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“Quality of Life, Spirit of Place”

 

Vermont Views Magazine

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New Features, Articles & Columns


Darkest Vermont

Dark Flâneurs


Monkey’s Cloak

All souls’ elegy

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Little Miss Buster

Elizabeth Hill


Old Lady Blog

Gapstow Bridge

Toni Ortner


Urban Naturalist

A Slow Day at Hogle Sanctuary is Salvaged by a Furry Visitor's Aquatic Star Turn

Lloyd Graf


Monkey’s Cloak

You cancelled your vacation

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Thay

Elizabeth Hill


Meanderings

Light footprints

Charles Monette


An A-musing Life

A Remembrance of Yom Kippur Angels and the Dancing Rabbi

Nanci Bern


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Bread and Circuses 

Jeri Rose


The First Glass

DEMOLITION

Vincent Panella


Urban Naturalist

Nighthawks

Lloyd Graf


SCREENplay

Wind River

Lawrence Klepp


Old Lady Blog

A Cross By The Sea

Toni Ortner


Love In Action

A Man Named Shin

Elizabeth Hill


Guest Article

Highland Fling

A series of articles, part 3

Tyndrum

Alan Rayner


Meanderings

Full Circle Meander

Charles Monette


Selected Letters

A Rational Solution to our Dilemma in Afghanistan.

Offie Wortham


An A-musing Life

Charlottesville

The Heart of the Serpent

Nanci Bern


Monkey’s Cloak

Malvern Hill

Charles Monette


SCREENplay

Dunkirk

Lawrence Klepp


Open Mind

So Who Came

To Your Funeral?

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

Cicero’s Hands

Mike Murray


Open Mind

2030 — a short story

Offie Wortham


Love In Action

How To Fold A Presby Cap

Elizabeth Hill


Meanderings

A July summer’s midday morn

Charles Monette


in between

Reflection

Julia Ferarri


An A-musing Life

The Art of Flight

Nanci Bern


Vermont Diary

For The Birds


Special Feature

Malory Lake 1950-2017

An appreciation


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Jumping Through Time

in My Life

Jeri Rose


Love In Action

Baby Buddha

Elizabeth Hill


Open Mind

A Transcultural Awareness Experience

Offie Wortham


Old Lady Blog

A Blackbird with Snow Covered Red Hills 1946

for Georgia O’Keefe

Toni Ortner


Monkey’s Cloak

overflowingly so

Charles Monette


The First Glass

John Dante’s Inferno,

A Playboy’s Life -

by Anthony Valerio

Vincent Panella


Love In Action

From the Hands

of Our Fathers

Elizabeth Hill


As I Please

The Black Place II 1944

Georgia O’Keefe

Toni Ortner


SCREENplay

Their Finest

Lawrence Klepp


As I Please

The Langlois Bridge at Arles, 1888

Charles Monette


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Rights and privileges 

Jeri Rose


Open Mind

Does Lifestyle Matter more than Race?

Offie Wortham


Love In Action

Robin in the rain

Elizabeth Hill


As I Please

Bansky

Robert Oeser


The First Glass

Luck

Vincent Panella


Vermont Diary

Change of Season


Selected Letters

Immigrants in Vermont

Philip B. Scott, Governor


Old Lady Blog

The language I speak

is a language of grief

Toni Ortner


As I Please

Homage to Milton Avery

Elizabeth Hill


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Tarnished Gold

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Other voices

Charles Monette


SCREENplay

Elle

Lawrence Klepp


An A-musing Life

The Great Exodus-Salamanders and Passover Crossings

Nanci Bern


An A-musing Life

One Sip at a Time

Nanci Bern


Love In Action

This Land

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

The British Aren’t Coming — Alas


Open Mind

But The Goalposts Keep Moving!

Offie Wortham


Meanderings

‘Beware the ides of March’

Charles Monette


Write On!

Grey Tower

Phil Innes


The First Glass

Writing like a Painter

Vincent Panella


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Racism vs Sexism

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Ice floes slow

Charles Monette


Urban Naturalist

The Sanctuary in Late Winter:

a Long-Deferred Visit to Hogle Offers Rewards and Raises Concerns

— part 2 —

Lloyd Graf


Love In Action

Mein Yertle

Elizabeth Hill


SCREENplay

Lion

Lawrence Klepp


Urban Naturalist

The Sanctuary in Late Winter:

a Long-Deferred Visit to Hogle Offers Rewards and Raises Concerns

— part 1 —

Lloyd Graf


100 Years Ago

Births Jan-Jun 1917


With Prejudice

With Prejudice — 4 topics

Elizabeth Hill


O Citoyen!

