Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shenandoah…

On my way to pick up some of my usual rancid beer at Jim’s Liquors in Southbridge, MA (a booze emporium that caters to, at times, a rather unsavory crowd), I noticed a young fellow crouched near the entrance.

Before I entered the store,  this young man, dressed in soiled attire, a well-worn backpack, and sporting a knit cap, inquired as to whether I was going into Sturbridge and, if so, could he hitch a ride.

I looked him over, and in a handful of seconds deemed him safe.  I said, “Sure. Hop in. I’ll be right out.”

Blackfoot_teepees

Blackfoot Teepees

As I pulled out of the lot, he introduced himself as Shenan “…but my real name is Shenandoah. I’m half Blackfoot Indian and half Italian.” I told him that my wife was part Blackfoot Indian as well.

I asked, “So what part of Sturbridge are you heading?”

“The Post Office, but anywhere would be fine.”

My itinerary, after the purchase of my ghastly 40 oz. Natty Ice (hell, 5.9% alcohol, only $2.45, and equal to over three 12 oz. beers) was to get a coffee from Drunkin Donuts for my Love, and then head on over to Shaw’s.

I thought about his request and, since it was rather brutally cold outside said, “I’ll take you to the Post Office, no problem.”

He then launched, with no prodding on my part, into his story, how he was a poet and musician, and that he enjoys writing songs and playing in a band and during the summer works at Annie’s Kitchen and that his wife works at a supermarket. (I’ve always found it amazing how so many people divulge their lives to me with no prompting whatsoever.)

With that I told him that I was a writer, and model, and teacher. H then asked me if I was an artist as well. I told him that I was indeed and he replied, “Yeah, I thought so. You look like one.”

I chuckled at that, as it must be because of my unruly mop of long hair. It’s the equivalent of the time I went to a yard sale with my wife and I had on my leather jacket. The guy selling his wares asked me, “Hey, you interested in buyin’ a Harley?” I politely declined, and neglected to add the fact that I’ve never been on a motorcycle. I guess, like Shenandoah, I ‘looked’ the part.

I pulled into the Post Office and gave Shenandoah my business card. We shook hands and he bade goodbye. I left him on the sidewalk. He said he lived across the street.

When I got home I told my lovely bride the story. She had reservations about my decision but I told her that “…he seemed harmless enough.”

Which brings me to the point of this little tale. Have you ever been in that position, where you see someone like Shenandoah, and immediately size them up, in just a few seconds?

For example, if you drive into Worcester and take Exit 17, to Belmont Street, do you sometimes espy a ‘homeless’ person begging for money, with a pathetic cardboard sign that is damp and bent from the drizzle? The person usually sports a limp of sorts, and shuffles down the line of cars with a sad, forlorn expression etched into their lined visage. Do you ponder pawing through your pockets for a paucity of change, or do you immediately avert your eyes and pretend this wretched soul doesn’t exist?

Sometimes, as in the case of Shenandoah, a simple human connection can be made. I learned something about him, how he was a creative soul, how he was friendly, and courteous, and thankful,  simply grateful for a ride that negated his trek by foot in the frigid brumal air.

There are many stories to be heard out there, if only we are willing to allow a hint of humanity to enter our rushed and insulated lives.

You never know; a chance meeting could be the bud of a beautiful future story.

A Touch of Whimsy…

We had about 4″ inches of snow the other day and since it was a relatively easy task of shoveling, after my chore I decided to build a snowman. The result is below. Enjoy!

snowman 1 snowman 2 snowman 3

I have the distinct feeling that my opposite neighbors are a tad disconcerted every morning when they gaze out their picture window.

Close to Home…

The wonder of travel never fails to elicit a sense of excitement, where new vistas are to be experienced, something to counteract the seemingly ho-hum aspects of our usual existence.

Yet sometimes one does not have to stray too far. Sometimes a sense of awe and new vistas can be found right at home. Have you ever just stopped from the whirlwind of daily living to really peer at what resides within your residence?

I did just that this past weekend. Before the onslaught of the football playoffs that seemingly stretched on forever, I paused over morning coffee and noticed something rather striking.Buddha Burner

It is a photo of the remnants of a sandalwood incense stick protruding from my Buddha  burner. It caught my eye as I strolled through the kitchen, ready to nuke my tepid joe. The burner sits atop the microwave, and the image of the curled ash against the diaphanous curtain I thought enchanting.

