January 2, 2020

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Dear seafaring friends,

How have the past three hundred and seventeen days treated you? I hope so desperately that you’ve been well throughout at least a good percentage of them! It is difficult to resist the blogging-monologue temptation to tell you exactly what manner of misadventures and magic have colored my past year – but in the spirit of the newly-arrived “twenties,” I will strive to dwell upon the future instead of the past.

I want to start blogging again. No, that’s not quite right – rather than simply returning to form, I intend to change the way in which I share words, pictures, and history with you.

In the five years in which I have “maintained” (a word I use loosely here) this blog, I must have attempted to reshape its overall image and identity at least ten times. I strove to keep up with the times and to adhere to changing design trends, aspiring to a digital minimalism that does not remotely reflect my fondness for visual excess.

When I considered returning to Mailbox Mermaid once more, I decided to search the depths of the British Library’s public domain historical images Flickr for inspiration – and found the perfect late nineteenth-century illustration that captured the frantic and overcrowded coral reef of ideas and whims that has emerged in my mind of late.

“Coral Bank in the Red Sea,” featured in my new blog design, hails from Robert Brown’s 1893 monographic Our Earth And Its Story: A Popular Treatise on Physical Geography. The vivid colors and intricate textures transport me to a stunningly saturated underwater fantasy, a pelagic paradise in which an endless spectrum of pictorial delights compete for the viewer’s attention – here a scattering school of fish, there a distant yet watchful shark.

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What is to come on this blog (if I indeed manage to remain true to my intentions) will involve a similar ecosystem of the imagination. I fancy writing posts that sound like letters more than articles, and sharing stream-of-consciousness musings inspired by the books I read, the natural wonders I observe, and the things that I make by hand.

I aim to cultivate a collection of one-sided correspondence and create a virtual place that feels like a tranquil tidepool tucked at the edge of a halcyon lagoon. May I write to you, and share some of my maritime dreams? I do hope you’ll say yes – at least for one more post! 

Sincerely,

Mailbox Mermaid

all too Thun: scenes from Switzerland

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Now that seemingly eternal January has concluded at last, my journey through the cold land of engaging architecture feels even more distant – but I can’t let it slip away completely without sharing my first continental castle photographs!

My family spent a misty Christmas in Bern(e), Switzerland, and although it proved too overcast for quality Alp-spotting, the architecture appeared hauntingly beautiful against the wintry skies. These scenes document our holiday day-trip to neighboring Thun, where teal water and gold trim glistened festively!

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kelp is on the way

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On days such as this, I’m all the more eager to continue my plan of absconding to Atlantis, living beneath the waves in an isolated society of my own design.

A lost oceanic city may not be real (yet!), but there’s always Monterey Bay Aquarium, my personal “happiest place on Earth!” I could have stared into those seemingly endless open-ocean tanks forever, gazing at the soft spiraling arms of kelp until I was lulled into a meditative state to match the New Age music that constantly plays in these watery halls.

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Happy holidays!

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Whether you are celebrating Christmas today or just want to rejoice in the beauty of the ocean & terrible puns (I wish there were a holiday specifically for that purpose!), I’m sending you all my best wishes. Thanks for reading my blog!

In Emily’s Garden

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A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –
After two years of living in the Pioneer Valley, I had only visited the Emily Dickinson Museum–the former home of a poet whose works have entranced me since childhood–twice. Both pilgrimages took place during grey October days, when the grounds were already showing slight traces of frost.
My visit to the museum this past weekend, however, showed me the truest glimpse into Emily’s world I may ever experience. The gardens that so influenced her writing were in full bloom, and I found myself wandering and wondering, trying to capture a sense of this shy yet intellectually feisty writer whom I identify as a real kindred spirit, even though we were born centuries apart.

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Shades of Sea and Sky

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I grew up in the North Pacific, slowly accepted the Atlantic as a second home, once sailed in the Gulf of Alaska, and spent one cold semester gazing out at the North Sea. Now I’ve discovered the oceanic love of my life: the Ligurian Sea, a gorgeously-hued part of the Mediterranean that gently troubles the shores of the Cinque Terre.

After a few months in the colorless, wintry haze of the East Coast, I basked in the colors of the Mediterranean as much as its warming sunshine. As a wannabe-mermaid and nature photographer, I wanted to take these blues and greens home with me like a piece of beach glass, hoarding them with all the other gems of seas and sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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April, Snow She Will

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Guess what the East Coast decided to do this weekend? Even though spring was just starting–grass growing, tiny flowers opening, skies staying bright long into the evening–a snowy Sunday just had to sneak in and send us all back into February.

Snow may make me cross at New England’s odd ways, but at the very least, it does make for some lovely photographs. I braved the cold to take a little walk yesterday morning, and managed to capture our local plants’ reactions to this wintry blast from the past!

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