Four Pennies

Robert Oeser


With Prejudice

Flesh of My Flesh:  Reflections on Prejudice & Love

Shanta Lee Gander


With Prejudice

Finding America

Vincent Panella


Story Page

Matinicus The Marvelous Cat

MM Kizi


Meanderings

White as Snow

Charles Monette


Love In Action

People Power in Pink

Elizabeth Hill


Open Mind

Populism

Offie Wortham


Meanderings

White Buffalo in the Sky

Charles Monette


Monkey’s Cloak

Venus Smiled

Charles Monette


An A-musing Life

A resolute spirit

Nanci Bern


StudioTWO

The Owens


The First Glass

For the Birds

Vincent Panella


Chess

“The Mating Game”

Phil Innes


Overheard

Literacy

part 1, the USA


Love In Action

New Year’s Reflections on

“Charlotte’s Web”

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Spiritual Theft in the

Year of the Monkey


SCREENplay

Manchester by the Sea

Lawrence Klepp


Meanderings

White Mountain

Charles Monette


The First Glass

San Diego, Ocean Beach – November 17, 2016

Vincent Panella


SCREENplay

Allied

Lawrence Klepp


Monkey’s Cloak

Oh, Holidays

Nanci Bern


Old Lady Blog

Gone/ All Gone

Toni Ortner


An A-musing Life

Mushroom Soup with John

Nanci Bern


in between

FEAR

Julia Ferarri


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Racism vs Sexism

Jeri Rose


Meanderings

Last leaves leaving

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Braveheart

Elizabeth Hill


Urban Naturalist

Hogle in Fall:

a Subdued Sanctuary Hunkers Down for Winter

Lloyd Graf


Vermont Diary

Quality of Life


An A-musing Life

11/12 and Counting

Nanci Bern


World & US Energy News

Nov 15 Just one day in the energy life of the planet

George Harvey


Meanderings

As if

Charles Monette


Open Mind

What Will Become Of The Trump Faithful?

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

Clouds

Charles Monette


Write On!

Castle Dor


Vermont Diary

Words or Deeds


SCREENplay

Sully

Lawrence Klepp


Love In Action

Living in the Twilight Zone

Elizabeth Hill


100 Years Ago

Births

in 1916


Chess

Susan Polgar:

Little Known Feminist Icon

Alicia Colon


Natural Inclusivity

What is ‘Natural’ Science?

Alan Rayner


Meanderings

Evil frog monsters

Charles Monette


SCREENplay

The Girl on the Train

Lawrence Klepp


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Who Sleeps Daily in S.C.?

&

S.C. City Council

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Why just now

Charles Monette


in between

After a Fire Puja

Julia Ferarri


Vermont Diary

Out of the closet


Old Lady Blog

LESBOS, GREECE

Toni Ortner


The First Glass

Journal Entry –

October 3, 2016

Vincent Panella


Meanderings

Another way up

Black Mountain

Charles Monette


SCREENplay

The Light Between Oceans

Lawrence Klepp


Love In Action

Déjà Vu at Asteroid Chasm

Elizabeth Hill


SCREENplay

Café Society

Lawrence Klepp


An A-musing Life

A Snow Bunny in Summer

Nanci Bern


Meanderings

The mountain was soft

Charles Monette


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Malaise

Jeri Rose


Meanderings

Black Mountain

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Out of time


The First Glass

Who Art In : Moment : Youth

Vincent Panella


Urban Naturalist

THE HOGLE PANORAMA

Lloyd Graf


Love In Action

The Pony Man

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Lots of words to it


Monkey’s Cloak

Beyond the pale

Charles Monette


Monkey’s Cloak

North York Moods

A series of observations and poems by Alan Rayner, part 7

‘Bridestones’


Love In Action

“The Missionary of Water”

Dr. Masaru Emoto

Elizabeth Hill


Selected Letters

Marbles

Offie Wortham


Old Lady Blog

from a forthcoming work...

Toni Ortner


in between

A QUIET RAIN FALLS

Julia Ferarri


Open Mind

The power of “Instant” News in producing stress and anxiety

Offie Wortham


An A-musing Life

Frost in the Summer

Nanci Bern


Vermont Diary

Birthday boy


Love In Action

Neptune and Jupiter

Elizabeth Hill


Monkey’s Cloak

North York Moods

A series of poems

by Alan Rayner, part 5

Howard’s Castle


Selected Letters

In Memoriam

Dorothy M. Rice, 1919 - 2016


Open Mind

Malcolm and Ali

Offie Wortham


Vermont Diary

SHOCK of the Present


Open Mind

Can we bite the bullet until after November?

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

SHAVUOT

Nanci Bern


Monkey’s Cloak

five directions, five fingers, five roots

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

US Politics for Forns from Yurp [part deux]


Monkey’s Cloak

UP NORTH

Phil Innes


Write On!

Women of the Mounds

Charles Monette


Open Mind

Colleges where your child can earn a Degree for Free

Offie Wortham


Love In Action

SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Ticks and Tourism


World & US Energy News

Just one day’s news

in early May

George Harvey


Old Lady Blog

Lights out or the weather of the apocalypse

Toni Ortner


Write On!

Daniel Berrigan

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Over the Mountain


Love In Action

The First Lady of the World

Elizabeth Hill


Monkey’s Cloak

May I

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Is the experiment with republics now over?


Post Oil Solutions

Tipping Point

Tim Stevenson


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

“How Drumpf wins”

Jeri Rose


Vermont Diary

WEIRD WYOMING — A LETTER TO ENGLAND


OVERHEARD

O say can you see...

A test severe of on-line language translators


Vermont Diary

QUINTISH


Love In Action

THE DANCING FOOLS

Elizabeth Hill


REAL FOOD !

