WHEN A DEAR FRIEND DIES — for Alan

Christmas Fog Brig Tasha Alan 2015

Alan MacIlroy and Tasha O’Neill birding foggy Brigantine on Christmas 2015

The news we always knew, but never believed, slashes out of morning, startling and impossible as thunder snow.

Although creativity is the heart of the matter in the home Alan MacIlroy has left for our true home, — neither words nor images come to my summons, as mourning descends upon me.

My dearest Tasha is widowed anew.  Alan’s ruddy car sits in their driveway with its subtle license reminding us of his priority:  TH JRNY.   Now he has embarked on the universal journey.

Over more years than I can tally, Tasha and Alan and I have shared priceless rituals, from fireside lobster in Maine to Christmas picnics at Brigantine Wildlife Refuge.

The day of our foggy Christmas feast, a peregrine falcon had stationed itself upon a speed limit sign — “15 mph” — just beyond the Brig’s northeast corner turn.  My camera does not do justice to this monarch holding court for a rosary of reverent automobiles immobilized upon the dike road.  Alan, Tasha and I quietly slid out of his Christmasy car to stand in silence, worshiping.

After a significant interval, Alan announced, “Let’s not go over to Scott’s Landing for our Christmas dinner.  How could we leave the peregrine?”

Only as I type this, do I realize, the word peregrine means wanderer.

Alan is the consummate mentor.  “Mr. Fix-It.”  Every problem solved, especially in advance, especially for his cherished Kingston church, and local businessmen and women.  Each wooded trail at their Maine home maintained.  Every lobster boat observed upon stormy or tranquil bay.  Each wood fire, kindled on a cooling summer’s night.  His dazzling, impeccable TR 4, shining on the driveway, ready for a jaunt.  He is each woodworking project magnificently accomplished, including caning two chairs for me, burnishing the Provencal olive wood cutting board that had dimmed since I lived there.  Grace, gentleness, generosity.   Smiles and that quiet voice we will no longer hear.  Alan was the essence of tranquility.  Alan is love.

His quietly merry  spirit will be with us on every future excursion. Yet the glow of that luminous man has become memory.

Mary Elizabeth’s crystalline phrases echo as I find myself bereft of words.  May her inspiration be with NJWILDBEAUTY readers  — in this dire era, –in which too many days begin with yet another cancer call:

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.

 

I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;

 

I am not there. I did not die.

***

 

Brigantine Christmas PIcnic 2015

Tasha Prepares our 2015 Christmas Feast

***

“How can we leave the peregrine?”     Now, our wanderer has left us…

Territorial Peregrine Brigantine Christmas 2015

Maine Coast September Explorations

NJWILDBEAUTY readers, come with us again, on our Maine excursions.  A week of such perfection leaves us all writing and calling each other, in Illinois, in Ohio, in Maine, and writing, “I miss you all!”  Words superfluous — Just Enjoy!

Marilyn Weitzel, Sally Lee, Margy Cowgill - my Sister and our cherished cousins on Maine Coast

Marilyn Weitzel, Sally Lee, Margy Cowgill – my Sister and our cherished cousins on Maine Coast

Giant's Stairs Signs for Coastal Walk

Giant Stairs Signs for Coastal Walk

Autumn Blooms Giant's Stairs Coastal Walk

Autumn Blooms Giant Stairs Coastal Walk

Artful Foam, Giant's Stair Coastal Walk, Maine

Artful Foam, Giant’ Stair Coastal Walk, Maine

Gigantic Dandelions, Giant's Stair Coastal Walk

Gigantic Dandelions, Giant Stair Coastal Walk

Giant's Stair Sign, Coastal Walk

The Giant’s Stair Sign, Coastal Walk

Maine Coast's Long Fingers of land and sturdy typical boat

Maine Coast’s Long Fingers of land and sturdy typical boat

New England Asters in New England

New England Asters in New England

Margy and Marilyn Reading Informational Signs

Margy and Marilyn Reading Informational Signs

Typical Maine Coast Weathered Stately Home

Typical Maine Coast Weathered Stately Home

Maine Coast Perfection

Maine Coast Perfection

Wool Plant and Ocean

Wool Plant and Ocean

Rose Hips of Salt Spray Roses

Rose Hips of Salt Spray Roses

Maine Coast Scene like Michigan's Pictured Rocks of Munising, in Upper Peninsula, which we all knew so well...

Maine Coast Scene like Michigan’s Pictured Rocks of Munising, in Upper Peninsula, which we all knew so well…

Sundown and White Fence

Sundown and White Fence

Still Life, Sundown

Still Life, Sundown

Weathered Beauty

Weathered Beauty

Undertow

Undertow

Weathered Wood

Weathered Wood

The Summer People

The Summer People

This Says It All

This Says It All

LOBSTER ON THE MENU — SHARING MAINE

This will be a blog of few words —

I am back in New Jersey, still enraptured by this flawless visit in Maine with my sister and our (formerly) Toledo cousins

We were treated to five entire days of unconditional love, in Margy and Peter’s new home on Casco Bay.

At home, we were surrounded by towering pines and firs.  We found last roses (salt spray) of summer, and tasted last blueberries.

We walked among ever-burgeoning seaside goldenrod.

We were treated to memorable hikes, sentimental journeys, even kayaking the Bay among rockweed garlands (a first), in sea wind and waves.  Heaven on earth.  I’ll do this first blog post on our lobster feast — setting the scene in all ways:The three cousins - my sister, Marilyn Weitzel, Sally Lee and Margy CowgillMy Chicago sister, Marilyn Weitzel with Sally Lee and Margy Cowgill

An Ebullience of Buoys

An Ebullience of Buoys -(pronunced Bew-eez)

Maine Lobster Workboat

Maine Lobster Workboat

Parking for Dick's Lobsters

Parking for Dick’s Lobsters

Lobster Shanty

Morse Lobster Shanty

Maine Lobster Gear, Newagen

Maine Lobster Gear, Newagen

LOBSTERS

LOBSTERS

Lobsters Everywhere!

Lobsters Everywhere!

Enough Rope

Enough Rope

Bringing In the Catch

Bringing In the Catch

A Good Lobster Morning

A Good Lobster Morning

Another Catch, Same Morning

Another Catch, Same Morning

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh

Farmer-to-Table

Farmer-to-Table

NATIVE

NATIVE

First Pumpkins

First Pumpkins

First Macs of Maine

First Macs of Maine

Still Fresh Green Beans of Maine

Still Fresh Green Beans of Maine

Price of Spice in Maine

Price of Spice in Maine

Wicked Joe, Specialty of the Market

Wicked Joe, Specialty of the Market

Local, Right this way -- Market Sign

Local, Right this way — Market Sign

Crabster

Crabster

Serious Corn

Serious Corn

Sally Lee (cousin) and Peter Cowgill, host, shucking corn

Sally Lee (cousin) and Peter Cowgill, host, shucking corn

Peter and the Corn

Peter and the Corn

Margy and the Bib

Margy and the Bib

Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory

Table Ready for Feast

Table Ready for Feast

FEAST

FEAST

Cousins in the Kitchen

Cousins in the Kitchen

Maine FFisherman Painting that reminds me of Milton Avery, 21st Century Version

Maine Fisherman Painting — Milton Avery qualities — 21st Century Version