The Ducks of Amesbury, MA

Ducks upon the water and ice of Powwow River

Ducks upon the water and ice of Powwow River

My attempt to “sneak attack” New England and avoid a winter storm by not publicizing my visit this week…failed miserably. When I left my home, there were blue skies and the promise of sunshine. The moment I got on the thruway and headed east though, Mama Nature got wind of my plans and up came a fast moving burst of snow, freezing rain and overall blech that I ended up driving right along with from Syracuse on. A trip that usually takes five and a half to six hours took 8 hours thanks to awful driving conditions and the rush hour traffic of 495 in Massachusetts.

Despite the winter weather obstacle that I will just expect from now on, Jazzmin and I arrived safely at the hotel and have been enjoying ourselves. The sight of all the snow everywhere when I pulled off the expressway was overwhelming! I knew all about the multiple storms that had been hitting New England but seeing it in person, and quite often not being able to see over and around it was quite another matter! The milder temperatures are melting a lot of the snow and that’s creating tons of huge puddles everywhere that have “nicely” washed off the undercarriage of my car several times.

Yesterday afternoon I headed into my favorite New England town of Amesbury, Massachusetts. I was planning to spend some time at Workspace 36 bouncing some ideas off Ed Justen, the owner. When I got there and saw Ed was momentarily absent, I decided to head out and take some pictures. I went immediately to Powwow River Falls because I can’t seem to resists its pull. Navigating the sidewalks to get there was quite an exercise! Some of the snow had been mostly cleared from sidewalks but there’s just so much white stuff, there’s no room to put it anymore. I managed pretty well with my winter boots on and if you want a workout like no other, walk some snowy, half-melted, slushy sidewalks for the ultimate toning leg routine!

Once at the falls, I took a few pictures and walked further up the sidewalks along the river. I soon came upon a surprising number of mallard ducks that have decided to stay in Amesbury. There were a few ducks in the water during my last visit, but this time there seemed to be quite a bit more. As I walked up toward the top of the path and occasionally paused to take pictures of the mill building I’m using in my book, a group of people behind me started feeding the ducks. I suddenly found myself in the path of countless mallard ducks all waddling, flying and scrambling to get closer to the food.

The mallards beginning their move toward the food.

The mallards beginning their move toward the food.

One of them even perched on the fence to quack at me for a few moments, wondering why I wasn’t throwing bread in her bill before she flew off to join the others

I made my way slowly and carefully along the path because I didn’t want to startle them too much. They continued down while I went up and I was certain they’d be content being fed for a bit. I paused at one point to take a picture and turned around to find one lone female mallard still following me. She eventually turned back around but I admired how hopeful and brave she was.

The lone brave duck.

The lone brave duck.

I reached the top of the path, took a few more pictures, and then headed back down toward the falls. On my way back I was quite surprised to see an army of ducks marching my way. I imagine they assumed since the other humans ran out of food, I must have more. Well, I didn’t.

So back I went, slowly and carefully through the mallard ducks as they quacked, flew and waddled around me. I’m sure they were upset I didn’t have food for them but I was actually quite amused and happy that they were all clambering to me. Sometimes it’s just nice to feel noticed even when it’s a gathering of ducks. It reminds me that I’m an important part of the universe and not someone that’s easy to ignore and dismiss. Sure, the ducks probably saw me as a potential walking bread dispenser but the point is that they saw me. I’m not as invisible as I sometimes think I am. Amazing the wisdom I learned from a multitude of mallards in Amesbury, MA.

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Have Ideas, Need Time

I’ve found a good stride with my freelance writing career and this allows me to periodically take a break for enjoyable things. Today I went to see the movie Thor: The Dark World and then I did a little shopping at the nearby mall. Both watching the movie and going to the mall gave me great ideas for blogs but by the time I got home I was too tired to write them out. I will eventually write them eventually, hopefully this weekend.

I have always been a quiet observer of the world around me. That doesn’t mean I don’t participate in it too, it just means I tend to notice things other people don’t. This is a very handy skill as a writer because I’m always finding new ideas for stories and blogs entries. Everywhere I go the world writes a story for me and it’s up to me to find the time to type it up.

Very soon my time will free up even more. I’ll finally be able to throw myself into writing Unbroken Flames and further books in my New England Adventures e-book series. There are so many ideas in my mind desperate to get out! I also have an idea for another blog entry about Workspace 36 in Amesbury, MA because I think it’s an awesome place! I took tons of notes while I was there and they’re still waiting tucked in my laptop case.

Watch out world, JulieAnn’s voice is on the verge of becoming a whole lot louder!

Workspace 36 in Amesbury, Massachusetts

While I did not have any specific route planned for my wanderings through lovely Amesbury, Massachusetts,  I did have one place in particular I really wanted to visit. It’s called Workspace 36 and it’s a coworking space. I learned about it through following Amesbury resident Ed Justen on Twitter. When I become intrigued by a location, I like to find accounts on Twitter and Facebook of people and businesses for that location. I did it first with Boston and then expanded out from there to include Amesbury and Newburyport. Say what you will about social media but for me it really helps me learn about an area and what makes it tick.