Parsnip Soup


Vermont Diary

PC, Euphemisms, including death and toilets


Urban Naturalist

AMPHIBIANS AND OTHER CRITTERS COPE WITH EQUINOCTAL CONFUSION

Lloyd Graf


Selected Letters

Tennessee Tensions

Rob Mitchell


Vermont Diary

Couple pointers

for President Trump


Old Lady Blog

Call from a Scientologist friend

Toni Ortner


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

The Hinge of Perception

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Bird of transcendence

Matti Salminen


Vermont Diary

FLIGHT PATH OPTIONS


Monkey’s Cloak

Tibetan dream song

Charles Monette


in between

One hundred and twenty six years

Julia Ferarri


CURIOUS TOPICS

Gull Summit — Prime Minister concerned over Hitchcockian behavior


View From A Bridge

Golgonooza

Brian D. Cohen


Love In Action

SUMMER, 1947

Elizabeth Hill


Weekly Feature

In conversation with

Archer Mayor


Overheard

“REVENANT”

Which turns out to be very old


Overheard

Honkie Dilemma

A quiz


100 Years Ago

Major Literary Events


Monkey’s Cloak

Einstein’s Eyes

Charles Monette


Chess

The Silence of the Pawns

Paul Truong


100 Years Ago

A chronological overview of the year 1916


Natural Inclusivity

A new understanding of the evolutionary kinship of all life on Earth.

Alan Rayner


Vermont Diary

Featuring the numbers 7, 40, 911, 12, respectively


Write On!

Faery Stories 6,000 years old


World & US Energy News

Just one day’s news

in early February

George Harvey


Vermont Diary

Paint, peeling; plus more news of White Men


Monkey’s Cloak

Momentarily

Charles Monette


Love In Action

HOME

Elizabeth Hill


Urban Naturalist

Season of the Fox [part 3 of 3]

Lloyd Graf


in between

“There comes a moment in life when the dead outnumber the living.”

Julia Ferarri


CURIOUS TOPICS

No screaming — we are the police!


Open Mind

“Who would Dr. King support in 2016?”

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

Entering a moonlit forest

Charles Monette


Chess

Saudi’s, Satan and so on


Vermont Diary

The British Aren’t Coming


World & US Energy News

Just one days news in the life of the planet

George Harvey


CURIOUS TOPICS

We shouldn’t laugh


Selected Letters

Robert Oeser with Fire Chief Mike Bucossi


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Attempts at Transport

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

What Do We Want?

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Awoke in the starless hour

Charles Monette


CURIOUS TOPICS

All washed up — Global trash


Monkey’s Cloak

Okay, we’ve looked there

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Reflections on Grandpa Ross Turning The House

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

A strange accounting


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Inklings of Immortality

Jeri Rose


Curious Topics

Raining Cats and Dogs

& Jack the Psycho Rabbit


Vermont Diary

Come to think of it


Vermont Diary

Notes from underground


An A-musing Life

The Hebrew Month of Kislev and Chanukah

Nanci Bern


Old Lady Blog

Omyra Sanchez

Toni Ortner


REAL FOOD !

Secret History of the Pasty


Monkey’s Cloak

Looking back dark

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Dear England, Please Send Me A Redheaded Boy

Elizabeth Hill


Write On!

Castle Freeman, Jr. 

The Devil in the Valley.

A review by Laura C. Stevenson


Vermont Diary

Hunger’s Ground-Zero

in Our Town


Monkey’s Cloak

The Back-up Bird

Charles Monette


Guest Article

The Angels of Reinca

A Compleat Graphic Novel Story

M.M. Kizi


Chess

Madonna vs. Julia Roberts

and other matches


Vermont Diary

On Aggression


Write On!

Singing with Bobby Fischer

Patti Smith


Urban Naturalist

Introducing...

Lloyd Graf


Selected Letters

Qi Gong on Black Mountain

Ken Masters


Old Lady Blog

Strike out

Toni Ortner


Love in Action

“All is Very, Very Well.” ~Eileen Caddy

Elizabeth Hill


An A-musing Life

Draped in Time

Nanci Bern


Open Mind

The New Israel

Offie Wortham


Love In Action

Boy With Many Hats

Elizabeth Hill


OVERHEARD

Have no truck with


An A-musing Life

A Penne for your thoughts

Nanci Bern


Vermont Diary

Something wonderful just happened


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

The Incense of magic

Jeri Rose


Chess

Review of The Immortal Game: A history of chess

Lawrence Klepp


in between

Developing trust

Julia Ferarri


Love In Action

The Language of Form

Elizabeth Hill


Studio3

Strolling with Bernie

Photographic Essay





Vermont Views Magazine


A unique community supported cultural magazine exploring Quality of Life and Spirit of Place in our bio-region, with extraordinary photographs, 22 regular columnists plus feature articles, galleries & essays, new articles and photos every day. 100s more articles in the Archive.






