine says:

    I remember the dresses and Dido.


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