Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Photos

TWAS EVER THUS

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

~*~

  1. The anticipation mounts when we espy our first asparagus shoots. At this point they express their kindred alignment with ferns, but we know how incredible the spears will be cut minutes before cooking. Forget what you buy in the stores or restaurants.
  2. “Twas ever thus,” as my Mr. Natural tee-shirt still proclaims.
  3. With a sticker covering part of the box, what I read was “Rock Pot, the Original Slow Cooker.” You know, like back in the Stone Age.
  4. It wasn’t in the plan when we decided to dine in Manchester, but I wound up leading a tour through the city’s West Side, plus the millyard and overlook of the Amoskeag falls and dam. “That was as satisfying as having a destination,” she proclaimed.
  5. Pondering the Holy Spirit as Shekinah. Why not a female as holy lover? The Kabbalist perceiving sparks (holy Light) everywhere! Consort of God as feminine action. As for Lillith? Ah, yes, what of her?
  6. Trying to translate from one era or culture to another presents a host of challenges. The term “kingdom of God,” for instance, can convey both patriarchy and monarchy at odds with contemporary American outlooks. I like the “commonwealth of God” instead, though there’s nothing common about it.
  7. How I’ve come to enjoy any stay-in-my-sweats day, one where I drive nowhere. Soon it may turn into slip into shorts and sandals, but the effect’s the same.
  8. How does that big city newspaper get the partygoers to look so good in its weekly charity events page?
  9. I hate “small talk” – or at least struggle with it in many social settings. Any suggestions?
  10. What do I crave? Lust for? (As for you?)

~*~

Virtually all of the rail traffic to and from Maine and the rest of the nation passes along these tracks in downtown Dover, along with the four Amrak runs to Boston and back each day.

Virtually all of the rail traffic to and from Maine and the rest of the nation passes along these tracks in downtown Dover, along with the four Amrak runs to Boston and back each day.

For my slideshow of Amtrak’s Downeaster in town, click here.

POWERING MANUFACTURING

At the Slater Mill ...

At the Slater Mill …

The modest Blackstone River flows through Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where it powered the birth of America’s industrial revolution.

The stream reaches to Worcester, Massachusetts, the second-largest city in New England, and once ran many factories along its way.

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

Just upstream ...

Just upstream …

 

Viewed from inside the Slater Mill ...

Viewed from inside the Slater Mill …

 

TAURUS, TENDERLY

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

~*~

  1. Daffodils and rising scrolls of ferns are two of my favorite proclamations of spring. Last year a sharp drop in temperature cut the daffodils down just as they were starting to bloom. We were so disappointed. (The same snap also wiped out peaches across New England.) How quickly, too, can a vibrant patch go scraggly if you don’t divide the bulbs every few years. As for our ferns, I now feel vindicated for all the ones I transplanted in futile efforts that first decade before they took hold here.
  2. Likewise, hold true to a vision of progress, of a more just and loving society, a realm of selflessness over selfishness.
  3. Hard for me to believe I composed Village of Gargoyles while living in an apartment complex atop the highest hill in the biggest city in the state – before moving to the smaller city where I now reside – a place more befitting the village of these poems.
  4. Need to get new Tibetan prayer flags. The old ones are totally frayed.
  5. Has anyone else read Ned Rorem’s Paris Diary or its New York sequel? Saturated in the self-centeredness and self-indulgence of youth, they’re deliciously juicy and fun reading, though I could never be snide like that. Besides, if I did it here at the Barn, you wouldn’t know anyone in my circles. They’re not even celebrities, even of the minor sort. So much for the gossip on my end.
  6. While assembling the hammock, I heard a squirrel overhead scolding one of the neighborhood cats, likely the one we call Spooky. “Get it,” I urged the cat. Whereupon an empty Nutella jar landed on the table, barely missing me, its lid neatly chewed around. Something the squirrel had pilfered from what one of the kids had likely hidden in the barn sometime over the winter. I looked around but saw nobody to confirm was had just transpired. Trust me.
  7. My emotional wall just may be a shell, too.
  8. In my first moves, all my goods fit in my car.
  9. During the American Revolution, the village center that served as Rhode Island’s capital changed its name from King’s Town to Little Rest, with its delicious double meaning.
  10. Yearning for a renewed feeling of bliss – the holy ecstasy – something I wish she, too, would experience, however foreign it might seem now.

