An Ancient Pilgrim Path
This one is near Bissoe in Cornwall and a couple of thousand years old. They type of landscape feature is called a ‘hollow way’ becoming depressed in the landscape over countless years. Robert Macfarlane et co have a new poetic book ‘Ghostways’ published 2020.
Text selections by Vermont Views
The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.
...imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it. Do not think it up laboriously, as if you were working out mental arithmetic. Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic.
The dreamer in her Had fallen in love with me and she did not know it. That moment the dreamer in me Fell in love with her and I knew it.
And that's how we measure out our real respect for people—by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy. End of sermon. As Buddha says: live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.
Read more PASSAGES >>>
Recent Passages By: Ted Hughes, Harold Wilson, Charles Dickens, Toni Morrison, Iris Murdoch, David Hockney, Allen Ginsberg, Abigail Adams, Thomas Hardy, John Ruskin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Lowell, Bernardo Bertolucci, Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Keats, David Niven - Actor, David Niven - PhD, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Joan Didion, Pablo Casals, Geoffrey Chaucer, Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Dorothy Maclean Read their work here
Leath Tonino, Trinity University Press, 2018.
Reviewed by Laura Stevenson
Debut collection of essays from a young writer celebrating Vermont
The animal in the title is a creature Aristotle invented in The Poetics (7B) to demonstrate that an observer of a gigantic object could see only its parts, and thus lost perception of its "unity and wholeness." Tonino implicitly compares Vermont to this animal; his twenty essays, collected from periodicals published between 2011 and 2017, portray his adventures and observations in all parts of the state. Together, they also portray his impossible yearning to experience the whole by feeling "the infinite invitation that is the terrain of home."
Young and vigorous, Tonino is an enthusiastic adventurer. "Seven Lengths of Vermont," for example, opens with his vow, upon returning from several years "bumming around the West," to rediscover his native Vermont by touring it in seven different ways in the course of a year. The reader (presumably ensconced on a sofa) then becomes his vicarious companion as he hikes the length of the Long Trail, hitch-hikes around the state in over thirty rides; completes a three-week, 300-mile ski trek along the Catamount Trail; bikes through the state in a tour of some 500 miles; paddles 260 miles in a canoe trek along the Connecticut River; swims, in ten days, the length of Lake Champlain; and finally, climbs into a friend's small plane for a two-hour “vast and fast” flyover of the whole state. At the end of the year, Tonino has experienced parts of Vermont from many angles and at many different speeds in an attempt to understand the whole.
<extract, read on>
Read the full review and other reviewed titles in this column.
The Devil in the Valley — Castle Freeman, Jr.
Vermont Exit Ramps II — Neil Shepard and Anthony Reczek
Half Wild: Stories — Robin MacArthur
A Refugee's Journey: A Memoir — Walter Hess
Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook — Tracey Medeiros
Robin MacArthur, Heart Spring Mountain.
Jackson Ellis, Lords of St. Thomas
Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant
Beth Kanell, The Long Shadow
Kimberly Harrington, Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words
Jessie Haas, Rescue
Toni Ortner, Writing Shiva
Tony Weldon, Drunk in the Woods
Aesop Lake, Sarah Ward
The Animal One Thousand Miles Long: Seven Lengths of Vermont and Other Adventures. Leath Tonino
Ted's Creative Opus
It was probably only Charlie and me who were beside ourselves with excitement, the air charged with our anticipation.
It was Easter Sunday afternoon, and everyone but Ted had been sequestered inside after lunch, everyone was SUPPOSED to be resting in their rooms, everyone WAS resting in their rooms except for the two of us.
We were snooping.
Or at least, we were trying to snoop.
Even at the best of times, Charlie and I were anything but subtle, but it didn’t stop us from trying our best to casually grab quick glances out the patio’s sliding glass door, eyes darting, trying to locate the artificial hue of plastic colored eggs. An unspoken agreement had passed between us that we had teamed up and we were looking for the advantage. We WOULD find the golden egg!
It didn’t take long before our interpretation of nonchalant—long, hard stares that border on catatonic gazes—were noticed by Ben and we were unceremoniously shooed away, ordered to our rooms until we were called.
Charlie was a charming elderly gentleman with an old-school charm; someone who had been raised to wear a tie and sport’s coat for any festive occasion. Someone who had impeccable table manners, although he couldn’t read. A devout Jewish man, who spoke with a whiny New York accent. A Jew who loved what he called ‘kosher bacon’ and often asked me if I thought the Pope would take his calls since Charlie’s rabbi was not getting back to him soon enough.
