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New Features, Articles & Columns


An A-musing Life

A resolute spirit

Nanci Bern


StudioTWO

The Owens


Ponder me

From Self-Immolation to Hashtag Activism:

Shanta Lee


The First Glass

For the Birds

Vincent Panella


Chess

“The Mating Game”

Phil Innes


Overheard

Literacy

part 1, the USA


Witness

Code-switching

Mac Gander


Ponder me

The Cautionary Tales of

Shiny New Places

Shanta Lee


Love In Action

New Year’s Reflections on

“Charlotte’s Web”

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Spiritual Theft in the

Year of the Monkey


Ponder me

2016:  The Year of

It is What it Is

Shanta Lee


SCREENplay

Manchester by the Sea

Lawrence Klepp


Witness

Street Life, New York City

Mac Gander


Meanderings

White Mountain

Charles Monette


The First Glass

San Diego, Ocean Beach – November 17, 2016

Vincent Panella


SCREENplay

Allied

Lawrence Klepp


Monkey’s Cloak

Oh, Holidays

Nanci Bern


Witness

Wake Up Call

Mac Gander


Old Lady Blog

Gone/ All Gone

Toni Ortner


Ponder me

Intangible Things =

Intangible Human Relationships

Shanta Lee


An A-musing Life

Mushroom Soup with John

Nanci Bern


Ponder me

We’ve Come Undone: 

Our Gender Problem

Shanta Lee


in between

FEAR

Julia Ferarri


Post Oil Solutions

Integrity in the time of

climate change

Tim Stevenson


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Racism vs Sexism

Jeri Rose


Meanderings

Last leaves leaving

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Braveheart

Elizabeth Hill


Ponder me

Moonlight or “I, too, Am America” for a New Era?

Shanta Lee


Urban Naturalist

Hogle in Fall:

a Subdued Sanctuary Hunkers Down for Winter

Lloyd Graf


Guest Article

Trimalchio in the White House: The American Dream Comes True

Mac Gander


Vermont Diary

Quality of Life


An A-musing Life

11/12 and Counting

Nanci Bern


World & US Energy News

Nov 15 Just one day in the energy life of the planet

George Harvey


Meanderings

As if

Charles Monette


Open Mind

What Will Become Of The Trump Faithful?

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

Clouds

Charles Monette


Write On!

Castle Dor


Vermont Diary

Words or Deeds


SCREENplay

Sully

Lawrence Klepp


Love In Action

Living in the Twilight Zone

Elizabeth Hill


100 Years Ago

Births

in 1916


Chess

Susan Polgar:

Little Known Feminist Icon

Alicia Colon


Natural Inclusivity

What is ‘Natural’ Science?

Alan Rayner


Meanderings

Evil frog monsters

Charles Monette


Special Feature

Halloween

Robert Burns


SCREENplay

The Girl on the Train

Lawrence Klepp


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Who Sleeps Daily in S.C.?

&

S.C. City Council

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

Why just now

Charles Monette


Returning To Place

PRIUS

Brian D. Cohen


in between

After a Fire Puja

Julia Ferarri


Vermont Diary

Out of the closet


Old Lady Blog

LESBOS, GREECE

Toni Ortner


The First Glass

Journal Entry –

October 3, 2016

Vincent Panella


Meanderings

Another way up

Black Mountain

Charles Monette


SCREENplay

The Light Between Oceans

Lawrence Klepp


Love In Action

Déjà Vu at Asteroid Chasm

Elizabeth Hill


SCREENplay

Café Society

Lawrence Klepp


An A-musing Life

A Snow Bunny in Summer

Nanci Bern


Meanderings

The mountain was soft

Charles Monette


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Malaise

Jeri Rose


Meanderings

Black Mountain

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Out of time


The First Glass

Who Art In : Moment : Youth

Vincent Panella


Urban Naturalist

THE HOGLE PANORAMA

Lloyd Graf


Love In Action

The Pony Man

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Lots of words to it


Monkey’s Cloak

Beyond the pale

Charles Monette


Chess

World Chess Championship to take place in New York

Phil Innes


Monkey’s Cloak

North York Moods

A series of observations and poems by Alan Rayner, part 7

‘Bridestones’


Love In Action

“The Missionary of Water”

Dr. Masaru Emoto

Elizabeth Hill


Selected Letters

Marbles

Offie Wortham


Old Lady Blog

from a forthcoming work...

