Saturday, February 6, 2010


A British researcher has come up with a mathematical formula for calculating what will be the most depressing day of the year. This year, it was January 24th. His formula is as follows:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ M x NA
These are the seven variables of the equation: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.
Though the days technically start getting longer after December 21st, lousy weather patterns set in resulting in dark, cold days. About six days into the new year, people have already broken their New Year's resolutions to eat and drink less and quit smoking; the reality of debt incurred from holiday spending is kicking in and any yuks and feel goods from Christmas have evaporated. Statistics from internet search engine companies reveal that the most 'googled' word is depression. And so, I have taken it upon myself to do something about this. For the sake of all mankind, I have created a cabin fever reliever video. Well, no, not really. I created a video that I think will lift the lowest spirits of the depressed and downtrodden, but I didn't do it for mankind. I'm sure that surprises you to no end. I was asked to speak at the opening event of Brunswick, Maine's Longfellow Days. The program, a benefit for The Village Improvement Association was called Gardens Galore. The gala shindig was held at The Frontier in Brunswick, a wonderful venue for sharing food, art, music and film. I gave a short speech and then played the video. Click on the sunflower and you can see the show. There is a full screen option on the Picasa site that this link leads you to and remember, give it a minute to buffer. Kick back with a comforting beverage and have your volume up. I hope you enjoy it. Below the video is my speech and my poem, 'Promise.'
From Videos  

"How's February working out for everybody? Are you loving it? February is a tough month. It's not spring yet, but it sure shouldn't be winter any more!
The Village Improvement Association has put together a lovely program tonight that should knock the winter right out of you. At the very least, maybe it will talk you out of moving to Florida until next week.
When I was asked to speak tonight, a coincidence occurred to me. Today is my father's birthday and it's also my father-in-law's birthday. So, the next time you're kickin' February to the curb, keep in mind that it could be worse. You could be giving birth!
I'm Robin Robinson. I'm a gardener, a photographer and a writer. My gardens are on the south end of Phippsburg on the east side of Westpoint. And if you can figure that out, you're Daniel Boone!
I also garden for other people in Phippsburg, Bath and Brunswick. Most of what I do is garden maintenance. It's a program I call Weeding For Dollars. I love to weed! It's how I make my obsessive compulsive disorder work for me.
I've been gardening for thirty years and I come from a long line of gardeners. I learned my love of gardening and flowers from my German grandmother. She was one of the original members of The Village Improvement Association. The hawthorn trees on Maine and Federal Streets were one of her projects. She knew them to be tough, city trees from growing up in Munich. She grew up tagging long with her father, my great-grandfather while he conducted his duties as the last head gardener to the last king of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm.
My grandmother is about to celebrate her 100th birthday in March. She used to complain that she didn't like planting the center aisles on Maine Street in Brunswick because she thought it was indecent to have her fanny in the air all day with Alfred Senter.
I don't mind having my fanny in the air at all and will spend all day like that through the summer.
I am a compulsive plant collector. I can always find room to jam in one more plant. When I acquire something new, my husband doesn't bother to ask me anymore, "Where are you going to put it?"
Besides my family heritage, the keys to my gardening success have been my perseverance, general disregard of all the rules, and I have grown everything at least once and killed everything at least twice.
I am also a photographer. I took up photography because karaoke just wasn't working for me anymore. At least that's what my friends all said. I love photography as much as gardening. I photograph anything and everything. I tell people I'll photograph anything that can't outrun me, but I especially love wildlife and flower subjects. I live on the ocean and have a greenhouse. The greenhouse is part of what gets me through February! That, combined with my gardens and those of my customer's gives me virtually endless photography subjects. I've accumulated a photography catalog of over 100,000 images.
I'm pretty sure that fact combined with my compulsive plant collecting makes me technically a hoarder.
I'm a writer. I have a blog or website where I am able to combine all of my hobbies or some would say obsessions. The blog is a compilation of my photographs and essays mostly about the natural world, but sometimes about people. I have found the internet to be the perfect place to share all of the things I love to do with the world. There is a handout available with the web site address.
Because I have a degree in poetry and I also hoard books, in my personal library I was able to immediately lay my hands on works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I have an anthology of poetry called The Household Book Of Poetry. It was printed in 1878 when Longfellow was still alive. The book was intended to make poetry about many subjects accessible to families and children. It has lots of authors, but of particular note to me was that there were twelve works by William Shakespeare and eighteen works by Longfellow. Longfellow was a prolific writer and an eclectic guy. He wrote about diverse subjects from kings in Sicily to seaweed, but he especially loved the natural world. I'm pretty sure that if Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was alive today, he would have a blog!
I've put together a video for you for tonight. It contains a partial poem of Longfellow's and a poem of my own. The photographs are all taken in my garden or from my gardens. I think you'll see that I love the wildlife that lives within the gardens as much as the flowers. There is music to accompany the photographs, all 100,000 of them! Just kidding; the video is only thirteen minutes.
After the video, I'll take questions if there are any. And thank you all for coming tonight."
Robin Robinson

