Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, February 28, 2021

a tree

Bare branches of a tree expose a complex structure.

bare branches of a tree in winter

Thursday, February 25, 2021

simple beauty

As the tide recedes it leaves shells decorating smooth sand.

shells on the beach

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

snow on dunes

While the ocean has swept the snow from the beach, it persists on the dunes. I suspect that with a few more days with the temperature above freezing the snow will disappear.

snow on the dunes in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

looking inland, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Ripples form in the sand as the tide recedes.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Monday, February 22, 2021

afternoon walk

The forecast for this afternoon called for a bit of wet but since the precipitation hadn't started falling yet a friend and I opted to head to (what we call) the critter walk, hoping to visit with the animals. We were very lucky; while there were some sprinkles, the steady rain held off until we completed our walk.

This walk in Topsfield, MA is a favorite, one we discovered last spring. I hadn't walked there in several weeks since the road along one edge of the loop hadn't been plowed very wide. Today we walked 3/4 of the loop then retraced our steps to return, avoiding the narrow section of road.

There were animals out in the fields, most too far in the back to hold a conversation with us.

These horses were happy to chat, emerging from their barn as we walked past. It's funny, two of the three horses were wearing coats but the third was not. I wonder how their keepers decide who needs a coat; do you think the horses request one?


Sunday, February 21, 2021

blue & white

The ground remains covered by a layer of snow.

The white of the snow pops under a clear blue sky.

white snow, blue sky

Thursday, February 18, 2021

in motion

Butterflies at rest are much easier to capture in a photo than those that are in a state of constant motion.

Perhaps you can sense movement in these two beautiful creatures.

tree nymph and cairns birdwing butterflies in motion

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

sign of the season

Winter is still very much with us. Today is clear and cold; tomorrow's forecast includes snow.

snowman made of hay bales

a snowman stands at Ciesluk Farmstand in Deerfield, MA

Monday, February 15, 2021


I thought he was sleeping on his perch but I was wrong. He had one eye open, watching to make sure strange humans - visitors as opposed to the humans who supply his food - didn't come too close.

What a beautiful bird!

parrot, at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

Sunday, February 14, 2021

butterflies on my mind

While snow continues to cover the ground, my desire to stand among butterflies has been growing. I watched the forecast for a couple of weeks, looking for a day without snow and ice with a target of driving west in the state to visit the butterflies at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. This past Thursday turned out to be a perfect day for a drive and a visit.

The drive from home is about an hour and 45 minutes, starting on highways then switching to 2-lane roads. Arrival at the butterfly conservatory was just before 11 AM; my friend and I easily fell within the 50-guest limit for entry. We didn't need to wait any longer to satisfy our need for butterflies!

It was a sunny day. The butterflies reacted by flitting about, sometimes lighting on a food source, sometimes walking on people. I wore a sleeveless shirt once I entered the warmth of the conservatory so at times I had the experience of feeling butterflies walking on my skin.

Butterflies are delightful!

Antiochus longwing butterfly perched on a flower

If you'd like to see more butterflies click to the gallery flitter, flutter, butterfly :: 2021.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

sticky toes

I'm fascinated by a gecko's ability to scale vertical surfaces using their sticky toes.

gecko climbing

This agile creature lives at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory.

Thursday, February 11, 2021


A visit to the Magic Wings Butterfly conservatory today satisfied my need for bright colors.


Keep an eye out for butterflies in this space, coming soon...

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


The road is dry but narrow.

As the snow fell, plows followed, clearing to the pavement. Most roads have a usable width that is much narrower than usual. Some are good for walking, some aren't.

The road below is a section of Harold Parker Road, cleared barely 2 lanes wide.

Harold Parker Road, Andover, MA

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

taste treat

I can't tell you what made me buy my first loaf of bread from When Pigs Fly many years ago but I know what keeps me going back - taste! Oh, and I love the company name.

While a small selection of their bread is available at my local Whole Foods, many more options are available at When Pigs Fly stores. My first visit was to the main location in Kittery. More recently - because of covid restrictions - I visited the smaller store closer to home in Newburyport. I'm enjoying trying different varieties of their bread.