Toni Ortner


in between

A QUIET RAIN FALLS

Julia Ferarri


STORY PAGE

Rose’s Spring

A graphic novel in slide show format by MM Kizi


World & US Energy News

Just one day’s energy news, July 2016 “Setbacks

George Harvey


Open Mind

The power of “Instant” News in producing stress and anxiety

Offie Wortham


An A-musing Life

Frost in the Summer

Nanci Bern


Returning To Place

Emblem

an essay and 5 images

Brian D. Cohen


Vermont Diary

Birthday boy


Love In Action

Neptune and Jupiter

Elizabeth Hill


Monkey’s Cloak

North York Moods

A series of poems

by Alan Rayner, part 5

Howard’s Castle


Selected Letters

In Memoriam

Dorothy M. Rice, 1919 - 2016


Open Mind

Malcolm and Ali

Offie Wortham


Vermont Diary

SHOCK of the Present


Open Mind

Can we bite the bullet until after November?

Offie Wortham


Returning To Place

Interlude, New Book & Kickstarter

Brian D. Cohen


Monkey’s Cloak

SHAVUOT

Nanci Bern


Monkey’s Cloak

five directions, five fingers, five roots

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

US Politics for Forns from Yurp [part deux]


Monkey’s Cloak

UP NORTH

Phil Innes


Write On!

Women of the Mounds

Charles Monette


Open Mind

Colleges where your child can earn a Degree for Free

Offie Wortham


Love In Action

SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

Ticks and Tourism


World & US Energy News

Just one day’s news

in early May

George Harvey


Untitled Work

Hitler’s Secret Diaries, Or, Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

Mac Gander


Old Lady Blog

Lights out or the weather of the apocalypse

Toni Ortner


Write On!

Daniel Berrigan

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Over the Mountain


Love In Action

The First Lady of the World

Elizabeth Hill


Monkey’s Cloak

May I

Charles Monette


Vermont Diary

Is the experiment with republics now over?


Post Oil Solutions

Tipping Point

Tim Stevenson


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

“How Drumpf wins”

Jeri Rose


The Great Adventure

The Fairer Sex

Terri Kneipp


Vermont Diary

WEIRD WYOMING — A LETTER TO ENGLAND


OVERHEARD

O say can you see...

A test severe of on-line language translators


Returning to Place

Angel

Brian D. Cohen


Vermont Diary

QUINTISH


Love In Action

THE DANCING FOOLS

Elizabeth Hill


REAL FOOD !

Parsnip Soup


Vermont Diary

PC, Euphemisms, including death and toilets


Urban Naturalist

AMPHIBIANS AND OTHER CRITTERS COPE WITH EQUINOCTAL CONFUSION

Lloyd Graf


Selected Letters

Tennessee Tensions

Rob Mitchell


Vermont Diary

Couple pointers

for President Trump


Old Lady Blog

Call from a Scientologist friend

Toni Ortner


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

The Hinge of Perception

Jeri Rose


Returning to Place

Adam and Eve’s Lament. Etching and letterpress,

11” x 15”, 1997

Brian D. Cohen


Monkey’s Cloak

Bird of transcendence

Matti Salminen


Vermont Diary

FLIGHT PATH OPTIONS


Monkey’s Cloak

Tibetan dream song

Charles Monette


in between

One hundred and twenty six years

Julia Ferarri


CURIOUS TOPICS

Gull Summit — Prime Minister concerned over Hitchcockian behavior


View From A Bridge

Golgonooza

Brian D. Cohen


Love In Action

SUMMER, 1947

Elizabeth Hill


Weekly Feature

In conversation with

Archer Mayor


Overheard

“REVENANT”

Which turns out to be very old


Returning to Place

Tree Trunk (Douglas fir)

Brian D. Cohen


Wondering Tales

The Cat’s Whiskers

a feline alphabet

MM Kizi


Overheard

Honkie Dilemma

A quiz


100 Years Ago

Major Literary Events


Monkey’s Cloak

Einstein’s Eyes

Charles Monette


Chess

The Silence of the Pawns

Paul Truong


100 Years Ago

A chronological overview of the year 1916


Returning to Place

The Wood

Brian D. Cohen


Natural Inclusivity

A new understanding of the evolutionary kinship of all life on Earth.

