Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Dover

WADE IN THE WATERS

Why wait for the dust to settle? Here are 10 bullets from my end.

~*~

  1. Tide-pooling requires climbing around on slippery boulders in the intertidal zone that exists between daily high and low water marks along the coastline and its tributaries. It means parting the various kinds of seaweed or lifting rocks to observe what’s underneath and then placing them all back very gently. My favorite time to go is at extreme low tide, when we can venture into reaches that would otherwise be too deep. How I love to overturn my first submerged rock and find both starfish (officially, a sea star) or urchin – and then a second, with two starfish. The first time I find three in one day, my wife proclaims me to be a member of the Order of Starfish. In another week or so, the water may be warm enough for brisk swimming, too.
  2. We seem to be on schedule with the garden, despite a late start. But there’s always something that will be left behind as we go.
  3. Professional (as in JOB) – a prop, identity, or purpose? Now that I’m retired, I’m still working.
  4. He admits, “I’m a skin man” for attraction, more than tits, ass, or legs. Well, if you have to get picky?
  5. Keep asking myself what my life would be lacking if I hadn’t moved to the hippie farm or gone to the ashram at all? My novels Hippie Drum, Hippie Love, Ashram, and likely Subway Hitchhikers would have never come forth, for starters. As I look back, the experiences look inevitable – and essential.
  6. As much as Dr. Bronner’s bottle-label diatribes arose from a splash of water, I suppose.
  7. You don’t know about hillbillies in a Yankee state? Oh, my. Then and now.
  8. Our neighbors’ block party is always a big occasion. Living one street over, we’re always included.
  9. What’s it mean to be a LANDLOCKED SAILOR?
  10. How much of my “real life” has been COUNTER-CURRENT – that is, occurring apart from the time and labor that paid the bills?

~*~

Spire in the city.

Spire in the city.

The historic Park Street Church sits at the edge of Boston Common and just a few blocks from the Massachusetts State House. In addition to the long list of influential speakers who appeared in its pulpit, the wonderful composer George Whitefield Chadwick was organist here. He beat Dvorak to the punch at a New World symphony.

 

YES, IN THE BASKET WHILE PICKING

The mind dances here and there, rarely in a linear fashion. So what’s on my mind these days? How about counting on these fingers?

~*~

  1. And now, fresh strawberries. The bed we renovated last year is making amends. So how do you like yours the best?
  2. So delightful to have cut flowers indoors, too. A sprig of laurel (from the burial ground) is stunning against the deep purple velvet of a Siberian iris.
  3. French 75s. That’s the cocktail they like at Chris and Linda’s.
  4. I still aspire to writing a novel with only three or four characters. Two, however, feels just too tight. It would be something tightly focused and linear. But the current has often pulled me in the opposite direction. Big Inca, for instance, is essentially four – but look at all the others who keep wandering in and out!
  5. How little of the traditional canon I’ve pursued. There are vast gaps in my reading repertoire. That doesn’t mean I haven’t read – far from it.
  6. A perfect June morning: cool, touch of breeze, sunny and clear. After a full night’s sleep.
  7. Her eye is so close I see my own reflection.
  8. Maybe writing and revising have been my first love over all these years.
  9. Headed to the liquor store to make sure I’d have enough gin for a martini but arrived five minutes after it closed: take that as a sign.
  10. Being remembered as “an intense young man.”

~*~

The sign over a sidewalk on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, immediately had my attention. Alas, we were strolling a few hours before noon. The day was evolving in other directions.

The sign over a sidewalk on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, immediately had my attention. Alas, we were strolling a few hours before noon. The day was evolving in other directions.

 

THAT BIG BEE FUNNY MOTION

long enough we could see the flashes of ruby throat
a flash of flight in front of me
only one thing that could be, such fast motion

later, sitting in the crossbars of the feeder
before dropping to the sugar water

continue to see flits around the house
that big bee funny motion

a hummingbird at our feeder, size of a dragonfly

hummingbirds arrive late April or May
leave in August or early September
fly 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico
bulk up in Georgia and Florida adding
an ounce of fat to their four-ounce bodies …

to wit, some most amazing creatures

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

 

I COULD BE LIGHTING THE GRILL

Being mindful of what’s right in front of us can always be a challenge. Here are 10 new items from my end.