Ed Justen is the founder of Workspace 36 and I admit I become quite happy when I’m listed in his Amesbury Online paper.li for whatever interesting tidbits I might have tweeted about that day. I’ve been following Workspace 36 as it develops and I found the idea quite intriguing. Amid my meandering on the morning of Friday, June 28th, 2013 I just knew I had to find Workspace 36 and investigate.

I looked up the address on my phone because I’d forgotten to write it down in true forgetful Julie fashion. I knew it was on Main Street and it took me a while to realize that I’d already walked up and down Main Street more than once. I finally stopped across the street from the building with the number 36 on it and peered at it curiously. I didn’t see any signs that said Workspace 36 from that distance so I walked across the street and poked around out front. Still no sign. The website clearly said it was on the 2nd floor of the building so I bravely stepped up to the door with signs for businesses inside.

Once inside I found signs for Workspace 36 and exhaled in relief. Glancing up the stairway, I proceeded to ascend. I soon came upon a door through the glass of which I saw another sign saying Workspace 36, pointing the way. I pulled open the door and as soon as I did I heard a male voice say “Hey, I know you!” This surprised me so I looked to my right down the hall and could see through all the glass windows in the hall that there was a man sitting at a desk further down. Smiling, I walked down the hallway and was greeted by Ed Justen himself. He stood up and shook my hand and asked my name (totally understandable because my Twitter name is @sriset1 and not exactly easy to pronounce) and we recognized each other from Twitter. Ed was the first person I’ve met who I’d known only through Twitter and for me it was quite cool to be recognized solely from social media. It made a simple country girl like me feel a smidge like a celebrity.

Ed Justen at his desk

Ed Justen at his desk

I talked to Ed for a bit and found him very friendly and welcoming. The perfect kind of personality to have for a space designed to encourage collaboration among people. He explained to me that the signs for the outside of the building hadn’t arrived yet but would be there soon. Though I’m not from the area (yet) he didn’t make me feel like an interloper or a tourist and I greatly appreciated that! He even invited me to sit down and work at a desk and if I’d had more time, I certainly would have! Ed also said he’d like to hang some of my paintings up in the space and I do wish I’d brought some. Next trip! He gave me a tour and I will admit that I’m jealous of the people that get to work there. Erica Holthausen, a Workspace 36 coworker, was there sitting at one of the tables and I thought she was very nice!

main entrance

I love this little round desk by the main entrance

Everything about the space is set up perfectly for working: from the excessively comfortable-looking couches that I’d probably accidentally doze off in if I sat down (just a me thing, says nothing about anyone else’s reaction) to the neat desks to the larger meeting tables, flat screen TV and tons of big, bright windows. They even have a media production studio with a green screen which was quite fascinating to me.

green room

The media production studio

I asked Ed if I could take some pictures and he said sure, so I did. Everyone working in there was very friendly and didn’t seem bothered by some girl they’d never seen before taking photos and looking around all wide-eyed. I can honestly say that Workspace 36 looks like a great place to be productive, share ideas and interact with other professionals.

powwow room1

Flat screen television in the Powow Room

Comfortable couch in the Powow Room

Comfortable couch in the Powow Room

For me personally Workspace 36 would be a perfect place to go work on my freelance ghost writing. Being a ghost writer is pretty solitary work and when I’m working it’s usually just me at my desk with Jazzmin sitting beside me looking at me like “Walk? Is it time to walk? Why are you sitting there when you could be walking me??” I love my dog and I walk her at least once a day, but she truly seems to want to be walked 24/7 and that just isn’t possible with my schedule. Having her puppy dog eyes boring into the side of my head can become somewhat distracting.

Comfortable couch in the Boom-Boom Room

Comfortable couch in the Boom-Boom Room

Another view of the Boom-Boom Room

Another view of the Boom-Boom Room

Being able to go to Workspace 36 and not be a solitary recluse all the time while writing would be welcome indeed! I do enjoy human interaction (no offense to Jazzmin) and I imagine it would inspire me to embark on all sorts of new projects. Maybe my plethora of peculiar skills and talents would even be useful to someone else coworking there. I hope someday in the not too distant future I have the opportunity to find out!

Some Workspace 36 coworkers being productive!

Some Workspace 36 coworkers being productive!

To anyone who lives in and around Amesbury, I encourage you to investigate Workspace 36. Tour the space, pull up a seat and get creative in a whole new way. Even if you have a home office, spending time in this coworking space will give you an entirely different perspective and undoubtedly help you approach tasks from a unique new angle.

Ed Justen and I at Workspace 36. Photo courtesy of Ed Justen

Ed Justen and I at Workspace 36. Photo courtesy of Ed Justen