Saturday, October 21, 2023

The sill

Austere, like the flavor of autumn olives. Clear, tart, enough sweetness to keep your attention. But definitely autumn.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Picnic like you mean it


The water comes up, and then it goes down, and then it does it again. This is high tide, and we perched on the edge to picnic. But at low tide we have walked across the shell-crunching wet sand to that island with the trees, to picnic, there. Once, we watched a mink swim across the water to explore the rocks. There are sometimes seals, poking their faces up to look like whiskery buoys tethered on the water. And almost always we see a loon, patrolling offshore.

I don't know when last we took wine on a picnic*. A day picnic. I carried it as a surprise for the Frenchman, who that morning had told me about a couple at the local co-op: They exited with a bottle of rosé. They took it back to their car, opened it, tossed some stale coffee out of a mug, and poured the wine into the mug before driving off, sipping. "It wasn't even chilled!" he said, unsure which act was more outrageous - drinking warm rosé or driving and drinking.

So we each had a few swigs (Tortoise Creek Zinfandel), straight from the bottle. It was completely delicious in the cold air, after the hike, between bites of sourdough sandwiches with tomato and prosciutto, a Chebris (sheep and goat cheese), and a fennel saucisson, all from the very appealing Blue Hill Wine Shop

Then we walked a couple of miles back to our own car and drove (in a straight line) home. 

*I grew up with wine at day picnics, brunch picnics, wine at lunch, wine at dinner...well, a lot of wine. (Also, not much water. But that is another story.)


Instagram: @marie_viljoen

Sunday, October 8, 2023


Is one morally bound to discuss acts of war, if one is a(war)e of them, while walking in the autumn woods of a Maine shoreline, Downeast? Disaster stalks us. 

Last night the wind let loose as a storm moved in and poised above us, and water rained so hard on the roof that clear rivers formed round the cottage that we are renting for a few days. Pools grew outside and I sent the Frenchman into the deluge to check our EV. Batteries and flooding don't mix well. We're just a week out from the flash floods that drowned our block and nearby neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, thousands dead; the story so complex, and terrible. And what is to come? War. What is it good for? It's good for politicians. For people in power. For certain kinds of business. For the makers and innovators of weapons and the technology that supports or thwarts them. For the contractors of conflict. And, rarely, for freedom.

The woods here are wet and very green. In some places the moss is elbow-deep (I know, I measured). Weaponless but for eyes and intuition and and not a little reading, we have hunted mushrooms, with success. 

Our suppers have been matsutake-filled, and tonight the stuffing for our little organic chicken, raised by a local farmer, is rice with girolles (yellow-foot chanterelles). 


I'm mostly not here, but at Instagram: