I took a clue from a seal scapula and a sanddollar to create this card for you. Honest to goodness, that "wise man" is a shoulder blade from a seal found on a beach by a friend. It has been weathered and worn, making it look (to me) like a crowned King with his mouth open in astonishment. I painted it to look more regal. For the star in the east, I had to use a sanddollar. So here you have a picture that came to me, reminding me of the star that led Wise Men and Shepherds to the birth of Jesus.

It is snowing up here as I write. In fact before I finish this message, I will check out this snow covered world to give you a few impressions. Here is the weathered picture I saw once the snow let up. The snow etched each rock creating a delicate webbing of white designs. Even the exposed seaweed looked crinkled and crisp from ice. Sharp edges stood out against a gray sea. The tide was low revealing clear, smooth sand. The snow covered the distance between the exposed sand and the dunes creating a white panel before the tan, blowing dune grass. Everywhere I turned, it was more beautiful as gray clouds darkened and blew in the wind. I checked the beaches, and headed to the harbor's shoreline to see how the snow changed that scene. Under the evergreens, squirrel and bird tracks displayed activity only snow can reveal. A hawk flew into view at close range, scattering smaller birds for cover. I followed deer tracks that often seemed to be on the run as if their maker knew the hunting season was still in effect. Climbing a hill, I found where a deer had bedded down, surrounded by junipers and spruce, with a lookout for protection. I checked the rocky beach for seal bones, but the snow obscured any white bones that may have been uncovered by the last tide. If you ever have a chance to walk a winter beach, seize the moment and absorb the raw, wild, snowy world. Then, consider those crabs, periwinkles and sea stars that may bump into snow flakes. The wind and ice are all a part of their winter world. When I get back to Connecticut, I will share the pictures that describe this scene.

The Strand Line will be put to bed shortly since your editor is leaving for Connecticut within a few days. Once I get down "south", I will hook up with a new address for the web site, as well as email. Make note of these if you want to check in on natural happenings in the hills of northwestern Connecticut. If experience holds true, the Maine version of the Strand Line will still be accessible, though there will be no further changes. Here are the new addresses: www.earthlink.net/~allwett and allwett@earthlink.net. Please keep in touch and have peaceful holidays. Til we meet again, Best Fishes, Ronnie

11/29/02 Ronnie