<Extract> Read More of this and other articles by Susan Cruickshank >>>
February 6, 2021: The wind died down by 2 P.M. The sun popped out. Lots of mud and slush is left on the side of the roads. Girls on Old Route 5 were chattering and giggling about ordinary things: classes, a new coat, restaurants, the chill on a ski lift, beer. Enveloped in a shroud of silence, I thought, “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us and we drown.” I am accustomed to the hum of the refrigerator, the click of a light switch, the rush of water from a faucet, the slam of a door, and footsteps in the hall.
I have lost interest in acquiring things; indeed, I own more than I need. The paintings and lithographs, the miniature fairy cups from Dresden with hand painted angels, the heavy white porcelain bowls and platters that I inherited from my mother sit inside the bedroom closet like unwelcome ghosts.
I once saw a photo of a revered monk who sat on a gold throne surrounded by piles of gold coins, plates, cups, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Underneath the photo it said he left them there as a courtesy to his admirers. Since nothing lasts, there is no point in collecting stuff.
Life is much shorter than I thought. We grow old, get sick, and die but try so hard to forget this fact. We are passing time and find ways to fill it. People who live with someone else have another human being to talk to while those like me who live alone end up talking to ourselves.
Read More of this and other articles by Toni Ortner >>>
A Visit from Mom
If a cardinal should appear
A loved one came to bring you cheer.
A memory; a smile; a tear…
A visitor from heaven is near.
The firstborn of five daughters, she blasted into this world on March 25, 1908. It had been a long and difficult labor for both mother and baby. Immediately after birth, the baby was unresponsive and her mother suffered a life-threatening hemorrhage. The doctor declared the baby to be stillborn, so he placed the neonate at the end of the bed so he could focus on saving her mother. After some minutes, the newborn—my future mom—let out what she called a “warhoop,” announcing to the world that she was alive.
They named her Jennie Marguerite Ross. She’d arrived during the astrological phase of Aries, which blessed her with ambition and loads of fire in her belly. Feisty from the start, she grew into a hard worker who partnered with her dad in tilling the fields, taking care of the animals, and also sometimes helping to care for her younger sisters.
She not only defied death at birth, but then again at age five when her appendix burst. Those being the days before penicillin, when her parents were summoned back to the hospital in the middle of that wintery night, it was to say goodbye.
Once again she pulled through, and grew up healthy on the farm. After high school she attended Normal School and then taught in the Pleasant Valley one room schoolhouse for a few years. In her twenties she went to nursing school in Boston’s Faulkner Hospital—not a minor accomplishment for a farm girl from Nova Scotia in those days.
In fact, Mom told me she had wanted to be a surgeon, but that was out of reach for young women. In those days, women had very little power to choose a career at all, let alone a career in addition to marriage and Motherhood, especially a male-dominated career such as surgery.
Extract... Read More of this column and others by Elizabeth Hill >>>
Their first stop was Fernande’s luxurious Paris apartment.
“ We need to establish some ground rules if you and I, a woman and a man, will travel together.”
Jean-Baptiste readily agreed.
She then began drawing her bath and undressing in front of him.
“The first rule,” she said is that we have a buddy system in the bathtub. That is we ALWAYS,” pausing for effect while removing her bra, “ALWAYS, bathe together.”
Fernande removed her slip.
“Do you understand rule one – any questions?”
“No Madame,” he replied completely bewildered.
Now completely naked, Fernande poured bubble bath into the tub.
“I hope you like bubbles,” she laughed.
“Oui Madame, I do.”
“Then is it your custom to bathe with your shoes and shocks on or do you want me to undress you?”
The tub was huge. The sound of water running from the taps carried Jean- Baptiste to a waterfall where he and Chantal his childhood sweetheart swam naked together. For an enchanted moment life was as innocent as it must have been in the Garden of Eden.
“Now we will kiss,” Chantal ordered, “just like the grown-ups.”
They stood directly under the waterfall so that its full force landed on their heads. With closed mouths and holding their noses they pressed their lips together and stayed that way until they ran out of breath. It felt good and they did it again and again almost every day for two weeks until her little sister squealed on them.
They were punished and forbidden from ever playing together.
<extract> Read more of this and other columns by Steve Minkin >>>
First day skiing in 35 years.
I know how to do this, muscles contracting and releasing, shifting weight to caress and cut my way through the snow in sinuous curves, responding to the thrill of quickening speed, brought under control with shifting pelvis, leaning, turning, following the mountain’s contours-I am powerful, gracefully sweeping along, dancing with rapidity and finesse. I can let myself go, just let myself go. The others I am with are working hard to learn the skills, while I have this and do it without thinking. I command the mountain.
Second day of skiing, the following week.
