Denise Goldberg's blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


The icy surface of a pond serves as a mirror for a stand of evergreens.

trees reflecting in ice

Monday, January 30, 2017


It's hard not to get dragged down by the news lately. I need to remember to look to the light and to continue to hope.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.

~~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963 ~~

late day light

Sunday, January 29, 2017

late day light

Sunset times have moved enough that I'm able to catch some late day light after I close the visitor center at the end of my volunteer shift at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Today I headed toward Plum Island before turning for home, stopping at the parking lot just before the bridge to the island.

I walked onto the bridge to enjoy the late day light, to see the clouds reflecting in the almost calm water.

late day light

disturbed (again)

Politics has raised its head again. I just can't ignore the idiocy of our 45th president.

The behavior and orders issued by the individual currently occupying the White House degraded more each day during his first week in office. Friday's immigration order was a huge leap downward. I was shocked and very distressed. I'm happy that multiple federal judges got involved yesterday, slowing the order. Changing this executive order isn't enough; it needs to be overturned.

He doesn't seem to understand that our country was built by immigrants, that the people living in the United States are the descendants of either Native Americans or immigrants.

Kudos to the Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada for his tweets yesterday:

tweets from Justin Turdeau welcoming immigrants to Canada

Did you hear that Mitch McConnell had to talk Trump out of his stated desire to get rid of the electoral college? Does Trump really not understand that he lost the popular vote?

I'm looking for ways to contribute in turning our country back to a normal democratic state. If you're also looking, an editorial in today's Boston Globe, A citizens guide to survival in Trump’s America, provided some interesting ideas.

I owe thanks to my sister for pointing me at the following tidbit.

Did you know that a top psychologist from Johns Hopkins has diagnosed Trump (from afar) with "malignant narcissim"? From the US News report Temperament Tantrum:

John D. Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who taught psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, minces as few words as the president in his professional assessment of Trump.

"Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president," says Gartner, author of "In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography." Trump, Gartner says, has "malignant narcissism," which is different from narcissistic personality disorder and which is incurable.

Gartner acknowledges that he has not personally examined Trump, but says it's obvious from Trump's behavior that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity. Trump's personality disorder (which includes hypomania) is also displayed through a lack of impulse control and empathy, and "a feeling that people ... don't recognize their greatness".

I find that very interesting. Do you?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

removing old, building new

When I finished walking at Odiorne Point State Park yesterday afternoon I continued up the coast to Portsmouth before turning for home. During the blooming season I often make a stop at Prescott Park to enjoy the flowers; yesterday I just continued my drive with no stopping point in mind.

As I drove by I could see the changes in the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge project and I knew I needed to stop. When I last visited at the end of December the old bridge (minus the lift section) was still in place. Yesterday I found that the last section of bridge spanning the Piscataqua River had been removed, leaving only some pieces on land. The road surface was gone but some of the green metal structure still remained. I'm glad I continued to the north and east before heading home because I suspect the next time I visit all remnants of the old bridge will be gone.

remnants of the old bridge

Construction of the new bridge continues. I was fascinated to see two standing sections waiting for a span of concrete to be placed; fastening new chunks of concrete structure between them must be an interesting exercise.

new bridge sections in place

looking through a to-be-placed section of the bridge

Friday, January 27, 2017

to the New Hampshire coast

It was a crisp and windy day, a perfect time to head to the New Hampshire coast. I stopped in multiple places, spending most of my walking time in Odiorne Point State Park.

from Odiorne Point State Park

More photos from today's walk can be seen in the gallery New Hampshire coast :: 2017.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

patterns in nature

I love the paintings that nature creates.

Low tide, a perfectly smooth (and wet) beach, white clouds against a blue sky, and a reflection created a scene of pure beauty.

clouds reflecting in wet sand at low tide

lies and censorship

I promise, I will not turn my blog into a place for political statements - but sometimes writing helps me to be calm. It won't help me accept a bad reality, but I think words can help.