~*~

  1. In my life, a renewed period of purging and cleansing. One personal goal: to wear out shirts and shoes I don’t particularly like before donning the others – exhaust them and then discard them with a sigh of relief – rather than leaving them untouched. That way the pile keeps getting smaller.
  2. How many talented people I’ve known. And how much blown opportunity.
  3. How rarely I seem to read for pleasure. Rather there’s often a sense of duty – obligation – as in I ought to read this or that. Especially when it’s a gift.
  4. Sometimes in revising a piece I touch on something (often I have no idea what) that sets off a deep grieving. It’s a psychological release, however painful.
  5. Both the Hebrew Bible and Greek Logos point to a heightened sense of the individual and individuality in contrast to wider society and social norms. We’re each responsible – accountable – for our own actions.
  6. We’re hoping to get to Lowell, Massachusetts, this month to take a boat tour on the canals that pass next to its historic mills. Sometimes, from the photos we’ve seen, the route’s like a narrow brick canyon.
  7. I turn to the singer next to me and tell him how much I envy his fine tenor, especially in pieces where the melody’s in the tenor line. (He’s able to belt it out, too.) The woman in front turns to us and says, “I’m sitting in front of you two again tomorrow.”
  8. Everything we’ve transplanted to the garden is looking happy.
  9. PERFECT WISDOM, a John Woolman term, as in Sophia. Or Christ.
  10. We can’t just sit on these things. Yada-yada-yada.

~*~

The Rhode Island Capitol, as seen from our hotel room. The tiny statue on top of the dome is not Roger Williams, as I'd assumed, but the Independent Man, originally named Hope.

The Rhode Island Capitol, as seen from our hotel room. The tiny statue on top of the dome is not Roger Williams, as I’d assumed, but the Independent Man, originally named Hope.

ESTABLISHING A RHYTHM

greens

plant and weed     beside the kitchen     and
the forerunner of a fern bed     behind lilacs

on the swampy side     ignore omens     asking

the real question

if you’ll ever cry      Where are we going?
“it’s a big mistake”     Going     where?

my earth sinks / would always sink     if

it weren’t for stones     floating to the surface

each winter

land bridge jeopardy

cruel ground

stone soup     rather than potato     I intended
to tame     with compost, yes      and worming

so it was     holes in dirt     with next year’s
garden already planned out     she’s ready
to hear    I’ve never been fond of mowing
a lawn     but take to composting anyway

digging in

royally singing     in praise of red wigglers

like a man

so truly      the Cadillac

on my daily
commute

extending the scale      new construction
along all his options     have me wondering
how the routes would be     by the time
I retire

what will be planted     where forest was

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.

WITH SOME DOWNSIDES AS WELL

At least they’re not commandments. Holy Moses!

~*~

  1. Observing a hummingbird in the azalea just outside our bay window – these amazing creatures really do have a ruby band at their throat.
  2. All the vacation-bound traffic: boats, campers, trailers, RVs. Along with the state troopers, enforcing speed caps. There are somedown sides to living here.
  3. A pile of bricks came along with the house when we moved in. Surprising how useful they’ve been.
  4. How long ago, the realization and description: “She sounds like a parody of teenage upheaval.” It’s a rough rite of passage.
  5. A stage of revision as an Acid Bath – fine lace of reduction opening passages for air. (Revisions grounded in the present more than any past.)
  6. Look to that relationships stuff. Maybe the Proust questionnaires, too.
  7. The next step in nuclear fusion, so I’m told, is to use the technology in conjunction with our existing nuclear waste, depleting those nasty stockpiles – a process that should generate 10-times as much power in combination.
  8. Constitution, Consensus, and Consciousness. How far away they seem in today’s general scene.
  9. From inscription over pre-war German synagogues: KNOW BEFORE WHOM YOU STAND BEFORE YOU PRAY. To wit we might add: BEFORE YOU WRITE or BEFORE YOU WORK.
  10. Public life and business: “We’re sinking into the Abyss.”

~*~

A popular landmark in downtown Boston is the Customs House tower, with its useful clock. Not all of the views are this crowded.

A popular landmark in downtown Boston is the Customs House tower, with its useful clock. Not all of the views are this crowded.

 

ROLLING IN CLOVER, AS IT WERE

Just a taste of what’s popping up. In case you were looking for a prompt.

~*~

  1. Time to start checking on the ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, courtesy of the NOAA buoys reported on the website. I no longer bother to venture into real surf until the readings hit 60 Fahrenheit. Below that it’s blue-toe water.
  2. There’s an irony in performing sun-salutation postures but none, say, for the new moon or full moon. Om, my. Inhale and exhale, with incense.
  3. On our apron by the back door, a small snake, whip motion, ever so slowly.
  4. Here I’d been intending to write leaner, tighter, shorter, clearer – a lacework of Light. Wind up with dense blocks of prose-poems instead.
  5. It’s hard to imagine my native Buckeye State was created, in essence, by eleven Connecticut veterans of the American Revolution who met at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston on March 1, 1786, to form the Ohio Company. The tavern was a gathering place for wealthy merchants sympathetic to the patriot cause. At least it wasn’t Manhattan. Who knows what we would have wound up with.
  6. Sometimes you feel a new beginning – not just renewal but turning a corner.
  7. My own pathway unfolds as its own guide.
  8. Sometimes I read this place as CLOVER NH. Better, of course, than the unintentionally comic EFFINGHAM.
  9. I’ve resolved to spend more time in the mountains to our north this summer. In recent years, even getting to the beaches nearby has been elusive.
  10. So that’s it! Blah-blah-blah.

