Sunday, December 27, 2015


FROM MY JOURNALS OF 12-13-2009...
It happened a week or so ago. My husband and I were sipping morning coffee in our library, which had just been decorated for Christmas. We were feeling quite festive, ahead of the season.
The first snow of the season in our valley was falling slowly outside; the ground was lightly covered.
Suddenly, from out of the woods, came a team of six sturdy deer. I say "team" because they were travelling two-by-two in close formation, like reindeer.
They moved slowly toward us, never breaking formation until they turned and began moving down the slope and out of sight.
We see many deer in this valley, often four to eight at a time, but always walking single file in the lower level near the creek.
We had fun speculating; was this team in training for Dec. 25?
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) looks forward to the weeks ahead. Do you?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

JACK'S RIDE: A poem from St. Nick for Rose Moore's grandchildren (Dated 1999, found in Rose's files this Chrismas Eve morning 2015)

Twas the day before Christmas when Rudolph and I
   traveled to Concord through a frosty blue sky.
I was missing a reindeer and thought he might be
   in Grampa Moore's valley with all those nice trees.

Aha! There I saw him, down by the creek,
   running and jumping, so graceful and sleek.
I landed my sleigh and called with a grin,
   "Let's go, you old rascal," and Rudolph jumped in.

We were halfway back home to my place at the Pole
   when I looked at him closely, and lo and behold!
He was Bob Moore's big doggy, having great fun
    as we circled around the moon and the sun.

His tail was wagging, his crazy ears flopping;
   he seemed so unhappy to see we were stopping.
I just couldn't keep him, for Jack wasn't mine, 
    so I said, "Whoa there, Big Jack! It's the end of the line!"

His master was calling, "Oh Jack! Come back home!"
   and we swirled through the air like a mighty cyclone.
In just 60 seconds, we were on the Moore roof,
   and Jack said goodbye with a mighty "Woof! Woof!"

Down the chimney I dropped him ever so gently--
   Big Jack had been on the ride of the century!
I heard Big Jack say as I soared out of sight,
    "The ride was a grrr-eat one! I'll see you tonight!

                   ---found on Rose's word processor, Christmas 1999

NOTE: Big Jack passed away just before Christmas 2009. There is now a Big Mick who is even bigger than Jack, and too looks a bit like a deer. Rose says he has not yet travelled with Santa. At least as far as she knows...

Thursday, December 17, 2015


     TODAY, Dec. 17, is the anniversary of the Wright Brothers "First Flight," the first controlled flight of a powered aircraft. In honor of that important achievement on this date so long ago (1903), I share this segment from my travel journals:

     ON A SUNNY DAY in May 2011, we were visiting in North Carolina, and we headed out to Kitty Hawk. Our mission was to meet "Uncle Willie Dough" (Willie St. Clair Dough)---in the form of a life-size statue at Wright Brothers Memorial Park at Kitty Hawk. Not until the previous October, in a visit with my cousin Rachel Dough Smith, did I learn of our family connection with the historic First Flight of the Wright Brothers.
     In 1901, Dough had become a surfman at the Federal Life Saving Station at Kill Devil Hills. He and the men of that station befriended the Wrights and kept them supplied with food and any help and supplies they might need as they prepared for that historic flight. The Wrights would later write of the surfmen as "hospitable and indispensable." (The Stations later evolved into the U.S. Coast Guard, and its entwined history with the Wrights at Kitty Hawk is well recorded in Coast Guard archives).
     On Dec. 17, 1903, the day of the flight, the Wrights raised a flag as a signal to the surfmen that help was needed. Willie was one of three who answered the call. Willie helped to push the plane into place for take-off and pushed it off the rail for take-off from the hill.
     Later when Wilbur and Orville Wright returned to the Hills for further flight experiments, Willie continued to help. In 1907 he settled the name Wilbur Wright Dough on a newborn son.
     Later he testified before a Congressional Committee as to the details of the First Flight, and in 1928 as a witness and survivor, he helped to lay the cornerstone of the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk. He died in 1931.
     On A blue-sky afternoon at Kitty Hawk in the year 2011, my husband Bob, my sister Mary and I, with my nephew, frolicked around the park like little kids, knowing full well that this idyllic weather was far different from the harsh day when Wilbur and Orville had changed history.


"SHADOWS"...Throwback to 1972...


I have three extra shadows,
And normal they are not.
Unlike your average shadows,
They tend to talk a lot.
And whether I walk fast or slow,
My shadows always trot!

The normal kind of shadow
Is one that must be led,
But not my extra shadows;
They always run ahead!
The only time I'm rid of them
Is when they're off to bed!

And though I sometimes shoo them
In impatient mother tones,
When my extra shadows
Have gone away from home,
My ordinary shadow
Feels so alone.

           r "mommy" moore  1972
           mother of three young sons

Sunday, December 13, 2015


"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens... " 

"A time to mow, and a time to put the mower in the shed and leave it there with all the other tools of summer... 

A time to spot and pull up weeds, and a time for weeds to hide themselves from you beneath a layer of snow...