What kind of state is the country in when a spokesperson of the office of the president claims that falsehoods are "alternative facts"? The two words that immediately come to mind are fallacies and lies. A fallacy is defined as a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument, while a lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. Both NPR and the New York Times have gone with the more conservative approach, but in my mind "alternative facts" are out-and-out lies.

I am appalled at the focus of the executive orders that have come out of the White House in the few short (but seemingly long) days since the inauguration. I hate the censorship of respected agencies (especially the treatment of the EPA), the apparent lack of knowledge of our constitution and the meaning of this country, and the denigration of immigrants. I'm glad that some of his latest antics have raised issues in Congress; I hope that there are enough senators and congressman who have the guts to fight back.

I love that Greenpeace made a statement in Washington today. From a PBS Newshour blog entry today:

Greenpeace activists hung a large banner reading “RESIST” from a 270-foot construction crane in downtown Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning to protest President Donald Trump.

“It is a message to this administration,” Nancy Pili Hernandez, a Greenpeace activist based in San Francisco, said on a Facebook livestream as she hung from the crane with safety harnesses. “But more than that, this is a hand-painted love letter to you. This is a message to the people.”

Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

While the administration has stopped allowing access to Twitter by some agencies, a few individuals have created unofficial "Resistance" teams to continue tweeting real news and facts. If you read or participate in Twitter, you may be interested in these currently active IDs: AltNASA, altEPA, NOT ALT WORLD, and Rogue NASA.

Update on January 28: Note that these "alt" twitter IDs are run by groups of individuals who do not work for the federal government.

Monday, January 23, 2017

waves and walking

I was on the beach just after low tide on Saturday walking along a smooth and walkable swath of sand. I had to remind myself to always keep an eye on the inbound tide to avoid ending up with very wet (and cold!) feet.

just past low tide, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

As always, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge presented its beauty to all visitors, both people and birds.

word of the day

An entry (written by Eric Sosman) in the Letters section of today's Boston Globe caught my eye:

ENGLISH EVOLVES. Old words fade away, and new ones crop up. Yet circumstances sometimes bring back an older word for a return engagement. As we enter upon a new era in America, we may need to resurrect one of those disused words, which describes showy but worthless nonsense, or trickery.

The word I’m thinking of is “trumpery.”

Looking further to verify the definition I found the history of the word in The Did You Know? section for the word in Merriam-Webster:

Trumpery derives from the Middle English trompery and ultimately from the Middle French tromper, meaning "to deceive." ... Trumpery first appeared in English in the mid-15th century with the meanings "deceit or fraud" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "worthless nonsense."

Do you agree that this is an interesting word in the context of today's world?

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Yesterday morning I gave in to my dislike of crowds and decided to drive to the coast instead of heading into Boston to participate in the Women's March. I sent thoughts and strong wishes for change to the march while absorbing the peace I felt in the ocean's accompaniment to my walk.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides calm and peace to people in addition to meeting the needs of birds and wildlife. I'm happy to have ready access to such a beautiful place.

ocean reflections

Saturday, January 21, 2017


The numbers of attendees at the Women's Marches across the country today was impressive. I initially planned to attend the rally in Boston but as the expected attendees increased into the tens of thousands I rethought my plans. I've never been comfortable in large crowds.

I'm in awe of the number of people who attended across the country (and world) today. It helps to know that many others share my beliefs.

A snippet from today's speech:

“We can whimper. We can whine. Or we can fight back!” called Warren, as marchers clad in pink hats and waving protest signs screamed their agreement. “We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder to make clear: We are here! We will not be silent! We will not play dead! We will fight for what we believe in!”

I'm sorry I missed the speeches but I'm not sorry I missed the crowds. I'm happy that I was able to find a video of Elizabeth Warren's speech from the Boston event; what a powerful set of words!

