An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

January 1, 2010

A New Day

New Year's Eve has rarely been a cause of great celebration for me as an adult, however, I felt differently when I was young. I grew up on a suburban street full of families and lots of kids. New Year's Eve usually found one house on the street hosting an adult party, while the older kids gathered at another enjoying juvenile humor and company, as well as the privilege of staying up late with minimal supervision. My first real career after college was in hotel management and this is where the holiday lost its luster for me. Most of the places I worked offered inexpensive package deals, and the night was usually very busy for us. Sometimes there were public parties in ballrooms, but there were always many private celebrations we had little control over, and at both, great quantities of alcohol were consumed. Consequently I had to work every New Year's Eve trying to keep a lid on things, making sure the guests, as well as the hotel were kept safe, and we were lucky if we only had a few belligerent confrontations. The next morning was no day of rest. New Year's Day was spent trying to herd slow moving people out the doors so we could clean up after them, and I am here to tell you - people do things in hotels they don't do at home. I don't miss this part of my former life in the least.

I have never shared the inclination some revelers have to quickly push the old year out the door like a bad house guest, while pinning so many hopes on the New Year, as if the simple flip of a calender page will change our lives. If you have unresolved issues in your life, they do not disappear on New Year's Day. Perhaps the best use of this time of year is to reflect on what brought us to this point, are there changes we would like to make and where would we like to go. I myself will be marking half a century in the coming year, and at this point in my life I am not anxious to see the calender flip any faster than it has to. For me I find it much more enjoyable to celebrate the new day and not so much the New Year. Now let me get down from behind this pulpit.

This past Sunday was a cause for celebration. It was the first day in at least two weeks that it was either not raining, overcast or unusually cold, and the day found me fortunate to be on Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore. There was a light fog in the morning that quickly burned off, followed by bright sunshine, no chilling winds and with temperatures in the mid 50's. All of the following pictures were taken on the shore of Metompkin Bay in Accomac Co. This blog has been here several times, but the blogger never gets tired of visiting.
Metompkin Bay Sunrise 9

Spartina Sunrise 4

Spartina Sunrise 3

Spartina Sunrise 1

Spartina Sunrise 7
There have been several tides well above normal this fall, and they have washed over the nearby land leaving behind many things including this purple seaweed that was nearly everywhere.
Purple Seaweed 5

Purple Seaweed 3
I was not the only one celebrating the new day. According to my father (whose birthday just happens to be New Year's Day) these ducks are probably Mergansers and they were enjoying the calm water as they fished for breakfast.

Metompkin Bay Sunrise 7
Calm skies were celebrated by a different group of birds. These are just a small portion of the hundreds of Snow Geese that were overhead Sunday morning. Snow Geese summer in the Artic, and are only winter visitors to the Eastern Shore, spending their days on the barrier islands, or gleening through the recently harvested fields for leftovers. I just wish I knew what message they were trying to spell in the sky.
Snow Geese 1
Whether you are a rowdy reveller, or given to comtemplative introspection, or if it just another new day to you - I wish you all the best this New Year's Day.
(If you would like to see the rest of the photos in this series, you can do so on my Flickr page.)


  1. Happy New Year Les! words well spoken and photos extraordinare. Tell your father he and I share something. ;) and I agree that if the following years pass as quickly as this past one, it is a frightful element.

    We hope you had a wonderful holiday and hope you make 2010 the best. Diana

  2. Agreed, the best cause to celebrate! Beautiful, Les. Happy New Year! H.

  3. Beautiful photos Les and happy birthday to your father. Following college, I worked as a night clerk at a motel and at a bookstore during the day. I guess I could do that being young, I couldn't function today with so little sleep. The motel work was interesting but taxing to say the least.

  4. Our sunlight has been so fleeting...loved seeing your pictures - great to see the sun. That first photo is breathtaking. 50 isn't so bad if you don't mind the fact that the body starts falling apart.
    Have a peaceful day and happy new year.

  5. Les, thanks for this beautiful introduction to the new year. Best wishes for 2010.

  6. Lovely shots! I've never seen a bird pattern that elaborate...

  7. Lovely, lovely photos, Les. I see I'm not the only one who experiments with shooting into the winter sun. I wish the best for you this new year.


  8. Ah, sunlight. I will be happy to see tht again. It completely changes the mood from your earlier fog pictures.

    I'm with you on new years. I was going to write a list, more a to do list than resolutions, to shake my procrastination. I haven't gotten around to writing that list though.