Today the mountain commanded me. At 60 I realize I don’t have a whole lot of time left to enjoy this old friend of a sport. I set out with my brand new equipment to give it go and see how it performed. For starters, it took me half an hour to get the boots on in the muddy parking lot. I remember when boots were black leather and tied closed with elastic laces. But now they are enormous, unsexy heavy structures, going half way up your lower leg, all metal buckles and hard plastic, weighing 5 lbs a piece, with very narrow openings and a silly fake fur lining. I had to ask for help from a younger man, who gratefully was willing and able to help with various suggestions. He shared that some people put their feet in a plastic shopping bag so they will slide in more easily. All this technology and it’s this hard to put on a boots that cost $400? What a bargain. The plastic bag method wouldn’t work for me anyway, my feet would sweat and be cold in about five minutes. After much wrestling, grunting, cursing, and pulling diagonally outward on the collars of the boots just so, I was successful. It felt frustratingly difficult, and I easily could have pulled a muscle just trying to get my feet in those damn boots.
<extract> Read more of this and other columns by Nicola Metcalf >>>
a stone circle cropped up in the downlands of Southern England in the late Neolithic.
origin, intention shrouded in mystery, prehistory of 5,000 years ago… much has been unearthed… aim tantalizingly close
who brought the Giants’ Dance from Waun Mawn to the Salisbury Plain? who were these movers of gigantean mystical stones? tis a 900-year old folktale: some say Merlin, wizard of King Arthur’s legend, led an army to place them on a chalky plateau in the Wiltshire
perhaps the mammoth stones were originally set in circular motion on the Preseli Hills of Western Wales, dismantled, then moved 175 miles to England’s Salisbury Plain… to a sacred space, a privileged place, a place where Heaven and Earth converged supernaturally
astronomically, or calendrically aligned on the midsummer solstice sunrise/midwinter axis, … aligned by geological accident? symbolizing cosmic unity? or were they a product of sacred geometry plotted along the northern major moonrise line?
<extract> Read more of this and other articles by Charles Monette >>>
WHEN GRAPEFRUITS WERE SOUR AND TOMATOES TASTED
It was around 1952 at our home in West Barnstable and I was 6 years old. We'd all get a half of a grapefruit for breakfast in the wintertime, maybe not every morning but at least several times a week. This was for the Vitamin C. There weren't any Red Ruby or 'pink' grapefruit then, only the usual pale yellow kind.
And SOUR? Whoa, my mouth would just pucker up and I'd wince at the mention, and even the thought, of a grapefruit. But my mother would deftly carve along each side of all the sections with her paring knife; and then she'd continue around the entire outer edge, making it ready to eat. However, the only way to make that sour, sour half grapefruit palatable was to use a heavy hand to sprinkle it with teaspoons of sugar. Then it tasted great....and sugary!
And we wonder why, in my generation, we have such bad teeth. Well... sugar?! There was penny candy from Fiske's store, and Hoodsie Cups and Sundae Cups from the 'ice cream man'. They were from the HP Hood Dairy, founded in 1846 in Charlestown MA. The thin paper on the inside of the Hoodsie Cup lids would be carefully peeled off to reveal a photo of an actor or actress. They'd then be collected and traded, much like the baseball cards in the flat square packs of bubble gum.
Extract Read more of this and other articles by Anneli Karniala
You don’t join two independent clauses with a comma. It’s not strong enough; it needs a conjunction for help; it lacks the stopping power of a semicolon. However, when confronted with a pair of independent clauses, the writer must do something, for without a connector of any kind, you have a “run on” – perhaps equally offensive. These rules apply more to essay or academic writing. Read fiction and they’re violated time and again; but for formal writing, the rules of grammar apply, usually.
In my freshman year I had an English teacher named Dr. Goodfellow. In those days tenured faculty — not TA’s — taught the core courses. Dr. Goodfellow was aptly named, soft spoken but strict, three-piece tweed suit every day, in winter a yellow V-neck under his vest. He spoke the kind of English we were supposed to write. In his class we read Profiles in Courage and Huckleberry Finn, the last a rich source of assignments for Friday’s in-class themes. These were returned the following Monday, critiqued in detail and with a letter grade.
At the time I thought highly of myself as a writer, especially after my senior year in high school when I received an A in English and was encouraged to write by a teacher whose name escapes me. She started off my love of writing with a take home assignment: we were to write an essay called My Pet Peeve.
<extract> Read More of this and other articles by Vincent Panella >>>
The morass mind
<extract> The fear, the authority mandating distance, arresting anyone daring to mingle with others for any other purpose than buying things in corporate dispensing-of-goods-temples are arrested. The masks that are like a chainlink fence to a swarm of bees in effectiveness of a wall one president proposed to stop an influx of people we are to fear as criminals from a poor country hoping for some financial help without me denying that some indeed may be criminals wanting more than help but the fulfillment that pirates and all such robbers seek. Fear as power to make an atmosphere that the morass mind deems true the witchcraft notions that got women burned alive at the stake.
