First snow..(after the thaw, that is)
Falling snow makes the Island quiet: a peaceful place to walk the dog and muse.
You’ve come to frost the rubble-shaven hill…
to fill the frozen valley’s cup until,
with joy, a flood of runnings over will
noise of spring…then flowers will erase
even the memory of your pale, white face.
–Jerry Day Mason, Speaking to Strangers (1986)
Dan Osterman’s Island Impressions
Though much of his artistic “ocean inspiration” has derived from Cape Cod and Monhegan Island, for six weeks in time, Dan Osterman was inspired by Westport Island. Osterman was an artist in residency at the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation on East Shore Road in the winter of 2006.
Although it was cold, Osterman drew and painted while exploring the Island. “Twilight on the Sheepscot” and the “House on the Curve” were done “plein air” along East Shore Road. “Under the Dock” began as a drawing from his East Shore rambles and became a painting later. The marsh paintings were two of several he did of the marsh behind the MacNamara barn. …And, “Maine Inlet at Low Tide”, the vertical pen and ink scene, evolved in his studio where he was primed with cranked up music and contemplating his raw sketches on a large plank of wood.
One of Osterman’s most contemplative spots was the inlet on Jerry Day Mason’s property with its rhythm of tides and winter ice lines. That spot inspired his “Inlet” painting. He believes he spoke with Jerry at the time and that she was the sweet lady he gave a small version of his “Inlet” painting to as an expression of his appreciation.
Osterman’s boldest Westport piece, the yellow painting of “Clouds on the Horizon”, represented an overall impression of his Westport experience. The painting is also representative of why he is drawn to the coast to paint: “I go to the sea where the land disappears, and the clouds stack up, and the elements fight for supremacy.”
Dan Osterman lives and works in Boston these days where he has a studio in the Fort Point Arts Community, but he has continuing ties to Maine. His wife’s parents are from Maine, and several artists who have influenced his style were regular pilgrims to Monhegan’s summer art colony. For both the artistic tradition of the area as well as its coastal horizons, he looks forward to a trip back to Westport and Wiscasset. His work, including Westport pieces, can be purchased at his shop on Etsy; and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes Virginia, spring will come to Westport Island
How is it plausible that we can look forth
so complacently on cyclical rebirth of
tree and flower;
regard the tides, the moon-pulled sea,
a concept like infinity, and not bow low
before a greater power?
—Jerry Day Mason as published in Speaking to Strangers
December and the Christmas season are underway. Think local – it’s a low-stress option – creative gift ideas are a neighbor away — save a couple of fill ups, and forget the parking mambo.
To celebrate and say hi to neighbors, the Community Association’s annual Christmas Sing is 7 p.m. Sunday, December 9, at the Westport Community Church. A meet and greet will follow at the Old Town Hall. Bring a donation for the Island’s Food Pantry – organizers are hoping to fill the Pantry for holiday needs.
Now to shopping local…Maybe decorate your house or gift a Christmas keepsake from Jill Cooney’s Island Crafts. Know someone who likes poetry? Hit the internet for a second-hand copy of Jerry Day Mason’s Speaking to Strangers – my coolest book find of the year. Know a writer. Think about a journal from Joelle Webber’s Mermaid Bindery.
Woodcrafts? Bruce & Suzi Whittemore (Studio 78) craft wood coasters, bottle stoppers, and kitchen ware. The bottle stoppers are available at Treats in Wiscasset. And…no one turns wood finer than our own Ken Shepherd, president of Maine Woodturners, where some of his work is showcased.
For foodies who like locally grown fresh greens, how about a couple of windowsill micro-pots of microgreens from Judy Hughes’ MicroMainea? Better yet, put the microgreens in a whimsical pot thrown by Nancy Shaul, Westport Pottery. And, for our friends from away, lobster and fresh seafood are always a hit from the North End Lobster Co-op or Cromwell’s Crustaceans — call Mike, 380-5885, for on-Island delivery. Need help with holiday desserts? Call Daphne’s Cakes and Pies, 882-6652.
If the people in your life are stressed, how about a heated neck wrap to tenderize tense muscles from Ann Cole-Fairfield’s Instant Comfort. Or, take stress relief to the next level with a gift certificate to Sarah Rhinelander’s Westport Island Massage Therapy.
Other options: A scarf or shawl from PS Designs; some notecards from Ann Springhorn; or gift certificates — for dinner at the Squire Tarbox…piano lessons with Carol Blake…or maybe pet sitting from your friend or loved one’s favorite pet sitter…
The trouble with a pup is that
he errs much larger than a cat.
As if it weren’t enough to err
he lives in populated fur.
He’s just a stomach on four legs
which, when it’s filled, sits up and begs
for more — then leaves it on the floor,
which is a habit I deplore!
He is most difficult to catch
until he’s sitting down to scratch.
He takes your whole bed, lying flat
to make it where the action’s at.
A puppy’s trouble, if you please —
he takes your heart —
by Jerry Day Mason, Westport Island
as published in “Speaking to Strangers” (1986)
Views from a big day on a small cove
On August 4 as the day wound down, Samantha Hodgdon and Caleb Bonyun married — uniting families with long histories on the Island. The tides, the sun, and the guests put on their best to bless this beginning.
Westport Island’s own “poet laureate”, Jerry Day Mason, spoke. She shared this poetic prayer that she originally wrote, published, and has now adapted for Samantha and Caleb — who started seriously dating in the month of March some years ago…
Wedding Prayer (for Sam and Caleb)
In March, the apple tree bent toward spring
as you toward one another.
All things are at a being and beginning.
Now, may your love be both a dewed cobweb catching sun
and the sure flight of wings.
May it be a coming of all wondrous things
to bring you solace for your tears and a belief in dreams.
May you always need each other.
May you always touch.
— J. Day Mason
adapted from the original Wedding Prayer published in “Speaking to Strangers”