~*~

Preserving a touch of history in downtown Boston, while the rest of the building's been razed. Something similar just happened to the oldest residence in Maine.

Preserving a touch of history in downtown Boston, while the rest of the building’s been razed. Something similar just happened to the oldest residence in Maine.

 

 

OVERLOOKING THE REMAINING MILLS

In the heart of downtown ...

In the heart of downtown …

The Cocheco Millworks stretch through downtown Dover.

The Cocheco Millworks stretch through downtown Dover.

The Washington Mill complex picks up on the other side of the Cocheco River.

The Washington Mill complex picks up on the other side of the Cocheco River.

Hard as it is to imagine, Dover once had twice as many mills along the river, plus tanneries and other supporting enterprises.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

GEMINI, BY JIMMINY

Why wait for the dust to settle? Here are 10 bullets from my end.

~*~

  1. This matter of scale – and balance – in a life that has an appearance of randomness. All these items collected throughout the house and barn. Somehow, order reasserts itself, if you look.
  2. Remembering the volcano 37 years ago. Just look at the skulls I collected in that country.
  3. Four years later, the move to Baltimore for the one I thought embodied that moment full of promise to take my life upward into a fairy-tale existence of class and repose, a much different direction from where I’ve landed. Alas, she’d already bolted. And mine has become much more organic.
  4. Common Meter, 8.6.8.6, as in “Amazing Grace,” is simply the syllable count. A great way to swap words and music.
  5. Am not having profound or imaginative dreams. But at least the flow’s beginning again, like looking at a secret movie or computer screen.
  6. When taking portraits outdoors, how often the eyeglasses turn into sunglasses in the bright light – and how often people in party mode turn wooden.
  7. Looking at a book of glass houses reminds me how deeply that Bauhaus aesthetic is embedded in my sensibility. Not that I’d aspire to live in one now. Who washes all those windows, anyway? And what about fingerprints or noses? These days I’ve chosen a different style, one based in Yankee houses that just keep growing, as needed. As for curtains, she and I will argue.
  8. To ease back into Hatha – Ha-ha!
  9. “The things that are not seen are eternal” – II Corinthians 4:18.
  10. Still feeling so tentative rather than forceful.

~*~

Why's he honored on the street?

Why’s he honored on the street?

I chanced upon this scultpture at 15 Beach Place while wandering from Chinatown to Faneuil Hall. It’s about a block from the old Boston Music Hall, where Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto got its world premiere. Maybe this site is where he stayed while visiting? Anyone got a clue?

The sculpture resides just left of the doorway.

The sculpture resides just left of the doorway.

MAYBE IT ALL ADDS UP

The mind dances here and there, rarely in a linear fashion. So what’s on my mind these days? How about counting on these fingers?

~*~

  1. The return of warm weather allows more leisurely use of the top of the barn again, before high summer makes the space too oppressive. Eight years ago we made major renovations that made the loft more fully accessible and usable, gaining 500 square feet of storage and retreat space – my three-season retreat, as it were. The elbow room has been quite liberating. I love to sit at the hall door, reading and sipping a drink while overlooking my domain. How good, tranquil, it feels. How much I love listening to rain fall on its roof, too.
  2. The rush of spring now brings on fresh lettuce and spinach in our garden. Turning the compost, I’m delighted to see so many red wigglers already active – my little buddies in restoring the earth where we live.
  3. I’ve thought about The Daily Vulture as a title. Seeing them now reminds me of my bird watching on my daily commute, back when I was driving daily. Gee, would the name befit a newspaper?
  4. Thinking, too, of all the near misses on those drives. A few seconds this way or that and I would have been road kill. A feast for the vultures. Far more times than I’d care to recount.
  5. Nice poets are a dime a dozen and largely ignored. Makes me wonder about assuming a hidden identity as a Quaker Agitator, waiting to be claimed. As for amateur theologians? Time to emulate Swami?
  6. There are far more writers than I could ever read. Even in any of my fields of interest. And far more advice.
  7. After living here, in a richly pedestrian-friendly small city in New England, or on historic Bolton Hill in Baltimore, or even the inner city of Binghamton, how sterile I find so many other neighborhoods where I’ve lived or wandered.
  8. How essential and uplifting that sense that says I’M HERE!
  9. As he said of himself, “I go to extremes.” Still, there wasn’t a sweeter human. And he still had his beard in the end. As for our demons and passions?
  10. Hebrew “to know” is yada. Another rich word.

~*~

Guess which one caught my attention.

Guess which one caught my attention.

 

There, on the ground floor of Boston's historic Faneuil Hall, a vendor to warm my heart.

There, on the ground floor of Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, a vendor to warm my heart.