My favorite "regular" bread is the Six Grain & Pumpkin Seed, with Multi-Grain Anadama coming just behind it. There are also breads containing nuts and fruit that I love topped with peanut butter. My current favorites of this type are Maple Walnut Banana and Wild Blueberry Granola w/ 8 Grains. These are old-world, artisan breads as opposed to quick breads, perfect for toasting.

Bread is comfort food.

When Pigs Fly logo

Sunday, February 07, 2021


A beach smoothed by the tide creates a peaceful place for walking and dreaming.

beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, February 06, 2021

happy ducks

As I was walking along the Merrimack River in Newburyport this afternoon I stopped to watch these happy ducks.

There were ducks feeding, ducks resting, gaggles of geese paddling and flying, and two mute swans paddling in the river. It was a good day for watching birds.


Thursday, February 04, 2021

ocean cleared

Yesterday's destination, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, was chosen as a good place to walk after the snowstorm earlier in the week. The tides of the ocean cleared the beach of snow, leaving a good surface for walking.

I usually prefer to walk the beach as the tide is flowing out. My timing was off yesterday - I arrived about an hour after low tide. That meant I needed to pay attention to the ocean; amazingly my attempt to keep my feet dry was successful.

beach as the tide was flowing in, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

inland ice

I headed east this morning with the intent of walking on the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

As I drove, moving closer to the ocean as the miles passed, I noticed the snow depth decreasing.

The beach and dunes in the refuge were free of snow but when I arrived about an hour after low tide there were still chunks of ice visible on the inland side of Plum Island.

inland view, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, February 02, 2021


The edge of heavy snowfall from yesterday's storm sits not too far from home. Reports show 18 inches on the ground here, but Boston and other places along the coast received very little of the white stuff. It appears that Boston's Logan Airport received only 1.2 inches!

While local roads are still in a cleanup phase, neighborhood streets were clear enough to support a good walk this morning. It was good to get outside.

a small building in the snow

Saturday, January 30, 2021

cold before snow

While today was warmer than yesteray, it was still pretty cold. When I finished my second walk of the day the National Weather Service reported the temperature in my locale at 19 degrees with a wind chill of 6 degrees. Luckily the right combination of layers allowed me to walk outside comfortably.

I expect two more days of dry pavement walks before snow arrives.

Instead of sharing a view of winter I'll leave you with a photo of a camellia in bloom in the Lyman Estate Greenhouse.


Thursday, January 28, 2021


This morning's walk was accompanied by the crunch of snow underfoot and snowflakes in the air.

a tree coated with snow

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

winter trees

Trees wearing bare branches stand tall, creating a reflection in the Shawsheen River.

trees reflecting

Monday, January 25, 2021


Painted crates and cans create a splash of bright color.

painted crates and cans, Terra Luna Cafe, Lawrence, MA

Saturday, January 23, 2021


As the tide flowed out it left ripples in the sand.

ripples in the sand, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, January 22, 2021

music of the waves

It was a good day for a walk by the sea, a walk accompanied by the music of the waves.

I arrived at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge about an hour and a half before low tide. There were sections of beach that were clear of water and other sections that still hosted quiet pools.

Listening to the waves as I walked provided a sense of calm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


I feel like I can breathe again.

The inauguration is over, we once again have sane adults leading the government of the United States, and it's time to look forward to positive change. I'm so relieved!

Osgood Hill, North Andover, MA

Monday, January 18, 2021

under a bridge

The Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport, MA almost forms a loop, leaving a small connecting section off trail. This morning I was able to connect the loop, walking along the road between the ends of the trail.

Clipper City Rail Trail map

At one point the trail went under the road into a bit of a dark tunnel. It was lined with sculptures of fish, some lit in blue. I loved this fish, snapping at what appears to be a floating clam.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Common Thread

This afternoon I headed to Lawrence with hopes of finding something new painted on a wall. I visited murals I had seen in the past, walking, looking. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a splash of bright colors on a building that appeared to be a block away, down a cross street.

