Category Archives: Writing

A moment to ponder at the Niagara

 

The 2chicks are returning here with perhaps a few tricks up their sleeves. The following is a short story, set along the banks of the Niagara River, on Grand Island, New York, in Beaver Island State Park. If you are coming to the area, certainly google it for more information. Please, read on and enjoy!

Written by Sherrie Robins

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Evening fell over the Niagara.
There was a hush and an echo, that reverberated as sunlight on the whimpering waves.

A heron was standing in the marsh along river’s edge, aware of my presence. Silhouetted as a statue, she was unwilling to move a muscle…until I got too close. That was when she spread her wings wide and with a leap and an arc, soared toward the setting sun.

 

In the distance, a dog’s bark preempted the quiet, perking my ears up, bringing me to attention.

I was rather irritated by now. My ethereal moment, my commune with nature had been interrupted, and I can’t say that I liked it.

I was sorry my bird (how did I think she was mine?) had flown off. I was sorry a pet was in the vicinity…and a man.

I turned my head back towards the water, and the sun, the glow and the calm and tried to reemerge.
A warm evening breeze caressed my face, in a seeming attempt to calm. The least I could do was respond. Drawing a deep breath, I listened. There was a far off bird call. Perhaps MY heron. Maybe she would come back, and this dog and his man would disappear.
The now cooling sand was fresh between my toes and the nip of a mosquito pricked my neck.

It hadn’t been a particularly good day. Nor week…nor year. This place was my calm. My restoration. It filled me up when I was running low.

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The end of the season was my favorite; the kids were back in school and their parents hovered with them, over homework. Family tourism was over and the only tourists still around were not interested in a river beach, they were here for the big bang Niagara Falls had to offer.

Several boats were still moored, but mostly empty, waiting for weekend attention. No, weeknights in September belonged to me.

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The docks were inviting. I loved stepping out on the wooden planks. They were rough and springy with the dank smell of tall wooden posts, long immersed in the underwater world of mud and clay.

My mind wandered. It slithered as a water snake along the golden shimmer, touching on my troubles and problems, seemingly without solution; problems that I had allowed to seep into my soul and had sunk deep and dark into my mud and clay.

I shook my head, where was that Heron, anyway. I could use the distraction of her call…

Instead I heard a bark. And it was close. And a man…his dog…and interference. The hair on the back of my neck ruffled in irritation. This was MY sanctuary.

He came out onto the dock. The dog was young and full of bounce and friendly. I didn’t want bounce. I most certainly did NOT want friendly. But my Mother had conditioned me to “nice”.

“Hello” he said. “Hello” she bounced and licked, jumping up in my space. She landed squarely on my bare feet with her sharp toenails, drawing a neat red line from ankle to toes.

“Ouch”! I yelled. I was going to “nice” but now I wasn’t. I didn’t care. My problems. My sanctuary. My space, My foot.

“I am SO sorry” he said. He was irritatingly sincere.

I sat down on the dock and put my feet in the water. “That’s okay. But do you think you could manage to control your dog”? She was jumping with those toenails, precariously close. I continued to not like her. Or him.

But he spoke up “Again, I’m very sorry. Is there anything I can do for your foot? My car is in the lot and I have a first aid kit”…

“That’s okay. I’ll be fine”.

“I’m really trying to manage her. I’m not usually the one to take her for a walk. I do apologize”.

“Nice” insisted on speaking up. Thanks Mom. “Oh…you got stuck with the job”? It was the best I could do.

“Well…in a manner of speaking”.

My foot was throbbing, but my Mother continued…”Oh”?

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He hesitated.

I noticed him for the first time: middle aged, graying hair, glasses, trim. He looked pleasant enough, for a man whose dog had just punctured my foot.

“I didn’t mean to pry”…

“It’s just this is my first time walking my Wife’s dog here. Leona is a rescue, and she was just beginning to get her under control…when…” His face hinted of pain and began to contort, before he turned away.