Despite the overwhelming power and conditioning and acceptance that makes up this respiratory damper of atmosphere that is destructive of brain with diminished oxygen for the greater amounts of carbon dioxide we must intake with these masks, a large portion of the population does not accept the conclusions that the media spews from the authority that it supports that had it behaving like a pack of hyenas taking down the president with a universal hate that exhibited itself in words that prove the conspiracy in the complicity in the exact repetition of words ( vibration of air on our airwaves) on channel after channel of those who are supposed to be reporting reality not a point of view mandated by some source wealthy enough to own them all. Trump’s wealth nothing compared to the hoard of lucre that has stolen our airwaves from We the People.
Trump’s People and Bernie’s People had one major connection that they breathe the same air of knowing that the system is wrong. Neither Trump nor Bernie knew enough. I admit I saw Bernie as the better man. My bias, full disclosure.
<extract> Read more of this and other columns by Jeri Rose >>>
UNDER a GREY SKY
Trees sway under a grey sky
Wind pushing leaves
Cooled by shade
Light and dark all day
I hear my voice softly even-ing out.
Smoothing out its tensions,
The path as tightly wound as the brittle ice
That surrounded me,
Inched me in,
Almost ended me.
But now snows have melted
And the fragile world has thawed
Turning shades of pale and deepening green
Covering every inch in vibrating textures
Read more Monkey’s Cloak
Covid 19, Civil Unrest and the Deeper Healing of the Planet
One of the things I find myself asking in this time of great upheaval is “What is its purpose?” Having gone thru personal upheaval when I lost my husband and business partner, I have felt that abyss under my feet before… the feeling of not knowing what will happen, what the future will hold etc. During that time the regular world was moving at its regular pace, but for me, everything had changed, everything had altered and my usual world had stopped. I ambled along in a disbelieving fog, unable to see the path, unable to understand what had happened—how could my normal life be gone in an in start?
This current world drama of a rampant novel virus and civil unrest that very few of us (excerpt for some scientists and civil leaders) had expected or anticipated has left us flat footed and afloat in this new world of unreality.
After being in seclusion for a few weeks alone after the first signs of Covid in March, I went out to get groceries and began to see what major changes we were undergoing. This has continued for almost a year and as far as I can tell there are many reactions to the disruption: to blame and feel anger, to stay in shock and fear (buying excess supplies or guns) or we can feel it in its rawness and have that change and heal us.
For me after a great loss I choose to feel it all, to open my heart to the pain, rather than push those feelings down. That was not always easy…it hurt, but I believe that was my path out of limbo and back into really appreciating life. William Irwin Thompson said in his book “The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light”; We are all on edge. Human beings feel safe and secure when they can stand comfortably in the center of things, either in the center of an age or in the center of a class of people with a common word view but when they come to an edge, they feel nervous and unsettled. There, at the edge, we see familiar things end and something else begin…”
Extract Read more Julia Ferrari
The proposed "Automated Lottery" would raise 10 times more money for our public schools!
Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a message on your phone or computer that told you $50, $100, $1,000, or even $35,000 had recently been deposited directly into an account you have in a local bank? When we asked the creator of the proposed “Automated Lottery” at his home in Johnson, Vermont how this system would work he gave us some of the details of this revolutionary development which he believes will eventually be used worldwide.
Seven states are now allowing the purchase of lottery tickets on-line. All states are expected to do the same thing in the near future, as well as many countries. We can now purchase lottery tickets from our home 28 days in advance. You can use a credit card, or you can also pay with your Bill Pay from any bank. This is what many people use to make their car payments, auto insurance, church donations and many other things. It is setup easily from home or by going to your bank. When programmed to pay a certain amount on specific days, payments are made for any period of time, from a week to over a year. It can be stopped at anytime with a phone call.
Research has shown that it is better to play the same number every day rather than jump around hoping for more success with a different number. Statistics prove that using the same number gives one a much better chance of winning. Therefore, a person should pick one number and stick with it for at least a year.
<extract> Read More Offie Wortham >>>
A Golden Age of the Written Word – Brattleboro 1995-2004
By Steve Minkin
What is it that makes our town feel so special? As an immigrant to Brattleboro there were certain markers such as the welcoming physical appearance of an old town with historic buildings framed by Wantastiquet. The gateway to Vermont always felt to me as if it had a singular richness distinct from communities just across the borders to the South and East.
When I lived in Greenfield, Brattleboro was a mecca for young alternative life-style families who came to dine on vegetarian food and have fun at the very child friendly Common Ground. There were the art galleries downtown, a welcoming place – where people said ‘hello how are you’ to one and all and yes, on Flat Street – the wonderful adventures of shopping and putting in member hours at the Coop – then a very small oasis.
My first visit to the town was back in 1965 when much of Putney Road was still farmland. I was on my way to India via the Experiment in International Living. In many ways Brattleboro seemed more exotic to someone with a New York mindset than was the destination I was flying to halfway around the world.
