Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Settling In

It is really starting to feel like the holidays around here. The wood stove has been going non-stop and the house is filled with toasty, dry warmth. The landscape is coated in a white frosting of snow. Mathew is home from college.

We've stocked the house with fixings for our traditional Thanksgiving day full of appetizers and a sumptuous Turkey dinner. Things are mostly tidied up in expectation of our cooking frenzy and the arrival of our special guest, Wilbert Gamble, our new pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake. We were one of two families offering hospitality should the weather prevent him from heading home. So he is spending time early afternoon tomorrow with Grant and Cindy Besio and then joining us at four. How he'll manage two Turkey dinners I do not know. And he is going to miss out on our all day snacking, which he admits is a tradition in his family as well.

Wilbert started attending our church about a year ago and frequented the early Praise Service where I am music minister. He has a great interest in learning guitar. And though I have told him I am not good at giving lessons, it is a frequent topic of discussion with him, with hints dropped frequently after the Sunday service. Perhaps I'll pull our a few guitars while hemisphere and give him a few pointers. Wilbert is teaching himself a classical style of playing but he wants to learn the mix of chording and flat picking that I tend to use.

For snacks, we are planning our traditional affair of smoked oysters, olivada (sort of a black olive pâté, simply black olives, garlic and pine nuts), roasted red peppers (marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil) and guacamole. I may have my stuffing in a hot dog roll that my mom started me on as a hungry teenager. I used to help,her make stuffing, as we pushed celery and onions through a hand grinder to make the base. Mom has since switched to a blender, while we use the nice 7 quart Quisinart I purchased over the summer (best investment we ever made).

The holidays are a nice time of year. I get pulled out of my fall depression by loving thoughts of family and memories of holidays past. I think of my childhood holidays and wonder what memories we have instilled within the hearts and minds of our two children. I hope they are rich enough to last their lifetimes, as seem to be mine.

I wish all my friends and family a Thanksgiving holiday filled with love and the melding of wonderful new memories with those of thanksgivings past.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Father to Son

A link unbroken
Father to son
A love unspoken
Father to son

Sidney to Ray
Ray to Michael
Michael to Mathew
Father to son

Soul Insights now on sale as paperback at

Soul Insights is now available in paperback for $12.95 at (currently on sale for $12.30 and eligible for Amazon Prime)

Soul Insights is also available as a Kindle book for $6.95 • Get your free Kindle Reader App

105 people took advantage of my free Kindle copy promotion.

Visit my author page on amazon at  and goodreads at

I would appreciate reviews on and

Wind Carrying a Memory

The sound of the wind, blowing through bare trees
Takes me back to Gilmanton.
I see the memory now, as an observer:
A small wooden table in Nana's garage,
Painted white and pastels, handcrafted by Grampy.

We sit, two small children, in tall chairs, feet swinging.
My sister, Thia, across the table,
Bowl-cut blond hair and happy concentration,
Coloring with crayons on large sheets of paper.

Looking out through the open door
Down the driveway to the thick forest across the street
The wind deeply sighing through the pines
Frightened by small-child thoughts
Of what lies hidden in the wilderness.

Safety just a few steps away
Through a homemade screen door with its long, squeaking spring
Don't let it slam shut as you enter the narrow hallway
Filled with the smell of fried doughnuts and baking beans,
Spices and baking and clean.
The smells of love,
The smell of Nana.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Soul Insights now available as Paperback

My new book, Soul Insights, is now available in paperback for $12.95 at CreateSpace and will soon be available as paperback on (it takes up to 5 days to list).

Soul Insights is also available as a Kindle book for $6.95 at

105 people took advantage of my free Kindle copy promotion.

Visit my author page on amazon at  and goodreads at

I would appreciate reviews on and

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soul Insights free for Five Days

My new book, "Soul Insights: Poems for Contemplative Meditation for Christians Bridging the New Age" will be available for the Kindle FREE for five days starting Friday Oct 18, after which it will be available for $6.95. Visit

Amazon Prime members can borrow the book NOW for FREE.

