Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Popham Beach in Winter

My manuscript revisions were feeling as fresh as old snow. The mercury had crept into the double digits; the sun was shining, and the wind was still. The sea would rinse the snow from the sand. Clear winter light paints a canvas for intrepid walkers.

My dog bounded off in pure delight. For weeks Stella has been following my ski tracks, her ball lost in deep snow.

Crazy dog, how could you swim in such frigid water?

There were still fields of snow above the high tide mark.

The Morse River carved a serpentine path, rising and falling with the tide.

Winter storms and erosion have uprooted trees.

Pine cones suffered icy battle wounds bandaged in seaweed. Drips hung suspended in the bitter air. Winter froze time.

I passed boarded-up beach houses. How different they looked in summer.

Wouldn’t it be bliss to have even this little house on the beach?

If I’m dreaming, why not this island home? It is connected to land only at low tide.

Or perhaps I could write in a lighthouse. I would never have to leave home for inspiration.

Icebergs lined the shores of the Kennebec River as it flowed down from Bath to the ocean. I thought about my next book set on those banks. Every step on frozen sand was a note on paper, but I can’t start writing a new book until I finish drafting the old one.

As the sun sank low, I was ready to head home. The waves had washed the gritty residue off the pages waiting on my desk. Another day of revision swept by. Finally, I’m writing new chapters again. The tide has turned.

Blog Watch: Trying to beat winter blues? Check out these blogs: Troutbirder in Minnesota laughs them away while Each Little World in Wisconsin escapes into The Secret Garden.

43 comments:

tina said...

Your photos sure chased my blues away. Especially that beautiful Stella with her trusty ball. I hope inspiration has returned-spring is not far away now.

Sarah Laurence said...

Tina, inspiration is backs and blues are abated!

Tessa said...

Lovely! I could feel the wintery sun warming my heart as I 'walked' along with you. Blissful.

Audrey said...

Gorgeous but something tells me that Stella would have preferred the Carribean!

Sarah Laurence said...

Tessa, thanks for walking with me.

Audrey, Stella doesn’t like hot weather. I’m up for the Caribbean!

Dave King said...

The Morse River, the uprooted trees, the pine cones and the island home, everything a pure delight - and not just for the dog. Thanks for sharing such jewels.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, yes to the little gray house, and to Stella having fun.
How your blue air clears the cobwebs away.
Your photos always delight me....in spite of the chill I feel.
ps Stella would have met lots of cool chums at the dog show.

Mama Shujaa said...

Sarah,

These photographs and your walk make me want to curl up in my favorite chair by the window and lose myself in your book.

Hurry!

Mama Shujaa.

Sarah Laurence said...

Dave, thank you!

Elizabeth, one afternoon in the sun and my batteries are recharged. The thought of Stella charging madly around a show ring makes me laugh. Worst behaved in show?

Mama Shujaa, you are so right. Thanks for the nudge and the encouragement!

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you for taking us on this beautiful tour. The pic of the Morse river is exquisite. It must be very old (rivers get more meandery - is that a word?) when they get old.

Would love to sit in a lighthouse for awhile, write or draw or take pictures or just drink tea. Yes!

Sarah Laurence said...

Reya, I don’t know how old the Morse River is, but it seems to reinvent itself every year. The course changes so we have more or less beach. Tea in a lighthouse sounds ideal.

Bee said...

Every photograph is a luminous picture. I hope that your walk blew away the creative cobwebs!

Even though I know that I am already spoiled beyond belief, it is difficult not to covet one of those wonderful houses . . . or the lighthouse! What bliss to have a secluded island home in such a beautiful place.

I think that you could sell that picture of Stella, bounding in the air, to a greeting card company. It is such a joyous image.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee, cobwebs are cleared. Stella is one happy dog at the beach. Thanks for the praise.

Les said...

I'll take the island house.

Natalie said...

Wow. I bet you get that a lot,eh? This is a beautiful blog and I read in delight with my mouth open (drooling!) Thank You Sarah. :D

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

I love the beach in winter, though I have to say I've never been on the beach when there's been ice and snow! Stella, Stella, you beautiful girl, I know you must bring much joy to your family.

PS I found the perfect studio for me in St. James's Park ;-)

Kathryn said...

What an incredible place to live. If I coukd, I'd take the house on the island. I never knew that places like that existed!

Rose said...

These beautiful scenes would be a great way to cure writers' block, Sarah! I've always wanted to live on the beach, but I'm not sure I would want to be quite as isolated as that island house:)

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

Lovely as always. There is something similar and yet very different about the look of winter by an ocean. Madison is located between two big lakes but they usually freeze by mid-December. We've been having a sudden warm spell — broke a 133-year-old record on Tuesday when the temp hit 54 degrees. Glorious — though I was much amused at the Minnesota poem! And thank you so much for the mention of "My Secret Garden" post. That was very generous of you!