Alan Rayner


Vermont Diary

Featuring the numbers 7, 40, 911, 12, respectively


Write On!

Faery Stories 6,000 years old


World & US Energy News

Just one day’s news

in early February

George Harvey


Vermont Diary

Paint, peeling; plus more news of White Men


Monkey’s Cloak

Momentarily

Charles Monette


Love In Action

HOME

Elizabeth Hill


Urban Naturalist

Season of the Fox [part 3 of 3]

Lloyd Graf


in between

“There comes a moment in life when the dead outnumber the living.”

Julia Ferarri


CURIOUS TOPICS

No screaming — we are the police!


Open Mind

“Who would Dr. King support in 2016?”

Offie Wortham


Monkey’s Cloak

Entering a moonlit forest

Charles Monette


Chess

Saudi’s, Satan and so on


Vermont Diary

The British Aren’t Coming


World & US Energy News

Just one days news in the life of the planet

George Harvey


CURIOUS TOPICS

We shouldn’t laugh


Selected Letters

Robert Oeser with Fire Chief Mike Bucossi


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Attempts at Transport

Jeri Rose


Monkey’s Cloak

What Do We Want?

Jeri Rose


O Citoyen!

Community survey on future fire and police buildings

Robert Oeser


Vermont Diary

Weeding out the truth about “It”


Monkey’s Cloak

Awoke in the starless hour

Charles Monette


CURIOUS TOPICS

All washed up — Global trash


Monkey’s Cloak

Okay, we’ve looked there

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Reflections on Grandpa Ross Turning The House

Elizabeth Hill


Vermont Diary

A strange accounting


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

Inklings of Immortality

Jeri Rose


Curious Topics

Raining Cats and Dogs

& Jack the Psycho Rabbit


Monkey’s Cloak

Broken Promise

Alan Rayner


Vermont Diary

Come to think of it


100 Years Ago

November & December

From nude cinema to Einstein, to sinking of hospital ships in WWI


Vermont Diary

Notes from underground


An A-musing Life

The Hebrew Month of Kislev and Chanukah

Nanci Bern


Old Lady Blog

Omyra Sanchez

Toni Ortner


REAL FOOD !

Secret History of the Pasty


Monkey’s Cloak

Looking back dark

Charles Monette


Love In Action

Dear England, Please Send Me A Redheaded Boy

Elizabeth Hill


Write On!

Castle Freeman, Jr. 

The Devil in the Valley.

A review by Laura C. Stevenson


Studio 4

Now Showing

December Works at

Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts


Vermont Diary

Hunger’s Ground-Zero

in Our Town


Monkey’s Cloak

The Back-up Bird

Charles Monette


Guest Article

The Angels of Reinca

A Compleat Graphic Novel Story

M.M. Kizi


Monkey’s Cloak

Snake

D. H. Lawrence


Chess

Madonna vs. Julia Roberts

and other matches


Post Oil Solutions

Climate Change Café Hosts Carbon Pollution Tax Presentation

Tim Stevenson


Vermont Diary

On Aggression


Write On!

Singing with Bobby Fischer

Patti Smith


Monkey’s Cloak

CARACOL OF SOULS

Terry Hauptman


World & US Energy News

Just one days news

in mid-November

George Harvey


Urban Naturalist

Introducing...

Lloyd Graf


Selected Letters

Qi Gong on Black Mountain

Ken Masters


Old Lady Blog

Strike out

Toni Ortner


Love in Action

“All is Very, Very Well.” ~Eileen Caddy

Elizabeth Hill


StudioTWO

Featuring Cai Xi

November Paintings at Vermont Artisan Designs


Monkey’s Cloak

Five Haiku

Andrea Wallens Powell


An A-musing Life

Draped in Time

Nanci Bern


Open Mind

The New Israel

Offie Wortham


If You Lived Here

Brattleboro Winter Farmers’ Market


O Citoyen!

Restorative Justice

Robert Oeser


Monthly Feature

Picasso sculpture at MoMA

Marnie Innes


Love In Action

Boy With Many Hats

Elizabeth Hill


APPRECIATING ART

In the eye of beholder

Terri Kneipp


OVERHEARD

Have no truck with


An A-musing Life

A Penne for your thoughts

Nanci Bern


Vermont Diary

Something wonderful just happened


Archetypal Hippie Speaks

The Incense of magic

Jeri Rose


100 Years Ago

Edith Louisa Cavell

Pioneering nurse executed October 1915


Weekly Feature

In conversation with Kathy Leo


Chess

Review of The Immortal Game: A history of chess

Lawrence Klepp


in between

Developing trust

Julia Ferarri


REAL FOOD !