Contact the magazine HERE


Major Sponsors


Vermont Artisan Designs

Brattleboro Food Coop

Delectable Mountain Cloth

Emerson’s Furniture

Friends of the Sun

Zephyr Designs

Neil Taylor

"The Blind Massuer"

 

In Passing

publisher’s notes

on current contributions

with extracts





Dark Flâneurs

Darkest Vermont




November 15 2017: An unfortunate statistic has emerged about our town — Brattleboro has per-capita the worst pedestrian accident record in the entire United States. It’s not just people flying up Interstate 91 and flying at only just reduced speed through the old brick town, it also has to do with pedestrians who like to dress in black and wonder around the roads after dark. I was not convinced that the second of these reasons was actually true, or in out of proportion to bull-dozing two-ton SUVs from New Jersey — the driver consulting a GPS or cell phone or both — but the other morning on the way to the Community Kitchen I encountered the phenomena, twice. The first time was someone crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing, but not straight across, more at 45 degrees, and dressed in black pants and a black hoodie. The second was an early cyclist belting along the sidewalk where I was about to cross, no lights on the bike. I was relating this in the kitchen 10 minutes later to my colleague when she said she almost bulldozed a black-cladded figure by the Retreat crossing the road not at the pedestrian crossing, and if the figure had not been carrying a shiny coffee mug it would have be another pedestrian biting the dust. For those not familiar with the town ‘The Retreat’ used to be called ‘The Vermont Asylum for the Insane’, except evidently for the hour of the day, these dark flâneurs were staff.



Charles Monette

All souls’ elegy

Monkey’s Cloak




unbearable dreams… all the departed were present

wild and wanton, their spirits gasping the air

the eve of All Souls’ Day, dreaded beliefs recurring

as mirrors imitate the wintry grey of bones


passing graveyards dark silhouette

death’s acceptance rejected anew

wandering souls searching the wind

disrespect running deep in the ground


to be thus remembered under a gloomy November moon

rain falling, rituals’ rabble rife

dry water’s life splattered o’er remains

meaning gone from the garden’s grow


genteel blathering clouding memories…

yet a distant time, a distant place draws near

moans of the dying congeal sedulously

muffling the striking of a pitch-black clock


years passed along with days

troubled souls seeking marigolds, the sweet bread of the dead

unsettled aching in the hereafter

a patch of pain, regret… why, why, why


tonight…walk the road’s center… beware of encouraging the dust

of disturbing phantoms’ shadows resting alongside

for peripheral chills will envelop one’s spine… raising hackles 

flashing terror’s mischief, a spur to run


eerie echoes, otherworldly rattles lack relevance… yet

add to the scare of the chase… catching up… falling behind

running off, outracing grown up ghosts

traditions slipping, screaming for a delicate plain


daring in daylight

hurrying back to bury somebody at the cemetery’s edge

perhaps a priest’s prayer will banish ghostly faces

exhorting them to their place… to await midnight’s exhumation


lopsided red-streaked-gray marble, water and a candle

an oblong tombstone’s engraving chiseled out

nameless as an unknown soldier’s

epitaph shrouded in secrets


stumbling bones stuck in mud’s asylum

hungry ghosts grabbing, unwrapping life’s promise once more

disappointments’ confusion leaving the marrow of emptiness

as if fine one moment and dead the next


Read On >>




Elizabeth Hill

Little Miss Buster

Love In Action





Mise en garde: Not for the faint of heart


It’s been seven days and I’m still skeaved-out! Everyone I’ve told about it instantly takes on a scrunched boo-boo face, or gags in disgust! Trouble is, I just need to tell this story!  After having my throat scoped by an ENT doc yesterday who reassured me that the damn thing is gone without any tissue damage, I’m finally sleeping better without contemplating taping my mouth shut!


The truth is—in the dead of night while sound asleep in a beautifully comfortable bed—I swallowed a Stink Bug!!!


I woke abruptly with a terrible burning and an awful feeling that something was stuck in the bottom of my throat! I ran to the bathroom to rinse my mouth. Though still half asleep, I started to cough. Twice, I spit out some black stuff along with bits of blood. Immediately after that, the taste intensified to an indescribably horrific nastiness! It literally tasted poisonous, so I woke my best friend who was sleeping in the next room in case she might need to call 911. Feeling safer with her beside me, I continued to cough in an effort to get rid of the invader. 


Instead, the remains of the nasty thing commenced to slide down my esophagus v-e-r-y slowly. Nausea set in and remained throughout the night, as I did my best to find a comfortable resting spot on a couch. By that time, I was certain the bug’s putrid defensive secretions were not lethal, so my dear friend covered me with a blanket as I held a cushy pillow snug against my queasy belly. Hours later, I fell asleep, with the worst of that unwanted encounter seemingly over.


It was not over. All week, I’ve been reliving the events of that night. Shadows of that horrible taste continued over several days to resurface whenever I burped. It even occurred to me that something subtle but important is changing within me- as if the insect had journeyed through my body as a wake-up call of some kind. If nothing else, it has made me take a breather and re-evaluate aspects of my life that I want to adjust.


Read the complete article



Toni Ortner

Gapstow Bridge

Old Lady Blog




For Eli Bodi Enzer


You asked us to take you for a walk in Central Park because you wanted to see the change in season. By then you leaned on a cane and stumbled. We walked on either side. You looked like an ancient monk, but this was no Chinese painting.


The weeping willows bent low over the stream; you leaned over the edge of the bridge. The world was turning green. It had rained the night before, and the new leaves shone gold in the morning sun.  It seemed as if we were walking inside a dream devised by a demon.


We had stopped counting the days and months. There was no sum. It was the second spring, and in two weeks the third brain surgery would begin.  You said the brand new Nikon you carried on a strap on your shoulder was too heavy a weight to bear and accidentally left it on a rock. You asked us to go find it but could not remember where you stopped. 