FYI, you can get the Kindle reader app FREE for your iPhone, iPad, Android device, PC, MAC, or Blackberry at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soul Insights now available for Kindle

My new book, "Soul Insights: Poems for Contemplative Meditation" is now available for Kindle at

What if 95% of your life was spiritual and 5% daily existence, instead of the other way around, as you live it now? It is a choice that takes as much diligence as any other life choice. The reward is peace, comfort, oneness with the Spirit. This book provides contemplative poetry for meditation and devotion, transcribed messages from the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Garden

Annual cicadas buzz in the early light
Dew sparkles across the lawn
The heady smell of lilies blooming by the cabin
Corn tassels tremble in the slightest breeze
Releasing their pollen to drift across fresh pink silk

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A dark and silent night

An obsidian sky,
Stars cold and steady.

Not a breeze stirs,
Not a single insect calls.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Life's Theme Songs - age 14 to present

These are the theme songs of my life, arranged in chronological order by approximate age. Some day I may explain each one - the reasons are not as apparent as you might think.
Age 14 - The Joker, The Steve Miller Band
Age 18 - I'll Be Home, Randy Newman
Age 22 - She Blinded Me with Science, Thomas Dolby
Age 23 - The Coldest Night of the Year, Bruce Cockburn
Age 24 - The Boys of Summer, Don Henley
Age 25 - Holding Back the Years, Simply Red
Age 29 - Following, The Bangles
Age 30 - Manic Monday, The Bangles
Age 35 - You Were Mine, Dixie Chicks
Age 40 - Lord of the Starfields, Bruce Cockburn
Age 45 - All The Ways I Want You, Bruce Cockburn
Age 46 - Closer to Believing, Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
Age 46 - Lend Your Love to Me Tonight, Greg Lake (ELP)
Age 47 - Someone I Used to Love, Bruce Cockburn
Age 49 - Overkill (Acoustic), Colin Hay
Age 50 - Deepest Part of Me, Dougie MacLean
Age 51 - Beautiful World, Colin Hay
Age 52 - Waiting for My Real Life to Begin, Colin Hay

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

That weed is not a giant dandelion!

This summer I noticed what looked like a bunch of giant dandelion seed heads on the side of the field near our mail box. But it isn't a dandelion at all. What I was looking at we're the seed heads of Salsify or Goatsbeard. Tragopogon is a genus of flowering plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). Some species, such as the Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) have edible taproots. The young shoots and leaves can also be eaten. According to Wikipedia, the taste of Purple Salsify root .is described as having the taste of oysters (hence the alternative common name "oyster plant" for some species in this genus), but more insipid with a touch of sweetness."

I'll have to keep a watch out next spring to see this plant in bloom so I can figure out what species we have growing along our roadside.

Photos copyright Michael R. Martin
See for more information

The Crab Spider - expert camouflage but for what purpose?

The female crab spider is a master of camouflage, with the ability to switch its color to match the flower on which it sits over a period of several days. The one we commonly see blending into flowers is of the genus Thomisus. Now scientists are wondering why they bother.

Science News (reported by Wired Magazine) reports that "Contrary to the textbook scenario, though, a white spider on a white flower doesn’t catch more prey than a white spider moved to a yellow flower, researchers report online November 3 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Nor does a yellow spider on a yellow flower get a color-coordination bonus, says study coauthor Rolf Brechbühl of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He and his colleagues reached this conclusion after videotaping some 2,000 occasions when an insect buzzed over to a flower that held a spider. Sitting on a bloom ready to pounce on pollinators, the spider supposedly shifts to match her background by switching between white and yellow. To human eyes, she looks as if she’s becoming harder for her prey to see."

"Another possible direction — protection from the spider’s own predators — also doesn’t look encouraging in the new study. Brechbühl says that his research focused on spider prey, but he points out that all this videotaping took place in a field with plenty of birds and other possible menaces around. Even though he frequently moved spiders to flowers of the wrong color, he recorded only one predator (a bird) nabbing a spider."

