Sunday, November 20, 2016

We're here - where are you?

photo by Valerie, known as Alice

For the months of October and November, Gary and Jim have had one other person join them for each of the monthly walks.

acorns and beech leaves,
rushing water where
last month,
silent and dry,
moss on every surface,
water roar, hello -
the river turns, turns
and moves on.


preserve companion

James McCarthy photo

Rustle of Dry Leaves

walking the path
down to the river

crash of pine branches
a big bird flies off

turkey or spruce grouse
oh-wow-an owl
eyes black as coal

alights on pine

large and stocky
rounded head
no ear tufts
mottled brown wings
white breast
vertical brown bars

ah, then, a barred owl

swamp owl
hoot owl
eight hooter
wood owl
rain owl
le chat-huant du Nord
(hooting cat of the North)

sit down

to see
comes next

owl stares back
as curious about me
as I am about it

head turns,
looks behind
slow turns back

holding the gaze
one minute,
two, three

time slows until
a whisper of feathers
owl flies off

ghost flight

into the woods

rustle of dry leaves
walking the path
down to the river

Jim McCarthy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

from a rock found...

from a rock found in an abandoned quarry on the Cathance Road

Mineral Forest
John Howard

looking for the mushroom homelands

looking for the mushroom homelands
wondering where the birds have gone

James McCarthy photo

Anna Lin - age 7

Morning comes
the creatures awake
each day after the next
they begin to awake
bears and bobcats
lizards and toads
they all arise
Who knows what?

I saw a baby newt in a log
I saw a nut-finch and two tadpoles
The colors were beautiful.

Kylee and Abby and me were pretending
to be under attacked.
My mom and dad
were the monsters


Burning leaves float
on murky water shadows.
I am grateful for
each moment of peace.


photo by James McCarthy

clouds and sun, what fun
hiking with a friend
along the river with many bends
thank you for fall colors
perfect weather for cultivating
deeper friendships as
new Mainers

Betty B and Nancy S

Sunday, September 18, 2016

sept. 18 - low water and lion's mane

Here we quiet and listen
to tree speak - birch's whisper
river rush and red squirrel song

Here we linger and learn
dance of the dragonfly
frolic of the tree frog

Here we practice just being

Hannah Gosselin, with Leland and Caiden


I absorb the silence
cocooned by the trees
watch light dance from
water to rock

I balance on roots
peek around bends and
startle turtles into hiding

Peeking through windows at
ecology lessons sparking that
part of myself. Inspired to
remember the wood and the wild.
My feet will pass this way again.


We don't usually respond to the writing found in the trail journal at the ecology center map kiosk,
but this one asks for a response. Someone wrote:

"I saw a bunch of cool rocks
and I collected them"

Please remember that the idea of the Preserve is yes to Preserve - if you see cool rocks, or any cool thing, please try to preserve them in your memory, maybe take a picture, draw or paint the image, write a poem or journal note about it but please leave it here, for others (and not just humans) to enjoy, to use, to remember. Thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dragonfly walk with David Reed

(David Reed and Hunter looking at dragonflies)

Two photos by James McCarthy


After the dragonflies

Dragonflies were as common as sunlight
hovering in their own days
backward forward and sideways
as if they were memory
now there are grown-ups hurrying
who never saw one
and do not know what they
are not seeing
the veins in a dragonfly's wings
were made of light
the veins in the leaves knew them
and the flowing rivers
the dragonflies came out of the color of water
knowing their own way
when we appeared in their eyes
we were strangers
they took their light with them when they went
there will be no one to remember us

W S Merwin
from "Garden Time"

From the CREA logbook:

pretty water we did see
many crows we did hear
we marveled at the huge tree
the trails and sky were so clear
a toad and squirrel did appear
thank you God for your creation
please be with our troubled nation

and then there were two
did you see what flew?
our tea tastes like broth
isn't that a beautiful moth?