A time for keeping up the endless chores connected with your growing gardens, lawns and shrubs, and a time to curl up with a good book or a good companion...

A time for summer hot dogs, barbecues and fireworks, and a time for indoor peace and quiet and the warming powers and aroma of chili, soups and stews...

A time for summer sports and exercise and crowded outdoor festivals, and a time for indoors by the fire, and Christmas gatherings and quiet conversations...

AND IF YOU PLEASE,you can  email me at to add your own words to this list.--Rose Moore

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Some people may appear to be mostly retired, but that's not necessarily true. Take me, for instance.

Here is photographic proof  of my side job, and few people know about it. During each summer and fall, I teach Santa's reindeer to fly! Occasionally I use your Concord Air Park runway for night practice (with no worry about fuel fill-ups, de-icing or carburetor icing!) And occasionally, during hunting season, I hide my in-residence, antlered flying-students in your old hangar.

The main purpose of this posting, at reindeer request, is to tell your flying community that the popular holiday song, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" is nothing more than scandalous gossip. The reindeer are not guilty of such dastardly behavior, and I should know. For I am Grandma--though perhaps not all of my grandchildren might care to admit that some of the time. 

I am and always have been a good friend of---(and a card-carrying believer in---Santa. Why else would he trust me with Rudolph and the rest of his reindeer for annual flight training and re-certification?

Santa thinks, the reindeer think, and I also think, that "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" is the all-time absolutely worst Christmas song ever written. A song this hateful doesn't even quality as a Christmas song. The reindeer and Santa do not take well to that song. Anyone who plays it, requests it or even THINKS about singing it is booted off the NICE list forever!

Thanks for the use of your facilities! And Merry Christmas to you!

(Photo by Bob Moore 1999)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


   Now begins the cold and dark December.
   The colors of the autumn have been left behind. Nature dresses now in black and white and countless shades of grey; in browns and tans and muted golds of sleeping winter trees and fields; in understated greens of hemlock, pine and spruce.
   The nights are long; the days are short; the sun sets early and the moon arises late. The darkness lingers, and the daylight rises slow and laggardly against the cold.
   Winter birds are fluffed against the cold, like humans in down jackets.
    Eventually the snow begins; it always happens; and you should forgive me if I say I'm not against the snow; I love it.
   Snow decorates the evergreens like humans never could; it coats the leaf-bare trees, softening their winter outlines; it lays a creamy softness on the contours of the earth and camouflages all the muck and mud and messiness the flooding autumn rains have left along my creek and bottom land...
    Snow provides good insulation for my garden against the winter cold; it protects the bulbs, the roots of shrubs and trees and my perennials.
    The snow provides a perfect foil for the moon; the shadow patterns of December moonlight on the snow are deep and dark and interesting.
    The full December moon bears names from long ago, given to them by the native tribes. These names reflect the spirit of the cold... "Moon When Cold Makes Trees Crack"... "Big Cold Winter Moon"...  "Cold Hard-Faced Moon"...
    The full December moon imparts a frigid sheen against the snow and polishes my creek to pewter.     It's path is unobstructed in this bare-tree season. When the full moon wanes, the stars are numerous and bright against the darkness, and astonishingly close. They hypnotize sky-gazers like myself; I sometimes feel I am in the sky among them and could touch them if I dared to try.
    The December mood of night is quiet, interrupted only by the wind or by the lonely hooting of an owl. Woodsmoke from neighbors' chimneys add a comforting aroma.
    The year is old; the winter's new. December moves on creaky bones toward the Winter Solstice, and from there the creek grows quiet, its waters gelling from the edges....
    Then comes Christmas Eve and Christmas, a holy season in itself; quite apart from nature. And that's a separate story...

Monday, November 30, 2015


    As November ends, I realize I have not mourned the early absence of the autumn leaves. It has re-opened the sky in my valley; a sky largely hidden in summer by the lushness of the tall-tree greenery here.
     Coupled with our unusual gift of clear skies day and night throughout the month, my dog and I have been rewarded each morning, in our pre-dawn walks, by the spectacular brilliance of Venus in the eastern sky. 
    That's not remarkable, astronomers have written; it's predictable. But to me, it was remarkable the first time I "met" the planet as a stargazing child. And each time thereafter, each time I see it, it has been remarkable all over again.    
    Predictable or not.

Thursday, October 29, 2015



-Photo from upper-level window, tree at left of photo-

When beavers took a lot of trees from our back property in 2009, I openly worried about a little beech sapling that had held its golden leaves past autumn every year, far beyond other trees. 
     In every season, its balanced form had looked to me like a Christmas tree, but I loved it most in autumn when it assumed the golden color that is the hallmark of so many trees in this creek-fed valley. How long would it be, I wondered, before the beavers destroyed it?
    One afternoon in late October 2010, I looked out the window and saw my Bob installing a protective fence of chicken wire around that sapling, to protect it from the varmints. Protective as that fencing was, it was not visible unless you stood up close beside it, and so the aesthetics I admired remained.
     Every year after that, as October drew to an end, I have taken a photo to chart its growth, just as parents often mark the growth of a child. And now I share my brand new photo of that tree, taken this morning of October 29, 2015. 
     The top of that tree had been no more than a few inches above my husband's head when he fenced it. Now the tree's well over 20 feet tall and still lithe and lovely, unlike the woman who owns and resides on the land where it planted its feet (in whatever year that was).
    Every year its curved leaves still cling to the tree like golden ornaments, well beyond the winter holidays. 
     I smile when I see that tree, just as I smile at the sight of the husband whose down-to-earth efforts saved that tree for his wife. 