I remember standing by your bed staring at your shaved head swathed in white bandages. Words were trapped inside your tongue. You assured us that consciousness continues after death.

                          It was not only the Nikon that was left behind on Gapstow Bridge.


Read on >>>>




Lloyd Graf

A Slow Day at Hogle Sanctuary is Salvaged by a Furry Visitor's Aquatic Star Turn

Urban Naturalist





Finding myself  a short mile from Hogle Wildlife Sanctuary with a half-hour to spare at high noon on an intensely sunny Saturday October 14, I made the short hop over to  the Sanctuary's Eaton Ave entrance.  It was a day for chipmunks to make their presence known -  they escorted me to my parking place, scurrying across the street in front of me every 50 feet or so, tails hiked up above their tiny bodies, then scolded me from the trees along the trail down to the water level.   A couple of chipmunk burrows that appeared near the step-like “risers” of the path itself in late September and have sometimes shown signs of being beaten down by the human foot traffic, displayed freshly cleared entrances.  


As I reached the boardwalk's end where views encompass a 270 degree expanse of island-studded river and pond water, islands, and a backdrop of postcard-worthy scenery, I was beginning to be thankful that at least the chipmunks were up and running.  Aside from a few chickadee-sized tail-flipping brown birds bouncing around in the underbrush, a small flotilla of Mallards and the ever-present Canada Geese working the shallows around islands, the Sanctuary's animal contingent appeared to be taking the day (or the season) off.  


The endlessly blue skies were as free of soaring birds as they were of clouds, and devoid of the usually reliable blackbirds and grackles (the swallows, swifts, waxwings, catbirds, goldfinches, flycatchers, hummingbirds and trail-side robins having been absent for weeks).  No herons or egrets were visibly stalking or standing locked in mime-like immobility in search of fish, no Belted Kingfishers were seen or heard, the Sanctuary's Bald Eagle(s), occasionally visible in off-shore stands of trees, were not in evidence.  There was nary a trace of the vulture flock(s), of which I have been quixotically fond ever since they lured me to the Sanctuary area in the first place.  Small fish, which had been manically breaching and skipping around like stones in the open water only 3 days previously,  had evidently retreated to the “depths”.   The mosquitoes and gnats were also pleasingly sparse, a trade-off that eased my sense of the Sanctuary's austerity only slightly.


Read the entire article >>>>



Charles Monette

Light footprints

Meanderings




As you enter the trailhead on the east side of Black Mountain, there’s a sign that says, Mountain closed from 7:30pm till 7:30am. Fair enough.  I imagine the Nature Conservancy doesn’t want campers spoiling the pristine, or huddling around campfires with possibly catastrophic results.  Why, even Thoreau once set the woods on fire!


It was that cool sunny morning before the hot weekend.  The day of the Autumnal Equinox.  Equinox… equal night.  No one in sight.  I was prepared to expect wonders.  Shortly there in, I noticed a westerly curved path out to field with tips of green grass glowing through overspread fallen leaves... a last glimmer here!  To my left, sun’s bright light shone through shadows illuminating a lone white birch.  Its white-skinned bark was wrapped tight around… straight-lining up to sky.  A choir of silver birches arced above and behind in solemn accompaniment.


Leaves were falling at a leisurely rate like snowflakes before a coming storm.  As I was jotting some notes, a dead leaf landed gently on my forearm.  Amusing, that had never happened to me.  I let it rest, looked at it, felt its texture, then brushed it to the forest floor.  Silence would be my teacher this fine day…


thinking change without

change within

honoring connection

sun in balance

crossing earth’s celestial equator

rising due east, setting due west

the nature of truth, the truth of nature…



ecocidal evil… Monsanto… Agent Orange.  I remembered walking through defoliated jungle for two weeks 46 years ago in South Vietnam, somewhere northwest of Xuan Loc.  Flying high ‘midst the apex of the canopy… descending noir over all you see… secret Agent Orange smothering synthesis with its pallid cloak. The once lush green jungle burnt to an ashen crisp… sinister, surreal… aluminum soap jellies dripping like thousands of white plastic picnic forks ignited by thousands of flames.  Flames gone out now just the plastic dripping… Charon’s ferries nearby…



Read on >



Nanci Bern

A Remembrance of Yom Kippur Angels and the Dancing Rabbi

An A-musing Life



                  

It was Yom Kippur-the Day of Atonement-and I was on my way to the first worship of the holiday-Kol Nidre services. Jewish holidays begin and end at sundown. I was walking down West End Avenue off Broadway in New York City. The sun was beginning to set and shadows were convening over the buildings.

I saw the usual suspects outside the shul talking in clusters on the sidewalk. The impending holiness of this time was beginning to grace and come toward us. It made everything a little more illuminated with a layer of shine so that every color, every texture became more vibrant.


While this is a deeply thoughtful service, there is another side to Kol Nidre that is often overlooked. This is the side that always speaks to me.  And now it does even more because of what happened this particular Kol Nidre night.


The High Holidays are an ingathering of the congregation. Many people do not attend on a regular basis, but the Jewish New Year services of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur draws us all together. I was a regular service goer and involved with various activates at my shul, so this service was a chance to see just how many people could fit into our small sanctuary. It always seemed to expand, as if by magic, to accommodate and make room for every soul who entered.


