For a young child, sometimes walking even a little ways is like a safari. Soooo long, soooo slow, and full of either obstacles or wonderment. After all kinds of strolling and carrying devices, walking very far is a stretch for the average American 4 year-old. Having a dog along makes for good company. And taking notice of just about every little thing.
This morning I walked out to Whaleback, a rocky ledge that juts out on the ocean side of Peaks Island.
The sun was finally out. Daisies are in bloom above, and a dad and his son were already exploring the spot.
The back shore offers plenty of opportunities to sit or climb, walk or bike. The thing that sets Peaks apart from many other islands is the public access to the shore. Properties are on the other side of the road.
Whaleback has a different shape now. During some recent storm, a big hunk got knocked off the top.
You can see it lying in the middle of this photo.
This is a place perfect for examining rocks, tide pools, getting splashed by waves, and viewing cormorants conversing. When you climb out to the very tip, you can almost feel apart from the land.
In the book, Daisy makes up a story about a whale named Wink. I've had whales on my mind lately.
I'll be illustrating a book Here Come the Humpbacks for Charlesbridge next. Hooray!
Funny how my radar convenes a pile of references immediately.
Certain things showed up awhile before, like a postcard from my sister-in-law of a humpback whale, and a lovely sequined and squeezable whale by MECA student Michelle Cooney. This is Amamasu, her Japanese whale of fabled lore.
And then there's my neighbor Gerry's weathervane that overlooks our house.
Even driftwood can look like a whale. Check out this cottage sign painted by Marty.
While whales can carry us to deep places, making up stories is a magical and necessary thing.
I'm honored to be in an exhibit at University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College, "Tell Me a Story: Folkstales and World Cultures" opens this Friday evening. The Atrium Gallery has gathered works from 13 Maine children's book illustrators including the venerable Ashley Bryant, the stellar Melissa Sweet, and my amazing neighbor, Anne Sibley O'Brien, among others. It will be on view from June 17 - August 12.
Meanwhile, the countdown continues. Three days to my book launch. I'm getting nervous now.
I'm not really an extrovert! Hoping for sunshine, and maybe a friendly whale or two.