I moved to Brattleboro in the 1990s, from Greenfield after living in England and Bangladesh and two years teaching at the University of Iowa. I remember walking to the Brooks Memorial Library on my first weekend as a resident and ‘lo and behold’ a group of authors and poets that included Veranda Porch, Arlene Distler, Karen Hesse, and Martha Ramsey were sharing their work which frankly ‘blew me away.’ I had taken up writing poetry in Iowa after a long hiatus and I marveled at the sense of community among writers living in my new adoptive home.
Read More of this article >>>
Candles and Covid
I light 2 menorahs each night of Chanukah. One is the traditional House of Hillel (what we were taught in Hebrew School) way that increases the number of candles each night. The other is according to the House of Shammai that decreases the candles each night. I have been doing this for years.
Rabbi Hillel’s practice is "Ma'alin Ba'Kodesh ve'ayn Moridin,”: “One increases in matters of holiness and does not diminish.” From small to large you are creating unity by joining one light to another expanding together. Rabbi Shammai goes in the opposite direction. The potential is all there on the first night. We decrease to create a unity of the many who have become one.
The light of Chanukah expands and contracts. Each night we kindle the cadence of its spirit. Candles and oils bring menorahs to fullness of energy whichever direction they go. Their flames dance with our prayers. This is the grace that Chanukah gives us. The light glistens as it swells and reaches toward the infinite, and then contracts to its center. Menorahs working in tandem like this illustrate the spiritual meaning of this holiday for me. Just as consciousness needs to move, light needs to expand and contract in order to thrive and keep in balance. It can’t be day or night all of the time. We need them both. This dynamic is part of all life.
Friends have become accustomed to my taking up more room on the table as we have gone from home to home to celebrate together bringing our menorahs with us. Now they would feel something were amiss if I did not bring them both.
But this Chanukah will be different. <extract>
Read more of this and other columns by Nanci Bern
Rob Mitchell — Murfreesboro,Tennessee
Yes. I will admit it. I had Covid. I thought I was cautious. I locked down my office to outside visitors. I installed temperature stations and hand sanitizers. I WORE A MASK!
Yet, still I did a stupid thing. I attended a visitation for someone I had worked with in the insurance business. There were over 1000 people there. Still, I wore a mask, washed my hands and I was exposed when I dropped my mask and shook hands and gave my condolences.
That was a Wednesday. I was tested on Sunday but only because my wife insisted. I had no fever and just a stuffy nose. The doctor's office was as shocked as I was that I was positive. Monday, I didn't feel so well at all. My wife God bless her also tested positive but never had a fever and really never felt bad.
My fever for the next week hovered around 102 degrees. I was told to hyper dose on D3, Zinc, Vitamin C and drink lots of fluids. All I wanted to do was sleep. I was not hungry. I was just tired and my bones felt like they were being crushed. Not a great feeling at all.
I bought an O2 saturation monitor and over a week watched as my oxygen level dropped from 94% to 85%. Anything under 90% they want you to go into the hospital. I just toughed it out. I coughed a lot and stuff which could be described( but shouldn't') came out of my sinuses that made we concerned that brain matter may be leaking out.
Yes, I know there are those who say 98% of people testing positive recover. I'm glad to have made it into the 98%. I was not happy to catch it or expose my family to it. Thank God none of them were impacted to a great extent.
Only an idiot would not try to protect themselves and their loved ones. Only an idiot like me would let down their guard and potentially endanger the lives of those I love. I never thought Covid was a hoax or was not dangerous. But we have to remember to always play defense when you don't understand your opponent. You may still lose the game but hopefully you will play a full game and not end up a victim to a "fool's gambit"
<Extract> Read more of this and other letters to Vermont Views >>>
by Offie Wortham
It is time we stopped blaming the vast differences in test scores and graduation rates on the educational system alone. Check the differences out for your local schools and colleges nationwide on GOOGLE. Elementary and high schools where 100% read at the expected level, and others only 25%. Community colleges with a 25% graduation rate, and selective colleges with a 95% graduation rate.
If an elementary school teacher is blessed with students who can read and write before kindergarten isn’t their success rate going to be better than the teacher assigned a room full of students who come to school hating to read and only want to be rap stars or rich athletes?
Isn’t it time we agree that the problem begins in the home, and not anywhere else. Some people are better role models and educators for their children. This is a fact.
Poverty and low adult educational levels are not excuses for the performance of children in life and in school. Many of our greatest leaders and citizens have risen out of great poverty. Institutional racism and sexism cannot be used as the primary reasons for lower grades or poor demonstration on a job."
Read More of this column >>>
A shut-down column for the Plague Year 2020.
