Black White & Brown » Where we stop and smell the roses for you

Coggeshall farm in 2020Busy days that felt like they flew by, empty ones that felt like they would never end. We’ve all had them – moments, months, even years that seem to move at different speeds – so what causes this, and how can we use this to our advantage in a year like 2020?

Until recently, I thought it was the amount of tasks I completed that made time feel like it was moving fast or slow. For example, a day with four meetings and fifty emails would feel a lot quicker than one with no meetings and only twenty-five emails, because the less time spent watching the clock, the “faster” it would seem to move. 

But there’s something besides how busy we are that affects our perception of time; our mental state. How we’re feeling, busy or not, tends to tip the scale.* For example, let’s say you’re at the beach. It’s sunny, not too humid, and the last day of summer. Chances are that day is going to feel like it ended way too soon, even if was spent doing nothing, like laying on a towel.

Now remember a time when you had nothing to do but it felt like it would never end, like the last time you went to the DMV. Those minutes couldn’t tick by fast enough, could they? 

So now that we know what affects our perception of time, how is this information useful? 

When we can anticipate activities or moments we won’t enjoy, it’s easy to plan ahead, make them less painful and thus speed up the time it takes to do them. Like reading a book or playing a game while standing in line. 

But what about the moments we can’t plan, can’t even see coming? Those are the ones that often feel the slowest and most disheartening. Job loss, sickness, personal loss; you can put money away, wash your hands, and call your loved ones every hour, but no amount of planning can ever fully prepare you for the mental toll any one of those things can take.

So if you can’t plan and you can’t prepare, what can you do to get through time’s longest, most difficult moments? We can stop, take a breath and ask ourselves how we’re feeling and why. It may sound like a simple exercise, but sometimes just putting labels on things can help when we feel overwhelmed or upset. Because oftentimes it’s the new and unfamiliar that scares us more than the tried and true, and by putting a name on it, that makes it feel more familiar and hopefully, a little less scary. It also gives you a starting point to measure progress.

Do you feel scared, sad, angry, lonely, empty? When did you start feeling this way, what caused it? Did you lose a job, family member, spouse or friend? Are you losing your health?  

Next ask yourself: what would make you feel better, no holds barred. You’re upset because you lost your job, would it make you happy if you got it back, or would you rather work somewhere else? In another field? Was it the way in which you lost your job and you want an apology or professional courtesy? Was it your own company that closed and you want it back?

Ultimately knowing what would make you feel better, as unattainable as it might seem, gives you your end point. If you think about it like a football field, one end zone is overwhelmed and unhappy, the other is calm and satisfied. You usually can’t race from one end to the other, but if you take it yard by yard, eventually you’ll get there. 

So what if you don’t have the luxury of choice, say a loved one passed and there is nothing you can do to bring them back. In the literal sense, you’re correct, but if you’re sad because someone was taken from you and you want them back, there are other ways to keep them with you. Write down or record all your favorite memories; you can keep them for yourself or share them with others later. Make a video of their favorite places or places that remind you most of them. Create or donate something in their memory, and it doesn’t have to be art, it could be time – finishing something they felt passionate about, reaching out to others, helping a cause they believed in. 

And lastly, what if it wasn’t one big thing that broke you, what if it was a bunch of little things that blew up, what if it was everything all at once? You may not have all the answers, you might not even know where to start. In this situation, the best thing to do is expand the conversation. Reach out to a family member, friend or professional**, and if you’re not sure who to call, consider who else in your life might want to talk. No one likes asking for help, but everyone likes it when someone reaches out, even if just to say: hi, how are you?

So in the end, sometimes getting through a year like 2020 will take more than just a day and more than just you, but if the key to speeding it up and getting through life’s toughest moments is finding ways to enjoy them, or at the very least, make them bearable, then I can think of worse ways to live. You just have to choose the best way that works for you.

And finally, how does all of this relate to this post’s picture? Like many people this year, COVID has kept me pretty isolated and this was one of the first days I got out somewhere besides the grocery store and gas station. Wanting to make the most out of my time, I went to one of my favorite places, Bristol, Rhode Island. Now if you’ve seen my earlier post, you might recognize this fence. Five years ago, it was sturdy and connected, and seeing it now, the rails gone and each post standing a lonely six feet apart, it seemed an all-too-fitting metaphor for 2020. So I made something out of it, something with the ultimate goal of helping others.