Oh no…what had I gotten myself into?

“I’m so sorry, I, uh…”

“No” he sniffled. “It’s my fault”.

“I’m really sorry, apparently there is more to this and I didn’t mean to”… I trailed off, overwhelmed with awkward, and just a little sympathy.

He straightened up and stood tall. “Look. I don’t know you and I am truly sorry I interrupted your reverie here. But you have no reason to feel bad. I’m the one who came here and interrupted your alone time. I’m the one that made you feel uncomfortable. I am most sorry my dog hurt your foot. And mostly, I’m sorry for this awkward  moment. But I just lost my wife tonight. She had been sick for a long time and we knew it was coming. I have family at home, so I’ll be okay, but Leona and I needed to get out. I just felt I needed to tell you.
Now, won’t you please excuse us? Please have a good evening”… He turned abruptly, sniffing a little, clearing his throat.

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They walked a little further on, down the main dock and out onto one of the several protruding finger piers. Leona was sniffing around, satisfied with the varied smells, but he stood still, staring in the direction of the sun setting over the water…as unmoving as My heron had been.

He hadn’t even given me time to respond. I couldn’t tell him I was sorry.

I didn’t bother to move as I was frankly, thunderstruck. What could I do? If I moved I might interrupt his reverie. No. I could give him that much.

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After a few moments, Leona pulled at the leash and the man came back to himself. I saw him wiping his cheek as he turned. They walked back down the main dock and off into the darkening horizon.

The sun was nearly down and I was shivering as I pulled my feet out of the wet. I wasn’t sure where I left my shoes, and that mosquito had returned with his companions.

But I was experiencing a paradigm shift.  No. It was time for me to leave his dock, his beach, his park.

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I would let the sun sink low, I would return the heron to herself, I would give the man his sanctuary… maybe even realize my Mother had a point.

It was time to pull the supports from their entombment and give my head a shake. Most problems were only that. Problems. I would save my sorrow and self-pity for the bigger things of life.

 

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All hail to Autumn, as winter knocks…

Niagara on display.

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I am hesitant. The day inviting, the view unparalleled, but winter imminent.

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The grounded leaves are in a kerfuffle, blustering about, looking for a limb to hold on to. Isn’t that the way it’s always been; since inception?

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But I, on the other hand, am grounded, plodding, peaceful despite the knowledge of the inevitable, as I trod the path beneath my feet. Beauty has a way of doing that. It humbles us, rescues us, lifts above the mundane to exaggerated and exalting heights.

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In this case, beauty comes from beyond and below, enhanced by above. Sunlight flickers between yet attached and gloriously attired leaves. The water, away down, perpetual and exhausting in it’s permanent purposefulness, resonates on canyon walls.

 

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I, small. Alone. Individual. I among the many and the few. Many trees, many leaves…clouds, colors, grasses, pebbles on the ground. Few travelers, tree stumps, forks in the path, the earth.

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I am here to revel. Admire. Be invigorated. Soar.

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You are here to absorb, imbibe, share in our journey and enjoy.

 

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We invite your presence with pleasure and send warm, sun set, color-filled greetings your way.

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Remember us, those ‘neath the white, frosted earth…

All photos taken one November afternoon, Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls, New York.

Autumn in Chagrin Falls, a quiet beauty

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The sun is setting, silhouetting trees and shades and golden hues of color. Glimmering leaves dazzle, shimmer in the breeze or float peacefully past rocks or broken branches. The sound of water dashes hard. It pummels and penetrates the lower banks, creating a second home.

The church bell chimes, the town hall tower shines, the square defers. Muted colors, softly enclose in preparation of a bolder season of celebration, ahead. Christmas and the holidays are drawing near, and chopped evergreens subtly await, still slumbering, hidden in back alleys or along building’s edges.

Shopkeepers anticipate the cold bite of winter, while shoppers shiver and pull their coats a little bit closer.