Friday, October 16, 2015


Rose's photo Oct 2009 in a Chardon mall

   I don't know about you, but the dark clouds of October always give me a feeling of wanderlust.
   I became a fan of these dramatic skies when I was a young reporter in the late 1950s, covering the waterfront in the little lake town of Fairport.
   On my way home on many a late afternoon along the autumn shoreline, I'd pass the old Diamond Alkali along the Lake Erie shore. That big sooty factory's hulking buildings against the dark skies were eerily lit by sulphur-tinged industrial lights, and I perceived an odd and unexpected beauty there, enhanced by the moving outlines of white seagulls swooping restlessly around against the backdrop of  the darkness.
   Somehow those sulking clouds that held that scene together would make me want to keep driving; my travellin' foot would grow ticklish on the gas pedal; I'd feel a gypsy spirit overtaking me.
   The factory's long gone, but the clouds of October still have that effect on me and probably always will.

    (I haven't taken an October night ride for many years. I must get out my broom and get it ready).

Sunday, October 11, 2015



On this crisp and classic autumn day, when sunshine and blue skies bring special brightness to the autumn color, I am looking for a mundane bit of clothing generally reserved for working men. A hardhat!
   Along my woodland paths grow giants, in the form of vintage English walnuts; mammoth wild cherry trees; oaks and others.
   And as my dog and I walk daily in these places, he delights in acorns, nuts, walnuts, cherries... a variety of wild fruits he can ferret out along the woodsy ground.
   I, however, have begun to realize I am a frequent target for these soft and hard-shelled fruits. My head is hard, but not that hard...
   Oh where are all those hard hats my construction husband and our boys used to keep at ready hand in our garage and barn? Gone! just when a woman could use them!

(You can talk back to Rose About Town at

Commentary comes from Susan Luhta Price of Alabama: "That is funny, Rose. You should be glad, however, that was the biggest thing you have to contend with. My cousin who lives in Key West was hit by a falling coconut. Now that will leave a knot in your head!

From Rose back to Susan Luhta Price, 10-11-2015: "NOW I remember what happened to that hat, Susan! I spray-painted it bright red and gave it to a friend for an October Red-Hat luncheon. She won the Halloween hat contest!"--Rose

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


   The other night my cousin Donna posted a sunset photo on Face book, with a note:  "Rest in Peace, sweet tree. Thanks for all the years of modeling for me as the sun set and the moon rose behind you. I was heartbroken to come home and see you floating in the Sound from these southern winds and southern high tide."
   I recognized that tree. Donna lives amid the waters of seashore, sound and river in her coastal Carolina neighborhood, and five years ago we walked together to a sheltered beach, and she introduced me to that tree.  It was clear to me the "snag"---(our name for a dead or dying tree)---had become a landmark in her daily walks.  Its feet were rooted in the waters of her beloved Sound, its profile dark against a vibrant sky. She never failed to photograph it, and through her Face book page she shared it.      
   We saw it in all all sorts of weather; in mornings, afternoons and evenings... in moonlight, sunlight, sunrise, sundown... in rain and even an unusual southern snowfall ... Now the tree is gone. Taken down beneath the waters, out of sight. Some people may not understand my cousin's sadness. But I definitely do.
   I live in a valley in northeast Ohio, far from her lovely Carolina waters. My home is tucked among the trees. They grow close around me, as if I'm living in a tree house.  
   I confess, when Bob and I first settled here in 1993, it took awhile for me to appreciate what I saw at first as "the unkempt nature of some areas of our creek-fed bottom land." Only later would I  realize that weathered trees and logs were more than litter that might need cleaning up. They serve some worthy purposes---a spot for me to sit and contemplate; a bench for man and wife to rest upon while walking in the woodland; a host to beautiful exotic types of fungi...
   As for the locust snag that stood just feet away outside our bedroom window---that was something else again. "Take it down," I urged my husband. "It's apt to fall against the house!" Country-born and reared, he told me firmly that the snag would fall when it was ready--and then would fall AWAY from us into the woods. 
   For a time, I  eyed that dead tree apprehensively. Soon I gained appreciation for its driftwood-polished surface. The sun-and-shadow of the day drew endless patterns on it's silken surface. At night the moonlight turned its skin to glowing honey. The snag was now a work of art. I surprised myself when I wrote in my journal that I loved that snag and wanted it to stay.
   Finally, in a deep-snow winter, the snag fell quietly upon the forest floor, exactly where my husband always said it would. It disintegrated slowly, mixing with the leaves and soil on the forest floor and becoming part of nature. I missed the comfort of its presence at my bedroom window, and I still do. 
   But its loss did open up a space for other trees and shrubs that drew many kinds of birds we hadn't seen before. They nested, sang and fluttered there among the branches. Every morning through our bedroom windows, we could wake up to the sight and sound of all those birds that seemed to be performing solely for our eyes and ears. 
   For my cousin (and others like us who find happiness in nature) I share some words from a wildlife officer who listened to my story about the snag. He smiled and told me that my husband's defense of that snag had demonstrated inborn wildlife wisdom. 
   "Dead wood brings new life," he said. He explained that trees can actually provide more habitats for wildlife dead than when they are alive. Snags are important for wildlife. When they fall, birds and  small mammals and other wildlife use them for nests, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching.  Along streams and shorelines, snags eventually may fall into the water, as Donna's did. Even then, they add important woody debris to aquatic habitat. 
   I hope that brings some comfort to you, Cousin Donna. I herein post your photo of your tree. I wish I had a photo of my own lost tree, but I never photographed it. I guess I didn't know how much I'd miss it, until it was no longer there.