The third local supermarket didn’t have any either, but like the other two it had hundreds of types of bottled water — but not one Brita filter replacement.
It had filtered water, spring water, water from France and Italy, and of course that low carbon bottle from Fiji.
Previously all three markets had had Brita-type filters, a simple carbon-filter inserted into a jug, but now none. Amazon had it.
It’s no use looking to the government to legislate that stores of a certain size must carry filters, and it’s no use either complaining about billions of plastic bottles in the land-fill, or getting recycled or going straight into the ocean.
This is something we can take care of ourselves in our town by asking stores to carry the item, and if they don’t buying from Amazon and telling everyone about it.
<extract> Read more Dairy Home Companion
I was headed N on Canal around 10 AM a few days ago and ducked onto Birge St for an end run around a semi- mediated slow-down. Just beyond the computer shop I saw the pair of Black Vultures pictured in the Sept 28 photo enthusiastically rooting away at an unidentified roadside carcass.
Couple this sighting with the 2 Blacks commemorating this past July 4 with a patriotic raid on a yummy road-kill skunk by the driveway to Triple T 's sheds, dumpsters and garbage truck bays along Hghwy 142's all purpose disposal corridor at the base of bluffs leading to Morningside Cemetery and Rich's photo-documented sighting of 3 similarly engaged Blacks along Fuller back in DEC of ‘19. — then throw in Oct 2018 southbound flyover of a trio of Blacks — Walnut St St Michael school lot — throw in one mix-up with turks when triple T dumpster must have been a bonanza.
Extract Read More of this and other articles by Lloyd Graf
An Introduction to the
Graphic Journal Slide Show
For many, a journal is a private place. Perhaps you can recall that the leatherette-covered diaries we kept as children came with lock and key. It was as close to a mental “room of one’s own” that we could muster at ten or twelve years of age. It was where we recorded our pain and plans, our crushes and hopes, and our observations.. But a child I no longer am.
What drives my decades old practice of keeping word-and-image journals? I began in the late 1970’s during a four month stay in Pamplona, Spain. I needed an outlet for the challenges of living in another culture so I bought a sketch book and began to draw. Once this creative pathway opened, images started pouring out. That early work was all personal, done for me. I came home to find a new genre had surfaced—Artist Books—my muse had found her home. And so, starting with the comfort of the personal, I began the Pandemic Journal.
<extract> Go to Pandemic Journal by Linda Rubinstein to watch the slide show>>>
There is a wicked inclination in the current age to skip personal responsibility and blab on in the newspapers at extraordinary length about the failure of the Fathers — a Freudian dream-cast of projections about fathers and authorities. Not only does the government get it in the chest for promising things which no twelve year old would credit possible, but no fifty year old would credit as even desirable. Doesn’t matter if you are Left or Right to understand this.
This used to be a community where citizens who had the wherewithal that took responsibility for those who had not. It was not desirable that government should fix things in Vermont when citizens could do as well or better themselves, and volunteerism was a part and even expected part of the social scene. Second-home ownership has not helped in this with Vermont being the second highest state in the Union for second-home ownership, including 81%, Quechee with 69% and Proctorsville.
But for those who live here regularly the time to have volunteered a contribution and get an orientation to it was last year. With some sort of acknowledged and sometimes measured training toward being competent in a skill, plus a regular attendance at a critical forum which makes a difference, a couple of months training at a few hours per week would have qualified anyone to attend on emergencies rather than wax large about the paternal and inadequate government in the newspapers, however efficient the government is, since the government cannot govern what the citizens are unwilling to perform.
[Captioned is Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen in Brattleboro]
Otherwise what do you personally find yourself useful in contributing that is now accepted and included by a social body?
Read More VERMONT DIARY >>>
Vermont “Maternity Homes”
by Beth Kanell
It began with a postcard. My husband Dave (who passed last April) collected them: colorful Vermont scenes, yes, but more importantly the black-and-white ones from the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s that showed actual scenes, especially in the Northeast Kingdom. There are hundreds of St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville images in his collection—but, proportional to both town size and events that seemed worth marketing as photographs, there are very few from, say, Granby or Victory in Essex County.
Or from Concord.
Dave plunged me into a new research project when he found a card labeled “Quimby Maternity Home, Concord, Vt.” His knowledge of postcard publishers and some quick investigation prompted him to added the information “1949–1953.”
As we, and then I, probed further, we found more than 50 documented births that took place, not just in the Quimby (also called Graves, for nurse Ardella “Nana” Graves — illustrated) Maternity home, but also in the Austin Maternity Home in the same small town (this one, run by Leah Virginia Austin). And both were clearly “supervised” by the local doctor, Frederick Russell Dickson, M.D.