We open a door and warm air rushes out, greeting us with genial arms of invitation. Though the hour has not yet come, we are welcomed with tea, cheer, and a cozy fire. Through sprawling windows we see the long, wide drop of inspiration.

A sip and a nudge. A view, and a bite. With you by the fire, the world once again, right.

Find beauty ’round the corner, just beyond the bend,
Or in the eyes of loved ones near or far,  

Past, present, in the future, For always in the end,

We n’er leave ourselves behind,
Create your joy, your love, your friends.

Sherrie

Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Just beyond… Cleveland.

 

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A sampling of shops,  Inn and Restaurants of Chagrin, Ohio, listed below:
https://www.facebook.com/Winds-of-Change-111953242215815/

http://innofchagrin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nola-True/159967410692272https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nola-True/159967410692272

http://hedgeschagrinfalls.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Toni-In-Style-195127467202003/
http://www.jekyllskitchen.com/

http://www.sugarmedesserterie.com/

Or contact https://yourhometownchagrinfalls.com/

Also, for more 2chicks information:

https://www.facebook.com/sherrierobinsart/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://www.facebook.com/2chicks2go/

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sherrie-robins.html?tab=artwork

https://twitter.com/Tweaterpated

 

 

 

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2chicks Photos ~Light on the Marsh

Light on the Marsh

A calm weekday evening, a few people milling about, but mostly quiet, nature, silence and beauty. A heron flies low and lands just out of reach. I wonder what else is happening out of our view? The sun is getting tired from a long day’s work, but still has some show left in her. “Do you mind if I take a picture of a smidge of your work, oh sunshine, fair”?

Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina, Mentor, Ohio

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https://twitter.com/Tweaterpated

2chicks2go Facebook

Sherrie Robins’ Art Facebook

Sherrie Robins’ Art Fine Art America (Purchase of art, available here. *Requests taken).

2chicks2go Pinterest

Niagara Parks Part II

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This is Part II of the Niagara Parks piece. We are so fortunate to be living in one of the most beautiful areas on earth. We hope you enjoy the photos and learn a bit more about Niagara and its parks and then come on over to inspect them for yourselves.

Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park is the park in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where people go to see the Falls – all three – The American Falls, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe. It is maintained by NPC – the Niagara Parks Commission, and is truly lovely, in itself.

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This exquisite pond is located directly across from where one views the American Falls.

Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada

In the same vicinity, is the Oakes Garden Theatre. This is a great place to sit and have a picinic, take wedding photos, or to walk around and check out the gardens.

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Nestled in behind the theater, and through a gate, lies a secret garden. Yes, really. Many visitors miss this gem.

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And, here I am, (one of the two chicks) sitting at a restaurant right next door, called the Secret Garden. I honestly can’t give a review of the menu, as I’ve only had drinks on the terrace, but the link is here, http://www.secretgardenrestaurant.net/

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Fort Niagara 

Back over on the American side, one really must see Fort Niagara. The Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario at this juncture. There is a lighthouse, the Fort, the River, The Lake a swimming pool, picnic area, snack bar and more. It’s a great place to spend the day with the family.

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The Fort Niagara Lighthouse offers tours and a gift shop.

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There is an old road that follows the river and makes for a great walkway, with beautiful views along the way.

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You can even stop and take a moment to reflect.

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Public Dock – Youngstown, NY

Just down the way from Fort Niagara, are the Youngstown Public Docks. we like it there. When you’re at the Fort, you can see sailboats emerging from upriver, and coming out into the open waters of Lake Ontario. But going to the Docks, you can see these boats up close at waters edge. It’s also kind of handy if you happen to have a boat. 😉

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Lewiston’s Waterfront Park

At the river’s edge, in Lewiston, downriver from Niagara Falls and upriver from Youngstown is a quaint little park. Lewiston has their docks down at the water below, but up some steps and at the end of Center Street is this park. The Silo Restaurant is there, picnic tables, a couple of bench swings to watch the sunset over Canada. One of our favorite things are the spectacular statues by sculptor, Susan Gessler.

http://www.lewistonsilo.com/

http://www.susangeissler.com/

Susan Gessler's sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston's Waterfront Park.
Susan Gessler’s sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston’s Waterfront Park.