Sunday, September 13, 2015



    Some years ago, as my Aunt Helen lay dying, she told me many family stories, and one was of my paternal grandfather, whom I had never known. He had died in 1918, 22 years before I was born.
     The Great Influenza had struck the year he died. Whole families in his neighborhood were seriously ill, and they were helpless, and he was going to their doors and speaking from his distance into their interiors to find out things they might need... food, medicines... errands... He would find out what their needs were, write them down, and see that they were taken care of. He would set their needed foods and medicines at their doors or just inside their doors, without coming close to them.
He was roundly criticized by some. After all, he could catch the flu and bring it to his family. Was that not irresponsible?
     But no, my grandfather told his family. A person was obliged to help friends and neighbors when they were down and helpless. He assured his family he was being careful not to get close enough to catch the influenza.
     Grandfather did catch the flu, and so did his family, but he's the only one at his home who died of the disease, or came close to dying. Who would know whether he had caught the virus at the doorway of his friends, who had not come close to him in his mercy missions; or whether he had been exposed through his work that took him through the city everyday?
     Grandfather suffered mightily, with complications including meningitis, as I learned last year on his death report details. I decided his commitment to friends was a legacy he had left for us, and I felt somehow closer to this man I'd never met.
    Last year, I was in the genealogy room at Morley looking up some of my husband's family history, when a helper/librarian handed me a Page One item about my own family, from a December 1918 newspaper. A man beloved to his town had died on a late-November morning. He was the assistant superintendent of the city's water plant, active in his community and church, and known to all.
    The story caught my eye, and as I read it I discovered that man was my grandfather. It was sad for me to read that there would be no public service for him; mourners would grieve privately because all members of the deceased man's family were ill, and the pastor of his St. Mary's Church had banned all public services because of the contagion.
      (One of grandfather's sisters died of influenza in a neighboring state that same day, on her birthday).
    Now when serious flu seasons roll around, I often think of the world-wide flu pandemic of 1918--a time when there was no serious arsenal of medicines to fight the complications. And when I think of the hardships of those earlier times, I salute my grandfather for his sturdy ethics of friendship and commitment, which he didn't toss aside when tested.
     I wonder if the fear our media stirs up so readily these days---including fears of all sorts of things that MIGHT happen---would keep our people from doing what they could for helpless friends and neighbors.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) signs off, reflectively. She accepts comments at

Thursday, September 10, 2015

SEPTEMBER 10, 1960...


It was fine-wine September
blue-and-gold September
burnished-leaf September
when I wed my own true love.

And the air was warm and veiled
with the fine September sunshine
and the young boys flung down rosebuds
when I wed my own true love.

And I locked my arm in his arm
and we raced away together
and the sunshine turned to cloudburst
when I wed my own true love.

And we wandered 'round like gypsies
and we laughed a lot together
and we didn't think of duties
'til our pennies disappeared.

Then we turned our wheels homeward
and we settled in our farmhouse
and began our world together
me and me true love.

And the years brought joy and sorrow
and we walked through both united
and I've always loved September
when I wed my own true love.
                               ~~Rose Moore

Thursday, August 6, 2015




Where's the young girl who used to live
Behind this aging face?
Where is the girl who climbed the trees
And moved with speed and grace?
Where is the child whose hair swung free,
Whose skin was smooth and white,
Whose face looked wide-eyed at the world,
Whose teeth were sound and bright?
Where is the laughing tomboy-kid
Who pranced in the summer sun,
Who skated down the city streets,
Whose strong young legs could run?
Where is the girl with the springtime soul,
Whose laughing spirit sang?
She's in there somewhere singing yet;
It's what you SEE that's changed!

    ---rose moore, Aug 6, 1993

(Three-quarters-of-a-century old on this 6th day of August, 2015).

