It’s taken me several years thus far to travel up and down the East Coast in search of the places entwined with the history of poet and writer, Edgar Allan Poe. His works have been such an inspiration to my own pen and he birthed my love of poetry and the detective story. So it makes absolute logical sense to travel up and down the coast to follow in the footsteps of a dead guy from 300 years ago right? Right.
Edgar was born in Boston, Massachusetts to David and Elizabeth Poe. He had two siblings, older brother Henry and younger sister Rosalie. The children, at a young age, found themselves parentless as their father abandoned them and at the age of three, Edgar’s mother, a then actress in Richmond, Virginia, died of tuberculosis. The children were then separated. Henry was sent to live with his paternal grandparents in Boston, Rosalie to the McKenzie’s of Richmond and Edgar was adopted by John and Frances Allan, also of Richmond, Virginia.
While the places I have visited thus far are all of importance and have their own individual connection to Poe, they are not in any historical order and notably the states of New York and Massachusetts I have yet to visit. Today’s adventure, however, takes me to a place I’ve desired to visit for as long as I can remember and it may have a little or everything to do with a certain bear who loves marmalade.
A little after four years of being adopted by John and Frances Allan, the family moved to England where six year old Edgar would eventually spend the next five years of his life. The family began their journey in Liverpool, traveling to Scotland to visit family members before settling in London. Within those five years, the family moved around quite a bit, living in the Bloomsbury district of London where Poe attended a boarding school in the nearby district of Chelsea for three years and then finally during his last two years across the pond, attended Reverend John Bransby’s Manor School in the small town of Stoke Newington. It is here that I ventured to walk in his footsteps.
While the actual boarding school has long since been demolished, today at N16 Stoke Newington, Church Street, 172 (this was challenging to keep straight in my head to say correctly to the incredibly kind cab driver) two memorials rest. One is that of a bust of Poe commissioned by the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Prague in 2011 as well as a brown plaque produced by the London Borough of Hackney of that same year.
As with every place that Poe has notably spent time in, it is presumed that such place influenced and inspired his writing. It is known Poe frequented the British Museum and is thought perhaps where his interest and creative imagination with science began. As well, he also likely visited the Tower of London where he would have had a glimpse of the famous (albeit clipped wings) ravens. Several of his works are set in London including The Fall of the House of Usher and Ligeia, The Balloon Hoax, and a lesser known romantic comedy, (yes, you read that correctly, a comedy) A Succession of Sunday’s.
Londoners are quite proud of their place in Poe history and two significant connections with Britain are that of a brass telescope that John Allan purchased for Edgar while in London, which is now housed in the collection at the Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, of a literary significance, it was The Library of the British Museum that discovered the first known copy of Poe’s first collection of poetry, Tamerlane.
Thanks for reading and if you’ve stumbled upon my journey for the first time, you can read here to see where I have been thus far in my now ten years and counting adventures of following in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe.
So this summer thus far has found me in the midst of home repairs and remodeling which has kept me away from weekend journeys with my camera. Imagine my surprise and humbling luck when I discovered a heron nest in my own backyard!
My best guess, based on what I’ve seen of them, is that it is a yellow-crowned night heron nest. I’ve spotted both the adults and what I believe to be at least one juvenile thus far. I discovered them at the start of the weekend and have been watching it and them and their extraordinary behaviors all weekend. To get such an intimate look into their habitat is quite intriguing and has inspired me to educate myself a bit more of the species and their nesting behaviors.
I am a fan of the great blue heron and living on the coast, I get to see them often. I had no idea, however, that there are over sixty species of heron found in various parts of the world. Upon researching more, I discovered that when it comes to the yellow-crowned night heron as well as the black crowned night heron, their young look a bit different which is what initially had me confused as to what I was seeing. The adult has a yellow stripe along its crown (hence the name) with a black head. Their bill is black, the eyes are red, and their body is gray. Juveniles, on the other hand, are brown with tiny white spots and have a black bill and will remain this way for their first year.
The early morning proved rewarding when I was able to witness the harrowing fall of one of the juveniles from the nest and find its wings. This did something to me watching the courage quietly forge between its wings and left a lasting memory.
I hope you enjoy the images I captured just as much as I did watching them.
into the great wide open…
under them skies of blue…
a rebel without a clue…
thank you for viewing! if you’d like to see more of my nature inspired photography, you can visit my instagram gallery here where I share random captures from my travels and my own backyard.
I remember this day when I happened upon this view very vividly for two reasons. One, it was the first time my son stood beside me with his own camera after finding his own interest in photography. Two, it was the first time I used my landscape lens and upon returning home to review the images I captured, I got teary-eyed for it seemed for the first time ever I was able to actually capture a moment precisely the way my eye found it.
When I look at this, just as that day, I think of Homer’s Odyssey. I think of the yellow brick road, the journey of life we all take, oblivious to what lies ahead. I think of the temptations, all the glitter of the world that ultimately becomes but a dressing that will tatter and fade but how tempting it is to experience, to taste, to wander into. I think of that trap that many of us experience of trying to keep up with all things and everyone around us and the disappoint that follows when it’s sometimes discovered unachievable.
I am discovering life beyond that yellow brick road. I am finding the gratification and joy within the simple things of life. It’s a path that’s a little slower, goes unnoticed and often will find you alone but what a jewel it is. Often my feet become bruised with its never-ending wander and I truly believe (and aspire) that I will never stop walking along its path.
I captured this image last summer after visiting an area in Southwest Virginia where time seems to stand still and the sounds of nature burst at the seams, demanding your attention. (my kind of place) This small waterfall was a welcoming surprise, tucked into the corner of a trail. Behind me, that unfortunately I cannot find my shot of, I can recall the seemingly and intriguing “march of the mushrooms” in plight to the top of the hill.
There is something about nature that shall always glean my thoughts to that of a woman, in her growth, in her sexuality, in her resilience. My writing craves it. I can only continue to try my best and honor the spirit of that which my senses find and enjoy the journey.
Thank you for reading, and if you’d like to see more of my nature photography, you can find my random images from travels or local trails on my Instagram feed here.
Because springtime always finds me with a desire to explore and discover perhaps a new flower or two, I pulled my camera out a few weekends ago and traveled to a favorite spot for spring blooms and my goodness they didn’t disappoint! Bluebells and tulips and a narcissus or two kept me gazing for a while. I especially loved, when capturing the white tulips, the play of the sun bouncing off their petals. So lovely. I hope you enjoy the view as much as I did.
the lord of her dawn in the throes of fire, claims a waltz in the figments of a hundred shades that slip between them as invisible rain
as the ash settles in silky psalm and drops to earth redrawn they close their eyes to the thin places and find their lost love song
Driving home with my Mom, during that magical golden hour, as the sun was setting, I kept seeing the trees in their nakedness seemingly as if they were on fire. I couldn’t help but think the scene was as if the trees were caught in a waltz with the sun, serenading them.
The following images are those that I captured. I love this time of year of transition, of rebirth.
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz, or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as one loves certain obscure things, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you directly without problems or pride: I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love, except in this form in which I am not nor are you, so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, so close that your eyes close with my dreams.