*Visit The Fluidity of Time: Scientists Uncover How Emotions Alter Time Perception – Association for Psychological Science – APS to learn more about the studies and experiments done about the human perception and passage of time.

**Visit Home | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness to speak with a mental health professional.

  • Amy - What you have written is an excellent commentary about what so many of us have experienced in the tumultuous year of 2020. I like how you have empowered your readers to help themselves with your simple and practical suggestions. I did click on the link to your previous post and compared the two pictures of the fence. Your relating the condition of the present day fence to our social isolation from the pandemic is spot on. If your goal was to help others by writing this piece then you have definitely succeeded in helping me. Well done.ReplyCancel

Ah Vacationland…a beloved nickname for New England’s youngest and most mysterious state: Maine.

A long-time part of Massachusetts, Maine was the last New England state to be founded in 1820, a near thirty years after its closest sibling: Vermont, in 1791, and thirty-six years after the end of the Revolutionary War. Despite the state’s late-coming, however, its name actually dates back to the 1600s.

During that time, land was still being divided up among the colonies and in 1639, King Charles I made it clear what this particular area would and would NOT be called. When “Laconia” or “New Somerset” were suggested, his answer was a quick and decisive “neither” followed by it “shall forever hereafter be called and named the Province or County of Mayne and not by any other name or names whatsoever.” Ironically just thirteen years later it would be incorporated into Massachusetts and over a hundred years later the name “Maine” would still be hotly contested and debated as it approached statehood.

What is perhaps more interesting though, is that no one knows why he insisted on calling it “Maine” in the first place. For a long time people assumed it was a tribute to his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. Originally from France, she was reported to manage the country’s Meyne province, but as historians later discovered, that was not the case; Queen Henrietta never managed nor had anything to do with either province, in France or in the colonies.

Today, the more common theory is that the name “Maine” derives from nautical terms, such as “the main”, “Main Land”, “Meyne” or “Mainland” that would have been used to differentiate the landmass from the thousands of islands surrounding it. The pictures seen here are from one of the islands in Casco Bay, just off Portland.

Whatever the case may be, the history and mystery surrounding Maine’s name only speaks to the wondrous nature of the state itself. With its busy ports and seaside towns to its acres of forest and boundless wildlife, Maine is a state for wonder, exploration and discovery; make your trip today.

  • Amy - I love this collection! I look at the pictures and feel a sense of relaxation that should only come if I were actually there. The picture of the pull carts lined up at the water’s edge is timeless – it probably would have looked the same 100 years ago! The colorful canoes resting on their racks above the gray sand and driftwood and below the green trees hint at fun times just waiting to happen. My favorite, if I had to choose, would be the final picture of the ferns below the trees – such a vision of serenity. Great job Caitlin!ReplyCancel

    • Black White & Brown - Thank you so much!! We’re so glad you liked them.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Great pictures! The black and white ones seem to have a lot of mood and make me think of Humphrey Bogart movies. I can hear him narrating with the pictures. My favorite picture though is the one of the ferns with the sunlight and all the trees – I want to go there, spread out a blanket, lay down and soak it all in. Wonderful job!ReplyCancel

    • Black White & Brown - Thank you, Kerry! We’re so glad they were such an inspiration for you and we hope you get a chance to visit Casco Bay some day. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

Ah, the 1950s…a time for milkshakes, the quintessential American housewife and a wave of new, flashy cars.

Making its debut in 1952, the Ford Customline was marketed as Ford’s “MIRACLE RIDE” with “LIFEGUARD SAFETY” and powerful V8 engines that offered “TRIGGER TORQUE.” Considered a mid-level option between the Ford Mainline and the Ford Crestline, it targeted customers who could afford to “take a step up”.

While primarily made in America, the Customline also had success in Australia. No matter the location, drivers and passengers alike were excited by its V8 engine (which was brand new to the industry at the time), the colors it came in (both single and two-tone options were available) and its power-everything: brakes, steering and front seats.

How big was it, how fast did it go, you ask? Measuring 197.8 inches long x 73.9 inches wide on average, the Customline is within inches of today’s Focus, albeit with less than half the horsepower, and like today’s Fusion, it faced fierce competition from the likes of Chevrolet, Buick and Dodge.

The model pictured here we believe is a 1954 coupe, and although its “MIRACLE RIDE” days are over, there are still plenty of other well-kept models out there. If you’re interested in buying one, or already own one and are interested in selling, their average value today is $13K, and if you’re really lucky, maybe they’ll throw in a shake to go with it too.