Peace Garden – Lewiston, NY

Back up the hill, on Center Street lies a quiet little nook, behind the main buildings. It is a peaceful place with flowers and sculptures and a table to play chess on. A small oasis during a tour of the historic town of Lewiston.

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Lockport Cave Entrance/Lockport Canal/Town of Lockport Nature Trail

Alright folks. You got me. Have you ever been someplace and don’t really know where it was? I googled until my eyes crossed and then called the Lockport Library where a very kind research librarian helped me. (Heck, they live there and don’t know what it’s called.)

The Erie Canal runs through the town of Lockport and there are trails meandering all around the canals, here and there. There are walkways and ruins, and woods and hiking and picnic tables, oh my! In the midst of that is an attraction called the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat ride. Near the entrance is a park-like area. We choose to call it a park!

Famous "upside down" railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.
Famous “upside down” railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.

There is the famous ‘upside down’ railroad bridge. It’s an interesting story:

http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=truss/lockportrr/

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There are all kinds of photo ops, with ruins and scenery and historical buildings. Such a fun place to go!

Hyde Park – Niagara Falls

Hyde park is New York State’s largest park aside from Central Park in Manhattan. It has a lake for fishing and boating, bocce ball, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and a baseball stadium. We take walks quite often through this park, and it’s one of our favorite ways to exercise. With the holiday weekend upon us, it is also good to mention that every year, they have an impressive fireworks show over the lake for the 4th of July.

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Niagara has a treasure trove of parks and green spaces, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed touring it with us! Stay tuned for part three…

The Parks of Niagara – Part I

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Devil’s Hole State Park

The Niagara region is rife with vegetation and life. It’s beaming with beauty and verdancy.  So much is accessible to the public for viewing, some in a natural state and some in more manicured park lands.

Here is a quick overview of a few of the Parks Niagara has to offer, featuring Devil’s Hole, Whirlpool State Park and Niagara Reservation State Park.

Devil’s Hole State Park has been a great source of Inspiration for our family. With it’s changing moods, with the seasons, diverse paths and trails, it seems to always present something for each of our tastes. Mom likes the above trail and the creative opportunities a stroll affords. The rest of the family likes the hiking down the cliff to the water’s edge: destination ‘wild water’ and unique rock formations.

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No pictures of the lower path. Sorry. Everyone was too busy having fun! You’ll just have to come and experience it for yourselves.

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And on a practical note, there are picnic tables, so bring a lunch.

Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole are ‘next door’ to one another and accessible via a trail that runs along the top of the gorge. It is not a difficult connection, but it is not easy either. If you are looking for an easy walk, the Devil’s Hole trail is the easiest. Whirlpool’s has a hill you need to navigate and the connection between the parks has a stony and hilly trail.

October 25, 2012. Whirlpool State Park. A special treat of 78 degrees!d
Whirlpool State Park

Whirlpool Park has a lovely view of the Whirlpool, below on the Niagara River and of the Aero car that crosses the gorge, over the Whirlpool, from Canada to Canada.

Lovely stone building and look-out.
Lovely stone building and look-out.

We would be remiss if we did not turn the spotlight toward Niagara Reservation State Park. A constant beauty, showcasing the Falls, renowned world over, this Park is the number one destination of all tourists visiting from across the globe. A four-season reservation, no room for any hesitation, this is the ultimate destination! 😉

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Niagara Reservation State Park – America’s oldest State Park.
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The water crashing on the rocks below. Always magnificent.
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On Luna Island, between the Bridal Veil and American Falls…up close and personal.
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In the heart of the City, Niagara rings true with paths and walkways, assured of natural beauty.
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You never know what you’ll find around the corner at Reservation: Buffalo Philharmonic performs.