Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Faerie Handkerchiefs and a Quiet Mind

Half-Tide Island on left (aka Cupcake Island). Birch Island on the right. The Dawn Treader moored in Little Harbor.

"For every time in stress, you need a recovering time in relaxation." 
Emmett E Miller, M.D., 
from Quiet Mind: 
One -Minute Retreats 
from a Busy World 
by David Kundtz

Dear Friends,

Do you ever feel so tired that you're sure you'll never do anything creative or worthwhile again? Well, that is how I felt when we arrived in Maine...emptied out, dull, tired, and frayed. But after a couple of weeks of living a real life here, I feel like Maine has opened its heart and filled me with peace and energy. Thank you, Maine! Now pay attention to yourselves and mind what Dr. Miller said. You need to balance stress time with peace time so that you can function and stay well.

A Maine heart

A few nights ago, the surf thundered and pounded the ledge in front of the cottage. Although the rocks stand about 10 feet above the sea, the waves hitting the rocks shot about 20 feet into the air.
The faint light of the waning moon made a wavering pathway across the sea. We sat outside in our porch rockers and watched the play of water on rocks and the dance of the bats who flew onto the porch, swished up under the eaves, and nabbed moths. The bats are so graceful and do so much good work for us.

The moon path from Pemaquid Peninsula to our house.

I was sure that the roaring surf would keep me awake, but if anything, it lulled me to sleep. What finally woke me in the early morning was silence. Not a sound of wind and leaves, no water against rocks, no thrumming lobster boat engines, and no bird song. I sat up in bed and looked outside at a wall of white. The fog had rolled in and blotted out everything.

We took our tea out onto the porch, and there, spread out before us, like a child's dream, were dozens of what my Grandmother called faerie handkerchiefs everywhere.

Faerie handkerchiefs in the blueberries, bayberries, and on the meadow grasses.

And joining the faerie handkerchiefs were mushrooms of every size and shape.

A parade. 

A ghostly Indian Pipe pushes its way through the leaves.

These sweet little faerie seats are tinier than my baby finger.

Yellow Chanterelles...get out the skillet and the sweet butter.

Plump earth buttons

When the fog lifted and the skies shone as blue as the sea, I wanted to kiss the ground (but I was afraid I'd never get up!)

Treat yourself to a quiet walk to replenish your spirit.

Or put your feet up, sip some tea, and watch.

 Try to remember how it is to be a child and to notice all the tiny and beautiful gifts that nature offers. I send you peace and joy.




Anonymous said...

what a glorious slice of heaven, I've never heard that term for the spiderwebs cast in dew.What a beautiful post, thank you so much for taking us with through your memory of a beautiful time.

Robin Larkspur said...

Enchanting post! I can smell the wet pines. I love the expression of "fairie handkerchief"..beautiful. (p.s. love your nail polish!)

Unknown said...

Absolutely decompressed after reading your post. How delightful! So true we need to strike that balance too. Thank you for the wonderful walk and the kind reminder. Your words were a gift to me this morning.

Vee said...

The stress is rolling away even as I read this and imagine my feet up watching the scene (my polish is a bit more pink than yours). I'm so glad that you have found what you are looking for there in your cottage (yes, I call them cottages), by the sea. Glorious pictures. My favorite is the moon path on the water. Keep right on soaking it up...

Dawn said...

Cobwebs, mushrooms, and the blue salty sea...
My heart is singing along with yours...

The Herbalist's Cottage said...

Ahh your granny sounds like she was a wonderful lady "fairie handkerchief" - Bliss.

Love the rainbow nail polish!

Love Leanne NZ

Susan said...

Dearest Friend--Such amazing words to live by! I find myself, so often getting caught up with the ugliness of this law suit and feeling the energy and creativity draining from me. Your message and photos, not to mention your loving friendship, reminds me to take notice in what makes me happy, peaceful, and creative. Love you, XOXO

Marigold Jam said...

Beautiful post Sharon and such a wise quote too - I must try and keep it in mind. Love the idea of faery hankies - never heard them called that before.

Cher' Shots said...

What a beautiful place to find peace. I love the verse. I've never heard of the webs referred to as 'fairy hankerchiefs' before ~ I love it!! A new little ditty to share with my Grand-loves. thanx
'hugs from afar'

Sheilagh said...

