Winter walks

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 in Pastels, Peaks Island | 4 comments

As the anniversary of the Women’s March arrives, I’m reflecting on when I walked the very slowest in my life. Being in a huddled mass of humanity was life-affirming, our scrawled signs of dissent, our loud voices, our crush of bodies moving through Manhattan that historic day.

In the year since, I have walked daily, mostly solo but sometimes with others. I am deeply nourished by these walks and none more so than now, in the heart of winter on an island in Maine. I recently came across two things that confirm why my winter walks are so important.

In Brain Pickings, a marvelous newsletter of literary delights, I found this quote by Henry David Thoreau, “Every walk is a kind of crusade.” He also wrote: “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

My daily walks were a habit as a dog owner, and many of my walking friendships were born in the company of canines. Like Peg, whose dear Sadie and my Posie were the best of fur friends. She visited on New Year’s Eve day to walk a little backshore and touch the full moon.

That super moon seen rising on New Year’s Day.

I’ve also walked the island’s frosted beaches with my neighbor, Nicole, who led the way at the Women’s March.

Former Peaks Islander and insightful author Caitie Whelan of Lightning Notes wrote:

“…this kind of beauty deserves a full pause. Beauty like that nourishes us.”

YES. I have so needed nature’s beauty for my spirit in the past year of political turbulence. Have you? Even on the coldest of days, getting outside has been imperative.

I’ve seen a fair amount of wildlife out walking, too.

Turkeys have been trotting around our end of the island enough that Marty made them the subject of his holiday card.

Sometimes I don’t head out until late in the day, when the moon might be hiding in the clouds.

If the tide is low, I enjoy catching the last light, always stopping at Troll Rock for gratitude.

I enjoyed several walks with my daughter during her college break. We often surprised a gaggle of skittish geese back into the sea.

She made us this sweet Christmas card of delicate snowfall.

When we caught the last sunlight, it was worth the bitter winds biting our cheeks.

A dusky sky is a divine moment.

Later, we encountered fellow walker, Kathy Hanley, who steered us to this magical sight: a snowy owl overlooking the marsh behind her house!

My New Year’s resolutions are simple: drink more water, walk every day, draw every day. It’s actually been the hardest to draw daily. But I managed a pastel sketch back in my studio of the owl sighting.

Another day I used thirty minutes waiting for a ferry to walk in a different end of the island.

Back at the ferry landing, these fine fowl waddled up Welch Street right past me.

Carol borrowed my scarf for a brisk but sunny walk to the TEIA to gaze at bobbing icebergs.

Whenever I spy a cardinal, I think of my dad, Bill Hogan, who loved red and built the Red Doors Motel where I grew up.

I gave this pastel to my mother in his memory. She’s gone, too, so it hangs now in our home.

On one walk, I found Daisy on her own perambulations.

I won’t be marching in NYC tomorrow, but I will be there in spirit. Our country’s got such a long way to go.

Whenever I arrive home, I am refreshed, and usually sweaty, even on the coldest of days.

Fare thee well, marchers, and all who brave the elements.




  1. Loved following you on this lovely winter walk , Jamie.
    Took me back to Peaks where I walked many a winter.
    Smiled when I saw the cardinal. Since I have a copy I tend to think of it as mine. I like knowing your mother had the original.
    Both Marty’s and Daisy’s cards were terrific!

    • Thank you dear Gunnel! We need a good catching up soon!

  2. Mmmm…I am appreciating the beauty and simple wisdom you’ve photographed, written and created – a jewel on this quiet winter night. Thank you!

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