Days of the War (Click on the photos to view the gallery)

These photos depict images from the Normandy and Brittany American Cemeteries in France, on a visit in 2014.  Given that June 6th is the Anniversary of D-Day the pictures fittingly commemorate this tragic event.  The American soldiers that arrived to Omaha Beach on the Normandy Shore and climbed the cliff to the ridge were sacrificed by the enemy waiting for them in silence.  

Like all wars, we wonder why this one, WWII was fought.  Of what was the American public made aware?  If you look closely at the picture entitled “The List” you will see a series of names of ‘Calvadosiens Deportes Victimes.’  Calvadosiens refers to the people on the list who came from the Department of Calvados, Normandy, who were deported under the Vichy government, a part of the French government that sympathized with the Nazis, and supported the extermination of Jews.  The engraving at the top of the list depicts a train track leading to a building.  This was symbolic of Auschwitz, and what these Calvadosiens saw once they arrived to their place of death – the concentration camp.  The people on the list may have been Jewish, Catholic, leaders of the French Resistance, or even gypsies: groups that were customarily taken away.  Click on the photos, and view them in the gallery.



Two years ago, on April 9th, 2019, I wrote this caption for the photograph, called RAINDROPS:

The highlight of my day, yesterday, definitely tops my many nature explorations of all time. I stopped at the wetlands on the way home, in the rain. It was early morning and I was wearing my yellow rain jacket. Mesmerized by the concentric circles the raindrops were making in the water, after numerous shots, I remained fascinated by the circular arrangement of tiny waves expanding from the annulus, defined as the space between two concentric circles of different radii. Although the camera stopped the action you see here, the changing configurations were constant, depending upon where, and at what speed, the rain drops fell.

Stepping Stones

My journal is filled with disconnected ideas, weather conditions, and random thoughts.  Days and dates, and months of the year quickly pass by.   Yesterday marked the first day of Spring, an annual milestone, filled with new hopes and dreams, like a toddler taking their first steps across the room. 

I don’t remember learning to walk, but will never forget when I learned to ride bike.   One day, a small bicycle suddenly appeared in the yard, and I knew what to do.  It wasn’t mine.  It was borrowed, and I would teach myself to ride.  No eyes watched me, and no one talked.  No training wheels attached themselves to the frame, either.  It was hop on and go, from the top of a small embankment of the lawn, down.  The incline was slight, and the soft, fluffy grass protected me when I fell.  The time  spent balancing became greater than time on the ground, until finally I was sailing away.  It only took a day, or two.  Left to my imagination,  in this crucial task of growing up,  the  way to build and sustain my fragile confidence, was to be left alone, to own the accomplishment for myself.  

It just occurred to me that the photograph I took of the stepping stones, leading from the forest into the open field, can be a metaphor for every task I embark upon, in every new stage of life, like riding the bike.  And now, as each page of the calendar gets turned, and every new season passes by, the uncertainty remains as powerful as before.  But, to move along means to cross the stepping stones at every  juncture, and make the most, of tous les jours.   

Writer’s Mind

If you come to study writing from a certain writer, you are really coming to study that writer’s mind…the way they think and what they look for in writing, what they are cued in to, alert to. Knowing something of another writer’s mind helps in forming and refining your own writer’s mind. It’s how we learn and transmit the writing lineage.

Natalie Goldberg “The True Secret of Writing”

Love vs. Jealousy

Every family,

Should have this quote,

Hanging over their hearth,

Or stuck on the Fridge.

Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own…Jealousy is a disease.  The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.


 Robert Heinlein  


A New Leaf!

One week into the new year, of 2021 – resolutions made are resolutions broken. Three days ago I saw a single red breasted robin mingling with other feathered friends in the yard. Two days later in the sunshine, dozens were bopping around the grass, pecking the earth, in search of bait. Learned as a child that the return of the Robin was a sign of spring. Interestingly, they decided to show up, in January, the coldest month of winter, where I live, in the northern hemisphere. Why weren’t they around in December, or November? I want to know.

On January 1st I found this frosty leaf, sitting upon a stone step. Perfectly sculpted in crystals, it may soon get blown away, and disintegrate, only to penetrate the soil of the earth, and decay, for renewal, and rebirth. To dust it shall return. Nature reminds us we’re here on a temporary basis, and from dust we too came, and to dust, like the leaf, will likewise return. But, in the meantime, we can use our hands, motivated by our hearts, and directed by our heads, to achieve the most we can, for the good of all, as long as we’re here. And when life gets boring, or when we realize our resolutions have been broken, or we forgot they were ever made, we can turn a new leaf, for purpose, and redirection.

Picnic at the Farm

Picnic at the farm, dated 1944, but uncertain?

From left:  Unidentified man with baby, Ervin & Louise Smith (holding Noel; apparently visiting in Wisconsin on vacation), Jeanne, Rose, Alma (in rear), Annabelle, John & Mark, Ray (in rear), L.H. , Kay Raustad (Ada’s daughter), Ada, Mary Severance, and Richard .  Emilie Dubois’ crutch leaning against the house, and her hat is just visible as she sits in the porch chair.  Who’s taking the photo?  Perhaps Lee Raustad (Ada’s husband) or Father John?  If 1944, Richard on furlough?  Mary?

Uncle Fred’s picnic table serving well.   The old house has the addition, which greatly improved our standard of living.  The car is Grandpa’s 1939 maroon Chevy, as verified by Bill.  The unidentified man is likely Kay’s husband.  The baby could be Bill Rivard (right age).

The most interesting life-lesson is that a novel could be written about the people in this photo, and how their lives were affected by time, fate, circumstance and their own choices, and how that affected others.  Since it’s too late in my life to write that novel, let’s stop here… JLR Photo Contribution

Girl in the Snow

The 1943 snow picture explains itself. JLR

Well, I didn’t see it. JLR convinced me it’s a picture of my mom. 1943 dad was away in the service so it may be a picture she sent to him, to see the snow. If it says May, and not March, it is quite a lot for that time of year.