we listened to the bullfrogs
sing their songs
banging away
like the strings on a guitar


The Heath

a visit with tranquility
any time of year
on a trail for all ability
and natural so near
to appreciate fresh air and breeze
conversing with the trees
and distant sounds close to town
imposing on the peace
that amplifies the silent space
all around the Heath

S R French

Birdsong delight

on a summer day
the birds have introduced themselves to me

I stopped in my tracks to see
what winged creature was looking my way
chirping a greeting or wailing a warning
birds of all voice have flown in my face
eye to eye or out of sight
they signalled their presence in broad daylight
and made themselves known for whatever reason
they have become
a natural encounter where i am
to brighten the day with a song

S R French

Monday, June 20, 2016

walking to Head of the Tide

Head of Tide Park

Heron at the river's mouth
falling water, follow the water
bracken fern on the way to the water
feldspar roads, on the way to the water
sunlight and wind
on the way to the water



How curious, to explore, to discover, to
feel so new... and yet, to be at home?
...Don't you think?

Fotographicus McCarthyosus

A God of the Cathance

Photographs by Neil Gallagher

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May Sounds

Jim McCarthy photo

Owl, low and silver over the Heath trail then
explosion of crows, mobbing, cawing, screaming insults - 30 minutes
the owl, barred I think, moved on
and the crows followed -
all the while, a basking painted turtle
did not blink an eye.

Back again -
Barnes Leap - white tailed deer
Beaver trail - hermit thrush with a twig in its beak
cool, but good birding - my favorite
chestnut-sided warbler by the ecology center
If you are quick enough
and walk in near silence
the turkey will find you near the pond -

Janet Galle

I feel as if I am a rock
set aside, kicked around
not given a second glance

nobody knows me
why I'm here, where i came from
or what my purpose is

but maybe someday
someone will come along and notice
that i am different from all the rest

Jada Alley

without the light, there are no shadows -


Bodies lay across the lawn
like puddles on a rainy day -

The ground is wet
the sky is gray
trees speaking softly
in the middle of May

I feel as though I am an interloper
an intruder walking among thin
birch as I huff and puff as
I sweat
and yet
they are silent like me, willing companions
as they sway in the sun alongside me

crab spider -
did you know they can change color
depending on the flower they sit on?


Jim McCarthy photo

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

May Walk - soundscapes

For our May walk (Sunday, may 15) I want to propose a theme of "soundscapes". Our April walk found a much friendlier forest (for me) because it was filled with the voices of birds. I would like to take a walk where we spend our time listening, taking note of the sounds of the Preserve, taking note of where and when we hear various things. Here is a quote from a recent article on conserving sound:" we need a nuanced sense of the terrain - the park hidden inside the park - land conservation must include the conservation of soundscapes." At the CREA Preserve the soundscape is constantly changing - so I would like to try and start making record of that, to concentrate on hearing for a little while, rather than seeing.
John Muir said that he could identify every tree species in the Sierra Nevada by listening to its "wind-music". What do you hear?
Some things we have already talked about - the road sounds, the river sounds, the bird song, the frogs, echoes, the music of trees (dry leaf rattle, wind in needles, branch against branch...) squirrel, chipmunk, water tributaries flowing, ice sounds, wind on water, footsteps, thunder, your own breath and heart, voices in the distance, that dragonfly whizzing by... What do you hear?
Here's a little poem by Wang Wei:

Empty mountains:
no one to be seen.
Yet - hear-
human sounds and echoes.
Returning sunlight
enters the dark woods;
Again shining
on green moss, above.

(Wang Wei)

What do you hear?