  9. I have followed your blog for awhile now (introduced by CIOphoto)
    and have loved viewing your photos. After reading your insightful and inspiring comments regarding New Year's Day I had to comment today and say Happy New Year! I will definately continue to visit your blog site and enjoy your beautiful work!

  10. Wonderful post! I also spent many years in hospitality, and made the decision after the Y2K New Years Eve (as the hotel M.O.D.) that I would never work another one! Like you, it's a decision I have never regretted!

    What a beautiful (and restful) New Year's celebration you seem to have had on the beach!

  11. Beautiful views Les and a Happy New Year to you!

  12. Happy New year to you Les! I liked these photos, amazing!
    Just when I get used to writing 2009 on my checks, it all changes. :)

  13. I so agree about enjoying each day. Your pictures were a wonderful part of this day. May you have many more in 2010!!!

  14. How absolutely beautiful. I would also want to revisit often as well. I wish for you a very Happy 2010.

  15. As always, beautiful photographs. Happy New Year.

  16. We never tire of this spot either, Les, thanks for taking us there and the little peek into your former life too. That must have been a dreaded day above all others at a hotel. Happy birthday to your dad, and since this is a special year for you as well, a happy birthday in advance to you. Life begins at 50, and just keeps getting better. :-)

  17. No wonder you never tire of visiting. We spent NY's eve quietly with our neighbors — a perfect end and beginning. Happy New Year to you!

  18. Aaaah: a rosy-fingered dawn.
    Who can wish for better any day of the year.
    You're still a 'forty-something' then for a few months...
    Make the most of it :-)

  19. Beautiful Day you share with us Les! Your photos are lovely and convey the soft blush of dawn on the water splendidly. I love the ones where the water meets the grass. It will be a shame to loose this beauty if the waters rise too high. I can imagine your wanting to find silence and peace on New Year's Eve after your experience. Luckily my guests are so respectful and do not overindulge. So true about New Years being just another day. Not every culture shares the same calendar. Happy Birthday to your dad! When your 50th year is complete ... do not lose sight that it is just another day passing... you are as young as you feel. Wishing you all the very best in every unfurling day of 2010. Carol

  20. Happy new day to you, too, and to your dad! Those are my favorite images you've made of the shore so far. The 3rd and 4th are especially fine. Looking forward to what the days ahead bring to the tidewater gardener.

  21. Wow. Great shots. That first one is a prizewinner. One never tires of going to places that are magical in and of themselves, even virtually.

  22. I just wanted to thank you all for your kind compliments and your wishes for a good New Year. Hopefully all of us will have one.


  23. The magnificent photos took me there for a brief second. I could smell the marshiness and warmth and it was a welcome second as we are in the grips of monumental cold for an extended time and I am rather depressed during this time of year anyway.
    It's been a few months since I visited your blog, coming from Weeping Sore's blog. I welcomed the new year but like you and others, I don't want to rush things as I already feel time has slipped too quickly for me. Many times we say "this next year can only be better" but the truth is it can ALWAYS be much worse. I like the idea of looking forward to the new day.
    Here's to continued abilities for you to provide your readers with those kind of photos and a healthy, happy and prosperous new year to you.

  24. Beautiful images!

    I have grown to just love the coastal marshes. It's like they get into your skin, and I never grow tired of them either.

    Your 'soapbox' made me laugh. I rarely make new years resolutions, etc - but must say that for the first time this year, that I'm embracing my resolution of treating everything with 'irrational optimism'. While I recognize this will become exhausting within the week, I'm going to give it a try nonethelss. (However I also fully realize that each new day is the eve of a new year - and so with that in mind, it's impossible to ever miss a new year's eve...).

    I'm rambling.

  25. I was a bartender in a hotel for years. We used to say the only day worse than New Year's eve was St. Patrick's Day. I don't miss it. I do miss VA though, thank you for the pictures! They remind me how beautiful a place it is :).

  26. Happy New Year to you! I really enjoyed looking at your wonderful photographs. My husband worked in retail until a year ago. Many of your comments brought back memories - this was the first time for 38 years that he has not worked on Christmas Eve. He does not regret the change of lifestyle at all :-)

  27. Greeny,
    Thanks for such warm wishes. You may think it looks warm in these photos, but it is not. This part of Va. does get some occasional snow, but it will not last long.

    You are right about them getting into your skin, and I am OK with that.

    You are quite welcome. St. Pats. was not a big day for me, but I did not work in food and beverage.

    Thanks for stopping by. I work every Christmas Eve in order for the other managers to have off. This lets me take the time off after Christmas.