A Gift of Love Fan Page

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Marshlands Conservancy, Whaddyaknow. It's Westchester Wednesday!

Westchester County Marshlands Conservancy, Rye, New York
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. --Mr. Rogers

I took a walk and recorded it in photographs. It was a sunny autumn day and the place I walked was the Westchester County Marshlands Conservancy. 

Located at 220 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580, the Westchester County Marshlands Conservancy is a 147-acre wildlife sanctuary diverse with forest, meadow, salt marsh, 1/2 mile shore line and three miles of trails and one of the few in New York accessible to the public for study and enjoyment.

The following are some of my photographs. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed snapping them.

Near the entrance, I passed a flock of wild turkeys pecking the earth. More than 230 species of birds have been sited at the Conservancy by birdwatchers.

The trails wind for 3 miles.

The Conservancy is a peaceful and refreshing place to meditate, reflect, and recharge your batteries. Best of all, you don't need a passport, or airplane ticket to get there.

... The only sounds I heard on my visit were the crunch-crunch of leaves and snap of twigs beneath my feet and the chatter of birds in the trees.

I spied remnants of a stone wall and stopped to wonder, who built this?

Here is a path that seemingly winds forever.

... And ever.

I discovered a plain granite marker. This must be the place. Right?

This is a view of the Long Island Sound.

This is another view.

I inhaled. I exhaled. I made friends with a snowy bloom. This is her photo. Sorry. No selfies.

Just look at this field of Golden Rod. It rolls seamlessly for as far as the eye can see.

I snapped this photo because it reminded me of the colors of a rainbow. What do you think?

I thought I saw a deer whiz past. Shucks. I missed him.

I love the water. I love the way it ripples in a cool breeze. I love the buffalo clouds that roll above it. I love the salt air on my skin and in my nose as I inhale and exhale.

I end my photography share-session with this private view from a private beach at the Westchester Marshlands Conservancy.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Come journal with me,
your book is yet to be.

Writing Quotation:

"The poetry of earth is never dead." --John Keats, "On the Grasshopper and Cricket."

Writing Tip:

Inspiration walks on little tip toes. Let it find you. Be ready to welcome it. Sit quiet, open your notebook, pick up your pen and simply write.


Westchester Marshlands Conservancy
220 Boston Post Road
Rye, New York 10580
147-acre wildlife sanctuary
Nature Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday - through Sunday & most Holidays
Call ahead to make sure Nature Center Staff is available.
Fridays they may be involved in biodiversity studies.
July through Mid-August - Open 7 days, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Trails Open: Dawn to Dusk

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ugliest Words I Ever Heard, Cemetery, and E

E and Me

It was a Tuesday. No, it was a Wednesday. It was in the morning. No, it was an afternoon. I don't remember.

I remember it was at my doctor's office and I was in the waiting room waiting to see my physical therapist.

In my lap, was E, my rescue puppy. Alongside me sat a man, shock of white hair, tee shirt, large bandaid spliced across his nose, reading a newspaper. Alongside Bandaid Man was a woman, hair the color of coal pinned neatly in a bun, clutching a leather purse.

"That's a cute dog," that woman said. "What's the name?"


Bandaid Man raised his eyes, said, "Cute."

"I'd love to have a dog like E," that woman said. Adding, "I'm a widow and a little dog the size of E would be the most perfect company for me. I live in an apartment, all alone."

I don't know what it is about that widow word, but soon as it's spoken widow to widow, a sisterhood is instantly born.

"Me, too," I said.

Bandaid Man eyed me. He eyed E. He said. "How long is your husband dead?"

I smiled. In my bravest voice, I said, "Twelve years."

"My wife died 36 years ago," Bandaid Man said, adding, "How often do you go to the cemetery?"

Now here's the rub. Recently, for personal reasons, for no reason, I decided to take a break from the daily trek to the cemetery where my husband is buried. I live in the same town as that cemetery. I pass it on my way to see a cousin, borrow a book from the local library, eat noodle soup at a favorite Chinese restaurant, or simply to take a shortcut for a shopping excursion at the shopping mall. My mother, my father, my grandmother, grandfather, 4 aunts, 5 uncles, more cousins than I can count and even an infant niece are buried there. That cemetery is a somber place for me. It is a place of celebration. It is a place of peace and tranquility. It is a place where I go to feel calm as an evening lake, and where since burying my husband, I visit to sip my morning cup of coffee, nibble a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or Big Mac, while reading the NY Times. It is a place where I weed, dig, plant pansies in spring, marigolds in summer, mums the color of amber in Autumn, and lay a blanket of evergreen in winter. Happy, sad, ugly, beautiful, awesome, miserable memories flood me each time I walk its grassy granite markered knolls.