Gary Lawless

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Vernal life is upon us!"

photo by James McCarthy

(for Janet Galle)

turtles basking
basking in the sunlight
(every stump
basking in moss, lichen, light)
basking in birdsong, riversound
quiet, basking in quiet

Gary Lawless


A riverbank
to sit beside
in tranquil contemplation
of turbulence and roil
defying explanation
but always flowing freely
without reservation
like the family bond between
the mountain and the ocean
we drink the same pure water
in timeless resignation
to receive the very blessing
of the river in submission

S R French


A mini-collaboration inside of a collaboration

we stumble down like leaves
called to the river's edge
the water calls to me
and echoes from the trees
It is the earth I feel
sending power up my knees
Driving me onward into the Beauty
the Great Architect has created.

Abby, Bonner & Faith

For a blog posting on how "Studying Moss is like making a poem":

partridge berry photo by James McCarthy

Monday, March 21, 2016

from the trail log

Not here, but near, a dark exploration.Headlamp beam makes breath luminous, so I hold my exhalation when I wish to see. Rain plinks and shimmers from each branch.
I scan the path for motion, or gleaming eyes. A weary wood frog stands like a miniature statue, regal and inevitable and vulnerable. A flash of movement, a glowing, glittering speck in the wet woods - a water spider, looking malevolent on her ordinary rounds.
As the pool ripples spread and overlap from the constant splash of droplets, each seeming to leap from the water rather than otherwise. No sounds of frogs yet, though they are spread-eagled lazily in the top inch of water, clinging to some fragile twig.
Cheri B.

Cathance Haiku

red squirrel I see you
flitting across ice and branch
rapid water rush

the bee gathers nectar

hummingbird, little hummingbird
collect food

Emerald green moss covers the granite ledge,
a joy to gaze upon

Ian and Abby saw a turtle.

Just a bit past Imbolc (Celtic) and the sap will run soon. 3rd Sunday CREA guided walk with a group of 13 with Gary (poet) and Jim (photographer) The sun was with us - Hooray!

Clear skies, cool breeze. The rush of the river. The kids found the perfect walking stick for our trek. A lovely waters walk.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Called to the stone

(for Geri Vistein)

called to the rocks he
called to the rocks talked
with the birds he
walked with the
wolves we
walk with the wolves -
called, to walk, to
talk, called
to the rocks, the stone
called by moss to
the rock below.

Cathance River
poem by Gary Lawless
photo by Jim McCarthy

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cathance River

Cathance island - Ann Nelson

Louisa Edgerton

Louisa Edgerton

Imbolc - Cathance River

Imbolc is the Celtic celebration of the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. The rings beneath the trees symbolize the return of the light, and of warmth, the new life of spring, the turning point as winter turns toward spring.(for more by Jim McCarthy on Imbolc see his photo-essay here!)

James McCarthy

Sunday, January 31, 2016

walks schedule

Photo by Jim McCarthy

Our future CREAtive walks, with artists in residence Jim McCarthy and Gary Lawless, will be on the following sundays:
Feb. 21
March 20
April 17
May 15
Please gather at 9 AM at the Ecology Center.

"We continue to evolve and transform who we are in relationship to where we are."
Terry Tempest Williams

Photo by Jim McCarthy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

january and snow

Photo by Jim McCarthy

CREA is our "winter church". The light and shadows on the snow,
the animal tracks, bird sounds, ice sculptures,
all magical and awe-inspiring


frolicking, laughing, sparkling
powerful, dancing, beautiful


still-white clumps of cottongrass sprinkling
the heath
batches of needle ice thrusting up out of the
earth along the path
flakes of yesterday's brief snow shower
hiding among the mosses



heath? no, a heath is dry -
it's not a bog either - a bog has no
outlet -
a fen - that's what it is - a mixed
tall sedge fen


Gear to get out - what a spot
fresh air and the one you love
always, we'll be back



a raven's rattle
loudly vies with traffic noise
but his call is the winner

A Nelson


so beautiful out here today - feeling
grateful i am able to get out hiking
this time of year - might not get another
chance until Spring if we
end up getting snow - Happy!



let me sleep in a blanket of riversound

deer, hare,
porcupine, vole -
where are the tracks
of the birds in the sky?