Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

ice & water

A skim of ice floats on a section of a pond in Harold Parker State Forest. Just beyond the ice is a stretch of open water.

ice & water

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

top photos :: 2020

It's that time of year, the time when I wander through the photos that I've published during 2020 to find my favorites. It's always an interesting exercise, one that takes time and changes day-to-day until I have made my final choices.

From the beginning of the year, here are my selections.


a portrait of smiles


edged in pink


a pop of tulip color

multi-colored dahlia

multi-colored dahlia

Just Breathe

Just Breathe
by Karen Fralich

malachite butterfly

malachite butterfly

The Fish Bowl

The Fish Bowl
by jeks,

receding tide

receding tide
at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

lone shell

lone shell
on a tide-swept beach


colors of early winter

These photos are collected into the gallery top photos :: 2020. If you'd like to see larger versions of the photos or you would like to view them as a full screen slideshow, click here to jump to the gallery, then press the triangle-shaped button at the top.

Monday, December 28, 2020

reflected light

A walk at Harold Parker State Forest late in the day (from a sunlight perspective) exposed magical light.

reflected light at Harold Parker State Forest

Saturday, December 26, 2020


Warmth and rain over the last days have removed the snow remaining from our last snowfall.

Trees stand tall, branches bare. Remnants of grass wear winter brown.

trees at Maudslay State Park

Friday, December 25, 2020

a wet walk

The air was warm this morning as wind-lashed rain fell. While it might have been smart to treat the day as a rest day, I felt a need to move.

I dressed for warmth and wet, wearing capri-length leggings, a t-shirt, and a rain jacket. My jacket was dripping and my shoes had puddles in them by the time I finished walking but the jacket served to keep me dry. It was good to get out.

No photos from today but here is a pre-storm capture from yesterday's walk at Crane Beach.

Crane Beach

Thursday, December 24, 2020

coastal wind

While a high wind warning is in effect starting tonight at midnight and all of the weather sites I looked at said the wind along the coast would be light this afternoon, there were times that it was quite difficult to walk into the wind.

I walked at Crane Beach today, starting out in a direction that allowed me to have the wind at my back on the return trip. There were times when the light sand blowing across the surface of the beach almost looked like snow.

Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

an inland view

I headed to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this morning with the intention of walking on the beach. When I arrived I found the end of the boardwalk covered with snow and ice, the remnants of last week's storm. While it may only have required a small amount of slipping, I opted to walk on the inland side of the refuge instead.

The temperature was in the mid-30s and it was windy. Between the layers I was wearing and a decent walking pace I was quite comfortable. It was a good walk.

trees, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

puddle reflections

I headed to Lawrence this afternoon with the thought that I would walk along the canal. When I arrived I found that the sidewalks hadn't been shoveled after last week's 12 inch snowfall, and the streets were not cleared to a width that supported pedestrians in addition to cars. My walk was shorter than planned!

During my shortened walk I was delighted to find a puddle reflecting the puffy white clouds from the sky above.

puddle reflecting clouds

Monday, December 21, 2020


Walking conditions today are still a bit messy.

After last week's storm the roads were cleared, but not to the full width of the pavement. Some of the sidewalks were shoveled or plowed, leaving a bit of snow on top of the pavement. While the conditions made for interesting walking, it was still good to be out.

tree in snow

Friday, December 18, 2020

the day after

Yesterday was a snow day. Today, blue skies returned.

snow & trees, Topsfield, MA

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


It's cold outside!

I took advantage of today's dry conditions for both a morning exercise walk and an afternoon walk in the woods. If the weather forecast is correct I will wake tomorrow to snow; today it's simply cold.

The view across Field Pond in Harold Parker State Forest shows a mix of ice and open water.

trees across Field Pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


It's mid-December and I'm already missing garden visits. I felt a need for color today so I spent a little time wandering through photos from mid-September.

Purple beautyberry satisfied my need for color. Isn't the color amazing?

purple beautyberry

Sunday, December 13, 2020

walk in the woods

Today's walking destination led me to a trail traversing the Vale Reservation in Andover. The trail follows the Shawsheen River; it is sandwiched between river and train tracks.

