A Wet, Dark Saunter

Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it
so that the other half may reach you.
–Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Well before dawn today I sauntered barefoot around the outer edges of the yard, out of range of the motion-sensing lights on the house.  Mentally half adrift, luxuriating in sensory silliness for about thirty minutes, in the dark, in a warm, light rain, clothed in a summer robe treated with bug repellent, hat & bandana flowing out from under it (also treated), otherwise attired only in warmer-than-usual night air.  The rain slowed to a drizzle and breezes gradually picked up, turning the air to silk on my skin.  No lights but the ones in me and around me. They get brighter as I spend more time in the dark.

I walked out the north side of the driveway, 250 feet to the road.  There are no cars at that hour.  I walked down the yellow lines in the silent road for a minute, noticing the pavement was still warmer than the grass, even after a lot of rain.  I stood still and listened to a gust rattling drenched leaves to a roar of tree internal rain.  The wind foretold of a change to a clear day.

Returning on the south side of the driveway, I walked in the shallow ditch that drains the water from the yard.  It entertained my feet and my soul with cool puddles in squishy grass and white clover heads in my toes.

I poked around in short parts of the trails nearest the house.  Steinwald Path as far as the giant spruce, and back.  Whitetail Way to Rock Wall 2, through Delaney Place to the original Camp Balsamea, past the shed and Buddy’s Tree, then out Balsamea Way to Arbor Lane and Concordia.

I did not earn this forest home.  I remembered the grace, unmerited favor, while standing in Concordia, one of the sacred places in Balsamea where I am more apt to be mindful of the blessings, if I stop moving and be absorbed by what is there.

Continue reading

Sixteen Years This Winter

For Nuala with gratitude

That’s Nuala’s Maple in the header image above.  (For those who missed it in an earlier post, Nuala is pronounced NOO-lah.)

Tuesday Afternoon (4:56) Link to video

Tuesday Afternoon
by The Moody Blues

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I’m looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you’ll just come with me and see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh


Nuala’s Painting

In my essay, Angel Wing; An Illustrated Meditation on Nature Immersion, I mentioned Morris Mountain, with a picture of part of it.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve heard of Nuala, the non-resident Balsamean. She has been learning watercolor painting. She liked Morris Mountain enough to invest in it. Below is the photo, and her painted rendition, which is framed under glass in my bathroom with two old favorite photos. Thanks again, Nuala.

I’m glad to have another original piece in this little house.  I have a massive collection of photos of art in all media throughout the ages on my computer, but very little original art in the house.  There are a few nice prints that my parents gave me ages ago.  There are some framed photos, all mine except one forest scene from a friend.

The dominant piece is a painting by another watercolor student, Vivian Smithwick, that she framed and gave me as a gift 43 years ago in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Still in the same frame.  I doubt she’s still painting.  If she is, she would have to be well over a hundred years old.  She left me better than she found me.

Untitled Watercolor by Vivian Smithwick, 1976

Now I have a second original painting, from the early works of the only person who can ever be a non-resident Balsamean.  If she made the picture with crayons and the skill of a three year old, I’d cherish it as much or more.  (No offense to three year olds.)

You may think a bathroom is an odd home for a cherished watercolor, but think more.  It hangs in the most conspicuous place of all the walls in the house.  It is above the primary bath towel bar, across from the toilet, beside the shower.  It gets a lot of viewer “hits.”  No, bathroom moisture won’t hurt it.  It’s sealed under glass.

I’ll insert the picture below as intensive practice for learning not to care what people think of me, for Nuala’s sake:

Nuala’s picture is the one on the left. I’m patting myself on the back for getting a shot in such a small room that includes everything I included in my description of the picture’s location.

I am not jaded by all the years of looking at these two other pictures, old photos.  They are more than pictures.  They are moments, situations, experiences, people.

The new painting is all of that plus relationships with nature and with a person, the longest sustained, continually positive and productive human relationship of any kind I’ve had in my adult life.

Dennis Koenig, The Balsamean, from Long Island to the Adirondack Mountains

The Balsamean; Scribblements from Balsamea (thebalsamean.com or thebalsamean.worpress.com) is a blog written by Dennis Koenig. This page is to identify him for people seeking to contact him.

  • Born in central Suffolk County, Long Island, New York
  • Graduated from Riverhead High School, 1974
  • Served in US Navy 1974-1980; Aviation Electronics Technician; tech school at Naval Air Technical Training Center, Millington, TN; served with Fighter Squadron VF-102 at Oceana Naval Air Station (Virginia Beach) and aboard the aircraft carriers USS Independence (Norfolk, VA) and USS Eisenhower.
  • Worked as service manager for computer dealerships in Riverhead, Rockland County, and Syracuse before joining the New York State Judiciary.
  • Worked for the District Administrative Judge of the ten-county Sixth Judicial District in Central NY, based first in Wampsville, then Binghamton, NY.
  • Founder and manager of the first statewide information technology unit of the four Supreme Court Appellate Divisions, including their statewide agencies: Mental Hygiene Legal Service, attorney discipline units, law guardian units, law libraries, court clerks / administrative offices, judicial chambers, and assigned counsel units.
  • Worked for a statewide law firm based in Rochester
  • Retired to “Balsamea,” a small, private forest preserve in the northern Adirondack Mountains.
  • No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other so-called social media accounts except YouTube Channel of (pen name) Balsamea Walker containing things posted in the blog.
  • Married to Jovita, then Ann. Two stepchildren.
  • To contact Dennis, use the CONTACT PAGE.  Available via encrypted communication services by request.

URL of this page: https://thebalsamean.wordpress.com/dennis-koenig-the-balsamean


Town of Islip, NY

Central Islip, NY (Wikipedia)

Riverhead, NY

Suffolk County, NY

Navy Fighter Squadron VF-102 (Wikipedia)

Naval Air Station Oceana (Wikipedia)

USS Independence (Wikipedia)

New York State Supreme Court Appellate Divisions

City of Rochester, NY

Adirondack Park Agency

Adirondack Park (Wikipedia)