Tomatoes galore

Phil Innes


APPRECIATING ART

In the eye of beholder

Terri Kneipp


Love In Action

The Language of Form

Elizabeth Hill


Studio3

Strolling with Bernie

Photographic Essay


Consolation of History

A hundred things to hide

Martha M Moravec


The Great Adventure

What will your daughters see?

Terri Kneipp


StudioOne

The Plains Indians, America’s Early Artists, at the Met

Marnie Innes






Vermont Views Magazine


A unique community supported cultural magazine exploring Quality of Life and Spirit of Place in our bio-region, with extraordinary photographs, 22 regular columnists plus feature articles, galleries & essays, new articles and photos every day. 100s more articles in the Archive.






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In Passing

publisher’s notes

on current contributions

with extracts





Nanci Bern

A resolute spirit

An A-Musing Life






As a nod to one of the words for 2016 posted by Merriam-Webster-‘post-truth’; part of this piece is ‘post-time’. Its initial writing came to an abrupt halt due to, well, you’ll see.


The End of…. 2015

The last day is coming and a wintery air of anticipation abounds. This closing of time is like a book that one has finally, yet often stubbornly, finished.


It flies around you like an insistent bird that won’t stop flapping its wings and banging its beak into that tree outside your window. Walking through hazy morning eyes toward your coffee, your bare foot crunches a slight piece of bark. It has a soft, dulcet tone until it leaves a splinter in your heel. How did this get into my house!


And there is the book waiting on your kitchen table. It is a somewhat annoying book, really. Not consistent, not hilariously funny, but not dreadfully sad. Its protagonist was kind of brave, was kind of well behaved, and was way too attached to good cheese. She was not overly lovable, but not too disliked; just enough to confirm she still had some spice. Room for improvement, for sure, but would not be a total embarrassment if flirted with in a bar.


“So”, said my New Year’s Resolution Fairy, although she looked more a cross between a gargoyle gone soft and a lapsed, yet surprisingly glamorous, burlesque dancer. She adjusted her wings into the cushions on my couch, then threw one leg over the other and proceeded to pump it in steady rhythm. It reminded me of the cat clock I had as a child. The tail moved back and forth like a metronome of time. Only this was no cat and it did not purr. Rather, it brandished questions and comments like an old feathered fan that had been used in some onstage extravaganza.


“tell me what ya got.”

“I don’t know yet. I haven’t thought about it and I didn’t know you were coming today.” Did I really just say that? I felt like a guilty child. I busied myself with straightening up to avoid eye contact. In other words, I moved things from here to there for no reason whatsoever. 

“I can think of a thing or two,” she quipped, eyeing my newest and fanciest cheese board. Those eyes made a slow orbit between my birthday gift to myself and my eyes, which I am sure, resembled the proverbial deer caught in the headlights; not a grown woman who knows how to stand her ground.


Read on >>>>



The Owens

StudioTWO




Every now and again I send people one of these images, and recipients are entranced, or more than that, fascinated.


Here is a selection of the overused word ‘unique’ work, but in this case entirely justified.  What follows are images, contact information with a few notes on the artists.


The Old Chapel is the home and studio of artists F. John  and Fiona Owen.

Each year, for three weeks of the summer, the two painters exhibit their paintings in their  studio. It is an annual Midsummer Celebration - a visual journal of their year, recording their travels and their daily walks.

This year will be the 29th year at the Chapel, and at the exhibition  the  three  year  project   "Weeds in the Heart" -

"A Five Valleys Herbal" will be launched - this is an  illustrated book by Nathaniel Hughes and Fiona Owen. The new book is 176 pages,  an A4 book with full colour throughout , with gilded paintings, illuminations & drawings. 

Their hillside garden is spread over an acre of terraced cliff, with a Gothic tower, pond house and box hedged potager.

Every June, the studio becomes an exhibition space for their paintings. It is twenty-nine years since they moved to the Chapel and they have brought up their two children, Laurence and Meredith there  -  both are now practicing artists .