Morning fog lifted. The temperature rose into the low 50s by early afternoon creating comfortable walking conditions.

trees & water, Vale Reservation

Saturday, December 12, 2020

footprints in the sand

While the sand near the ocean's edge is swept clean, the sand above the high tide line is littered with footprints.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, December 11, 2020

afternoon light

It was a wonderful day for a walk on the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

I started walking about 45 minutes before low tide and somehow managed to get my feet wet as the tide turned. Yes, I really was standing close to where the previous wave rolled onto the sand, looking inland. Oops! Luckily it was a warmish day today, and the water didn't feel that cold.

I love walking by the ocean, listening to the waves, absorbing a sense of peace.

afternoon light at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, December 10, 2020

across the river

Clouds formed a painting in the sky as I looked across the Merrimack River.

a view of clouds, across the Merrimack River

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

after the snow

Saturday's snow was much less than predicted giving me the incentive to walk in the woods of Harold Parker State Forest this afternoon.

There were spots that were clear of snow, spots that were a bit slippery, and one spot that was impassable. A new stream - likely caused by the long rain before the snow started - popped up between Brackett Pond and Collins Pond, cutting off my usual loop. It might have been possible to find a way around the water but it was late enough in the afternoon that retracing my steps seemed like the right solution.

looking across Collins Pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Monday, December 07, 2020

a soup day

An article in the Washington Post last week titled "6 vegetable-filled soups to help you counterbalance that rich holiday food" caught my eye. It includes several recipes that I immediately thought I needed to try.

Since today was chilly and gray, it felt like a good day for soup.

Today's soup was Apricot and Red Lentil Soup. Red lentils form a favorite soup base, and the addition of apricots sounded interesting. I liked the combination of savory and sweet.

If you're not an apricot fan it seems like using a different dried fruit would be a reasonable change.

Apricot and Red Lentil Soup

photo credit: Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

If you're interested in trying this soup, click here for the recipe.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

cat on a wall

Items on the wall of a sometimes open store along the riverfront in Newburyport caught my eye as I walked there last week. Of the many things tacked to the building I quickly identified a favorite, a black cat dressed in a sweater.

cat on a wall

Friday, December 04, 2020

a last warm day

December 1st signals the beginning of meteorological winter. The December days so far have been unseasonable, warm, with temperatures edging into the 50s. The forecast for the upcoming days signals an entry into winter weather with a rain and snow event predicted for tomorrow followed by much cooler temperatures.

I took advantage of today's relative warmth for a walk under a somewhat sunny sky.

evergreens reflecting, Harold Parker State Forest

Thursday, December 03, 2020

a chance encounter

I met this individual outside of the Oldies Marketplace in Newburyport, MA.

I wonder if he sometimes wanders around town.

a suit of armor

Wednesday, December 02, 2020


A sea gull sits on a post in the Merrimack River, watching all who pass by.

sea gull on a post, Newburyport, MA

Tuesday, December 01, 2020


I discovered SugarBee apples today. The apple is a variant of a Honeycrisp, sweet and crunchy.

This description from the SugarBee site made me smile:

One sunny spring day, a honey bee was buzzing throughout Mr. Nystrom’s orchard, collecting nectar and cross-pollinating apple blossoms along the way. The honey bee stopped at an unknown tree and collected nectar and pollen from a blossom. As the day went on, the little honey bee passed that pollen onto a Honeycrisp tree. Little did this bee know its cross-pollination between a Honeycrisp and an unknown variety had just resulted in the beloved SugarBee® apple we know and enjoy today!

Sugarbee apples

Sunday, November 29, 2020

changing sky

Harold Parker State Forest beckoned yesterday afternoon. The sky was amazing, bright blue decorated with building clouds.

