Friday, April 30, 2010

on the rocks

Thank goodness for fresh air — in the figurative sense, too. I set off on my bike yesterday and visited a place I'd never been (!), although I always knew it was there: Purgatory Chasm. It's quite the spot, just off Purgatory Road, on the other side of which is Purgatory Lane (not the happiest of addresses, especially after the troubled day I'd had the day before).

Seriously, you know you're in trouble when you go to the library and then the nearby health food store — to get one of those B-Monster Odwalla Smoothies, as you have some vague notion that B-vitamins are good for your mood — but you're so distracted and muddled-in-the-head that you put the library books instead of the smoothie on the checkout belt, then stand there waiting for the store clerk to ring up your library books, meanwhile wondering what's taking her so long and why she's looking at you strangely.

Anyway, I wasn't expecting much at the end of the dirt path that winds from a less-than-impressive parking lot to Purgatory Chasm, so it was COOL to feel swept away ... by the wind as well as the vista from the most marvelous outcropping of puddingstone, not so unlike its better-known counterpart, Hanging Rock, across the way. It suffices to say: I felt better. There's just something about feeling very small beside the big beautiful ocean that takes the pressure off. Or gets you out of your own head.

Perspective, I guess you'd call it.

Vitamin D (manufactured from sunshine?) helps, too.

Oh, and the chasm? It was a little scary; I didn't venture too close. Just took a quick look, then got back on my bike and coasted downhill to the beach ....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

yesterday ...

It started well enough: The sun was shining (without giving much warmth), and I was going about my usual business — trying to appreciate the assorted wonders of life and my Newport world. But I could just feel myself getting sucked down/in/under one of those awful waves of darkness and despair. Okay, that's overstating it, but these were bad feelings. Seriously negative vibes. I'm not even sure what was eating me. It happens to everyone (doesn't it??). Fortunately, it doesn't happen often (to me, anyway). But the weather was deteriorating on top of it, and there was just no stopping it: I had a bad day. By the end, I just wanted to curl up and ... well, not die, though there is a hair place on Broadway called Curl Up & Dye. Maybe I wanted to cry. Maybe I did cry. The good news is that such days and feelings pass. There's nowhere to go but up — and outside!! Which I did. And, as is always (or at least usually) the way, today looks and feels much brighter ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I was all set to talk (think?) about construction today, as there seems to be so much of it going on around town, and that's what I was thinking about yesterday late-afternoon when I walked in gray drizzle down to the harbor. But then something weird happened: the sun came out (this morning, that is). So, I guess I won't mention how on the way back from King Park, beside the baseball field, after taking note of all the cute (yes, cute) colorful equipment and the profile of the Shipyard in the foggy distance, I saw not one not two but three friends in quick succession. One beeped and waved; that's before it started to rain. One pulled over and asked if I wanted a ride. No, thanks; I was already wet. The third not only offered a ride — again, no thanks — but said she was on her way to a wine diva party. A wine diva party?? Neither of us knew what it meant, exactly, but we liked the sound of it. And then this morning, as I said, the sky was (is) blue!! It won't last; the forecast is for rain by this afternoon. But how could I not share my walk up the hill just moments ago under bright (bright) skies with coffee in hand. It gave me such a top-of-the-world (okay, maybe just top-of-the-hill) feeling ...

(Sweepster ... love that ... right there ^^.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Just a thought — and not a very significant one:
You (I) have to look a little harder to find the color
when it's graygraygray for days on end.
But it's not so hard — is it??
Even when you're not sure
what you're looking at ...
or for ... or why.

And, in the interest of not being totally vague, "what you're looking at" is the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) ... followed by assorted sights that spring to mind for no apparent reason.

Monday, April 26, 2010


What's going on here?? Well, for one thing, yesterday marked the unveiling of the new/old horse trough in Washington Square. Good thing Mr. Betty remembered it (as I hadn't), so we ran down, in the rain, just in time to catch the colorful-in-every-sense scene from behind. It seems I'm always behind ... or looking backwards.

Further words aren't needed — you can see the scene for yourself — except to say that while most eyes were on the horse being led to water, being cajoled to drink the water, and on the truly cool fountain (a masterful replica with a brand new/old gas light standing in the middle), or on the hat-wearing, flag-bearing members of the Newport Artillery Company, my eyes were on the pony-tailed little girl who'd brought her own horsies to the trough. And on her hot-pink boots. And on everyone's boots: from historic to functional to decorative. Such an assortment — among umbrellas, too — from basic-black to stripes to paisley. It reminded me that Darling Daughter (off at college) has cool, new rain boots — in plaid. Hey, maybe I'll get some rain boots; they'd be both practical and fun. With polka dots, perhaps ...

I know, I know: I got distracted (as usual). I should have been thinking more about history ...