When I got there I found a mural created by Mattaya Fitts that she called "A Common Thread".

Here is a statement from the artist as published here:

"This mural is inspired by the city’s past and present as a manufacturing giant that has become home to many different immigrant communities over time. With textile/factory work being “a common thread” in many immigrant households (including my own family and the family who owns the building), I decided to depict a young woman passionately sewing the day and night away, adding to her headscarf (which doubles as a map). Helping her out is a Peregrine Falcon, the fastest bird known, with sub-species found all over the world. I like to think that she’s making a map of all the places she has gone and will go, creating a legacy but staying true to her roots."

A Common Thread, by Mattaya Fitts

A Common Thread, by Mattaya Fitts

A Common Thread, by Mattaya Fitts

Friday, January 15, 2021

building clouds

As the day wore on, clouds started to decorate the sky. Today's dry weather is predicted to change to heavy rain tomorrow.

It was a good time for a walk in Harold Parker State Forest.

Field Pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Thursday, January 14, 2021

winter flower

A friend gave me a bulb sprouting leaves and a single bud in a small glass jar last week, telling me to water it once, then wait. I don't know what name this flower wears but I do know that its bloom creates out-of-season floral beauty.

winter flower from a bulb

Monday, January 11, 2021

looking inland

Water left high on the beach by the tide flows to the ocean as the tide cycle nears its low point.

Can you see why the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a favorite place to visit? It's incredibly peaceful.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, January 09, 2021

to Parker River

The ocean called to me yesterday.

I answered the call by heading to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for a walk by the sea. I arrived about 2 hours before low tide, an excellent time to wander on the edge of the beach. I should have been able to keep my feet dry but somehow I again managed not to get out of the way as the waves rolled in.

There must have been snowy owls entertaining folks on the inland side of the island as I saw a line of people with long lenses and scopes peering inland. That meant I had the beach almost to myself. I saw only a few other people as I walked on the beach, spending most of my time alone with the sound of the waves.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, January 08, 2021

seeking color

Over the years I have been in the habit of visiting the Lyman Estate greenhouses during times when there isn't a lot of color outside. While last year's visits were cut short by covid, I checked the web site this week to find out that the greenhouses are open for plant sales.

I visited Wednesday morning, hoping that I would find flowers in bloom. As it turned out, less than half of the greenhouse was open. There were only a few flowers in bloom - a couple of camellias, and a couple of orchids. There was plenty of green though.

My visit left me still seeking color. I think it's time for a winter visit to the butterfly conservatory. Soon...


Thursday, January 07, 2021


Even a full day after the insurrection at the Capitol I remain appalled. How did we allow the disturbed individual in the White House to retain power for this long? Will Congress or the Cabinet remove him from office?

It's past time; remove him, NOW!

Monday, January 04, 2021

high water

Recent rain seems to have eased drought conditions here to some degree.

The Ipswich River is carrying more water than it has in the recent past, spilling out of its banks in some places.

trees and the Ipswich River

Sunday, January 03, 2021

stacked stones

I usually see stacked stones at Halibut Point State Park on a large slab of stone perched on legs of stone to resemble a table. When I visited on Friday the table was empty, with a spiral design of stones on the ground.

Stacked stones were in a new location, along the rocky coast.

stacked stones at Halibut Point State Park

Saturday, January 02, 2021

late afternoon light

The setting sun paints a picture, coloring the clouds behind tall evergreens.

trees against late afternoon light

Friday, January 01, 2021

to Halibut Point

The air was chilly this morning with a forecast that promised a a slight rise in temperature as the day progressed. I headed to Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, MA to walk around Babson Farm Quarry and to (carefully) walk along the rocky coastline.

I shared my destination with many others. Everyone I saw exhibited good covid behavior, wearing masks and socially distancing.

This park is a good distance from home because of the need to follow the curve of the coast. I find it interesting that I can look up the coast to see Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in the distance as I stand at an overlook high above the water.

on the coast, at Halibut Point State Park