August 31, 2013

Summer Summations; Vol. 2: Stony Brook Sunday

On one very beautiful Sunday afternoon in early August, I took a drive into Stony Brook to visit the Long Island Museum which reopened in April after having extensive renovations done to their carriage museum. While I've been to the museum in the past, I was very excited to see how the updated settings would look. Globed lamp posts glowing on cobbled street corners. The soothing reports of horses' hooves clacking in the background. Fire carriages arriving at the scene of a building with faux flames bursting from a second-story window. It's a delightful and refreshing atmosphere that definitely has some newly-acquired theatrical flair. In the complex's outdoor herb garden, the music of running water from the Beaux-Arts Fountain filled my ears as I tried to read the time off of the central sundial. Also on the premises, I visited the Samuel H. West Blacksmith Shop, the Nassakeag One-Room Schoolhouse, and the Art Gallery. The exhibit currently on display shows memorabilia from Coney Island (consider this a little prognostication of what I'll talk about when I finally get around to writing "Summer Summations; Vol. 3").

From the Long Island Museum, I drove a few blocks to the Avalon Nature Preserve where I took a two-hour walk on the various trails. I really enjoyed the view of the spring-fed pond and all of its water fowl and I also rested for a while on some rocks deep in the woods to have lunch. Nice moment.

Directly across from the street from the Avalon Preserve is the Stony Brook Grist Mill which is open for touring. From water wheel to grindstone to A-frame loft, I learned all about the things that make the place operate. Built in 1699, it blows my mind to think that this place was grinding flour before George Washington was born. Great way to spend a summer day. Cheers!

"For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."

~Romans 6:23


August 24, 2013

Summer Summations; Vol. 1: Arts & Ecology

Well, this has certainly been a very busy month. It took me quite a while to type up the memoirs and sort through all of the photographs from the Maine trip, after which I did quite a lot of things -- some great barbeques, pool parties, a garage sale, house painting, a few movies, several day trips, and more of the like. It's been a pretty fulfilling time. In sad news, my 18-year-old cat, Cayenne, needed to be put to sleep after he developed kidney failure last week. When he didn't eat for two days, scarcely moving from his spot in the bathtub, I knew that I was going to have to make that terrible trip to the vet's office once again. There's been a mellow atmosphere in the house ever since.

One of the highlights of this August came on a bright Saturday when I went to the Holtsville Ecology Park. The place features a wildlife preserve that houses over 100 rescued animals that, for varied reasons, can't be released back into the wild. Among these are American eagles, bears, peafowl, bobcats, and red foxes. The grounds are ornamented with several huge bird houses (well, more like bird condominiums) and also on the premises is a big greenhouse.

Another day brought me to the Mills Pond Gallery again for an exhibit called "An Artist's Work Is Never Done." This one showcases a pair of paintings by each artist (one old, one recent) to illustrate how the artwork changed over time through mediums, styles, and approaches. I had a few immediate favorites. Very interesting.

September, 1976
Daniel Van Benthuysen

Bell Tower On Main Street
Daniel Van Benthuysen

Pond View I
Patricia Yantz

Pond View II
Patricia Yantz

At the Playground 4
Lisa Petker-Mintz

Belmont IV
Lisa Petker-Mintz

Bodies of Music
Liz Parks

Liz Parks

One other thing that I saw recently that I really enjoyed was a display of tin toys at the Sachem Library. These pieces of memorabilia date back as far as the 1940s and 50s. I very much like this sort of thing. Cheers!

"Peacemakers who sow in peace
reap a harvest
of righteousness."

~James 3:18


August 10, 2013

The "Maine" Event; Day 8: Homeward Bound

Saturday, July 13, 2013: As I left Boston and headed for the ferry docks in Connecticut, I was happy that I would still have one last place to enjoy for about an hour and a half before the boat would set sail. When in the Mystic area, I always like to stroll through Olde Mistick Village. As I took in this quaint shopping center (with its duck ponds, grist mill, and rolling paths), I reflected on all of my adventures of last eight days. I had seen Salem with its witch history and its House of the Seven Gables. I had seen the Peabody Essex Museum and walked through an ancient Chinese home. I had hiked to the tops of two mountains and looked out over a vast Maine landscape. I had climbed the rocks of a rugged coastline, followed a babbling stream, and looked out over a misty pond. I had eaten lobster in Maine and clam chowder in Boston. I had seen Fenway Park from 749 feet in the air. I had walked the Freedom Trail and stood in the center of an old world map. I had experienced New England to the fullest.

One store that I always seek out when in Olde Mistick Village is called "Silk Road Imports." As I paced through the aisles of sparkling trinkets from around the globe, my mind kept creeping back to the impending ferry ride. I began to wonder where the next road trip might take me. On a hike on the Appalachian Trail? To a minor league baseball game in Scranton? For a swim in Lake Minnewaska? Hmm...

"Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads
to life, and only a few find it."

~Matthew 7:13-14