Donna said...

I'm glad you found some refreshment--physically and mentally--in your walk. I love those beach houses, and the island house looks amazing!

Cynthia said...

Stella´s bounding shadow was quite a treat. What joy to run free after the clearing of snow! I like the beach house you selected, too. I think it would be ideal to write and create in such a place. Of course, I´m still impressed about your work place/space posting. So orderly and warm feeling. Sarah please come over to Oasis and read a few words of thanks that I wanted to share with you. <3

Sarah Laurence said...

Les, I guessed you would pick the island home but only for summers.

Natalie, welcome to my blog and thank you. I’m looking forward to visiting yours.

JAPRA, I love the emptiness and beauty of a winter beach. I’ll come paint in your St. James studio, and you can come write in my lighthouse.

Kathryn, I didn’t know places like this existed until I came to Maine. Welcome to my blog and home. I’ll come visit yours too.

Rose, I’m really lucky (knock on wood) I’ve never had writer’s block. I can always write something, but some days are easier than others. The challenge with a rewrite is keeping it fresh. A walk on the beach is bliss, but I agree that year round island life would be too isolating.

Ms. Wis, a warm winter day in Madison must be a rare treat. It’s fun to bring together northern bloggers to beat the blues.

Donna, you are exactly right about walking being as good for the mind as the body. We all need those mental health days, especially in winter. The island house has a really story book feel to it.

Cynthia, Stella expressed the joy I felt too. Thanks so much for the artistic tribute on your blog.

All, another day, another chapter. It was a well appreciated reward to find so many comments when I finished today. Thanks!

Barrie said...

I would love to try writing in a lighthouse!

Mary Ellen said...

There's something about the outdoors in winter - at least here in Maine - that can't help but replenish you. Along with your beautiful companion, Stella, how could you feel anything but inspired? Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos, and good luck on the next chapter!

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, we need a lighthouse for writers grant.

Thanks, Mary Ellen, another day, another chapter.

bfs ~ "Mimi" said...

Oh, I would have loved to take that walk with you and Stella! What a beautiful place!

troutbirder said...

What a charming walk. I love the seacoast even when it's a thousand miles away. Thanks too for mentioning my whimsical little winter poem. I can't believe you did that! I had to start an new blog due to technical problems with my old one. Hope you will continue to stop by occasionally

D.A. Riser said...

Sarah, I absolutely love your photos. You've a beautiful blog!

I'm inspired for a walk upon the sea. Unfortunately, I'm in Dallas. Maybe I'll just scroll through your pics again. Thanks!

Sarah Laurence said...

Mimi, welcome to my blog and virtual walk. It is beautiful but COLD.

Troutbirder, too bad about moving – I had to change blog addresses last year too, and it was a royal pain. Now I have 2 versions of my blog floating around in cyberspace each attracting traffic. I’ll find you; don’t worry!

D.A., thank you! I’ll “journey” down to Dallas to warm up.

Anil P said...

Among the more poetic posts you've written.

The third pic of Stella against the blue waters is very soothing. She is as much a part of the landscape. I believe she belongs to the beach more than to anyone else :)

I've never been in a lighthouse. It must be a lonely watch out there, unless of course looking out to sea is calming.

Sarah Laurence said...

Thank you, Anil. I think my blog prose gets more lyrical when I’m revising my manuscript. It’s a break from the literal.

Perhaps Stella’s wild element explains her exuberant disobedience.

The two lighthouses off Popham Beach are both on rocky islands where river meets sea. It is a lonely art writing novels so I might as well be in a lighthouse.

Kathrin said...

How beautiful! I live in Australia, we certainly have goregous beaches but nothing like that! (I have actually never seen snow).

Hope Stella didn't get too cold :)

Charlotte Agell said...

The winter blues, to me, are just that: BLUES. So deep this particular season (sky/sea). You capture that!
Charlotte

Sarah Laurence said...

Kathrin, welcome to my blog and snowfields. I dream of seeing Australia one day. It’s hard for me to imagine life without snow.

Charlotte, I love that you see the good blues.

Kaylen said...

Wow, I just found your blog and I thought these photos were paintings! They are just too dreamy and beautiful to be real.
:)

Jude said...

Gosh, what stunning photos of a beautiful place.

Sarah Laurence said...

Kaylen and Jude, welcome to my blog and thank you!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Beautiful! I LOVE the picture of the island house!

Sarah Laurence said...

Alyssa, thank you and welcome to my blog! I’ll come visit yours.

A Cuban In London said...

Excellent post and stunning photos. I have just come back from my holidays and I am catching up with your columns. The house on the island is by far my favourite.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

ACIL, the island home is a dream house isn’t it? Welcome home! Fun to catch up with you.

kate smudges said...

Your photographs are delightful ~ I enjoyed catching up on your winter happenings.

Sarah Laurence said...

Kate, thank you! It's so nice to reconnect with you too.