Friday, July 31, 2015


"We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun."~~Kent Nerburn

   These words remind me--August begins tomorrow, and already my prairie flowers--loaded with butterflies--have begun to dry up. Starting from a few plants installed many years ago, these wonderful flowers take care of themselves and are now gloriously widespread in my gardens.
   Happily in most years, they bloom and cater to butterflies until the first frost. Not so this year, I fear. One more dry day, I believe, and the blooms will rapidly spiral out of existence. My butterflies will go elsewhere in search of nutrition, and I'll miss them.
   There is comfort in knowing these plants will return in great numbers next year. So go the ways of the natural world. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015


My column for Gazette Newspapers this week has drawn a lot of humorous response by phone and email. Apparently this country needs a lighter heart, and so I share the column with you on my blog as well:
   It seems like yesterday when, in a pre-9-11 world, I light-heartedly declared myself a write-in candidate for President of the United States. Long-time readers know the outcome of that self-nomination; I lost by a landslide! Every voter in America, including me, chose someone else.
   Now that everyone is running, including "The Donald," some of you are laughingly urging me to "run" again. I firmly decline.

   BUT SINCE THEY STILL make sense to me, I share some items from my former Presidential Platform:
   **As your President, I would choose my cabinet and appointees without regard to black, white, red, green, polka-dot or any other color; male or female; pure-blood or Heinz 57; old or young or in-between...  Ability, experience and character would rule in my selections.
   **All people born in this country to legal U.S. citizens would be officially designated as "Native Americans."
  **I would champion "plain English" as the national language and would encourage its use in all legislation.
  **I would designate Voting Day as a legal holiday and would seek a tax penalty for all eligible Americans who don't vote.
  **I would call for a tax credit for those who serve on juries, and I would switch the jury-selection pool from the list of registered voters to the list of licensed drivers.
  **I would function as your president, not your mother. I wouldn't tell you what to eat or not eat; or try to engineer your way of living; or raise your children for you; or tell you HOW to raise your children...
   **I would  push for election revisions to require President and Vice President to run separately, as it was in our country in some of its early election years. I would give the Vice President real work to do so he or she could be ready for my job if I should die, resign, lose my mind, run away or go to jail.
   **I wouldn't criticize or penalize the rich for being rich or the poor for being poor... I'd stand for equal opportunity for all Americans to pursue their dreams...
  **I would lighten up and encourage you to lighten up. In communicating with you, I would share the positives and the negatives, and I wouldn't peddle fear or hatred to advance my party or my own political gain.
  **I wouldn't use the people's time or money, or the people's White House, to work toward my future re-election. A simple "Moore!" or "NO Moore!" at the voting booth would be enough to keep me in the White House or send me home.
   **I would visit often with Congress and the Senate, and try hard to communicate between the parties.
  **In my decisions, I would put America first--and not the party!
   I couldn't be elected. It would take a person far beyond my own capabilities to build a viable political constituency. In these days of political correctness, we are splintered in too many directions, and  we no longer look for what is in the heart; we look for trouble!
   I'd be in my mid-70s at voting time---too old for the young vote; too young for the old; too strong-minded for the old-fashioned; too traditional for the New Wave; and not electable for countless other reasons.
   I would not handle well the scrutiny and loss of privacy. I couldn't easily give up my intrinsic informality and Wild Irish Rose ways. I say a lot of words, and I couldn't tolerate the knowledge that every one of those words would be checked for hidden meaning, to dog me all my days...
   I'd balk at the idea of taking the Secret Service  along  with me for my x-rays, colonoscopies and other senior medical events and/or reports...
   I could not shed my country life. Could you imagine a zoom-lens news photo of your President in garden boots and gear, joyfully sinking her gardener-hands into the soil of the White House rose garden? Could you see her sitting barefoot with her husband on the front porch of the White House? Or stringing wind chimes in the trees around the White House; or building outdoor campfires there for grandkids? Or walking with her big dog Mck on balmy nights? Or building snowmen in the winter on the White House lawn?...
   I COULD NOT AND I WOULD NOT trade my simple country life for Secret Service; black-tie dinners, caviars and limousines; cabinet meetings, press conferences and speeches--not for all the perks of glory, fame and power.
   And neither I nor my family nor my country (nor anybody else) would be happy if I did!

Monday, July 13, 2015


MORNING... 7-13-2015

September sneaked in early this year.

She put her cool hand on the face of July,
bathed it in veiled sunlight,
dressed it in misty mornings,
zapped it with nippy nights,
decked it with early autumn asters,
puffed it up with Autumn clouds,
gilded it with burnished leaves,
chilled our summer souls with too-cool rains,
and painted shadows on the green of our minds
that told us winter lies ahead.

It may be cold and early.

Rose Moore
Summer 1992
Observations of a weather witch

Sunday, July 5, 2015



 My dog sees me as the be-all and end-all...

the Sun and the Moon and the Stars...

the Queen of the World...

Napoleon and Ghandi wrapped up as one glorious person...

He's a very smart dog, but in this I know he is wrong.

Still, it's nice to be worshipped; is it not?

--Rose of the Moores, Sunday morning, July 5, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Today on Face Book, I advised my friends who ponder summer travel on Carolina beaches to consider Lake Erie instead, because "We don't have sharks in Lake Erie."