Friday, April 23, 2010


Skies grew dark over Bowen's Wharf yesterday, but the storm never materialized ... just a few spitting drops, unlike places farther North that got walloped (with hail, etc.), or so I hear. That's not unusual. We often watch storms build and grow and roll up the bay ... and they just keep right on rolling. Anyway, I'd wandered to the wharf because I could see there was a layer of brightness beneath the darkness, and that stuck me as interesting or colorful or encouraging or something. So I took a few shots (as in snapshots, not drinks), said "hi" to a couple of friends who just-so-happened to be there (and who were having drinks) — there's always a familiar face on the wharf, it seems. Then I ran back home, back up the hill, as I really thought it was about to storm. Mr. Betty had just gotten home, and he reminded me that there was a special showing of the film "Home" at the Pickens, sponsored by Aquidneck Land Trust, in honor of Earth Day. So we raced to the theater (on foot, carrying umbrellas, still unopened) and watched the longest, most-depressing movie I think I've ever seen. Granted, it was beautiful — with endless (endless) amazing footage of the planet — but we're doomed. Really. It was scary. And not easy to watch, or to listen; it just went on and on and on. The movie was even longer, or it felt longer, than the movie (newly released) of an entire circa 1989 Grateful Dead concert we'd seen at the Pickens the week before ... out of interest, both musical and historical, and on a dare-of-sorts from Super Son, who plays the guitar and loves the Dead (what a statement) and said we'd never last (another statement). And we'll never know ... as the Dead movie was cut short about half-way through, in the middle of a seemingly endless (endless) double-drum solo, when the lights suddenly came on and a computerized voice announced, "There is a fire in the building." Scary stuff (the Pickens being the Pickens) — and all the Newport firetrucks came — though, in this case, as one might guess, it was a matter of smoke, not fire. So there we were, back on the sidewalk. Which brings me (if I follow the sidewalk) back to the wharf ... where I'm remembering that the same friend who introduced me to yoga yesterday took part in a "mob dance" right there/here, in this very spot, except it was last fall, in the middle of the Boat Show. And as if that weren't enough — you'll think this was planned, but it wasn't — the boat that caught my eye yesterday evening, under those stormy skies, tied up at Bowen's Wharf, getting unwrapped and polished-up and ready for the summer season, was none other than ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

dogs & crabs

I broke from routine this morning: I did yoga instead of coffee. A few Salutes to the Sun on this beautiful (beautiful!) day ... except we were holed up in a lovely indoor space tucked behind Channing Memorial Church. That's the one with the particularly pointy stone steeple that was taken down and put back up again within the past couple of years ... the one with the newly-installed (or reinstalled) bells. There are yoga classes at the Congregational Church, too, or so I've been told; that's the flat-topped spot a bit farther down the hill, being "Historic Hill."

Anyway, it — yoga — happened because I ran into a friend on the street, last week at some point, when I was walking home from my usual coffee run, and she was just emerging from yoga class. She's the teacher. Channing Memorial is very close to my home. No excuses, in other words. So I showed up this morning — not only dragging (due to lack of caffeine) but reluctant (due to lack of flexibility). And it was great. Especially the narrative about feeling, in fact making, a bodily connection between Earth and Sun (on Earth Day, no less). Then the position called Extended Child; I liked that one. It was even comfortable. And the music was nice ... something familiar yet unfamiliar: Amazing Grace in Cherokee by a group named Walela. It was peaceful, shall we say, yet rhythmic. The class required strength and focus as much as flexibility. That's obvious, I realize; I just haven't done much yoga. We never even did Downward Dog, the only move I knew ...

And it reminded me — however that works — of standing on a chair in my backyard a few days ago and trying to keep my balance as I watched a very busy bee buzzing into and out of a flower on a cherry tree. The cherries are gone now ... the cherry blossoms, that is. The petals fell or flew or blew through the air, all in one day it seemed, and became a pale-pink, spring snow-of-sorts on the ground. But, hey, the dogs and crabs are out (!!), as Mr. Betty remarked cheerfully while looking out the window at assorted flowering trees this morning, as I was dragging myself out of bed, somewhat crabbily, to go to yoga. There's always something, isn't there?? Snow melts; crabbiness passes. New stuff arises. Stuff even blooms ...

A few of these shots are old, as you may have guessed ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I learned something yesterday. Not during my bike ride — out to Brenton Point where I stopped for a few minutes to ponder the jetty and assorted benches looking out to sea — but at my hair appointment, where my hair guy told me that "yellow" is relevant to fishermen. When he isn't doing hair (and, no, my hair isn't yellow), my hair guy (and friend, who does Mr. Betty's hair, too) loves to angle for striped bass. And just when the forsythia is dying down and the dandelions are springing up, i.e., right now, that's apparently when it's time to start bass fishing. Who knew?? Not I, certainly, though I was thinking about "yellow" in Newport a week or so ago. Not Mr. Betty, who enjoys fishing for stripers, though he generally has little success.

I've stood in this spot and pondered the jetty and its stairway (up or down?) and empty benches and related tragedies and fishing boats going in and out many times before. But I had not thought much about dandelions. They're tough, resourceful, even pretty, if you consider them carefully and individually, like so many things. And it's nice to think their arrival signifies something, that someone watches and waits for them, that dandelions play a role ...

N.B. I've said it before (and I'll say it again, I'm sure): you can always click on a photo to make it bigger ... they're MUCH better bigger.