Friday, January 20, 2017


The word disturbed is my word of the day. I've seen two definitions, one as a verb and one as an adjective. The verb disturb means "cause to feel anxious". The adjective disturbed is "suffering or resulting from emotional and mental problems". So I suppose it makes sense to say that I am disturbed by the disturbed individual who was sworn in to the highest office in the country today.

I hope that there are enough sane individuals serving in congress to balance the insanity I fear is coming. I will try to stay positive, I will continue to follow my representatives in Congress, and I will keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities where I can help.

It helps to know I am not alone in my feelings.

Three posters created by artist Shepard Fairey for the "We the people" campaign of the Amplifier Foundation caught my eye. The artist is encouraging attendees of tomorrow's Women's March to print and carry the posters for the march.

From the Washington Post article titled "The artist who created the Obama ‘Hope’ posters is back with new art this inauguration":

Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, Fairey launched the “We the People Campaign,” which he says focuses on the groups that Trump disparaged in his campaign and that may feel threatened by the incoming administration. The campaign includes three posters by Fairey of an African American, Latino and Muslim woman.

text by Perry Stein of The Washington Post

We The People poster by Shepard Fairey, posted with permission from The Amplifier Foundation

"We The People" poster by Shephard Fairey
posted with permission from The Amplifier Foundation

"We the People is a nonpartisan campaign dedicated to igniting a national dialogue about American identity and values through public art and story sharing"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

thin ice

Sections of open water can be seen between icy patches. While the ice right now is not suitable for walking, it is sturdy enough to support a broken piece of a branch.

resting on ice

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ice and water

The air wears a chill feel. The temperature has jumped above freezing for part of the past couple of days, leaving lakes partially frozen. A walk in Harold Parker State Forest this afternoon allowed me to see reflections in both ice and water.

reflections on ice and water

Monday, January 16, 2017


I was going to say that I had a nice lazy day today when I realized that my 5.2 mile exercise walk this afternoon made it impossible to classify the day as a lazy one!

It was a quiet day, time to sit, to read, to relax.

before the flower, a budding orchid

Sometimes I need a day like this!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

a greenhouse visit

Cold temperatures this morning plus a desire for bright colors convinced me it was a good day for a greenhouse visit. I headed for the Lyman Estate to wander through the flowers, soaking in both warmth and color.

I need to remember to repeat my visit in a little over a month. One of the greenhouses is filled with camellias that usually are in full bloom from mid-February through mid-March.

Visit our celebrated collection of camellias in the 1804 camellia house at the Lyman Estate Greenhouses. Many of the trees are more than one hundred years old. At this time of year, they put forth a profusion of blossoms in all sizes and shapes.

from the Lyman Estate Greenhouses website
bougainvillea in bright pink

More color can be seen in the gallery greenhouses of Lyman Estate :: 2017.

Friday, January 13, 2017

up and down

Yesterday's record warmth was a gift; today the temperature started dropping for a few days of cold before jumping back into winter warmth again. It feels like we are on a roller coaster.

Yesterday's high was 61 degrees; today started in the 50s and dropped during the day. My walk this morning was accompanied by temperatures in the mid-40s. Luckily I'm pretty good at figuring out reasonable layers to support outdoor activity at different temperatures.

temperature forecast 1/13/2017 - 1/19/2017
chart courtesy of the Boston office of the National Weather Service

The weekend will be cold but it looks like there will be another warmup by mid-week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

winter warmth

The weather wizard brought us a real treat today, warm air! The rising temperature was accompanied by rain overnight; when I woke up this morning most of the snow was gone.

With temperatures in the low 50s it felt like a good day for a long (exercise) walk. By the time I returned home this afternoon my feet had covered just over eight miles.

hibiscus, at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
a bit of color, from last week's butterfly conservatory visit

Monday, January 09, 2017


Yesterday's cold walk at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was accompanied by the calming sound of ocean waves.

waves, at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, January 08, 2017

blue sky

A bright blue sky highlighted the snow left behind by yesterday's storm. Snow on the ground here looked to total about 4 inches, much less than the coastal areas south of Boston where East Bridgewater had much higher totals. The winner was East Bridgewater with 19.5 inches of newly fallen snow.