Read more Here



Shanta Lee

From Self-Immolation to Hashtag Activism:

Ponder me 




What Is Activism in the Age of Social Media?


I recently participated in an online conversation about race and class.  Within this virtual dialogue, someone challenged us with a response, “We need to do something beyond the talking”.  The comment echoed my quandary about activism in this age of social media:  is activism alive? Have we traded in protesting in the streets for keyboards and hashtags?

 

On January 20, thousands (perhaps millions) will march in Washington D.C. in reaction to Trump’s presidency.   Activism over the past decade has included the Million Man March, the March to Save Women’s Lives in response to the Bush administration, and the Occupy Movement in 2011 in response to economic inequality.  The Dakota pipeline inspired many to take a stand against environmental and cultural injustice.

 

Alongside of all of these efforts was the rise of online activism.  This included everything from individuals changing their profile pictures to match the flag of a specific country as an act of solidarity to what is being referred to as hashtag activism.   I witnessed an example of social media activism during the protests in Dakota.  Several of my Facebook friends updated their statuses by “checking-in” at Standing Rock as a symbolic gesture for the protesters.  I shared my observation with my partner while exclaiming “How is changing a Facebook status doing something?!”  I posed the question yet I did not join the protest or post anything on my social media about it.

 

For those of us viewing these actions with skepticism, a Washington Post article by Tanya Sichynsky outlined some of the ways that hashtaging on Twitter has been used as a vehicle for many to use their voice:

 

Read on here >



Vincent Panella

For the Birds

The First Glass




        My grandma believed that birds were the souls of the dead. She would throw out bread soaked in water for the sparrows, grackles and stray pigeons from the nearby coops. She also believed in olive oil as a universal cure and that certain people possessed “the evil eye.” When she walked around our house in Queens with the rosary beads wrapped around her fingers she prayed in a dialect that sounded like typewriters at high speed.


        Our house in Jackson Heights was a block from the Roosevelt Avenue el with its periodic rumble of above-ground subway cars. The trains shook the ground and made speech impossible. The kids I grew up with were Jewish, Italian, and Irish. The Irish boys who dominated the parochial school at Saint Joan of Arc church were a rowdy bunch. They joined up with Italians like me while the Jewish boys for the most part kept to themselves and at times valiantly and physically defended themselves against slurs that horrify us today. All that is changed now. History moves fast. Visit the neighborhood today or watch the recent PBS Special on Jackson Heights and find the most diverse neighborhood in the city or even the world, from Latinos to South Asians, Chinese, Muslims, Koreans and others. Nothing looks the same except the el, and only a vestige of the European base remains.


        My grandpa made wine every year in the basement, and my three uncles would turn the press with an iron pipe to his admonition spoken through a Di Nobili cigar. “No squeeze!” Squeeze too hard and the wine will taste like seeds and stems. The oak barrels of red Zinfandel were stored in a wine cellar which also held cheeses and fresh green olives smashed with a hammer and left to marinate in brine. The olives were forever bitter. My uncles called Grandpa “The Boss” and gently poked fun at the old world ways instilled in that Sicilian town where he grew up. And when I developed an interest in family and asked why he’d come here, he had a simple answer: “There’s nothing over there!”


        The neighborhood that produced both John Berryman and Don Rickles – that master of insult comedy - always had something special, something I can’t define, an intensity and a history that provided a matrix for the diverse groups of today.


Read On >>



Phil Innes

“The Mating Game”

Chess




PAWN STARS Stunning British Women’s Chess Champion writes steamy 50 Shades of Grey-style romance novel about the nerdy game. Jovanka Houska has co-authored a book titled ‘The Mating Game’ where she talks about the issues of sex, chess and the struggle to become a Grandmaster BY JAKE LAMBOURNE 3rd January 2017,


SIX-TIME British Women’s Chess Champion Jovanka Houska has embarked on a new adventure…by releasing her own erotic novel!

Titled ‘The Mating Game,’ the book takes on a ’50 Shades of Grey’ style as she writes all about steamy situations in the world of chess. We follow the life of 26-year-old protagonist Vanny as she begins her quest of fulfilling her dream of becoming a Grandmaster, and the ups and downs of her love-life along the way.


The book is co-authored with James Essinger, and he said of novel. “I had the idea of a beautiful and passionate heroine who had the basic problem that she was only attracted to guys who could beat her at chess. And so Vanny was born.”


