Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Photos

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.

 

COLONIAL LINES

Facing the street ...

Facing the street …

Novelist Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) was born in this 1774 house owned by her grandparents, which she would inherit from them. The site, sitting in the heart of South Berwick, Maine, just a few miles from us, is now owned by Historic New England and open to the public.

Like many New England houses, additions have kept growing to the original structure.

Like many New England houses, additions have kept growing to the original structure.

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.

 

FORTRESS OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE

While much of the surrounding financial district of downtown Boston is rising ever higher in the sky, some of the older buildings hold their own, adapting to change.

While much of the surrounding financial district of downtown Boston is rising ever higher in the sky, some of the older buildings hold their own, adapting to change.

Downtown skyscrapers embody the financial and corporate enterprise of a great city.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

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.

ON THE GREAT WORKS RIVER

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Standing proud today …

 

Seen from the far side ..

Seen from the far side …

 

Even a small stream could be put to work.

Even a small stream could be put to work.

Not all of New England’s water-powered mills sat along major rivers. This woolen mill in North Berwick, Maine, was founded by Quaker William Hill, beginning in 1862, and made blankets for Union soldiers. The Great Works River itself had been named by earlier Quakers.

The mill has been renovated into residences and offices.

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

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.

 

COMMITMENT TO LIBERTY

I didn't ask the name of the reenactor, lower right. He was proud of his unit, and now stands representing all of them.

I didn’t ask the name of the reenactor, lower right. He was proud of his unit, and now stands representing all of them.

Public sculpture typically celebrates famed men or mythological figures, but the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw Memorial and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which sits across from the State House, is in a league of its own.

Within its unified design, the focus turns to each of the enlisted black soldiers as they resolutely march to battle to free slaves. Every face is unique, sympathetic, tragic, and each body moves with muscle, even anger and justice. If August Saint-Gaudens had created no other work, this masterpiece would have sealed his reputation.

Each face is unique and distinctive.

Each face is unique and distinctive.

 

The ugency and motion compressed into the relatively narrow sculpture is amazing. By the way, as the reenactor pointed out, the artist knew he was placing the canteens on the wrong side of the soldiers. It was a matter of artistic license.

The urgency and motion compressed into the relatively narrow sculpture is amazing. By the way, as the reenactor pointed out, the artist knew he was placing the canteens on the wrong side of the soldiers. It was a matter of artistic license.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

 

 

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.