~*~

By my side at the moment. My coffee mug's on a shelf above it.

By my side at the moment. My coffee mug’s on a shelf above it.

SPIRE OF INSPIRATION

Old North Church, in Boston's North End.

Old North Church, in Boston’s North End.

Lanterns in the spire of North Church signaled directions to Paul Revere and other riders at the outbreak of the American Revolution. The race to Lexington and Concord was on.

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.

 

STANDING BESIDE THE PROUD MERRIMACK

The clock tower of the Ayer Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, overlooks the Merrimack River on the other side of the wing to the left. It's an impressive sight.

The clock tower of the Ayer Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, overlooks the Merrimack River on the other side of the wing to the left. It’s an impressive sight.

While water-powered mills sprang up all across New England, thanks to its abundance of falling waters, the riverbanks of some locations became jammed with factories that employed thousands. The Merrimack River, for instance, had major industrial clusters at Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire, and Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts, all relying on the use and reuse of the same water carefully shepherded downstream.

Many of those landmark buildings have been lost over time – fire, neglect, and urban renewal have taken their toll – but those that remain can be truly impressive, especially now that they’re being repurposed and renovated into charming, flexible centers of entrepreneurial innovation and center-city living.

Lawrence, with what was once the biggest dam in the world, is a prime example.

Hard as it is to imagine, this group of mills was once dwarfed by those on the other side of the Merrimack River as it rolled through Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Hard as it is to imagine, this group of mills was once dwarfed by those on the other side of the Merrimack River as it rolled through Lawrence, Massachusetts.

NO BLACK FLIES OR SKEETERS – YET

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. I’m still impressed by all the latent energy stored above the waterfalls in the streams around us.
  2. The water’s flashing. Rivers and ponds spark – shoot away – fire away – in rippling sheen.
  3. Another of my spring tasks involves bringing the garden hoses down from the loft, connecting them to the faucets, and going to the cellar to reopen the valves.
  4. It’s time to pencil in a trip to the Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts. The site, headquarters to the New England Wildflower Society, is especially popular through May into mid-June, for good reason. The organization goes to great lengths to enhance nature, though you have to look close to detect their careful irrigation units and similar touches.
  5. Even when the material for a blog is mostly already done, this act of posting takes up more time than anticipated. Where do the hours go?
  6. A fine time to hike in Maine woods: no black flies and no skeeters. The only sounds in some places: wind in the trees or water sounding like highway traffic.
  7. It’s one of those years when the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western dates for Easter coincide.
  8. Time to be on the lookout for tender young dandelions for our diet. They’re surprisingly good with eggs over easy, a drizzle of bacon fat, or homemade vinaigrette. Gotta pick ’em, though, before they bloom and turn bitter.
  9. A favorite minitrip: Head up to Portland, Maine (just an hour northeast). Hit the Standard Bakery near the docks and then the 10 o’clock mail-run ferry around Casco Bay. Six stops on five islands. Reminds me at times of Puget Sound, so many years back.
  10. And, as they say, introduce yourself. These days, could use something catchy, humorous. Something, for that matter, like a good pickup line, not that I ever had any. Feel free to share your examples.

~*~

Here's a view, one backyard to another, only a few blocks from our house. Looks a lot wilder than it is.

Here’s a view, one backyard to another, only a few blocks from our house. Looks a lot wilder than it is.

 

HIGH VICTORIAN

Strolling through the neighborhood.

Strolling through the neighborhood.

Boston’s Back Bay boulevards reflect the rising wealth of the city in the aftermath of the Civil War.

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.

Boulevards lined with housing like this.

Boulevards lined with housing like this.