Houska has also spoken of how the book is being greeted in the chess community as she lifts the lid of what really goes on behind tournaments. She said: “I think that international tournaments are not that dissimilar to The Mating Game!


“So far, I’ve had a lot of funny comments from people I’ve not really expected them from – they’ve all been really supportive. “I hope that people will realise that it is not just about sex, or chess, but a powerful, romantic story too.” She has however advised any parents not to let any budding chess youngsters get their hands on it, she said: “I would definitely not recommend that any children read this book, though!”


Read on >


Mac Gander

Code-switching

Witness





I have traveled in different worlds and played different roles in my life, some of them stark in the distances between them. The energy that drives me as a writer has caused me to encounter stranger circumstances than might be typical for someone of my class and time, yet all of us inhabit multiple roles and realities. I was thinking about this after spending the New Year’s weekend with my partner’s family and friends in Hartford, Connecticut, where she grew up.


Mainly, I was thinking about “code-switching,” that well-researched notion that we switch our manner of speaking and body language in various contexts. For a lot of black Americans, code-shifting is second nature, taught from childhood as a survival mechanism, especially for navigating in white society. Most things that people wouldn’t think about matter in contexts like shopping at the mall or ordering food in a fine restaurant--keep your hands out of your pockets, ask for a receipt, that sort of thing. The language of the street that won’t fly in the board-room. My partner taught me this, and she is a master of how to play the game in white society. It can seem like a dual identity but it really is not. The transitions in code-switching are fluid and natural.


I do it naturally, too. It was a defense mechanism I picked up in childhood. Later it became a skill that let me get along in different sub-cultures and with different people. It can seem inauthentic. I can remember visiting my dad’s office at Newsweek when I was ten and hearing him chew out some reporter who had mangled a story on the phone—I was so startled, like this man had nothing to do with the father who played catch with me and helped me with my writing. But it was the same man, the same father, just code-switching between family and work.

   Read On>>>



Elizabeth Hill

New Year’s Reflections on

“Charlotte’s Web”

Love in Action




I recently watched “Charlotte’s Web.” For years, it’s been one of my favorites, but now, as we step into a most uncertain 2017, it has taken on a deeper meaning, and given me a bit of comfort and guidance for the days ahead. 


Many are likely familiar with the story (see here), so I am not going to retell it; rather, I prefer to focus on its symbolism through the four words Charlotte spun in her webs.


The story can be read as an archetypal life journey, and the animals seen as various psychological archetypes within the human psyche. For instance, within each of us there is a ‘Templeton’- that grumpy, self-centered, sarcastic, loner rat that lives in the shadows and thrives on others’ waste. Similarly, we each carry an internalized ‘Ike the Horse,’ who looks strong and mighty, but faints from fear at the sight of a spider. The cows, Betsey and Bitsy, demonstrate blind naiveté about their own lives, but are fatalistic and gossipy about others’ lives.


Charlotte spun four webs containing four specific words to describe, celebrate, honor, and ultimately protect the life of her piglet friend, Wilbur. The title chosen for the story, however, is not ‘Charlotte’s Webs,’ but ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ My guess is that this choice is not simply descriptive of how many webs she wove, but rather symbolic of the entire web of protection Charlotte was able to build around her friend through her words.


She did this because she valued the open hearted, loving, and innocent behavior Wilbur displayed toward everyone. As Charlotte stated before she spun the first word web, “The right words can change the world.”


SOME PIG


Like Wilbur, Charlotte had once been shunned by the barn animals. This made her determined to show everyone that Wilbur’s life mattered! To that end, she spun the words ‘SOME PIG’ into her web. Because of this, Wilbur became known far and wide, and all through summer the farm flourished with visitors and sales of their produce.

Read the full article.




Spiritual Theft in the

Year of the Monkey

Vermont Diary




It’s been a difficult year to publish this magazine. Many columnists have been angry, enthusiastic and despairing per lunar phase, and writing upon election themes the whole time, and at too considerable a length.


2016 as the Year of the Monkey seems to have fooled even the New York Times who in an article dated as late as October 13th 2016 confidently wrote about what it was going to be like with a female president.