Noe that was a deep meditation in JOY, thank you, I loved this post.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ What a wonderful post. I'm glad you have been restored there in Maine. How could you not with all that peace and beauty. I've never heard the term fairies hankies before and just love all of the mushroom pictures.

Thank you for sharing your lovely, genteel life there.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Melody said...

I hope you removed the slug before your popped the ole Chanterelle in the pan with butter! ha ha
We leave for Maine in the morning for a few days of quiet; I'll wave as we go by! (you may have to squint to see us up on the highway!) Enjoy, it looks like a great spot you have there!!

La Table De Nana said...

Wow..How lovely..Reading pages from a book:) Love the fairie hankies:)
I am anxiously awaiting my book Sharon:)

Love your views so much..

From the Kitchen said...

I truly must make my way to Maine. I've enjoyed your post--the sound of the sea on the rocks, the fairie handkerchiefs and the thought of tea on the porch.


Gail Dixon said...

Regarding your last comment, I do that with my camera! I feel more at peace photographing nature than at any other time. Loved reading your thoughts.

Carla said...

Sharon, I had never heard of faerie hankerchiefs before reading your blog. You write with such beauty. I too had some faerie hankerchiefs in my trees a few days ago, as I will call them from now on.

Cooking Up Faith said...

Hi Sharon,
I picked up your book, Toad Cottages, at A Little Nature Store (that's the actual name of the store.:) This summer I would take my kids into this little town by our house, eat pizza at the pizza shop, and then take them to A Little Nature Store. I found your book and had to get it! I have 4 kids and love all of your ideas!! I actually started sharing ideas from your book every Wednesday on my blog. This weekend we did the Restaurant Night at Home idea, and my kids had a blast. They made the pizza, wore aprons, and served us our dinner. I'm so glad I found your book, and hope others will pick it up to from seeing all the great ideas that I'm sharing from it. :) Now that I found your blog, I will also add it to my list of great websites. Nice to "meet" you, Sharon!

betsy said...

Sharon, I have not seen Indian Pipes since I was a child living in rural New Hampshire on an old hill farm my father originally bought as a summer house.Thank you for your beautiful photos.

Rebecca said...

I love the name "fairie handkerchiefs"! I've lived 62 years and can't remember seeing any until a few weeks ago. They were actually out on our neighbor's front lawn. I didn't take the time to go check them out up close...

I appreciate your reminder about "taking time...." and receive the peace and love you extended in the last paragraph. (May it all come back to you.)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Boy, this Maine thing is good for you if you now have time to put your polished toes in the air! Always happy to share your life with you, Sharon. Thanks! xxoo Nancy

Farm Girl said...

I am so glad that Maine is welcoming you and giving you rest. I have to say that fairy handkerchiefs were a new phrase for me but now I know what to look for I will find them all around me. I will show my grandchildren when we go on walks. I love how the fog transformed your world into magic.
I am so glad that you still take time and to remind me of those things I get so busy I forget to notice.
Lovely, lovely post.

Claudia said...

Beautiful, Sharon. That shot of the moon on the water is simply wonderful. I like the name "fairy handkerchiefs" - we get them on our lawn but I never had such a wonderful name to call them before now!


Cassy said...

Nice shots!
The first photo is my favorite. Nice place to relax.

Cass from Electric Guitar Online Lessons

Carol said...

Reading this post was as good as a "mini vacation" in Nature! I feel so good after reading it and I've never heard the webs called that before either...but they will be name that from now on :) Enjoy your rest and I can't wait to get your new book either...I'm all excited!!!!

kj said...

oh my gosh, sharon, do you know i (probably)(possibly) refer to orgasms more than anyone else who is otherwise a respectable and appropriate blog citizen? :^)

i tell you this because this post is ORGASMIC! i am so glad for you and i am so glad for me that you have taken me along on your restful path of peace! how long are you there, sharon? i hope you have weeks and weeks left. i have never seen those fairy hankerchiefs before and i'm wondering if it's the fog that creates them?

i would be the student in your class who asks a zillion questions. some, orgasmically.

:^) & ♥

Melissa said...