“Maternity homes” in the rest of America seem to have often been places for unwed mothers to give birth and send their babies out for adoption. Dave and I found a single request from an adoptee born in 1946 at a Concord maternity home for clues to his parentage. But that turned out to be the exception. Online access led us to birth certificates of many babies simply born in these more supportive, medically encouraged “homes.” Mothers could arrive a day early, stay a few days afterward, have a break from parenting and get a good start with the new arrival.
But such maternity homes were not well documented. In the case of the ones in Concord, Dr. Dickson worked under contract for the local paper mill, which provided him space for a “dispensary,” and cared for many more illnesses, injuries, and preventive cases than the babies being born—and no records from the two maternity homes have been located.
So Dave and I went to local Facebook “pages” and “groups,” where residents current and past share their memories. To our astonishment, we discovered another maternity home that took patients at the same time period, the early 1900s, and it was about 20 miles from Concord, in Lyndonville, Vermont.
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These journal entries center on a fragment written forty-odd years ago. I recently found the pages typed on carbon paper, yet through all those years I mulled over the story and its possibilities – a confined setting, clear situation, very few characters, maybe a one-act, maybe a short story, but still no desire to get back in. This summer I re-entered the typescript and came up with a story line that might work:
A young man named Larry heads for Hollywood with a copy of his first novel soon to be published. The premise of the novel is a young man’s affair with his father’s lover. Larry’s car breaks down in the Mojave just outside of Barstow. He ends up in a radiator shop and there he meets a Samaritan type called Fenwick, also a writer, and they talk about his novel, what he invented, what he remembered – what was ‘true to life - and that blurry line between art and lived experience.
The dated entries here are edited for clarity. The original fragment was page after page about his car breaking down on a long hill.....almost nothing about substance, character, motivation, etc. Forty years ago – like now – I’m still learning. It’s working title was Barstow, but gradually a theme emerged, and the title Hill of Dreams helped me shape it. The entries span two months of this year but I must have worked on the story twice as long as that. In most cases the journal entries prompt the writing of actual text, which is done on screen, on paper, and sometimes with an Olivetti.
7/21/19 - Took a look at what I did to Barstow - still on the opening, how I chopped it to s - - -. Now all the car details are almost gone – the old V-8 burning oil, the crankcase ventilation valve, oil gauge idiot light, the retread tires because the character has so little money.
7/22 - Woke up thinking Bartow was f----- - that the whole gambit is a cliche - Larry writes a novel based on life, sort of – the premise being that his main character has an affair with his father’s lover. Larry has rendered a real life experience into a novel – his novel is within this story. The story is that that Larry’s heading for Cali with a novel in which the central action is drawn from his life and a threat to his family’s privacy. And his car breaks down on the long hill outside of town.
– and where a movie producer is interested in the novel as Larry imagines famous actors playing his family members and what their reaction might be.
Then his car breaks down on the Hill of Dreams. Fenwick (name borrowed from a Boll story) takes him to a hotel while he waits for a new radiator. They have some yet to be written convo about his situation, what he's written about his father etc. In the end Larry drives off into the sunset, back up the hill of dreams. End of story.
Scene: "I call it the Hill of Dreams," Fenwick said, They were sitting in the hotel lobby at a small bar and tables with a view of a garden and a raft of Eucalyptus trees.
Fenwick points out the similarity between Larry and the Okies generations back - heading for a new life out west, beaten by the hill, or not beaten....Fenwick there to pick up the pieces.
Larry felt a little buzz from the whiskey, a comfortable feeling, the big room with its open windows along the wall was cool and comfortable without any air conditioning as was his room where he'd slept well and long, realizing that the past four nights he'd been sleeping in the back seat of the Pontiac.
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Wildlife, the directorial debut of the actor Paul Dano, came and went quietly early this year, but it’s now available on streaming platforms, and it’s worth pursuing if you have a chance. In a year of outstanding female performers—Glenn Close, Olivia Colman, Viola Davis, Rachel Weisz, among others—the riveting work by Carey Mulligan in this film was largely overlooked. Based on a Richard Ford novel, the movie is set in a small town in Montana in 1960. The town, like many small Western towns, has a bleak, windswept, middle-of-nowhere ambience, but there’s a soaring mountain backdrop that is impressive in itself and lends the film a pathos of distance, a sense that life, or happiness, may be just over the horizon.
Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal play Jeanette and Jerry Brinson, a working-class couple in their mid-30s with a 14-year-old son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould). The family is barely making it financially but seems united and happy. But then Jerry gets fired from his job at a country club, having joined several members, at their invitation, for an off-hours game of golf and a drink afterward, thus violating club protocols. Jeanette, always smiling, always encouraging, is at first optimistic. She’s sure Jerry will quickly find another job. And, if necessary, she could work part-time, and they might move to a cheaper house, one even smaller and more nondescript than the one they’re renting.