 

ALL IN THE WILD

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

~*~

  1. On the highway north, somewhere just before Tamworth, comes that first big view of Mount Washington. This time of year the crest is an eagle span of ghostly white spreading atop powder-blue ranges below. Sometimes another band of clouds resembling mountains stretches above, and all three sit below a blue band of real sky. Knowing what’s coming up simply heightens the anticipation.
  2. Back home, my rounds of outdoor spring tasks soon lead to the Smoking Garden. The bags of leaves stacked beside the barn as windbreakers will need to be moved to the big compost bin, which needs to be emptied first (though it’s usually frozen tight this time of year). Then there’s the hammock to reassemble, after being stored in the loft. Strings of twinkle lights will go up overhead, too. I’ll often take lunch here, though my wife finds the air too chilly. Not too chilly, though, to prevent us from grilling on charcoal.
  3. Yes, warm enough to grill a beer-can chicken (insert open can into bird, which you cook upright). Excellent, despite the stiff wind.
  4. Seapoint in Maine (town-resident sticker required for parking, May 15 to September 30, where the road ends at the ocean): trek out to the spit between beaches, hunker down in clefts between rock and sunshine for needed respite against wind. The restless blue ocean opens before me. A tease, awaiting summer.
  5. Woodpecker still has a splitting headache.
  6. Income tax time runs up against my professional life as a journalist. How much I hate waiting till deadline to finish something. Get it off, quickly, if you can.
  7. Need to find ways to keep my lair from becoming a chamber of static energy. Ditto, the loft of the barn.
  8. The leadership we’re seeing is a bunch of cowardly brutes.
  9. Once again, the moral issue of civil disobedience comes to the fore. For the record, regarding the Transcendentalist Henry David, it’s THOR-oh, not Thor-OH. And Nixon lawyer Charles Colson came to advocate some powerful moral guidelines for civil disobedience, after he’d repented – that is, “turned” – while imprisoned.
  10. What turns you WILD? (As in dreams and passions, secrets and fetishes. Am I really so orderly or repressed at this point? I’m clueless, apart from anger.)

 ~*~

It's our end of Dover.

It’s our end of Dover.

 

IN A WHIMSICAL VEIN

Atop Fanueil Hall.

Atop Fanueil Hall.

The cricket design of the weather vane atop Faneuil Hall always delights me. Or, as I long wondered from the ground, could it be a grasshopper?

Whichever, the craftsman and the client both demonstrate a lasting sense of delight in the realms of nature. Turns out to be a cricket after all, crafted in 1742 by Deacon Shem Drowne, perhaps inspired by similar weather vanes on London’s Royal Exchange building. The cricket, by the way, is the only part of the historic building to remain unchanged from the 1742 original. A 1761 fire gutted merchant Peter Faneuil’s original structure, and in 1805 architect Charles Bulfinch designed additions that doubled the width and length of the building while keeping the basic style to produce what we see today.

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.

WEEDS ARE ALREADY RISING

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

~*~

  1. The amount of sunlight these days is equivalent to September. That equinox thing. But with snow and no foliage or even plain gray, the sensation’s quite different from autumn green turning golden and hazy.
  2. Spring rainfall turns our side yard into a glade. Are ‘gators next?
  3. So who do they resemble, these women in my life? Which movie stars? Which protagonists in fiction? Even before we get to the guys.
  4. On a walk about town, I stop at a bakery and pick up a selection pastries as a surprise for later in the morning. As my wife and elder daughter view me strolling up our street, they notice the box wrapped in ribbon and the way I speak with other pedestrians, and quip, “What a perfect picture of a guy a woman would want to have coming home.”
  5. How delightful, too, walking three miles on a leg of the Community Trail beside rapids and sparkling waters. No need to drive several hours to the mountains for a similar experience. Reminds me of my hidden retreat at Lake Massabesic, back when I was residing on Wellington Hill in Manchester.
  6. When I enter a house of worship, I close my eyes and feel the vibrations. Too often, the air feels leaden or dead, rather than welcoming, warm, filled with deep calm. Maybe I’m spoiled by so many Quaker meetinghouses and other sanctuaries of quiet heart-centered devotion.
  7. Suppose I’d wound up back in Dayton or Cincinnati, rather than moving on? The very thought has me feeling emotionally constrained.
  8. A reminder. Be authentic to your dreams, even in the face of the Greek chorus intoning, “Yay,” “Boo,” Ahh,” even “Mmm,” throughout. Much less Job’s friends in those periods of siege.
  9. What do we do with the superrich freeloaders?
  10. Internally, I’m still on Standard Time. How can it be so late already?

~*~

A view from Fourth Street, Dover.

A view from Fourth Street, Dover.