Lovely! I felt the stress melt away while reading your post. I also have this strong desire to take a trip to Maine. Thank you.

Blondie's Journal said...

I so agree with the quote from the book about stress and recovery, I so believe it is true. Maybe that is why I relax so spontaneously at the lake. I leave my cares behind and then rejuvenate each time I go back.

It's amazing what the morning fog left you with and your pictures are beautiful. I'm sure many more delights await you in Maine and that soon you will be feeling better.

Take care, my friend!


Michelle said...

Gorgeous shots of the webs and I adore those mushrooms all in a row.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love the term and imagery of "faerie handkerchiefs," Sharon. That is not something I see in NYC and it looks so magical. I could feel all your (and my) stress melting away as I read your post. Enjoy your wonderful Maine respite!

Richard said...

I like reading your blog on the Lowe's site about gardening and drop by your personally blog from time to time, but I'm going to have to check it more often based on kj's comment. I don't think I've ever heard a blog posting described in that way. I flashed on "When Harry met Sally" with Meg Ryan. I liked your photos and description but I can't top kj.

farmlady said...

I wish I trusted myself with the wild mushrooms. My uncle gave us a book on them and it seems to list the good and the bad of them but still I hesitate.
These photos of the mushrooms are beautiful. Taking photos seems a much better way to enjoy them.

I'm ready to move to the ocean since the fire. I could smell the fog... I could feel the breezes and the coolness.
Thanks for a delightful post.

Pondside said...

When I see my grandchildren in early September I'm going to tell them about Faerie Handkerchiefs!

Pat said...

After the day I have had, what a perfect post to take my mind off of things...

We have "faerie handkerchiefs" in the morning too - around our pond and in the fields...but I never knew what a charming name they carried.

Your happy red toes look so relaxed!!

Anonymous said...

Sharon - I love the term "faerie handkerchiefs". I always thought they were fairy cloaks the fairies left as they dashed off to their beds after a night of frolic.
I saw a baby hummingbird the other day in my bee balm - it was still so small, the size of the large bumblebees. I watched it for ages and felt so peaceful. Maine is filled with treasures of the spirit if you take the time to sit still.
Another Sharon in Maine

Zuzana said...

Beautiful fairy handkerchiefs.;) And I love mushrooms, usually as soon as they appear I know summer is slowly closing towards its end...
Love the different colours on your toenails.;)
And I enjoyed your new book background.;)

troutbirder said...

What a beautiful scene you painted with pictures and words. I relaxed just looking through it. Thanks. :)

Jimmie said...

Your post was just what I needed today. My eldest grandson just went off to college this past weekend and his mother is a mess, so I've been trying to console her. I'm going to send your post to the quote about stress.

I've never heard the term faerie handkerchiefs. What a great description! I've been studying a cobweb on my front porch for over two weeks now. It's becoming pretty tattered, but the spider perseveres and repairs it from time to time. I love greeting the morning with a visit to the web to see what's been going on.

Thank you for the pictures and your words. They always bring a smile to my face.

Diane in North Carolina

Lydia said...

What a gorgeous and inspirational post! I love "faerie handkerchiefs" :-)

Lori ann said...

well, I'm so very glad this post had a happy ending (and middle) i was worried when you said how exhausted you felt. lovely, photos and descriptions sharon, i think i liked it almost as much as kj.


(I have to take points off for the 'fairy hankies', no matter how pretty that sounds, i know there are still spiders under there. shudder.) but i'm glad you liked it!

xxx lori

Privet and Holly said...

Fairies must
surely exist
in such a lovely
place. Glad
that you found
your peace and
xx Suzanne

Happy@Home said...

Great advice from Dr. Miller. Your post has provided the relaxation we all need. Such beautiful, peaceful photos. I have only been to Maine once, but have fond memories of that visit.
I will be looking at those spiderwebs on the lawn in a new light now. Faerie handkerchiefs is such a cute name for them.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

Isn't it amazing that spammers are now posting on blogs? I try to monitor this blog closely, but sometimes miss things. I promise to do better. Beware spammers, we're actively weeding you out.

Lori Ann, come on nature girl. Spiders are miracle workers. They spin the strongest fiber in the world (stronger than anything NASA ever invented), and they do much of the pest control in a garden. In China they're revered and people build little twig houses for the spiders (a good project for kids with fears).