  • Dad - Cool! Looking forward to seeing more!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - i love seeing how nature has camouflaged the old car to blend in with it’s surroundings.ReplyCancel

A beautiful vacation spot, the Amalfi Coast is a known escape for foreigners and Italians alike. With dozens of small towns dotting the coastline, there is easily a place for everyone. Positano is the quintessential Amalfi destination, known for its scenic views, quaint architecture, good food and shopping. The actual “Amalfi” town is home to the 9th century Cathedral of St. Andrew and a beautiful town square. There, you can shop for tourist trinkets, stop for gelato and take in views of Ravello, the town within the hills (several of the pictures posted here feature views of Ravello).

Excited to go yet? If so, there are a few important things you should know before planning your trip. There are no trains or large airports on the coast (the closest landing strip is in Naples), so your main options are car, bus, or shuttle, and unless you’re an experienced Italian driver, we strongly suggest hiring a car service and letting the natives show you how it’s done. Other means of transportation: by boat or on foot, both of which are subject to weather but great for picture-taking.

Once you’re ready to go, here’s where we recommend you stay and eat: Hotel Marmorata in Ravello, where the rooms are built into the cliffs and Amalfi is just a ten minute ride away. Then if you’re looking for a more relaxing spot for lunch (Amalfi is great for food but there’s a lot of hustle and bustle) we suggest you check out Sal De Riso in Minori, a quiet little beach town down the road from Ravello. One thing you absolutely should try: a lemon tour. The Amalfi Coast is known for their lemons and you’ll likely see lemon trees as commonly as you would an oak or maple back home. Then for a luxurious dinner, you’re in luck because after a long day of sight-seeing, the restaurant at the Hotel Marmorata is second to none (note: make your reservation that morning to ensure you get a table).

All in all, if you’re looking for a relaxing place to stay with impeccable food and gorgeous views, it’s hard to go wrong in Amalfi.

  • Amy Brown - Wonderful pictures and descriptions – I may have to plan a visit to Amalfi very soon!ReplyCancel

    • Black White & Brown - Thank you very much, Amy! We highly reccomend!ReplyCancel


From the tiny graveyard to the top of the observation tower, the history and scenery of Fort Barton define romanticism in a modern day light. With ties to the Native Americans, a humorous encounter during the Revolutionary War, and eighty-three acres of forest, rivers and greenery, it’s the perfect backdrop for a Saturday afternoon and escape to another time.

Enter the park and you come across a clearing marked by the observation tower and a bronze plaque honoring James Holt, Jr., one of the fort’s most recent and dedicated caretakers.


Not too far away at the bottom of a hill, you see a tiny graveyard. With just one stone left standing, the rest have been bent or blanketed by time.

Turn back to the clearing and you spot a dirt trail form at the edge of the trees. Step by step, you descend down a flight of stairs made of wood and earth, the first of many you’ll encounter along the way.

At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a trickling stream, passable by way of a footbridge. Cross it and you find another path, leading you deeper into the forest.

For several miles, it winds, taking you over small hills and little creeks. Then with the road noise a distant memory, and the cleanest air filling your lungs as birds dart overhead, you start to wonder if this is what it was like all those years ago.


In truth, and per the Tiverton Open Space and Land Preservation Commission, the soil and terrain suggest the Pocasset Indians used Fort Barton Woods for hunting and gathering until King Philip’s War of 1675. During the American Revolution, Lieutenant Colonel William Barton launched a night-time raid against the British from Fort Barton. In doing so, he captured British commander General Prescott, and the reports of Prescott being led out in his nightclothes were such a morale booster for the American army, Continental Congress named the redoubt after him.

Today, Fort Barton is home to not only memories of the past but inklings of the future. With it’s intertwining trails, abundance of footbridges and small brooks, it’s the perfect place for families and people of all ages to come and enjoy the day. For more information about Fort Barton, please visit their website at: and

To purchase photos from the collection seen here, visit:

  • Michael Brown - Very sharp, clear pictures…would like to see more! Interesting, well written story line as well.ReplyCancel

    • Black White & Brown - Thank you so much! We’re so glad you liked them. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Amy Brown - This is one of my favorite collections so far. I love the pictures of the old graveyard and the earthen steps on the path. Your descriptions are wonderful – they make me want to go there for a visit! I will definitely be ordering at least one print.ReplyCancel

    • Black White & Brown - Thank you so much! It’s a great place for a moderate hike on a Saturday afternoon and we look forward to receiving your order!ReplyCancel