An August Walk Up the Narrows: Or, the Various Aspects of Anne

Yesterday, Clif, the dog, and I went for a Sunday walk up the Narrows Pond Road. It was one of those beautiful August days that was so perfect—so warm, dry, and sunny—that I wished I could hold onto that day and just keep it for use whenever the weather is bad, which it often is in Maine. But alas, good weather, like good times, cannot be held.

Clif and Liam walking up the Narrows Pond Road
Clif and Liam walking up the Narrows Pond Road

Up the road, on the right, there is a small meadow that is full of August wild flowers—black-eyed Susans, purple loosestrife, golden rod, and Queen Anne’s lace. I knew the light would be good, and I brought my camera along. When I go for walks and take pictures, quite often I am alone with the dog, and I have to put the retractable leash between my legs while I take pictures. I must say, it is much easier to take pictures when Clif has the dog.

I came to the little meadow, abloom with flowers. Clif and Liam continued walking while I took pictures.

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The other day, I was taken by Susan. On this walk, I was taken by Anne. I didn’t plan this, and I was reminded of Gabriel Orozco’s “The poetic happens when you don’t have expectations.” I’m not sure if my fascination with Queen Anne’s lace was poetic, but I certainly didn’t have any specific expectations on this walk. There was only a general sense that I wanted to take pictures of the wild flowers. But on this day, Queen Anne’s lace took center stage.

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On another walk, it might be something else.

It seems to me that one of the best gifts we can give us ourselves is the freedom to notice. And from this noticing, who knows what will happen?

I’ll end with a quotation from the great essayist Verlyn Klinkenborg, who was writing about the eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White. “He recorded what he noticed and in the pattern of noticing lies the art.”

We can’t all be be great artists, but maybe by noticing we can bring a little art into our lives.

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14 thoughts on “An August Walk Up the Narrows: Or, the Various Aspects of Anne”

    1. Jason, in Maine Queen Anne’s lace is not a pest at all. At least I have never heard anyone complain of her. Maybe it’s the cold weather that keeps her at bay? However, with purple loosestrife it is quite another matter. I must admit to having a soft spot for this lovely but invasive flower, but others are not so charitable, and there are bitter feeling toward this plant.

  1. Oh, lovely post and lovely pictures. I do find that I notice more when I have my camera in my hand and I am truly looking. We are also abloom in Anne here in South Jersey – I was just noticing the unfurled ones as you have pictured. (Although I noticed them while walking the dog, which I would NEVER do with a camera in hand.) Walking Riley is a two hand job for sure!

    1. Thanks, Jodie. August is such a lovely month in the North East (and other places, too, I’m sure.) In Liam’s younger, leaping days I never could have taken pictures while walking him. But Liam is ten and has slowed down.

  2. Beautiful and well-said. I find it so easy to not notice things, and I suspect I’m better at noticing that many. Recently I read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and I was struck by her gift for noticing. There is so much beauty and wonder all around us–just waiting for us to notice it.

    1. Thanks, Bill! I think a busy, hectic life can often get in the way of noticing, and sometimes, when the tasks are many, it is hard to slow down. But despite the busyness, perhaps noticing can be consciously practised, a sort of prayer or meditation that is folded into our lives. And it doesn’t matter where you live—country. city, or suburbs. There always things to notice.

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