Warbler Burial ... no ritual!

I was clearing one patch of ground near the house bit by bit.   And when finished I would lay down a nice layer of mulch and hope to plant on it next season.

While raking I noticed an unusual colour.

Not a weed, but a bird.   Dead.

I don't know when the bird died,  but on the day I discovered it, ebird was describing two similar Warblers--the Blackpoll & the the Bay Breasted. 

Bay-breasted Warbler (Wiki)

Blackpoll Warbler (Wiki)

I thought I'd read the article, see if I could determine whether this bird was one or the other, but I found myself bereft.  

The discovery brought back very unpleasant childhood memories.

Today I dug a grave, put a marker at the spot and hoped the images would diminish.


Banned in Vermont

I found this article intriguing: Banning the use of electronics in the cafe in Burlington (Vermont).

When I lived in Guilford (a tiny town outside of Brattleboro) I had no Internet or land line phone service on the farm;  hence, I would go to the most comfortable cafe, have coffee, often lunch of a scrumptious soup, and do my Internet business.

Blue Moose on High Street

Calls, then, were made on my cell.

Will other cafes follow suit?


Sullivan County (NY)

More on this at the end of the mont.


Zuihitsu in Hobart

It didn't matter one iota what it was called.  I only knew that Cheryl Boyce Taylor would be doing a workshop on the topic, and that of all the poetry workshop facilitators I've encountered Cheryl inspired me the most.

She didn't disappoint. 

Two and one half hours later, I was loaded with new inspiration, the names of several poets I was either unfamiliar with or with whom I needed a new introduction.

The workshop, "Zuihitsu," was liberating and the women in the workshop filled the small back room of the Blenheim Hill Bookshop with incredible energy, beauty and amazing talent.

It happened at the 2nd (now annual) Festival of Women Writers, and this year several male figures appeared, envious of the excitement about the number of writers who would be presenting, reading or offering workshops.

In addition to Cheryl's workshop, I attended Ginnah Howard's workshop entitled, "Making the Leap from Real Life into Fiction" and Esther Cohen's workshop "Good Stories."  

Ginnah shared how she made her real life a publishable fiction, more than once, while Esther really made writing a good story seem easy.

Hobart is not your average town.  It is not big, no bigger than one long narrow street, and a few shops off the Main Street, but what it has that few other towns possesses is "bookstores"--six or eight depending on how you count.

I was able to pick up a second hand copy of a compendium of Flannery O'Connor's work in excellent condition at Barbara's (Blenheim).

I ended my adventure in Bloomville at Table on Ten with a great Irving Farm iced cup of coffee and a baguette of prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto (just yummy).


Buzz: James Gurney's DVD release: "Watercolor in the Wild."

See James' blog, Gurney Journey and read Marc Taro Holmes update here.

Short videos are available for peeks into Jim's process, and I know I am going to get the DVD soon.


V8 Juice at the Plaza

It's all about memory.   I plucked out a neglected bottle of V-8 from the refrigerator, checked its expiration date and had a cool glass.

It brought back memories of sitting on the Taos (NM) Plaza, a couple of times a week at one of the stands and instead of drinking coffee, had an iced V-8.  I drank it so slowly I could amuse myself, and write in my journal for at least an hour.

V-8 Juice

This is what I saw, if I looked up and out.

Taos (NM) Plaza

Moby Dickens Bookstore,  Bent Street (Taos Plaza)

When I wasn't sipping cold V-8, I was at Caffe Tazza at 122 Kit Carson Road drinking a cup of coffee, chatting with friends, new acquaintances and even visiting family members.

Coffee cup, great shape

Reminiscing about New Mexico is not something I commonly do as it was a year in my life that while not wasted was a mistake.

Aerial view of the Rio Grande River (via Wiki)

After roaming the United States, and abroad, I thought New Mexico would be an ideal place for retirement. Little did I know that I would hate adobe, the lack of water, the absence so striking of the Rio Grande's starvation and the strange notion of activities among some friends.

I promised my friend D, my regular Friday night date,  I would stay until we'd eaten in every restaurant in town, and its environment.