<extract> Read More SCREENplay
Environment there and here
Special Environmental report by Phil Innes — Column George Harvey
¶ Katrin Jakobsdottir, the 41-year-old chairwoman of the Left-Green Movement, has been elected Prime Minister of Iceland. One of the most well-liked politicians in Iceland, Katrín, a former education minister and avowed environmentalist, has pledged to set Iceland on the path to carbon neutrality by 2040. As Iceland’s fourth prime minister in only two years, Katrín will take office at a time when national politics have been tainted by public distrust and scandal. A democratic socialist, Katrín is viewed as a bridge-building leader that may lead the country towards positive, incremental change. “She is the party leader who can best unite voters from the left and right,” said Eva H. Onnudottir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland, according to the New York Times. “Because this coalition includes parties from the left to the right, their work will be more about managing the system instead of making ‘revolutionary’ changes.”
In an era when climate change is making it necessary for countries around the world to implement sustainable energy solutions, Iceland presents a unique situation. ... The story of Iceland's transition from fossil fuels may serve as an inspiration to other countries seeking to increase their share of renewable energy.
About 85% of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy. ... Renewable energy provided almost 100% of electricity production, with about 73% coming from hydropower and 27% from geothermal power.
In the USA:
¶ President Trump's first EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, resigned effective July 6, 2018, amid a series of scandals. Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, started serving as acting administrator on July 9, 2018. Wheeler was confirmed as EPA Administrator on February 28, 2019.
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA's purpose is to ensure that: ... the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
The EPA has 14,172 employees, and has a budget of $8,200,000,000.
<extract> Read More World & US Energy News
Evolution of democracy from economy to ecology
...Not too long ago these [energy] subjects were spoken of as ‘alternatives’, but in the chaotic energy scene of today they are currently only an alternative to chaos itself. One may scoff at specific proposed solutions, but the main problems can no longer be denied.
Elsewhere, Brattleboro as an influential hub to an extensive bio-region, a region without a name, is taking steps to implement a topic suggested by Wendell Berry in an essay he had published at Orion Press, Winter 2001. He titled the central essay The Idea of a Local Economy. This too, said Berry, is not an ‘alternative’ to anything but disempowerment. ‘Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice.’
Indeed, I remember William Irwin Thompson, founder of the Lindisfarne Foundation, New York City, saying much the same in 1982 — that the evolution of democracy will occur when we begin to shift from economy to ecology, thereby an intelligence of bio-regions provides the basis for action within the region, and Berry’s Local Economy is also the base of an enhanced local polity.
Certainly just being ‘aware’ of the difficulties in the world is altogether too passive and we might also consider a term coined by Buckminster Fuller in terms of the right way to harness our technology and economy; Imagineering.
<extract> From The Archive
Not everyday a Vermont Views columnist has a book published. Here is Daybook 1 by Toni Ortner with reviews by Arlene Distler, Tim Mayo and Phil Innes
This would be Steinbeck if he hadn’t fooled around in other people’s kitchens. This is a full-score Cohen with two more notes, not reaching anywhere, but ever taking in. The words come humming out of the dark to shatter crystalline on the floor as sharp edged duo-tone fridge magnets familiar and mysterious as if designed by Paul Klee — not made in China or the Old Country, made in the Wild East of New York is more like it. There are hiding demons in the text waiting to pierce you, and there are non-resident angels flirting with sin.
—Phil Innes, Vermont Views Magazine
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A photographic essay on Devon and Cornwall
Anne Lenten, Ed.
A series of photographs about ‘another place’ collected by the remarkable photographer Anne Lenten — Notes by Phil Innes
#6 Mining conditions haven’t changed much in 100 years
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LETTERS FROM CUBA #15
Some sentences from Cuba
It is dawn in La Habana and I am listening to Bob Marley’s “Rebel Music” as my wife Shanta sleeps in the next room and I mark the end of our third week here. One week to go. Travel is exhausting. There is no moment in which one does not wish to be awake.
I am thinking of the opening trope in Denis Johnson’s “Fiskadoro,” where he invokes Marley as one of the three great gods still left in the Florida Keys after a nuclear holocaust, a book that ends with a war-ship returning to those shores after a 90-year quarantine, from Cuba, a grey ship that is taller than the sky.
LETTERS FROM CUBA #12
What lies beneath: Our stories our ghosts
Shanta Lee Gander
Who came first? Europa or Europe? With some research, I could get an answer, but the story of a girl who keeps dreaming about two continents fighting over her and who meets her fate and immortality with a God turned beautiful bull is an old one
Its not over ‘til
hey, at least its not going to get below freezing
— that is down here in the valley in Brattleboro, though not on the hills and not up North. Looks like Brattleboro is snow-free through Wednesday!
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Maclean and Shanta Lee Gander : 15 Letters from Cuba