As a northeast Ohio newspaper columnist, I have never been asked about sharks in Lake Erie. But whenever tsunamis or tsunami warnings occur in other parts of the world, they do often spur my readers to ask if we ever have "tidal waves" here. And here's what I have told them:

WHILE WE HAVE NOTHING here that could accurately be called a "tidal wave" or tsunami, we have had smaller entities called seiches (pronounced "saysh" or "sesh-ay" or "sigh-sh", depending on where in the world you are discussing them).  Seiche (a French word that means "to sway back and forth") is described in one dictionary as an "oscillation of the surface of a landlocked body of water (as a lake) that varies in period from a few minutes to several hours, or sometimes two days."
Most seiches on our Great Lakes result from atmospheric or seismic disturbances that create huge fluctuations in water levels in mere minutes, and they arrive ashore without warning. The southern shore of our Lake Erie is one of the more seiche-susceptible areas among the Great Lakes, due to its shallowness and unequal depths. There have been more seiches than people might think along our Lakes, with many going mostly unnoticed because they come on shore with a water rise of little more than a foot, or even less

SQUALL-LINE SEICHES are particularly dangerous, and the results of one such event that many older people may remember was a monster wave that hit our southern shoreline in 1942, from Bay Village (west of us in Cuyahoga County) to Conneaut (east of us in Ashtabula County).

It struck in the seeming calm of pre-dawn moonlight on the first of June, hurtling to the beach from miles out in the water, killing seven people---four in our Lake County on the south shore of Lake Erie. Reports by witnesses, rescuers and officials estimated the wave to be 20 to 25 feet tall, roaring in at 80 miles per hour.

On a Perry fishing beach, the water picked up one fisherman at water's edge, smashing him into bushes more than 150 feet inland, and hurled seven others from the water into an on-shore ravine. None of these men died, even though the wave engulfed a 20-foot tall bluff.  Property and buildings were destroyed along the affected shoreline, with the worst damage recorded at Madison-on-the-Lake, where the high wave was followed within minutes by a six-to-eight-foot-tall wave. Meteorologists later theorized the event was caused by "sudden, drastic off-shore wind shifts that produced cataclysmic rises in water levels."

Unlike tsunamis, seiches generally move a lot more slowly, no more than 30 miles per hour. They may bring higher waves to a small or isolated shoreline and receive little attention from any but the local news, such as with a seiche recorded on June 6, 1954. That might well have been the one described to me during an interview some years ago with Jim Strand, a former chief ranger for Mentor Headlands State Park. The wave washed ashore in the early 1950s, at a time when Strand was on duty. "I noticed people were running off the beach," he recalled. "I was in the first-aid station, and I looked out and saw the wall of water. I got on top of a desk as the water came into the building... It left as quickly as it came."

 I FIRST BECAME AWARE OF (and interested in) such seiche phenomena in 1996, when I was interviewing two employees of our Painesville Water Plant in Lake County. They had compiled a 100-year history of the facility, and leading me on a tour of the plant, they shared a clipping that had been framed and posted on the wall of the plant's extension, built in 1971. The clipping told the story of the 1942 seiche. "Timing's everything," one of the men observed wryly. "If that wave had struck in 1971, it would have completely taken out this building."
Early writings about Lakes seiches have described a sudden recession of water before the large wave of water washes over the shore. People at the waterline might or might not notice that they can walk a bit farther to the water than is usual. (That effect, however, occurs to a dramatically greater degree with tsunamis).

Regional history of seiches along the south shore of Lake Erie includes a seiche at Buffalo, NY on Oct. 18, 1844. That great wave resulted from prolonged strong winds that pushed the water to one end of Lake Erie, and then the winds shifted suddenly to the opposite direction, creating a wall of water that smashed with great force over Buffalo's 14-foot-high seawall, drowning 78 people in the commercial and residential district at the waterfront. Other seiches were recorded along our southern shores in 1882, 1929, 1933 and 1947.

A more recent seiche, or at least a seiche effect, occurred in 2012 along our Lake Erie shoreline. Two days of strong winds forced the water from Ohio's shallow west basin of Lake Erie, near Toledo, toward the east. It lowered the water level some six to eight feet at the western basin and created an equal and opposite rise of water hundreds of miles to the east. Boats in the western basin were left stranded and then stuck in the mucky bottom of the lake, and when the water rushed back, the boats were over-run and destroyed.

(Seiches are also said to play a significant role in enhancing rip currents, and it's interesting in that regard to note several 2011 losses of human life in rip currents along our southern shores).

SO THERE YOU ARE! You don't need to worry about sharks in Lake Erie, and you won't need to worry about tsunamis. But if you must nurse a worry about something in Lake Erie, make it the seiches.
But I wouldn't lose any sleep over them.

---Regards from your blogger Rose Moore, writing from Lake County in northeast Ohio off the south shore of the Great Lake Erie.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


ALL MY LIFE I'VE BEEN A GARDENER, and now the frosts are over and I am sinking my bare hands into the earth again to begin a brand new season. But this year's growing season starts with sadness. After a second cold and brutal winter, my prize lace-leaf dwarf red maples have been standing gray and leafless and apparently have died. 

