This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Western Swing, Part II

THIS IS A PAINTING (chalk drawing) of the field at the top of Dave's place (Benson Place) in Heath, Massachusetts, atop Burnt Hill, by the New England artist Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) -- whose property this used to be and who had a studio here (which burnt down some years ago.) The view when we got out of the car and walked a bit into the field looked just like this-- albeit it was overcast-- literally as if one is standing on top of the world. After the ride through the forest, we suddenly came out into the light, and there was Dave's place. At the end of the long driveway, past the barn, we came to the house and parked the car. Fionn was wild to get out after having been in the car so long, and smelling all the wildly exotic forest smells on the way up, and after some Jewish Mother nervousness on my part (they have beer and coyote up there) we let him run wild, and boy, he did, gallumping through the snow and falling through, at times, the crust on the top, which was rather comic to see-- but of course it wasn't funny when it happened to us. Dave came out, we walked out into the field, and this, again, is the view that we saw-- and insantly I knew it as home, as I were Lughead, remembering a future, perhaps, I had yet to experience, or perhaps a past I've forgotten from a previous life. I have collected and clutched to my breast several such spiritual 'homes' over the years, and the best thing is, when one views a place as such, one doesn't have to bother with the uptake and expense. I was reminded of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' words, in her wonderful autobiography 'Cross Creek,' where she talks about people finding places and instantly recognizing them as home, and how it doesn't matter where we were raised-- the man from the mountains might fall in love with a secluded sea cove, and vice versa. There was an old apple tree there that I hardly recognized as such, for its trunk was so wonderfully, amazingly, and harmlessly poked by the woodpeckers; close by to that, an American Chestnut, the first one I had ever seen in my life (they were all wiped out by the blight 100 years ago and more, and once they covered 3/4 of the land east of the Mississippi); the ones that remain, like this one, thrive for a number of years, then die back, then, Phoenix-like, rise up from the ashes. Dave showed us the little studio in the meadow, complete with picture window out onto the field and view, wood-stove, bunkbed, and kitchen-- heaven. He was kind enough to invite me to avail myself of the place, an offer I mean to keep-- I don't know how I would ever keep from painting out there, but on the other hand, I don't know how I could keep from writing either.
We had to move on though because they were waiting for us in Brattleboro, at the Men's Space, which is kind of like a Brattleboro version of the Boston Living Center. There was a pot-luck there. Brattleboro too, like Northhampton, is a funky, artist, bookstore-ridden place full of earthy-crunchy folks and slathered with progressive flyers declaiming Bush and nuclear power-- in other words, my kind of place! It was a busy Saturday night and all kinds of people were scattering, in the rain, here and there to eat or hear poetry or whatever. We had a nice potluck supper at the Men's Gathering (I had two helpings of the chocolate cake, which was heaven) then I did my thing, talking a bit, then reading 'Once on Christmas Eve,' then a bit more from Map of the Harbor Islands. It was a very diverse crowd. I would have liked to have stayed longer, and explored the city a little bit, but it was raining/snowing by then and I was almost stumbling, so tired was I. But again, most of the people there had not heard of my work before, and it was a most enjoyable experience, as was the whole weekend. A special thanks again to Dave, and Dee, and Mark at Pride and Joy, and Alex at the Men's Space, for making this happen-- your support and encouragment mean more to me than I can say. And, such synchronicity, I can't close without mentioning the watercolor painting I bought when I was 18 years old, from the Channel 2 auction when I came home one night at 2 in the morning, somewhat inebriated probably-- and in those days the only thing on late at night was the Channel 2 auction for the one week it was on. No one was bidding at that hour, and I got the painting, valued at $300 (this is way back when) for $50. It was a scene of autumn woods, nicely rendered with great colors, and lovingly framed, done by a local New England artist, Abby Christiansen Wincheden or something by name-- of a place I had never heard of-- Heath, Massachusetts. Since I had never heard of that place, I somnehow assumed that it was one of the towns that had been swallowed by the Quabbin flooding (!!!!!). I'm really glad I was so wrong about that.

7 Comments:

Blogger berlinorama said...