This service is when we begin the journey of the day of repentance. We pray that we will be engraved in the ever popular Book of Life. The Kol Nidre prayer service is the gate that opens Yom Kippur. It is only recited on this night.


It is written that an angel stands in front of you during the Kol Nidre recitation. The prayer is about asking to be relieved of any vows that we made during the past year that we did not honor, and to be relieved of the vows we are about to make that we also may fall short on. This act of putting yourself before your Creator is a daunting and deep act of faith.


Read on >>>>



Jeri Rose

Bread and Circuses 

Archetypal Hippie Speaks





Do you recall the Mary Tyler Moore show? At the beginning, she is shopping for food and she picks up a piece of meat on one of those styrofoam rectangles wrapped in plastic. She looks at it and kind of gives it a shake with her hand and throws it into her shopping cart while her face takes on an expression conveying disgust and boredom. NOTHING so exhibits the problem of our society for me as that depiction of our relation to sustenance in our lives.


There are people who are dying for the food that cow ate before becoming a dead piece of meat. There are people who can not even imagine the luxury of food available and delivered as presented. The styrofoam is bad for the planet, but we use it, ignoring the consequences.


A friend saw a mound of things on the sidewalk that were left by an eviction. There was a notebook...and in it written in a child's hand was a poem:


We have food today

O boy!

We have food today!


I do not think we have to be that hungry to be excited and happy to have food. I know that health and rich in nutrients food are in a perfect relationship of joy and appetite.


I do think we can take action to alleviate the misery of hunger in our country when we are people who are healthy in mind and heart and body. I am sure that there is a correlation between ourselves and those whom we may not know, but who, with a little extension, we can know and help.


Read on >>>>



Vincent Pinella

DEMOLITION

The First Glass




            Primo Levi’s Moments of Reprieve is a story collection based on his one-year stay in Auschwitz. The stories follow his other writings about the experience, and for those those who don’t know, Levi was an Italian Jew and trained chemist. In 1943 he joined a group of partisans in the Italian mountains and was captured and sent to Auschwitz to work at a factory camp. He used his bread rations to pay another prisoner for German lessons, and with his knowledge of the language and his background as a chemist he was assigned to a factory producing synthetic rubber for Hitler’s armies. He survived by avoiding hard labor and trading stolen materials from the factory for extra food. Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians in 1945 while Levi lay in the camp hospital with scarlet fever. The SS evacuated the camp as the Red Army approached, forcing all but the gravely ill on a long death march. Levi's illness spared him this fate.


            It would be another ten months in refugee camps before Levi returned to Italy. In later writings he noted the millions of displaced people on the roads and trains throughout Europe in that period. After his experience he wrote several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known work is Survival in Auschwitz, an account of his year in the death camp and rightfully called a work of genius. 


            Moments of Reprieve is a collection of stories, vignettes, and character sketches, a tribute to moments when man’s better angels confront living hell. Levi’s characters are based on real people, some appearing in his other works, and some fictionalized from memory. He published the stories in 1981 after thinking he was finished writing about his experience, but the memories of people and their survival strategies  - not always successful -  compelled him to honor their lives. The characters whose stories demanded to be told were eventually given what Levi called “the ambiguous perennial existence of literary characters.” 


            With the logic of a scientist and the inspiration of an artist Levi sets his stories and characters against a background of horror. Hunger, beatings, and death are part of daily life. In these tales of survival a man sings few lines of opera to lighten a situation, the gift of a turnip is monumental, a half-slice of bread can be leveraged for favors.


Read on >>>>



Lawrence Klepp

Wind River

SCREENplay




Wind River is a good suspense movie pervaded by an elegiac mood and an unforgiving landscape, the wintry, mountainous landscape of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The suspense starts right away, with a dark-haired teenage girl (Kelsey Asbille) seen running barefoot through the snow at night, clearly running for her life, but who or what she’s running from isn’t shown.


Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a solidly built, laconic man whose family has been in Wyoming for generations, works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is first seen carefully aiming his rifle and picking off a wolf as a pack approaches a flock of sheep he’s protecting. All the equations are pretty stark out here, and soon he has a more dangerous kind of predator to go after. As he’s out on his rounds in a snowmobile, he finds the body of the girl, frozen, in the snow.


She’s Natalie, the daughter of his Native American friend Martin (Gil Birmingham), and he visits him to break the news. Stoic at first, Martin finally breaks down. Cory can understand. He was married to a Native American woman, and they lost their own daughter under somewhat similar circumstances a few years ago—she was found dead in the snow after a party that took place while he and his wife were away. It broke the marriage. We see him visiting his ex-wife, Wilma (Julia Jones), polite but distant, to pick up their young son and take him out for some lessons in handling horses. Martin, however, lacks even that consolation. His only other child, a son, seemed to have some promise but has moved in with some local troublemakers who are in and out of jail.


Read on>>>>



Offie Wortham

A Rational Solution to our Dilemma in Afghanistan.

Selected Letters




“Waist deep in the big muddy, and the big fool said to push on.” Does this remind you of anyone in particular? It’s the chorus of a song Pete Seeger wrote in 1967. The song was considered symbolic of the Vietnam War and President Johnson’s irrational policy of escalation, which was widely seen as pushing the country, and the world, deeper into a losing war.