Battening down the hatches here in Maine. Looks like we could get a hit from hurricane Irene. Seasoned lobstermen are removing their boats from the water.



Darla said...

The fairies in Maine seem to be quite busy and happy. Glad you have had some relaxation!

Casa Mariposa said...

This is a well timed post since I start back to school on Monday and will have about 180 students this year. Lots of work and very little play = insanity! I need to add that quote to the bulletin board by my desk as a reminder to slow down. I'm glad Maine was so restorative. :o)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Stay safe both of you! Irene better just be a rainstorm by the time she gets to Maine! Going to be with Kathleen tomorrow! Yippee! xxoo Nancy

Lili said...

You paint such a beautiful scene with your words alone Sharon. I just adore your new header picture. What a slice of heaven you have there. You make me want to paint my toenails like that too, you're so much fun!! xoxo ~Lili


I always wondered what those little gossamer swaths were, peppered across the landscape when the air is damp. Now I know. Faerie handkerchiefs. Thank you for clearing that up for me, Sharon. I hope Irene will veer sharply right and head out to sea before battering your neck of the woods. Please keep us posted.

Kay's flowers said...

Love everything about this post and your toes on the windowsill! What a way to spend the morning, just enjoying being.


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear friends,

Thanks for your e-mails and comments of concern about hurricane Irene. We stocked up on candles, food, water, batteries, firewood, etc., but if it looks very threatening we will have to leave. We are very close to the water and are surrounded by big trees. Also, our road can be engulfed by the sea water. Luckily, one of our best friends lives close by and away from trees. She and others have offered us a "home" if necessary.

I send best wishes to any of you who are threatened by Irene.

Thanks again,


One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

You make me so
want to visit Maine
I love the woods
but feel the ocean calling.
Fairy hankies - never heard
them called this - I like it.
Please rest and take care.
Whenever I read your sharing
My heart is always saying
"she needs to slow down and rest"

Aunt Jenny said...

OH Sharon...I just love your posts...what beautiful photos and I love how you notice every little gift nature offers up. The little bird on the header has the sweetest face!
have a great week!!

Anonymous said...

Hello dear Sharon!
What a lovely post- all the details of your sights and sounds; my goodness--what a place!! You make me want to go back to Maine again; there are so many sights to see! I do hope the storm does not damage any of this beautiful area and that you both are safe and dry.....
I look forward to your next post and hear how you are doing...
Joann in CO

jerilanders said...

I believe one of the secrets to happiness is finding joy in all the simple things. Those bits and pieces that are right beneath our feet can be wondrous to behold, if we look at them with eyes wide open.
The Fairies must have been dancing in the grasses, to have dropped so many hankies.

rebecca sweet said...

Sharon, oh Sharon. I've been away from your blog for so long!! And your very first paragraph explains why! I've been so tired, so burned out, so un-creative. Wallowing in my dullness these days (combined with a terrible cold and tendonitis in my foot!) I can't imagine you feel the same way sometimes, and it does me good just to hear I'm not alone! Faerie handkerchiefs has got to be one of the sweetest terms I've heard of in a long, long time. Bless your grandmother for sharing her imagination with you, and bless you for sharing it with all of us. You're such a joy to so many and I'm so thankful to call you my friend!

Carol said...

Dear Sharon,

I am having a delightful morning visiting you after an absence and what fabulous posts I had missed. It is fun to see them all at once this way too. I love the name "Faerie Handkerchiefs" for the spider webs along the ground that so create a magical patchwork carpet with the morning mist. Fun to think of a spider throwing out a handkerchief to catch his breakfast or lunch. ;>) What a stunning photograph of Little Harbor. Wow! The blue in the water and sky. Gorgeous! And you have your own moon path across the water to your cottage!! Magic! I could never show my feet that way . . . yours look beautiful. You and Emmett are so right about recovery time and just relaxing while enjoying the gifts of nature. I so enjoyed catching up with your life there in Maine. Carol

Anonymous said...

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I'm a long time reader but I've never left a comment. I've bookmarked your site and shared this on my
Twitter. Thanks again for a great post!