Shortly after I took this photo the sky turned gray. Not too long after that hail started falling. It was followed by a quickly moving rainstorm and a drop in temperature.

trees and cloud reflections, Harold Parker State Forest

Saturday, November 28, 2020

single shell

A lone shell sits on a beach swept clean by the outgoing tide.

shell on beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, November 27, 2020

a line of blue

The clouds formed patterns above the ocean. A line of clear blue sky showed between clouds and water.

My walk at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge today started about 2 hours after high tide. The beach close to the water's edge was slanted but walkable.

looking east from the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


There's a walk in Topsfield that a friend and I have been referring to as "the critter walk" because it passes fields that are often filled with animals. Our favorites are the rescue animals, including donkeys, alpacas, and sheep. This afternoon felt like a good time to visit.

While this donkey didn't risk coming close to us - I suppose he thought we were 2-legged animals on the other side of the fence - he did agree to stand still long enough for a photo.


Monday, November 23, 2020


Bright colors jump from a stylized portrait on the front of a house in Salem, MA.

I would guess the occupants can give directions to their home without supplying a house number.


Saturday, November 21, 2020


Sea gulls sit on a pier overlooking the Merrimack River in Newburyport.

All of the birds were facing the same direction. I wonder how they communicate their intention.

sea gulls on a pier

Friday, November 20, 2020

trees reflecting

Afternoon light creates a painting of trees reflecting in Field Pond.

trees reflecting in Field Pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

looking up

This beautiful lady is looking up from the side of a building along a narrow alley in Salem.

She was a challenge to photograph. I stood against the facing wall looking to the sky, hoping to capture a reasonable picture of the mural. Sometimes I wish I could fly!

Kaupoku, by Hula

Kaupoku, by Hula

If you would like to see photos of this mural from higher up, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2020


Holly creates a bold splash of red.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

bridge view

It was a good afternoon for a walk in Boston, including a stroll under the Zakim Bridge.

Zakim Bridge, Boston, MA

Friday, November 13, 2020


As I walked along the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth I came upon two tugboats, docked and waiting for work.

tugboat on the Piscataqua River

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


The artists who created the new murals on Peabody Street in Salem were inspired by Nina Simone’s song, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free".

This portrait by Kedrin Frias caught my eye.

mural, portrait of Nina Simone by Kedrin Frias

I read an interesting article about this year's murals. Click to read El Punto mural artists paint the color of freedom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

berries in red

Tiny berries wearing red provide a pop of bright color.


Monday, November 09, 2020

by the sea

Walking by the ocean brings me a sense of calm. Yesterday I walked at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge as it moved closer to low tide. Many more birds than humans populated the refuge.

My beach walk was accompanied by the music of the waves.

nearing low tide at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, November 08, 2020

afternoon light

Late afternoon light highlighted a tree continuing to wear autumn colors as I walked along the Shawsheen River.

tree along the shawsheen river

Saturday, November 07, 2020

the fish bowl, a mural

Yesterday was a good day to visit The Point neighborhood in Salem to see new murals that were created in October.

Twenty Massachusetts-based artists were selected for this year's Call for Art, inspired by Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" installed their murals on the National Grid Wall on Peabody Street in Salem.

Graffiti artist JEKS from Greensboro, North Carolina installed a new large-scale mural in the Point neighborhood. The mural titled "the fish bowl" can be viewed on Dodge Street, behind the Walgreens. It was commissioned by Hampton Inn.

I found a number of the new murals installed on the National Grid Wall to be very interesting, but the one that really stood out for me was the large mural created by JEKS titled "the fish bowl".

The Fish Bowl

If you're interested in seeing more from yesterday's visit please click to visit murals in Salem :: 2020. The photos in the front of the gallery are new, ending with this photo.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

on the ground

Dried leaves in shades of brown cover the ground.

leaves on the ground, Maudslay State Park

Wednesday, November 04, 2020


It's a hard day today. Yesterday's election brought the expected "still counting" result to the race for president. My poor sleep pattern was clearly caused by worries over what could happen; I woke every hour between 2 and 4 AM and finally decided it was time to stop trying to sleep at 4:30.

I am trying to hold onto hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win.

I know I'm not alone as I continue to hope.

trees reflected in a pond