Is our president really getting ready to make the same mistakes this country made in Vietnam? If it is widely accepted that this war will never be won by the United States on the battlefield, why are we getting ready to sacrifice hundreds, if not thousands of American troops in a losing battle? Not to mention the countless numbers of civilians who will be crippled and killed by our hundreds of mindless drones guided by an individual from a cornfield in Kansas.


The United States should begin a massive worldwide refugee resettlement program for Afghan citizens who want to leave the country, now, before it is taken over again by the Taliban. Arrangements should begin with any country that is willing to take in a specific number of refugees. The United Nations should coordinate this effort, and the US and other developed nations could be responsible for transportation, food and supplies.


Vietnam was a shameful time in our nation’s history, and the weekly body count of Americans being killed in the war was the major factor in turning people against the war, even more so than the massive anti-war demonstrations. It took eight more years, after the publication of “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy,” and hundreds of thousands of people on both sides killed, before the United States was forced to admit defeat in April of 1975 when the last two American soldiers died in a tragic helicopter crash trying to escape.


Such a resettlement program will save billions of dollars for the United States, and save thousands of lives. If the Taliban is destined to take over the country, why should we continue to attempt to “sweep back the tide?”  


Offie C. Wortham, PhD

125 Vermont RT 100C


Read on >>>>



Offie Wortham

    So Who Came To Your Funeral?

Open Mind




I went to a really great funeral last week. Everybody in the family seemed to be there. It was in sharp contrast to one I had attended less than a year ago. This recent funeral was for an uncle. The previous one had been for a first cousin.


At the large church funeral for my uncle, there had been a genuine sense of loss expressed by hundreds of people, relatives and old friends. At the funeral for my cousin (at the funeral parlor) fewer than 10 people came to pay their final respects.


Same family, quite different funerals. "Why ... ",I asked myself, " ... do so many people feel moved at the passing of one person, but are totally disinterested in the death of another?" How do we decide if we will attend a wake or a funeral? What kind of a life must a person have lived to actually move people away from their busy schedules for a day, or even an evening?


The uncle was a very quiet, gentle, and giving man, who had lived in the same small town in the same house, with the same wife - for almost 50 years! The cousin, who had spent many happy summers with the uncle and his family, was raised only 20 miles away in the center of Harlem, the infamous ghetto in New York City. He became a high school drop-out, an alcoholic, a drug addict, and, finally, a convicted criminal. (It was well known that he had actually spent time in prison; something unheard of in this very middle-class family.) He was one of the few "Black Sheep" in the family, and was actually quite an embarrassment to many of his relatives.


He was not "successful". He did not live in a very nice neighborhood. He had never had a steady job, and he had no education to speak of, and he was supposed to have had a number of children all over the place from various women he had lived with.


As we get older, we tend to get more realistic about the transitory nature of our own existence. We are no more equal at death, than we are at birth. "Who ... "I found myself asking" ...would come to my funeral?" As my relatives and former friends pass judgment on my life, how many will take the time or energy to even pick up the phone, or send a card, much less actually attend my wake or funeral?


Read on >



Julia Ferrari

REFLECTION

in between



 

This week I had a dream in which I encountered several mirrors. This led me to contemplate the meaning of Reflection…and what that word may encompass? When we reflect, we pause to understand the reasons, cause, effect or results of something…we examine or “turn things over” in our mind at length, until we understand it. But we are also a source of reflection. Every day, knowingly or unknowingly, we reflect the status of our inner life and attitude to others and ourselves.


    A mirror is both static and changing because it is a tool of reflection. What we see in it is often the result of our inner voice and opinions as much as it is of what is actually there in front of us. We sometimes decry our abilities, our looks, our value and our accomplishments (at times even our very significance) when we gaze into a mirror, flinching at its imperfect image. Yet it is likely not the image but our opinion of ourselves that causes us to see beyond it to more negative thoughts. We participate in the acknowledgement of our accomplishments and beauty to the degree that we are able to stay open to a non-judgmental self view, refraining from unnecessary negativity. Often our thoughts reflect back inner fears that have nothing to do with reality. If so, it becomes time to step away from the critical, debasing self-reflection, and find instead a more tolerant gaze through to ourselves. 


   The Latin word for "mirror" is "speculum," which originally meant scanning the sky. When we speculate, we scan the future for hints of what will come. We speculate about our prospects of getting a new job, on the results of a relationship, or on the outcome of a presidency. That state of reflection upon certain sets of circumstances is fed by our own fears and motivations. Even if we want the job, or the relationship, we can find ways to undermine or spoil its prospects if we keep focusing on the negative, instead of actively participating in building something stable. through small efforts.


Read more >>



Alan Rayner

Highland Fling

A series of articles - Part 3

Guest Article




Sunday 11th June


We explore the local area around Tyndrum of woodland, moorland and fast-flowing rivers, enchanted by the calls of Wood Warblers and a misty gathering of Wood Horsetails.