Hi Joe and anyone else out there. Sorry I haven't said hello in awhile. I very much enjoyed your description of your jaunt through Massachusetts. I had to think of my own trip to Northampton with friends a few years back. We also ate at a Thai restaurant and I thought a town with a big mural of feminist heroines must be a pretty splendid place.
What will you be doing for the anniversary of the evil invasion of Iraq? I fear the demo here in Berlin will be quite small. Not that everyone isn't against the war and completely disgusted with the Bush regime. The upcoming G8 summit up on the Baltic not that far from Berlin is more on people's minds here at the moment, though. I attended a tiny demo last week to protest Germany's upcoming sending of Tornado planes to Afghanistan. Mostly people from the Left Party/PDS (successor to the East German CP) and some "grandmothers against war" all standing by the Brandenburg Gate. Almost everyone agrees with the peace movement here but the wind is out of their sails. Even our little US American peace group is war-weary. I hope there will be huge turnouts in the States. What with the outrageous scandals at Walter Reade and elsewhere and the horrifying statistics on mental illness among veterans and the VA's cavalier treatment of these folks there should be quite a ruckus. Not to mention the continuing saber-rattling towards Iran. Anyway, keep fighting the good fight. Best wishes,
Pam

5:33 AM  
Blogger BiscuitsBoy said...

Hi Pam! Great to hear from you! My group will be out in the streets again for the anniversary....but we too are feeling the fatigue. The war, and their crimes, go on and on and on, with no apparent change and no accountability. I just want this nightmare to be over! Code Pink Women for Peace (a great group) are camping out in front of Nancy Pelosi's office becasue she needs to do more-- it looks like hte dEms are just riding this out until the presidential election, when the people want them to impeach and stop this insane war. Ugh.

Northhampton was great and you would love it-- it's gotten funkier and better than ever. The people were really friendly and I'll definitely try to get out there more often-- fun fun fun.

Take care Pam, and you too keep up the good work.

Joe

10:56 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 01.03
ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, replica watches, jordan shoes, burberry, louboutin, louis vuitton, burberry outlet online, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, tiffany and co, ugg boots, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louboutin outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike free, louis vuitton, michael kors, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes

9:44 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ralph lauren uk, nike trainers, michael kors, michael kors, nike air max, nike air max, lacoste pas cher, sac longchamp, burberry, air force, nike huarache, michael kors, ralph lauren pas cher, michael kors, ray ban uk, nike free run uk, nike free, nike blazer, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, abercrombie and fitch, timberland, mulberry, lululemon, oakley pas cher, north face, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, replica handbags, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, hollister, north face, hogan, longchamp, true religion jeans, nike roshe run, true religion jeans, hermes, nike roshe, vans pas cher, air jordan pas cher, air max, hollister pas cher, longchamp pas cher, vanessa bruno, coach purses, tn pas cher, sac guess

9:46 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

iphone 5s cases, babyliss, instyler, nike roshe, wedding dresses, chi flat iron, soccer jerseys, louboutin, hollister, iphone 6 cases, ray ban, mac cosmetics, vans, north face outlet, baseball bats, giuseppe zanotti, vans shoes, hollister, ghd, celine handbags, soccer shoes, mcm handbags, mont blanc, iphone 6s cases, north face outlet, oakley, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 6s plus cases, reebok shoes, iphone 6 plus cases, timberland boots, gucci, valentino shoes, herve leger, s5 cases, nfl jerseys, nike air max, ferragamo shoes, new balance, nike air max, converse, lululemon, bottega veneta, insanity workout, jimmy choo shoes, ralph lauren, iphone cases, beats by dre, p90x workout, ipad cases, birkin bag, asics running shoes

9:48 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, moncler, moncler, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, sac louis vuitton pas cher, thomas sabo, lancel, moncler, louis vuitton, canada goose, doudoune canada goose, ugg boots uk, moncler, supra shoes, converse outlet, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora charms, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, swarovski crystal, moncler outlet, karen millen, canada goose, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, montre pas cher, barbour jackets, pandora jewelry, canada goose, canada goose outlet, moncler, toms shoes, moncler, barbour, pandora charms, ugg pas cher, bottes ugg, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, links of london, replica watches, canada goose uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski
ninest123 01.03

9:50 PM  
Blogger xiaowei said...

v2016-3-26 xiaowei
lacoste shoes
coach purses on sale
white converse
reebok shoes
hollister clothing store
michael kors
ralph lauren outlet
lululemon outlet store
coach outlet
ed hardy uk
nike air max 95
michael kors uk
nike air max 90
polo ralph lauren outlet
jimmy choo
ed hardy
valentino bags
babyliss
true religion jeans
cheap jordan shoes
burberry outlet
cartier
sac longchamp pliage
kate spade outlet
louis vuitton borse
lululemon athletica
ray bans
ferragamo outlet
supra
kate spade outlet
levi's outlet
reebok outlet store
michael kors purses
canada goose uk
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet
coach outlet online
toms shoes
michael kors bags
ralph lauren outlet

9:11 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home