It is as if we as individual citizens had no nous, no power, no other orientation than to give it all up to one pole of the duo — that politicians could do something for us for which our own souls played no part. They stole people’s power, like sly wizards whether of the Bernie, Hillary or The Donald, kind.


Promises made were not only difficult or impossible to achieve, but could sensibly only be achieved by consensus in local communities, and enacted from our very souls — World Affairs have indeed become soul-sized.


Read More



Lawrence Klepp

Manchester by the Sea

SCREENplay




All three of the acutely observant and deeply engaging movies written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, You Can Count On Me (1999), Margaret (2011), and his new film, Manchester by the Sea, have tragic loss in their background and moral confusion in their foreground. Characters do impulsive, irrational things. They intersect at odd, incommunicative angles. Their urgent or mundane or half-finished sentences get nowhere, and so, often enough, do they. 


Yet despite the impasses and dark undercurrents, these films don’t offer depressing tours of unrelieved damage and defeat, or (what would be even more depressing) patented inspiring, heartwarming resolutions. They’re resolutely unresolved.


The result is the opposite of melodrama. There are no cinematic italics or exclamation points, no conspicuous arcs or crescendos. Lonergan’s characters don’t fall into categories like good and evil, hero and villain. Some are more decent or reliable or responsible than others, but all are complex and all are in the throes of muddling through.

His movies are about the irreducible complexity of the human condition, a complexity that includes plenty of oblique comedy as well as muted tragedy, since both are woven into the tangle of ordinary life that he makes his touchstone. Lonergan could use, as epigraph for any of his films, Kant’s aphorism: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity nothing straight can be made.”


At the beginning of Manchester by the Sea, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck, in an appropriately subdued performance) is seen working as a janitor in a Boston apartment house, shoveling snow and fixing people’s toilets, fielding impatient complaints and accepting an occasional tip, living in a dismal little basement room. We sense that this life is a kind of resigned self-punishment before we find out, almost halfway through the film, the reason for it. Read on>>>>



On the trail with Charles Monette

White Mountain

Meanderings




Well, I ain’t about to let a little snow stop my meanderings.  Last night, the 13th of December, the full moon reached its brightest point in Gemini opposing the sun in Sagittarius, creating an opening to possibilities.


Wednesday morning I awoke ready to climb snow-covered Black Mountain.  This would be my first time walking up since black became white.  Donning extra layers, culminating in wool pants, a wool shirt, and a wool hat, I walked out the door.  Oh, and I also had a new pair of Sorel 40 below zero hiking/snow boots to tryout.  Stuffing a warm jacket into my backpack seemed prudent along with a liter of water and a few chocolate peanut energizer bars.


When I arrived at the trailhead, I shoveled some snow to ease my car off the road.  That quickly warmed me.


A friend arrived with her collie and we headed up the mountain.  With a cover of clean white powdery snow, I thought the forest would be brighter than on past meanders.  I was surprised to learn that it was actually darker, even with a bright sun above.  I surmised that it was due to the sun being lower in the sky a week before Winter Solstice.


After some hi/hello conversation, we walked in lucid stillness.

I listened to the soft crunch/squeak of our boots breaking the frozen ¼” top layer of snow above seven inches of powder.  I heeded the wind’s chill whistle through the trees.  But mostly, I was enveloped in comfortable quietude, realizing at that moment it was okay not to speak.  We walked together in silence.


Occasionally brief conversations would start up.  Mercifully brief ones of politics, for example, juxtaposed against simple observations of trees off trail left, right… and above.  We both remarked on the steadfastness of the mountain laurel bushes’ still green leaves.  My mind traced back to June when their bell-shaped flowers were bursting in white full bloom. 


now faded jade, medium hue resilient

holding pure powder effortlessly

balance achieved with hardly a shiver

pine needle branches nearby held snowflakes’ white crystals

with evergreen edges exposed

                        


Read On Here >>>


Toni Ortner

Gone/ All Gone

Old Lady Blog




The chunks of ice are melting. In the distance the steel spires of the city glitter above the still water where bloated bodies float. The marble steps the paintings the libraries the museums the ancient statues and books. All gone. We knew the glaciers were melting. We knew the water would rise. We knew it was just a matter of time even when the President swore there was no such thing as climate change since God controls the weather. We were not blind. We saw how the currents swept in and ripped out the dunes and flooded the streets of cities. We knew the dams did not hold. We saw the moon turn red.


