Last week, Green Writers Press, who (with Sundog Poetry) published our Vermont Exit Ramps II, hosted a wonderful party at the Next Stage in Putney, VT, in honor of both Earth Day and their 2nd year anniversary. There were readings galore from many of the GWP authors, of both adult and children’s books, which made for a remarkable evening of voices and stories.

This slideshow was something I created for the event, using all the photographs from the book. There is a soundtrack – a composition called Glastenbury, VT – by the composer Masako, which starts about 15 seconds in. My friend and co-author Neil Shepard followed with a powerful reading of his Romaine Tenney poem. Many thanks to all for a wonderful evening!

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worth every penny-6493

Mssr. Demi-D’Amour appears to approve of his most recent acquisition, a 1955 MG TF 1500.

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mg-6494

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running tally-6549

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Pond, West Dover, VT

April 25, 2016

in April

pond-6540

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north wind-6360

A brisk wind was blowing in from the north when I began photographing this clothesline, around 11AM. The woman hanging the clothes, Susan, predicted it would soon diminish, and after a brief lull, pick up again from the southwest. And over the course of the next half hour, that was exactly what happened. I wonder how long it took for her to understand the seasonal nuances of the breezes there; as she much preferred drying clothes on the line, my guess is she tuned into it pretty quickly.

Such as beautiful thing – and a gift – to know your surroundings that well.

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Back Porch, Madison, CT

April 13, 2016

in April

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stan katie and kris-

It’s been six years since my oldest brother Stan passed away. It was very much a surprise, as he was only 67 and still employed full time as a special education teacher, which he had been – at the same Florida school – for three decades.

The school had a wonderful memorial service for him, and I was struck with how his colleagues there probably knew him better than I did. I was, after all, 8 years his junior, and only 10 when he went off to college. But over the years, when he came up to visit our parents, and when I visited him in Florida, we spent time together, and got to know each other, as adults. I certainly wish that we had more of that; there is a lot to talk about. *

Looking back on his life, there are three areas that are especially impressive to me, and stand as the measure of the man.

First, he was a soldier who served his country. In his early 20’s following graduation from college and the Reserve Officer Training Core (ROTC), he was commissioned as an officer and served in Vietnam as a Platoon Leader, responsible for 40 men in active combat zones. He was awarded a Bronze Star as well as a Purple Heart during that time, and left the service as a First Lieutenant.

I remember how relieved I was at his return, and how proud I was of him. He was a hero to our family, as well as many in our community, and though the experience was certainly a dark one, and probably scarred him for life, it was not yet complicated by the divisions in our larger society about the war. Those difficulties were yet to come. But there were demons, even from the beginning, and his struggles with them were probably a constant throughout his life.

Second, he was a father to Katie and Kristin, his two wonderful children. He and his wife divorced when Katie – the oldest – was not yet ten, and his wife moved to Florida with them shortly thereafter. Though Stan was a lifelong New Englander, with a deep and rich network of personal and professional connections here, he opted to move to FL, where no one knew him from Adam. He did so to be as actively involved as possible in their lives. I don’t know how easy a decision it was for him, and we never really spoke about it, leading me to believe that he always felt it was the right one, and furthermore, that it was the ONLY one. Katie and Kristin were then, and are now, beautiful human beings, due in no small part to the responsibility that both he and their mother took with them along the way. (And the four grandchildren are equally impressive.)

Third, he was a lifelong educator, and spent the last three decades of his life as a special education teacher in FL. Some of us might fully appreciate the difficulties of teaching a class of 10-15 special needs children, day in and day out. It is a task which requires stamina, creativity and a high level of motivation. It was something he was remarkably gifted at, and, as his supervisor there remarked at the memorial service: “He literally wrote the book on this. Literally, he wrote a book on his methods…”.

The outpouring of emotion and regard at the memorial was an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. Once again, I felt so very proud of him, and how he impacted the lives of those around him, despite the difficulties in his own life.

He was a special man, and I do miss him.

* Including this blog, and photography in general. He was a great photographer, LOVED Flickr, and always supported my own photography, including letting me borrow his cameras whenever I needed to.

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the last of it-

The snow and ice in the southwest corner of this meadow have held on the longest, but will soon be gone. The iced over path to the lower left of the photo looks to be a well traveled animal trail.

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Offseason, Madison, CT

March 24, 2016

in March

offseason 2-6243

Alternate title: The Magic Door

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