Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Hampshire Joy

I believe in magic.....especially Christmas magic.

Last week I spent a truly magical day with a camera around my neck, galoshes on my feet, and a van ready to drive and stop wherever I so desired- in one of my favorite places- New Hampshire.

I want to share some of the moments of joy I found that day with you, not just through my photos, but also through my words.

Come along, as I share with you my special day.......

It was my last day in New Hampshire and the weather looked great, which meant one thing- I was off to shoot some photos, already planning to start at Hampton Beach. When I arrived I was a little disappointed to see everything was closed for the season...........

Even the McDonalds was boarded up (I thought immediately of my son Josiah, and how disappointed he would be to see this!)

This old sign brought back memories- hadn't seen that cute ad for Coppertone with the little girl having her suit pulled down by the dog in many years!

It became obvious I wouldn't find any fried dough here as my favorite place to have it, Blinks, was closed, although I did appreciate they had decorated for the season. (Don't you love the orange door??)

Considering Lily is never far from my mind and heart, I couldn't help but notice this sign, and wonder why yet another community has to discriminate against our beloved furry friends...

Before being drawn to the sound of the waves and a walk on the beach, I saw a woman approaching the beach, two plastic bags in hand, with tons of birds following her as she went......

As they swirled around her, even sitting on her head, she kept throwing out the bread to the seagulls and the pigeons, sharing what she had with all of them. She reminded me of a lady I witnessed giving bread to ducks when I visited Florida in April. It touched my heart, her generosity to those birds.

I made my way onto the beach to search for more photos, as well as any other treasures from the sea I might be lucky enough to find. Couldn't resist a self portrait against the backdrop of the sand and sea.

And I had my galoshes on, ready to slop my way through sand and surf at my leisure, without feeling too much chill or getting soaked. I love these boots, I bought them on clearance at Macy's months ago. The polka dots.... goofy, just like me!!!

 I had to.... I just had to..... put my hand in the cold water, and with my other hand, snap this photo.

And here are a couple of the treasures I found as I meandered down Hampton Beach:

This set of footprints reminded me of that classic picture and story of Jesus carrying us through difficult times, but in this case the footsteps were leading towards me..... and all that day it felt like God was approaching me, through the bird lady, through the beautiful scenery, through every sound and smell and sensation I experienced. Isn't that the message of advent, of the incarnation?..... God drawing near, stepping into our humanity, finding us and meeting us right where we are.

The beauty of the New England beaches, so unique and inspiring.

From Hampton Beach I proceeded up the coast along US1, not knowing where exactly I was going except north, hoping I'd find a few more stops along the way to take photos. I was not at all disappointed, for everywhere I looked was perfect, and I knew I couldn't take a bad photo of this lovely, quaint area, even if I tried! The following photos were taken as I approached Rye Beach, NH.

And behold....... I found the "ANSWER" at Rye Harbor, though it may not get me very far in its present condition.....

I stopped to have lunch at Petey's seafood restaurant, chowing down on fried baby shrimp, fried clams, and YES!!!.... fried dough. Good thing I wasn't going in for a cholesterol screening the next day!

With a very full stomach an unusual sight beckoned me..... stacks of rocks, on top of rock, with the sea as their background. Representations of people and their journeys, being brought to this place, the place I now was ready to explore.

From where I parked my car I had to trudge through a large, shallow pool of water caught between the rocks and sea, and the afternoon sky was so blue. As I moved along I saw a man climbing also, getting to a particular rock where he sat to rest for a while. I prayed for him as I continued to make my own way, glad to have the company of a stranger. Somehow, I sensed, we were in this together.

Before leaving I saw it, the pyramid shaped rock someone else very strong must have hauled to put in its place. I imagined what that stone represented, the large burden that person may have let go of by leaving it there. It was then I knew I would place my own stones upon it.... three.....on the apex, and to my surprise, they balanced perfectly. I thought the first rock looked like a bird, ready to fly.

Before I reached Portsmouth, NH I stopped for a few last photos, taking these from the bridge you can see in the first shot.

I wound my way through Portsmouth and ended my magical day buying souvenirs at The Kittery Trading Post in Maine before returning to have a wonderful dinner out with my dear friends Janet and Gary. This day, this visit, restored something vital back to me.
 I returned to my family with joy.

To you who just shared this special day with me,
May you experience Joy and Restoration
Deep within......
Merry, Merry, Christmas!
with love, always,
Danese XOXO

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