So, once again, nature amazes and confounds us. But it sure is beautiful and wonderful.
Credits: Photo copyright Michael R. Martin
Article quotes:

Monday, June 24, 2013

New vintage instrument - 1928 Ludwig Kingston tenor banjo

I'm told that this banjo was played in the Paul Whitman Band in the 1930s. If so, these are period images of this instrument.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Cold, grey day

Dirty yellow on the southern horizon
Cold steel grey spread across the shallow sky
Trees, light green with new leaves of spring,
Sway in an arctic breeze
Only rain could make this dark day darker

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Summer Fading . . . " A selection of songs from my upcoming album

Selection of my acoustic songs on upcoming album, "Summer Fading . . ."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sanctuary: A positive meditation

Surround yourself with goodness
Be open to the pull of the universe
Let yourself be guided by currents that surround you
Yield to the forces of good in your life
Forces only felt when you focus on the goodness that surrounds you
We live within the currents of the universal
Goodness swirls around us, forming eddies in our lives Be open to the flow of the universal currents
Seek them, flow with them, follow them
Like dust that swirls within beams of sun
So our lives swirl within beams of universal love
from "Soul Insights" by Michael R. Martin

Searching - an excerpt from Soul Insights: Christians Bridging the New Age by Michael R. Martin

We are born whole, complete
From the moment we leave our mother's womb we spend the rest of our lives
searching for that wholeness, that oneness, complete God is always there, nurturing, guiding
Waiting for us to find him
This is God's prevenient grace watching over us
And though we can never find that completeness in this lifetime We can open our hearts to the One guiding spirit
And become more than we are,
With eyes focused beyond the mortal plane
Source: Soul Insights: Christians Bridging the New Age

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Peepers

At night, the strident call of Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), the ducklike clacking of Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica), and the short trill of Grey Tree Frogs (Hyla versicolor), fill the air around every bog and wet place. Later in the summer, these tiny amphibians are sometimes found while walking in the woods and fields, mistakenly called baby frogs by the young children who can’t resist picking them up to show to their parents. At maturity, the tiny, brown Spring Peeper is just 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches in size. The nocturnal Spring Peeper is found in wooded areas in or near permanent or temporarily flooded ponds and swamps and hibernates under logs and loose bark. The Grey Tree Frog is 1 1/4 - 2 inches. The nocturnal Grey Tree Frog lives high in trees and descend only at night, usually just to chorus and to breed. The Wood Frog, brown with a bandit's mask of black behind its eyes, is only slightly larger at 1 3/8 - 2 3/4 inches. In the colder parts of its range, the Wood Frog is an explosive breeder. Swarms of pairs lay fertilized eggs within 1 or 2 days, then disappear into the surrounding country. It may venture far from water during summer, and hibernates in forest debris during winter. The Spring Peeper, a Chorus Frog, and the Grey Tree Frogs are members of the Tree Frog Family (Hylidae), while the Wood Frog is a member of the True Frog Family (Ranidae) and closely related to the familiar Leopard Frog.
Source: an excerpt from "A Few Summer Days in the Adirondacks:
A Natural History of the Adirondack Park
" by Michael R. Martin

I long . . .

I long to lay down next to you;
with time upon our hands.
to touch . . . to talk . . . to empathize;
each other to explore.

I long to look into your eyes,
your heart, your soul, your mind;
Until the whole world fades away
to you and nothing more.

Circa 2004

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Wind Enchanted

The wind
A giant sighing
Across bare branches
Like the rattling of dry bones.

A storm trundles forth
With massive footsteps
Brooding clouds hang low
Air the moist breath of trolls.

Location:NY-86,Saranac Lake,United States

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Webstagram web-based Instagram page

See all my great Instagram photos you are missing if you aren't using Instagram. Even if you are, here's a great way to browse them on the web . . . A sampling of recent photos are shown below:

Or Go to My Webstagram Library directly

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Behind the Barn

Behind the barn
Melting snow reveals
Entropy, rot, rust.

Behind a soul
The years reveal
Entropy, rot, rust.

Location:NY-86,Saranac Lake,United States