My book, A Gift of Love, is written and my promise fulfilled.

And I decided to take a break. Like I said, for personal reasons, for no reason.

I stuttered, "I haven't been in awhile."

And fast as lightning and just as stabbing, Band-Aid man said, "You didn't love your husband."

A lot of ugly things have been said to me since my beloved Ed died. Through the years, I have heard them all, or so I had thought.

I'd like to say I had a quick comeback for Band-Aid man. I'd like to say I slapped Band-Aid man across his face and kicked him in his crotch. But I didn't do any of those things. I simply gasped for air and whispered, "How dare you." Then I got up and walked away.

I didn't sleep that night. And for many nights after. I was wild with anger hearing the ugliest words I ever heard.

For many weeks I replayed that ugly moment in my mind rehearsing what I'd say if I ever saw Band-Aid man again. I wanted revenge.

Time passed, and during that time, I visited the cemetery, sipped a morning cup of coffee, and walked its grassy knolls, inhaling, exhaling, rememering a beautiful man and happiest of times in my life. Last week I returned for my physical therapy appointment. Band-Aid man was there. I watched him hobble in on a cane. He struggled to take his seat. The receptionist called my name. I smiled, and simply passed him by.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"...And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life."

Writing Quote: "We'll always have Paris." --from the movie, Casa Blanca

Writing Tip: Hire a writing coach. A coach will discipline you, support you, guide you and help building your confidence.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Why a Writer Writes; Why a Writer Doesn't Write

If you want to be a writer, just write.

For a lot of reasons, for no reason, this writer hasn't posted to BookOrBust in quite some time.

Some days I write, some days I don't write.

For a lot of writers, writing can be a challenge.

Today I share some or none of the reasons why a writer writes and why a writer doesn't write.

A writer writes because she must. Tie a writer's hands behind her back, bind her body to a stake, shove a rag in her mouth to keep her from clenching a pen between her teeth to write words in the sky, it won't matter, because like trying to stop a speeding locomotive careening down Mt. Everest, a writer will somehow manage to wiggle the shoe off one foot and scribble words in the sand with her big toe.

A writer doesn't write because someone may have criticized her work. Perhaps a negative word about her latest magazine article, blog post, or manuscript has skinned her pride; Worse, maybe a celebrity author, writing coach, someone she held in high esteem, humiliated her at a writer's workshop.

A writer writes because something terrible, horrible, thrilling, exhilarating, happy, sad, exciting, miserable, ugly, beautiful, mundane or meaningful has happened in her life. This experience has left an indelible mark on her soul, and now she wishes to share it, hopefullly to inspire and motivate another writer, or reader, to write their personal saga.

A writer doesn't write because she is afraid if she is true to her story and tells it like it really is (or was), her words may injure someone's feelings. Perhaps she used (oh, horrors!) a four-letter word in  her work. A writer never wants to hurt a reader's feelings. She hates that.

A writer writes in order to free her mind of clutter. You know, that goop that chokes the wheels of the creative process. A writer knows that in order to get her words down on paper she must give herself permission to write the worst crap in the Universe each time she puts pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to get to the good stuff.

A writer doesn't write because she fears her writing is the worst crap in the Universe.

A writer writes because she believes she has a god-given talent. It isn't about ego, or seeing her name in print. It is more about gratitude and sincere desire to share.

A writer doesn't write because she fears success, or failure. She worries what if her reader reads what pours out of her pen and thinks that she is a fake, fraud, or phoney-bologney? Or worse, what if the reader thinks that she is an authority. A writer worries, How will I handle that?

A writer writes to share her daily life. A writer likes to snap photographs of places visited, share interviews with famous authors, and reviews of books that she's read. She knows that she must attend writing workshops and writing seminars in order to hone her skills, so she writes about that. All of it to chronicle her writing journey and perhaps assist another writer in their writing journey. So, she writes about all of that.

A writer doesn't write because maybe a writer has acquired a stalker. A writer can see a visitors' e-footprints on her website, blog, facebook pages, and all of social media. A writer worries if she writes about a favorite hangout that someone she wants to avoid will find her. More than once this may have happened--Always when least expected--sitting alone in a movie theater, while on a date, perhaps when dining with friends in a restaurant, or with grandchild in tow. A writer is uncomfortable with that.