The rather erotic Anthurium plant appeared captivating against the backdrop of the distant backyard.Anthurium

Here in the Northeast we have had a bit of snow, but lately the temperatures have been mild. I happened upon our garden toad, ringed with snow. It seemed to be poking its head out, testing the air, a cozy little amphibian lair.Mr. Toad

The cowboy hat I found at the ‘Take it or Leave it’ section at the dump, and the dried yellow rose is a lingering beautiful reminder of my Beloved’s birthday.The Wild Rose

These next two shots were taken two days apart. In the first I snapped this fiery sunrise, an early morning conflagration. The next shot is the same scene, with the melting snow that created a sfumato atmosphere in the back yard. That photo was taken the same day as my friendly toad picture.Fire In The Sky

Melancholy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our kitchen table, a reflection of my painting, along with a pleasing bouquet.Reflections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flower nestled in a candle pot.Flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our memo chalkboard, with two of my favorite animals; a kitty cat, and a great blue heron. Oh, and the quick doodle of the snowman is mine.Chalkboard

A metal Great Blue Heron that my lovely bride gave to me for Christmas. Sometimes, when I’m alone and writing in the living room, I look up and am startled by its presence. It is quite realistic, and come the spring I will put it in the garden. Heron

A key rack near the front door. We always have the real birds show up every morning, searching for scraps. There are always three, and one has a slight limp. They forage for our leftovers, be it toast, pizza, even old stale cake, something a little different from their diet of carrion.Keys 'n Crow

So as you can see, there are many magnificent sights to see, close to home. Take a minute. Pause. Look around.

What wonders do you see in and around your own domain?

High-Res 2013…

There is a great article on the web site Global Research by Joel Hirschhorn  (here) on how our society has become addicted to technology. He calls it ‘technology servitude’.

I titled this post ‘High-Res’ because it refers not to my 60” LCD Flat Screen TV (actually, I do not own a flat screen TV at all) but to a top priority for me in the new year: a high resolution to drastically reduce my involvement with the internet.

A new year always brings with it promises for resolutions, be it weight loss, quit smoking, exercise more, you name it, there’s something for everyone.

But for me, it will be to lessen my involvement with the ‘net and instead, immerse myself in the process of writing and finishing two manuscripts. I will remain resolute in those endeavors.

As Mr. Hirschhorn so poignantly states, we have become addicted to the latest technological advance, always craving the latest iteration of what is considered ‘hot’ on the market.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and there were no computers back then, no cell phones, no internet. Looking back on those years it appears that we managed quite well without those inventions.

But now. Now you cannot escape the encroachment of these devices. They are pervasive, and have indeed allowed us to be controlled by the vast communications complex; we have become slaves to their machines.

We have become mere tech serfs.

Each individual must evaluate if they actually need to be as engaged with their devices. Do you really need to check your email every five minutes? Is it really that important to know the latest text that just popped up? Do you really need that enormous plasma TV for your living room, or any of the myriad of ‘must-have’ gadgets out there?

Is any of it really necessary?

So my goal is to continue my blog, perhaps not as frequently as before, and to sporadically update my web site. My high-resolution for the year 2013 is to write, to finish my novel, my memoir, to revise, edit, and submit my work for possible publication. And then I will write some more.

Perhaps Mr. Hirschhorn’s piece will resonate for you as well, and perhaps you, too, will have an epiphany of sorts.

What will be your high-res for the new year?…

Bonne année et bonne santé!

christmas

Trinkets for the Tree!

The new year has arrived and the vestiges of Christmas have been safely tucked away. Even though we have had our decorations and tree up since Thanksgiving, it always seems like a whirlwind, like the ambiance of the season paid only a brief visit. Before you know it, it’s time to take everything down, the tree relegated to the back yard, a fine refuge for birds.

christmas

Miles the Cat

I sit here in my barren living room, and the place always appears larger when the décor of December is stored. Now the easy chair has been returned to its perch near the front window, and the rocking chair has been reinstated near the TV. The cats have missed it, as they frolic within its legs, pouncing on toy mice that lurk in the recesses of a scratching post.

christmas

The kids all aglow.

The new year is indeed here, and back to some choice writing. During the month of December, I managed only 13,000 words toward my novel (whereas November, and NANOWRIMO, contained over 50,000 words) but now that the festivities have concluded, it’s back to the keyboard.

I just wanted to share a few thoughts on the conclusion to this most celebratory time of year, from the initial anticipation of unraveling tissues filled with baubles and gewgaws for the tree, to wrapping presents for loved ones, to the sense of melancholy when the season has ended and Christmas songs and the glitter and decorations that festooned the walls must come down.

When everything is safely put away ‘til next  year, and the house appears sparse, it always reminds me of a scene from the Grinch. It’s when he’s already confiscated the decor and then he shoves the tree up the chimney. He returns to snatch the last crumb from a flummoxed rodent. That’s how bare our dwelling feels. (Although there are no unsightly hooks and wires left to behold.)

Yes, the Yule season has ended, but 2013 is upon us. A brand new year filled with…well, filled with what?

What will you do in the next 361 days?

May the new year bring you many surprises, laughter, and peace of mind.

christmas

Miles not amused.