Wednesday, September 3, 2014
One of my favorite things about visiting family in Vermont is the way people fall into a rhythm of preparing and eating food together. There's something magical about how the ritual seems to enable quiet conversation while hands busy themselves with chopping, shredding and mixing ingredients, everyone loosely working towards a common goal.
My mother has always kept a rather healthy, varied garden. You might try to explain this farm-to-table trend to her by saying, "You know, what you've always done." Every Labor Day, she prepares a feast consisting of tomatoes, carrots, onions and potatoes from her garden. And dessert consists of some baked dish including her blueberries or apples from the neighbor's tree -- because he doesn't pick them, and that's not stealing, is it? I love the experimental nature of it all. If you have too many zucchinis, they just might end up in your morning pancakes.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
I have taken the top picture before. My sisters and I have made it an annual tradition to climb Wheeler Mountain. It is not the tallest mountain in Vermont, by any stretch, but that is not to say it makes for easy climbing. I have the same reaction every time I reach the base of the granite peak. I don't know how to do this. I could take the easy path to the left ... but no. Taking the easy way would be to deny myself something. And then you start, and find it gets easier as you learn to negotiate the smooth slope. When you get to the top the view is magnificent, and you feel grateful for challenging yourself to do something hard -- and succeeding. You find that this, THIS, is where life is really happening, and where you can find the answers to some of life's more difficult questions.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I had the privilege of visiting the Bourbon Trail (a trail in central Kentucky that stretches from Lexington to Louisville and the surrounding areas) this past weekend. I've given plenty of thought to how I might talk about it. I could explain in detail how bourbon is made, even why it is called bourbon, but lot's of good folks have already done a much better job than I can do. I learned a lot about the differences between whiskey, bourbon, scotch and brandy. I learned about oak barrels that have been scorched on the interior to create a nice flavor. I learned to appreciate the finer points of a good bourbon, even if I don't have the palette to appreciate top shelf quality. I learned that Kentucky is perfect for distilling bourbon because of the changing temperatures throughout the seasons, as well as the limestone that Kentucky water flows over which makes for ideal fermentation. I'd rather not tell you all that. Kentucky is beautiful country, and bourbon provides only one aspect of the state's rich history. Do go. See for yourself.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Every few Saturdays, I visit the 400 West Street Studios for market day. You never know what vendors you'll encounter, and it could range from handmade soaps to pulled pork, wild mushrooms, and always herbs. BUT. Across the way is an old warehouse that has seen far better days. There is something compelling about the scars, rust, and weeds that embellish this structure. The roof is all but missing, and chains prevent you from climbing the rusty metal stairs, but like people, a building with a messy story is far more interesting than one with none at all.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Having recently seen Finding Vivian Maier, I find myself asking a lot of questions about where chronicling the human experience intersects with the responsibility of the artist. If you have not seen the movie, I won't spoil it for you, but Ms. Maier was clearly a damaged person, and as a very private person, photography allowed her to participate in life on terms that she could negotiate. Obsessed with "the folly of humanity", she photographed prolifically on the streets of Chicago, taking the children in her care (she was a nanny) into stock yards and dangerous parts of town. Most of her work remained unprinted, and much of it wasn't even developed, until after her death. And it can be argued that she currently enjoys the greatest popularity of any street photographer. What would she say?
Monday, March 10, 2014
I locked myself out of the house one day this winter. Well, not just any day, but one with sub-zero temperatures. My phone, and easy help, was inside the warm house. For the first forty-five minutes, I convinced myself that I just needed to find the right tool of destruction in the garage to jimmy my way back into the warm house. I checked and double-checked every window to see if it was locked. I abandoned that plan when my fingers went numb, and I sat in a wicker chair to create a mental will of who would get my shoes, who might wear my scarves and shawls, and what might happen to my lip balms scattered in various bags. Help eventually arrived, and I can laugh at it now because I still have my fingers, my shoes and shawls, as well as my lips balms.
A small lesson for humanity. When you need help, ask for it. When you have the opportunity to return the favor, return it. And you will remember that moment always and forever.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I'm late to the show, but I saw Bruce Munro's exhibit at the Franklin Park Conservatory over the weekend. There's something endearing about his simple appreciation of light and color. From his Giant Snowballs to his Light Shower, the spaces just pulse with an energy. The Field of Light reminds me of John Singer Sargent's painting of the Victorian children in the garden with Chinese lanterns.
His artist's statement is the least pretentious one I have ever read. "It's a privilege to exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. I hope that work I create, which is but a fleeting intervention in the gardens calendar, leaves those who experience it with a smile and a positive spirit." is his final explanation of why he creates what he creates. "You need a medium to find yourself and to explain things to other people. Mine happens to be light."
The show is open from dusk to 11:00pm until March 30. Do go see it.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I recently took a walk in the neighborhood, and my eye was drawn to a number of things, how even neglected buildings have some beauty to offer in the advanced stages of decay, how frail a dry leaf is on a frozen pond, and how reflections offer a milky veil for an old typewriter.
I'm about to read a book called On Looking (Alexandra Horowitz), a record of walks around her own neighborhood. She admits, before her first walk, that her dog experiences the world in a vastly different way, with his quick eyes and superior nostrils. We have five senses, but if we were to use them each at every waking moment, we'd probably go insane from sensory overload. Our brains protect us by prioritizing our experiences as we make our way through each day, but that doesn't mean we should be numb to the array of colors, textures and sounds around us. If we unplug our devices for a moment, we might find that we still have uses for those senses. Stuff you can't look up on the internet.