One has been a centerpiece in my porch-side garden for more than 20 years. The other maple, even older, has been a fixture at the corner of my front walkway. Though I have loved both maples, I admit I'm partial to this older maple. A one-of-a-kind specimen, it was a surprise award years ago as Community Day's "Pretty Concord Award." Its uniquely curling branches have survived a lot of winter storms and extreme conditions; until the winter past.

"Should I pull them out and re-plant something in their place?" I've wondered to myself. But I won't do that right away, I know, particularly in the case of the little maple tree with the curling branches. To me, even bare of its customary red hair, it is fine sculpture.

Perhaps I have been praying for a miracle; I keep looking for a sign of life. Perhaps I'll buy glass birds to hang within its branches for at least another growing season...

ONE MORNING RECENTLY,  as I checked my maples fruitlessly for the umpteenth time, I thought about a special back-yard garden ornament that wasn't yet in place. I went downstairs to unpack that sentimental item from its winter place and re-install it. Like my maples, that Victorian gazing globe, with its fine reflective glass the color of a Nordic sky, has adorned the growing seasons in my gardens since my house was new

As I recall, I took a lot of ribbing all those years ago when I announced my birthday wish for one of those glass ornaments that only grannies seemed to have. They began to come back into fashion briefly sometime after I received my gazing globe, but at the time they were passe.

Who cared? I wanted one! I had read an excerpt from the journal of a Victorian woman and was intrigued by her description of a "gazing globe" as the centerpiece of her classic sitting garden. In that globe, the woman had written, she could see earth and ground and sky mixed all in one together, adding new dimension to her garden and lending an element of mystery and peace for her rest and meditation there.

My husband understands me, and it did not surprise me when he found a good glass gazing globe and placed the cobalt orb atop a simple base, strategically arranging it amid the flowers and herbs of a small garden between two patios at the rear lower level of our home.

All these years later, I still find the globe hypnotic as I sit garden-side above my creek, with the globe reflecting grass and flowers, sky and water. In the private coolness of that solitary spot, the curving mirrored surface doubles the effect of sun and shade, mixing colors of my blooms with birds and butterflies and passing clouds. On moonlit nights, from second-story porches high above, I can still look down into the globe and see the blue moon gleaming back at me.

IN OCTOBER EVERY YEAR, I carefully remove and store that fragile globe for winter. And then when frosts are over, I unpack it carefully again and set it back into its summer place in almost-ceremonial fashion. It is among the little rituals that mark the Season of the Gardens for me.

And now it sits again in place with this new season. As I mope about my maples, it comforts me somewhat to see this treasure in its proper place, despite the maples.

May you too find comfort for the cherished items Mother Nature may have stolen from your gardens in the winter past.


Sunday, May 24, 2015


"Oh beautiful for spacious skies... " 

     For me, those words from the patriotic Hymn, America the Beautiful, bring to mind the beauty of the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at Rittman in Medina County.
     Capped as it is by those spacious skies and surrounded by wide-open rural vistas, this peaceful resting place is where my older brother was laid to rest just after July 4th of 2013. It was that occasion which had brought me to this National Cemetery for the first time.
     As a final resting place, this would have greatly pleased my brother had he been alive to see it. The hilltop setting was a place where breezes seemed to live full-time, and surrounding farmlands presented nothing to deter them.
     And so it was on that morning of my brother's burial, as the Avenue of Flags led us to a chapel-like setting for the simple elegance of an understated military service, the winds kicked up and seemed to raise the 50 flags atop the poles in brisk salutes.
     As we left our cars, we were escorted along a brick walkway, past a small honor guard of uniformed marines, into a "committal shelter;" an open-air gazebo-like structure made of stone, with rows of pew-like benches, and nestled into a serenely wooded setting. 
      During the service, the young marines removed the flag and folded it in the traditional ceremonial drill for presentation to me, and I knew this souvenir would not be coming home with me. 
     Due to circumstances of time and health and distance, I was the only person able to be present from our large family of brothers and sisters, and I would represent them all and give the eulogy. We had talked ahead of time about the flag, and our decision was that it should be donated to the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery to use as they saw fit, in honor of the veterans interred there.
     Within a few days, I received a formal written thank-you for the flag, telling me it was received with gratitude and would be flown among the others on the day of every burial and every military and patriotic holiday. To me, that seemed appropriate, for this cemetery is indeed a place of flags. 
    "It will be even more so on Memorial Day," I was later told by phone, by an information volunteer who underscored the contents of the thank-you letter. 
     "Every year on that holiday, a crowd of scouts and families arrives," she said. "These volunteers will place a flag on every grave for the Memorial Day military ceremony. The effort and result are beautiful to see."
     She told me of a cemetery pathway I hadn't seen. It is lined with monuments and memorials that were donated and set in place by various organizations, in honor of veterans and commemoration of historic military events. Public visits occur quite regularly, she added, not only for interments or to visit graves, but also patriotic and educational visits.  
       IN THE AUTUMN after my brother's burial, a cemetery volunteer informed me that my brother's simple marble monument had been installed. 
       It's my intention, one lovely summer day when circumstances and the weather will allow, to go there with my camera and photograph the marker for my siblings. 
      And I will linger for awhile in that place where veterans can rest in peace forever, with spacious skies above and green fields all around.