Wood Warblers and Horsetails


The sound of a spinning coin

Making its mind up

Whether to settle for heads or tails

Issues from branches in tall, straight trees

With carpets of Rhytidiadelphus

Sprawling at their feet

Opens the way for a day

Beside rushes of peaty water

From rain-soaked hillsides


A misty gathering of horsetails

With delicately branching sprays

Whorled around tubular stems

Brings to the woodland floor

That same kind of atmospheric drift

Which coats the upper reaches

Of mountains hiding their faces


A black liquid mirror

Fringed by sweet gale

Is the legendary repository for Bruce’s discarded Claymore

It hides its past

While reflecting its present

Gathered together

Standing on ceremony


Read On Here >>>



Phil Innes

Grey Tower

Write On!




The same guy was sitting on his plastic chair to the right of the main doors as he had done for 15 years. It cost him 35% to beg there, and all due to the dude in the big tower. It was worth it, since people going in and out didn’t nickel and dime, they dropped fives, sometimes fifties.


He saw some characters going in, Indians, he thought, one older guy in a so-so suit and the other in native dress, blue jeans, sneakers but beaded around the neck with couple tattoos too. He didn’t press the alert button.


Inside the guilt foyer this pair showed their papers and were directed to a guarded elevator where one other person waited — he in a suit, grey-to-white, and wearing a cotton tie also in shades of cream and grey, with prismatic tinges.


Read on >



MM Kizi

Matinicus — The Marvelous Cat

Story Page




A full graphic novel

in slide show format


   Read On >>>

 

Passages

Robert E. Lee

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So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the south. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.


[[Statement to John Leyburn (1 May 1870), as quoted in R. E. Lee : A Biography (1934) by Douglas Southall Freeman.]]


Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.


It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.


The education of a man is never completed until he dies.


I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.


In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.


Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one.


What a cruel thing war is... to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors.


We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.


A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.


Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.


Not Quite The Thing

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Poem of the Day

Arcassin Burnham


"WALLS"


when they came tumbling,

in my mind very troubling,

lungs and feeling of dumping,

but i'm so done with everything,

eyes changing , and my age elevating,

red skies , i cant see the radiating,

of the walls.



Image Notes — Nov 19

Two versions of the Johhny Appleseed Story




VERSION 1: John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts, the second child (after his sister Elizabeth) of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Chapman (née Simonds, married February 8, 1770) of Massachusetts. His birthplace has a granite marker, and the street is called Johnny Appleseed Lane.


While Nathaniel was in military service, his wife died (July 18, 1776) shortly after giving birth to a second son, Nathaniel. The baby died about two weeks after his mother. Nathaniel Chapman ended his military service and returned home in 1780 to Longmeadow, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1780 he married Lucy Cooley of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and they had 10 children.


According to some accounts, an 18-year-old John persuaded his 11-year-old half-brother Nathaniel to go west with him in 1792. The duo apparently lived a nomadic life until their father brought his large family west in 1805 and met up with them in Ohio. The younger Nathaniel decided to stay and help their father farm the land.


Shortly after the brothers parted ways, John began his apprenticeship as an orchardist under a Mr. Crawford, who had apple orchards, thus inspiring his life's journey of planting apple trees


He introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present-day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian) and the inspiration for many museums and historical sites such as the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio, and the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center in Ashlan County, Ohio. The Fort Wayne TinCaps, a minor league baseball team in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Chapman spent his final years, is named in his honor.


VERSION 2: But during Chapman’s lifetime, apples were still predominantly used for alcohol, and when he traveled through Ohio and other undeveloped regions of the country planting apple orchards, he was anticipating the future desire of settlers to have cider, rather than food. And his speculation was profitable.


Contrary to legend, John Chapman’s choices as to where to plant his apple orchards were calculated business decisions. By planting the seed on unclaimed land, he was homesteading it, both in a libertarian sense and according to the legal system of the time. Developing apple orchards gave him a government-recognized claim to the land.


A claim outside treaties with Native Americans, it must be noticed.


His orchards were an investment. Once he got them started, he moved on to new lands and planted an orchard there, as well. Eventually, he would return to a previous orchard – now fully developed – and sell the land to new settlers. They wanted land, and apple orchards were a valuable commodity that they no longer had to try to start on their own. John Chapman correctly anticipated the desires of future customers and profited handsomely from it.


The legend of Johnny Appleseed depicts him as a poor, itinerant nature-lover. That he loved nature is undoubtedly true. That he dressed himself modestly enough to give the appearance that he was poor is true as well. But the real John Chapman accumulated quite a bit of wealth over his lifetime.


How much wealth he had is difficult to ascertain because he did not trust banks, choosing instead to bury his money in various places throughout his travels. However, it is not contested among historians who have studied him that he was a calculating businessman who died with a considerable amount of wealth and an estimated 1,200 acres of yet-unsold orchards.


[Image at top — unknown artist]


Art & Soul

Notes on Creating by Audrey Flack


Exhibiting Work

  




QUESTION: How Can I get my work out?


ANSWER: Find new sources for exhibiting. Don’t rely on the old power structure. Find new sources in the community. All artists cannot exhibit in New York City. Where you are is good. Build up your own area, particularly if there is a weak cultural community. They need you for their vision. All Italian artists did not go to Rome. There were Venetians, Florentines, Umbrians, Sienese. Regionalism is important.


    —From a lecture at

        University of South Florida,

        Tampa.


Now, here, this!  Nov 18


Short & Long-term weather forecasts





Wetter, colder


A useful on-line resource tracking real-time lightning strikes

http://www.lightningmaps.org/

 

Photos of the Day

New Car

&

Across the bay