A writer writes because she has discovered her niche, found her voice, and her tribe. A writer loves that.

A writer doesn't write because she has not discovered her niche, cannot locate her voice and feels no tribe will have her.

A writer writes because she gets a natural high each time she fingerhugs her fast-writing pen to scribble sloppily in her spiralbound notebook. A writer likes creating strong verbs, perfectly punctuated sentences, and tight-knit paragraphs.

A writer doesn't write because she fears the risk of a lawsuit.

A writer writes under all circumstances--Nevermind she found new love, acquired a new puppy, became a new grandmother; or worse, got dumped by her new love, her puppy died, and she buried her new grandbaby.

A writer doesn't write because a publisher rejected her. A writer hates that. Every writer knows that rejection letters are part of the writing process, but ouch. It hurts.

A writer writes because she made a deathbed promise. And she is determined to keep that promise.

A writer doesn't write because she thinks it is a waste of time and money. Writing workshops, writing seminars, writing coaches, and writing supplies cost money. A writer worries how can she justify her writing passion when she must meet a mortgage payment, and car payment. She worries can she afford to take grandson and granddaughter to Wendy's or McDonald's if she attends the next workshop, writes the next book, or purchases a new laptop.

A writer writes because she remembers her favorite book, "The Wizard of Oz," by Frank L. Baum, each time she falters. She recalls that golden story, how it unfolds, and the believable characters in it. She's memorized the analogies and moral message and believes sincerely deep in her soul that book was written especially for her. She writes because despite the Wicked Witch of the West and her sea of flying monkeys swarming her life's horizon, she remembers to just keep the pen moving, realizing all the while the wise Wizard's desperate words proclaiming to homeless Dorothy, heartless Tin Man, brainless Straw Man, and courage-less Lion to "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

I know the challenge to write everyday. I own that ache in the back and burn in the eye from sitting for long periods of time staring into a computer screen, and the bags under eyes from sleepless nights writing, rewriting, editing, and re-editing, but no matter, I am a writer. I write.

Here's to putting pen to paper, er, fingers to keyboard, one more time.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna

Writing Tip: Writing is a craft. Hone it. Take a writing workshop.

Writing Quote: The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.--William Shakespeare

Friday, July 1, 2016

Seize the Moment, Favorite Quotations, and Happy 4th of July Weekend

Happy 4th of July
Playland, Rye, NY

Good morning World!

Today is just another Friday, the start of just another summertime three day holiday weekend, and just another opportunity to begin again.

Today I share words of inspiration to help inspire what you need to do to begin your new start.

May the following quotations aid you in discovering your new rallying cry and help you find your motivation to take that new first baby step forward:

"Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster." --Theodore Roosevelt

"Take a chance. All life is a chance. The man who goes the furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare." --Dale Carnegie

"Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries." --Corita Kent

"Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great." --Orison Swett Marden

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." --Theodore Roosevelt.

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." --Helen Keller

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?" --Spencer Johnson

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."  --Ella Fitzgerald

"Many people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live." --Henry Van Dyke

"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can." --John Wesley

"May you live...
All the days of your life." --Jonathan Swift

Happy 4th of July, 2016!

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna

Writing Tip: Exercise your writing muscle. Practice every day.

Writing Quotation: "Years ago, to say you were a writer was not the highest recommendation to your landlord. Today, he at least hesitates before he refuses to rent you an apartment--for all he knows you  may be rich." --Arthur Miller

Thursday, May 19, 2016

From the Heart - Favorite Quotations, Words of Inspiration, Something to Write About

Just fish.
...Because it's my blog, and I can.

Today I share favorite quotations.

I've been carrying these around for some time. Today is a good day to share.

It doesn't matter who hurt you, or what broke you down . What matters is who made you smile again. --Unknown

Being with no one is better than being with the wrong one. Sometimes, those who fly alone are the one's with the strongest wings. --Unknown

I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me...Now I look around and wonder if I like them. --Unknown

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. --Unknown

Cats are like music. It's foolish to try to explain their worth to those who don't appreciate them. --Unknown

We're all wired to find love. And when we meet someone who radiates it, we naturally crave their company. --Kari Kampakis

One day someone is going to hug you so tight all of your broken pieces will stick back together. --Anonymous

Learn to say no without explaining yourself. --Unknown

Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Getting rid of the delusion is wiser than holding onto the truth. --Unknown

I hope the above quotations inspire you to pick up your pen and write something.

Happy Thursday,

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna

P. S.  One of these days, I want to meet Unknown.