I headed to the Parker River Wildlife Refuge earlier than usual this afternoon. I was scheduled to volunteer at the visitor center today; I wanted to walk on the beach first. The area close to the dunes were quite interesting with layers of snow, ice, and sand.

It was a chilly but good walk.

snow and sand on the beach at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, January 07, 2017


Until the middle of the week the long range forecast for today showed chilly air without precipitation. The forecast changed.

looking down a snowy road

Can you see the snow flying?

It is currently 19 degrees outside with snow and freezing fog. The snow started around noon; the forecast calls for it to taper off by around 1 AM. The current "Most Likely Snowfall" map on the National Weather Service site calls for a total snowfall (near my home) between 6 and 8 inches.

Weather like this makes me realize how lucky I am to live next to a small college. It gives me a very reasonable place to walk when roads are slippery and visibility is poor. I had a good exercise session this afternoon walking circles on the college campus.

snow-covered berries, a pop of red and white

Pinata apples

It's been a good season for new-to-me apples.

My latest taste treat is a Pinata apple. It's a cross between three heirloom apples - Golden Delicious, Cox's Orange Pippen, and Duchess of Oldenburg. I find it interesting that even though I don't care for Golden Delicious apples this triple apple combination created a crisp and juicy apple with a taste that I like. I'm glad I decided to try it!

Pinata apple

Friday, January 06, 2017

winter thinking

The winter season lends itself to quiet introspection. It's a good time to look back, to look forward and plan, to just be.

I read another photographer's New Year's resolutions a few days ago; she really made me think. I don't have any big plans, just ordinary, everyday things. I want to continue to grow as a photographer, to always be a good friend, to explore the world around me. I want to notice the little things.

I think Lisa Bettany's words in her blog post are perfect:

"Look outside. Notice the little things. The sunlight dancing on the grass. Watch the clouds pass by. Listen to the wind. Feel the ground underneath you, supporting you. Try to connect to your surroundings. Be present in that moment."

written by Lisa Bettany

Although the title of the blog post is "New Year's resolutions every photographer should make in 2017" I can easily see her words applying to other things as well. Read Lisa's powerful blog post here, substituting your life activity for photography. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Unseasonable warmth was in the air today; I headed to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for a bit of a wander. As I approached the end of the boardwalk leading to the beach I heard the sound of the ocean, and I saw a spectacular view. It was close to high tide and the very active ocean was simply amazing.

It's always a good day for a walk by the sea.

wild waves

More photos are in the gallery Parker River, and... 2017.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


When I first saw one of these butterflies it was perched on a plant that wore mainly green leaves. I thought it was a dead leaf, but then I looked again.

This is a Kallima inachus, also known as a dead leaf butterfly. It does a wonderful job of hiding in plain sight!

dead leaf butterfly

Monday, January 02, 2017

west, to butterflies

It's become a habit for me to visit the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in early January. After checking the weather forecast to verify that the roads would be dry I decided today was a good day to stand amid butterflies.

I left home early, arriving just a bit after the 9 AM opening of the conservatory. I quickly removed my warm layers, pulled out my camera, and entered the tropical world of the butterflies. I walked through the space multiple times, stopping, standing and looking, absorbing the beauty. At one point a blue morpho butterfly decided it liked the bright blue shirt I was wearing, landing on my shoulder and staying for a while. I felt it land, and I could see it from the corner of my eye. I stood still until the butterfly decided to move on.

While I wish Magic Wings was a bit closer to home, it's quite reasonable as a day trip. I treasure my visits there.

a Cairns birdwing

More photos of butterflies and the flowers that share the warm space can be seen in the gallery butterflies :: 2017.