I promised a very close and dear friend in Santa Fe that I would look into moving closer to her.

I told myself I could stay, but then one year and perhaps a few days later,  warm and sunny, my friends said goodbye, Kathy helped me pack my car and I drove, slowly, with purpose, across the country, stopping along the way to see other friends, taking in the sights, and landing in Pittsburgh  one month later for the birth of my second grand-daughter.

Although I lived in Ranchos de Taos, a village immediately to the South of town, in a small, private cul de sac, I hadn't taken anything with me when I took that aeroplace except a large suitcase.  I had pipe dreams that places and people stay the same.  Neither does.  Taos had become the new Santa Fe, and Arroyo Seco, North of Taos, was now the place to live.

What I do miss are those friends, one of whom has been in my life for more than 25 years.  I also miss the cafe culture, the excellent food co-op, and V8 on the Plaza.   And I must admit I miss the local bookstore, something so sadly lacking in this county.


Memories, Dreams and Reflections: the value of a journal

Can we remember where we were in 2000?  Or 1990?  Or yesterday?

Sometimes I can; other times I can't find a landmark in my memory bank to take me to that time in my life I am struggling to locate.

Hurricane Katrina 2005 
Recently, someone asked me, "What were you doing 14 years ago?"  I only have a vague notion and suspect that summer I was in Peru.  I keep trying to find the key to open the door to that time in my life.

But in August 2005 I was in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I was enroute to Asheville, but never made it.  

When I left New York there was talk about a hurricane, but I never suspected I'd get caught up in it, indirectly, when North Carolina's coast was hit hard, and all the petrol stations were closed, and weather reports discouraged travel. 

I had a very good time in Raleigh, spent some quality time with one artist friend, discovered Askew Taylor but I disappointed myself and my working partner in Asheville when I didn't make it for our meeting.

C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Now if I had kept an active journal the way Jung did, I would have those keys to what was happening in my life. 

The Red Book, C.G. Jung

 And was he among the first to create an artist journal?

I often did keep a journal, but not always, and most recently I actually destroyed about ten journals.  I thought them too personal to leave for heirs.


Geography: The Middle East

It is now more than 20 years since I've been to the Middle East, but after reading three (3) news alerts that the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead, I went to the maps.

Hebron, close to where the teens were found is just under 20 miles from Jerusalem, 32 kilometres.   I drive that distance one-way nearly every day to buy groceries, see friends and run errands.

In the old City of Jerusalem when one is on the roofs one can nearly touch Hebron.

Israel's borders consist of several countries that border Iraq.

Iraq has six neighbors on its borders.

The spiraling violence in Iraq, and in Israel, affects all these countries directly and those nearby, especially countries like Lebanon.

It is doubtful that these conflicts between the Sunni and the Shia, the Palestinians and the Israelis, has been this threatening since the 12th century and the Crusades.   Yes, we've had wars, too many, far too many, and the 6 Day War was a turning point for Israel, but the establishment of a Caliphate (announced today) by ISIS reminds me of Saladin.

The unleashing of all this violence can not end well.


What do we know about Dickens?

When I wrote my blog post about writers and their politics, I had given the issue considerable thought. 

Now, these two writers, Thomas Mallon and Adam Kirsch take a look at the issue from a different perspective in this week's New York Times book review section. 

What do we know about the writer's life. 

Each of the authors have a different opinion and present a case from their own perspective and from and about the perspective of living and deceased authors.

Two examples that resonate for me are Lillian Hellman and William Shakespeare.

Lillian Hellman, 1939 © via NY Times review          

Lillian Hellman was reviled by her protractors because they believed they, and not she knew the truth.

William Shakespeare, Martin Droeshout engraving, 1609, via Wiki

Conversely, the mystery that surrounds William Shakespeare both elicits favour and an untold number of conjectures.

Sigmund Freud, 1926, Ferdinand Schmutzer via the Freud Museum

And in typical Jungian fashion, and true synchronicity, the Washington Post reviewed Adam Phillips new book, " Becoming Freud: The making of a psychoanalyst" in which many illuminating statements are made about memory and the biographical state. 

A book I've put at the top of my long list of must reads.