Ward’s Cove, Wilmington, VT

February 24, 2017

Two months out from the Solstice, and nudged along by a couple of sunny days in the 60’s, winter was bound to recede, even with the two feet of new snow recently. And the sap, right on cue, just started running a couple days ago. Can’t help but feel a little giddy, and reassured, watching Spring unfold.

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Lantern, Ivoryton, CT

February 19, 2017

A few months after I bought my first digital camera – a Canon 20D more than a decade ago – I took it out for a spin at dusk, with a tripod, to see what it could do.

There were/are many reasons to embrace digital, but initially, the biggest one for me was in the instant feedback via the LCD screen, a whole new technology for cameras. Thus I could shoot to my heart’s content (no film, very cheap, another reason), and rework my compositions till I found some keepers.

My old friend Dennis Stock, who was about 80 years old at the time, initially turned me on to digital; he let me borrow a consumer digital that someone had let him use. Early digital had its limitations though, so I didn’t jump in till a year later, when the technology and the price became incredibly attractive.

Haven’t looked back.

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This is the place where Calvin Coolidge, the 30th US president, was born and raised. It was also where he was sworn in as President in August of 1923, following the death of President Warren Harding. The village is an historic site and remains virtually unchanged since the early 20th century, a good example of a classic Vermont hill town from that era. That’s Okemo Mountain off in the distance.

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Fishing Shack, Wilmington, VT

February 12, 2017

One antidote for the cabin fever that settles in after the holidays is to get away for a bit; in this case out to the ice and into your little fishing shack, away from everything (but yourself), if just for while. And – the best part – you can just pretend you’re out there to fish.

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Fraying, Old Saybrook, CT

February 5, 2017

This photo was taken a year ago, but the fraying flag seems to have a different resonance now, given the political winds blowing through our homes and neighborhoods, all across the land.

If there’s any upside to the recent election results here, it’s that many of us are working out new paradigms for being a citizen – and a human being – in these challenging times. Digging deeper for inspiration and information,* and at the same time reaching for the longer view, if you will. Unfortunately (spoiler alert), we’ve been here before. History is replete with profoundly difficult circumstances, no matter the time or culture.

Perhaps not altogether unrelated, I’ve found myself back in the 13th century with Genghis Khan and the beginnings of the Mongol Empire. It started rather innocuously;** my eye catching a new title on display in a local library, “Genghis Khan and the Quest for God” by Jack Weatherford, which explores the remarkable notion that Genghis Khan allowed freedom of worship to all those he conquered, AND that this approach to governance found its way to Europe and eventually the American colonies.

Then it was off to the races with the first three of Conn Iggulden’s five volume work of historical fiction on Genghis and his empire.

And finally the historian Frank McLynn’s amazing biography, Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire and His Legacy, a remarkably detailed and sometimes overwhelming account of the man, with over 100 pages (!!!) of bibliography and footnotes and a wonderful photo of present day Mongolian horsemen by Rick Sammon worked onto the front cover.

Yes there is a rise and fall of civilizations, with remarkably similar stories. Explore any one and you’ll probably understand them all.

* The New Yorker has some suggestions here.

** Actually it started in high school; our athletic teams were nicknamed the “ Golden Horde”. I knew then it had something to do with the Mongols, but only recently understood the specifics: the Golden Horde was the name given to the successors of Genghis that ruled the northwestern most regions of the Mongol empire after his death.

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And then, when the season is the coldest, a gentle snow falls, leaving behind a soft white blanket and a quiet stillness that reminds us – when we are most apt to forget – of the beauty of a New England winter.

The tree here I have not yet ID’ed, but I did see it had some soft tan catkins the other day. There were three (!!) bird nests visible in its branches last winter – a veritable condo complex.

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Six Poles, Stony Creek, CT

January 28, 2017

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Still working on that simple, elegant koan of a metaphor – our mind is like the sky and our thoughts merely clouds passing through.

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Two of the youngest participants in the Old Saybrook ‘Sister March’, which drew over 1000 people from the area on 1/21. These gals – Ella and Sophia – were the photo op stars of the event.

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