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art and music

These verses, found on an upstairs bedroom wall at an estate sale I was visiting, are apparently from a song by a local band.

“She’s quite a good musician too”, the mom said about her daughter, who’s gone off now – this bedroom for the world – perhaps with these words in tow.


I remember that evening in the small one room cabin, probably an old sugaring house in another life. A wood stove kept us warm. It was late winter.

Four, maybe six of us, tucked into the “living room”, communing with spirits that rose up in the stories and songs and laughter we shared deep into the night.

We were young, and locked in tight to “being here now”. Who knew the season would pass? Who knew there would be other, different ones, to follow? Who knew back then there was a future?



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.


The band is Java Groove, playing at the Fire and Ice Festival at the Saybrook Point Inn. They play “swing to Sinatra to Sting” (from their website), and the two guitarists each liked to solo, which was a pleasant surprise and a nice treat. Nothing like all the lead guitar you can handle, done very tastefully, backed up by a fine rhythm section.

And out on the dance floor? All ages, 3 to 73 – some stiff, some flowing – a midwinter break to some timeless grooves.


ver-coverA few months ago, I happened upon a wonderful review of Vermont Exit Ramps II, by Laura C. Stevenson, published in the American Book Review. (Click on this link for the PDF: abr_vermont-exit-ramps-ii.)

It turns out that she lives right next to “the Boyd Place” in Wilmington, where I have photographed in the dead of winter for the past few years. She is a talented writer with a significant body of work set in post-pastoral Vermont, and can be found online here. Many thanks for her permission to publish the review on this site.

See my earlier posts on VER II here and here. The easiest way to purchase would be in just about any bookstore in VT, or online here.


Playscape, Sanbornton, NH

August 7, 2016

school playscape-081445


View of Mt Ascutney-0426

The park is one of my favorite places, magnificent pretty much any time of the year, but especially in the Fall. The main workshop always strikes me as a hallowed space, and the Adams Memorial something to behold. Plan to spend a better part of a day.


son de me tierra-

My good friend Jose and I had dinner in Middletown CT a couple of weeks ago, and afterwards roamed the streets a bit. We lingered in front of this band for a couple of tunes, including one Jose requested, a song called “Por Mujeres Como Tu”, which you can listen to here (translated lyrics below). I later asked him what the song was about; he laughed and said ” women… alcohol…”.

He and his wife emigrated from Venezuela some years ago; it got me thinking about the song(s) I might request if we were in Venezuela and it was now my “home”.

Twenty years ago my wife and I went to France, and we took along a few CDs to help with any homesickness: Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers, and Working on Wings to Fly, by Cindy Kallett. And though we never had to use them, it was nice to have them along.

Por Mujeres Como Tu (For Women Like You)

I’m becoming afraid and she’s realized it,
And that’s not very good for me,
If I want to keep her in my arms
It’d be better for her not to see me suffer.

I’m keeping myself in the failures,
And today I’m going to fix the situation.
It’ll be that I’ve always given too much
And in the excess I always end up hurt (lit. damaged).

For women like you, my love
There are men like me, I know
That we can lose ourselves
In alcohol
Because of a deception.

I’m keeping myself in the failures,
And today I’m going to fix the situation.
It’ll be that I’ve always given too much
And in the excess I always end up hurt (lit. damaged).

For women like you…


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!