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north cove

“Human Beings – indeed, all sentient beings – have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom.”
— The XIVth Dalai Lama

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And meanwhile, despite Washington D.C. and the level of political discourse across the land, these neighborhood lilies burst into beautiful song, right on schedule, as they always have. Toxicity will (hopefully) always have its limits.

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Beautiful car to be sure, but there are a few other things I might like to do with an extra $80K or so.

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Spring, Old Saybrook, CT

April 16, 2017

The fire in the woodstove has given way to star magnolia, forsythia and other blossoms, as the sun says “I’ll take it from here…”

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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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Went out for a walk during the recent snowstorm, right at dusk, and found our neighbor Paul getting a jump on the cleanup. The rest of the walk (normally an easy stroll) was like being in the wintry wilds of northern New England: howling wind, biting cold, icy footing, and no other soul about.

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Blowin’ In, Old Saybrook, CT

September 6, 2016

north-cove-sunset-tsh-7652

Here on the northern fringes of Tropical Storm Hermine, with wind coming in from the NE: some branches down later in the evening, and electricity was out for a few hours, but otherwise the area fared pretty well.

Living closer to the water now, I find myself more interested in flags, mostly as a quick read on wind direction and force. In an unexpected way, they’ve also become inspirational, from the Tibetan prayer flags out back over our garden, to the American flags around the neighborhood. They’ve brought me closer to distant places, times and peoples, whether Tibetan villagers or those who fought or otherwise witnessed the War of 1812, from whence comes the Star Spangled Banner (“…gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there…”). Powerful symbols they have always been, and likely to remain so.

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wild and free-5424

A sunset stroll on what has been the coldest day of the season so far, with a stiff wind out of the north and temps that hit single digits early this AM.

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