In the dark days of December,
When winter has ground me down
From across the room I look at you,
And I remember
Every year there is a June.
Spend your life with me,
You asked
While all the lilacs flashed
The rhododendrons passed off
To the roses
And the lupines bloomed,
Pink, purple, blue.
You spilled your words,
Like singing birds
And surely as a season's progress
I said yes, I do.
When the moon's cold in December,
And the frost holds hard to snow,
From across the room I'll look at you,
And I will remember
Every year, there is a June.


  1. That is just terrific. Congratulations!

  2. Why thank you, Ted!

  3. Great video!! We just had 26” of snow here in Swarthmore over the past 24 hours! I hope your promise of spring coming soon is true! We have had over 50” of snow so far this winter….that’s a lot for the Philadelphia area!

  4. Wow, I am soooo proud of you with this presentation you developed. You have brought spring here and now. I can’t imagine the time and effort to produce it. Then again I can as I have known you over our shared years my dear. You would be surprised to know how many times I have watched it to take in the beauty and the meaning. Outstanding!

    Go Girl!

  5. hi robin and dave,we are down in the keys and i turned on to your blog and it was absoltely wonderful. you take beautiful pics,you must have gotten a new camera,mine doesn't take pics like that. haha you do a great job!!

  6. I loved the video, speech and poem!!! You certainly take very beautiful pictures!! Can't wait to show my husband when I get home from work! Keep up the great work and I look forward to more pictures!

  7. You did a wonderful job last night--informative and funny and you looked fabulous with your pink jacket and upswept hair. And the slide show was beautifully put together with the slides, music and voice over. You should put your poem in your blog. It's very good and I'd like to see it. Kudos to you, Missy.

  8. MM, Your wish is my command! And thank you.

  9. Whatever will you do for encores! Are you still high on last night? I'll have to check in on your blog later today. The June poem was absolutely lovely as was the entire presentation. I somehow feel that Hank is more than honored.


  10. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your talk and photos Thursday
    night. Just the thing for a cold February night! I loved hearing about
    your Grandmother, and would like to hear more about her sometime. And I
    loved the show--especially the toad--what is it about their faces that
    is so wonderful? Made me laugh, but there is also so much dignity in
    that small being. So much self assurance. There was an article in the
    N.Y. Times yesterday about a "mist frog" that lived in the mist of a
    huge waterfall in Tanzania. They dammed the river and the frogs became
    extinct in the wild but are being kept alive in two zoos. They fit on a
    dime, and their offspring are born completely formed and can sit on the
    head of a pin. They are trying to re-introduce it to the area, creating
    a special mist for them. So many wonders in the world.

  11. We loved your show! I loved the male cardinal with his head feathers all in an uproar. What did you do to him…???open your bathrobe and flash him?

    And thank you for your poem. We were going to ask you for a copy to put in our log book out at the island. With your permission, a copy will go out the Little Wood Island. Kent and Ann

  12. We were very honored to be with and support you at your presentation. We know it meant alot to you to be asked to present and present you did! You put together a show that ebbed and flowed, had enormous meaning but also personal expression of your own creative efforts on many levels. It was so cool to sit as a very humble (and unruly?) yet collective group enjoying your presence as a storyteller, great comedic delivery and drinking (no pun!)in your beautiful visual images. I truly was moved to tears when the music and the pics started - Our compliments and congratulations again!

  13. RRR- You were awesome on Thursday- both your talk and videos of course, but you looked FABULOUS too! Just remember, I've been your groupie for the I get to be the first President of your fan club, okay????
    Ms. Boo

  14. Seeing all my pals in the audience made me feel like a million bucks! Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart.

  15. Great presentations thursday night - I always enjoy your talks.
    You are so good at taking people to a different place in time, it is a unique gift.

    Looking forward now to Spring/Summer - cannot wait.

  16. Just returned from an unexpected extended Florida vacation...due to NJ onslaught of snowstorms and family weekend wedding. I just now viewed your video presentation...the music accompaniment was absolutely perfect with your lovely photography. Your "Promise" poem was very heartfelt and moving. AWESOME, ROBIN!

  17. Robin I loved your slide show.. I only watch the one on saqiun . Very nice .