(For visitation, the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery is open dawn to dusk. It is located no more than 45 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio in Medina County, and the Public Information Center at its entry is staffed with volunteers Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed on federal holidays except Memorial Day)

PHOTO COURTESY of Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. For Memorial Day each year, scouts and their families "plant" a flag on every grave.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


   Years ago my mother-in-law complained to me in serious tones that, "May 30 is the real Memorial Day; they should return it to its rightful place."
   She was referring, of course, to the successful negotiations by Labor Unions (of whom her husband was a member) for Memorial Day to be observed on a Monday, giving America's workers the luxury of a long holiday weekend.
   Admittedly, my callow young self did not begin to understand the reasons she was upset by the change. "After all," I said to her, "the calendar still pays homage to both dates"
   THE MAY 30 DATE, which had been in place for well over a century, had itself represented a change. The tradition behind the commemoration had begun during the Civil War, when America was deeply grieving its astounding casualties in its inner war that spilled vast quantities of its native blood on native soil.
   Each May when the spring flowers bloomed, the people of the North and South separately expressed their collective grief on different days, taking the fresh flowers to the countless graves of loved ones lost in the war.
   Not until May 5, 1868 did General John Logan at Waterloo, N.Y. proclaim May 30 to be Decoration Day, in honor of the fallen soldiers. Though the North commemorated on that date each year, the South commemorated on a different date in May, until after World War I. That they would later merge those observances into one unified holiday would, in itself, represent a monumental change. And not a bad one.
   In 1882, the name of Decoration Day was also changed, officially becoming Memorial Day. (As I was growing up in the 1940s and '50s, grownups around me still had not accepted the name change, and were still referring to the holiday as Decoration Day).
   Not until 1971, though the holiday itself had been long established, was Memorial day officially declared a national holiday to be observed each year on the last Monday of May.
   Three years before that, another change had been made with Lyndon B. Johnson's Presidential Declaration naming the town of Waterloo, N.Y. as the official birthplace of the holiday. Ostensibly, this was because Waterloo had observed Memorial Day each May 30 for 100 years.
   But others had laid reasonable claim as birthplace of the holiday. That included but was not limited to the Pennsylvania town of Boalsburg, whose women shortly after the battle at Gettysburg had begun the May tradition of decorating the graves of the soldiers killed; the Mississippi towns of Vicksburg and Columbus, whose women in May of 1865 began to yearly decorate dead veterans' graves; and Charleston, S.C., whose freed slaves in 1865 had begun to decorate the battlefield graves of Union soldiers.
   IN MODERN TIMES, Memorial Day expanded to include yet another change---decorating the graves of deceased friends and family members as well.
   Soon after that, despite the June 21 summer equinox, Memorial Day began to be seen as the true beginning of summer, and the sober morning commemorations at burial grounds were supplemented by the rising tradition of Memorial Day gatherings of families and friends.
   Under rigid guidelines of that same era, well remembered by so many of us, Memorial Day had also become the marking point for seasonal style rules. However cold or warm the weather, the arbiters of fashion dictated firmly that we must wait until Memorial Day to haul out our pastel colors, lighter fabrics, sleeveless dresses, white shoes, straw hats... all of which must be promptly sent back into storage on Labor Day---a silly ritual no-one really missed when it too disappeared with changing times.
   The labor-negotiated "last Monday of May" observance of Memorial Day was but the most recent of so many changes, and perhaps not the last, when my mother-in-law and I discussed them.
   "With all the changes through the evolution of this holiday,"  I asked her, "what does it really matter? After all, if the calendars now list the last Monday of May as 'Memorial Day Observance,' May 30 is still dutifully and correctly listed as 'Traditional Memorial Day.' "
   "The next thing you know," my mother-in-law responded firmly, "they'll be changing ALL our holidays to Monday, for convenience... You'd better keep your eyes on the Fourth of July."
   THAT SPECIAL AND traditional lady has been gone from this world for quite some time. But I think of her each time I see the May 30 square of my calendar no longer carries any written mention of 'Traditional Memorial Day.'
   Perhaps it really doesn't matter; perhaps a date is really just a date.
But I am older now and have a better understanding of what Blanche Moore was trying to say to me. She was trying to hold firm against what she saw as swift, unnecessary changes, large and small, that were threatening her spirit of tradition.
   Quietly now on this Memorial Day, I am promising my older self and her that "I will keep my eyes on the Fourth of July. And Christmas."

Thursday, May 14, 2015


   An hour before sunrise, the night side of the moon was facing the earth, with only a small edge of the moon being illuminated.

   It was really quite beautiful, despite the fact that the cold, crystal skies that allowed me to see it had also brought frost to our gardens and grasses.

   For me, however, this bright crescent moon, hanging like an ornament against the darkness of tree branches and sky, was ample consolation for the frost.

   ~~Rose Moore, Sky Viewer