This time God spoke to no one and there was no ark. He must have thought Once was enough. They never learn. I think have been here a long time, but I have no watch. My hair has grown long. I wind the thin gray strands into braids. I wish I had studied something useful like celestial navigation. At least I would know which wild plants are safe to eat.


I no longer smell the stench of burning flesh or oil and gas or hear the screams of women. The roar of the winds died down. The men who wore black masks and chopped off peoples’ head are long since drowned. It is quiet here. The water is retreating into shining pools and thin gnarled branches rise like dancers in the morning mist.    Read On >>>



Julia Ferarri

Fear

in between




Recently I’ve been reminded of the power of fear—our collective and our individual fears: of moving forward, of the unknown, of change. Trauma in life hits us with such unexpected force, catching us unaware or unprepared and sometimes leaving us seemingly incapable of dealing with the after effects: the path ahead, the new normal. Are there ways we can steer ourselves ahead within a state of uncertainty, and still manage to steady ourselves (and others) without putting the brakes on and abandoning our reality? Can we take small steps forward and even watch our potent reactions and aversions to our circumstances?

 

Life keeps changing, nothing we relied on in the past can absolutely be relied on in the future, because everything in the universe moves, spins, unfurls, closes, disappears, reappears—without our control. Beloved trees are cut down, sources dry up, hopeful candidates lose, and people die, but just as importantly, new seedlings survive and grow, new sources of inspiration or substance appear, and new people or opportunities enrich our lives.

 

Life hits us, life hurts. … it can’t be avoided. Sometimes our physical selves just want to stop us from moving on. Armies within us who want to protect us cry out, we panic, we cry, we can’t breathe, we face what seems like the end of the world … we step on the brakes… Read On >>



Lloyd Graf

Urban Naturalist

Hogle in Fall:

a Subdued Sanctuary Hunkers Down for Winter




The Hogle Sanctuary, whose exuberant warm weather charms I praised in Vermont Views a couple of months ago, has presented a more subdued facade of late.  Most deciduous trees have been barren for a month now.  Even Maple saplings that had remained green for weeks in the shadows of their largely denuded parent trees at the Eaton Place end of the Sanctuary trail, started yellowing as October kicked over into November. By now they, too, have contributed most of their leaves to the dense underfoot mat. Factor in the still depressing (to me) stunted appearance of the Sanctuary acres south of the boardwalk, where the once lush mix of wildflowers, tall grass and plain weeds has been so closely cropped down by Foundation groundskeepers as to invite scalping analogies, and the composite visual effect is stark, austere; impressive in its severity, but not my style.


Naturalistically (zoologically) speaking, Hogle has also moved toward austerity during the past month or more.  No longer does each visit to the Sanctuary offer a likelihood of sassy entertainment by high energy avian choruses.  The catbirds, those cheeky,  insouciant jeer-mongers, have been AWOL since the choke cherry yield gave out in mid October.  Once-abundant  robins and redwings (I never thought I'd miss the latter), kingbirds and assorted flycatchers had all departed earlier. The vulture flock with its virtuosic aerial maneuvers far above nearby Putney Road/CT River Valley area roosts,  all vanished in one fell swoop about a month ago.

Read on>>>



 

Passages

Ethel Smyth

Sponsored by the oldest furniture store in New England 

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In light of the forthcoming demonstrations all over the world, here is the composer of "The March of the Women" (1911) which became the anthem of the women's suffrage movement.


A biographical note: In recognition of her work as a composer and writer, Smyth was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1922, becoming the first female composer to be awarded a damehood. Smyth received honorary doctorates in music from the Universities of Durham and Oxford. She died in Woking in 1944 at the age of 86.


“the writer must resist this temptation [to quote] and do his best with his own tools. It would be most convenient for us musicians if, arrived at a given emotional crisis in our work, we could simply stick in a few bars of Brahms or Schubert. Indeed many composers have no hesitation in so doing. But I have never heard the practice defended; possibly because that hideous symbol of petty larceny, the inverted comma, cannot well be worked into a musical score.”


“if you take passionate interest in a subject, it is hard not to believe yourself specially equipped for it.”


“the majority of critical, and plenty of uncritical, readers find quotations a bore.”


“No doubt other writers have often put a thing more brilliantly, more subtly than even a very cunning artist in words can hope to emulate, a supreme phrase being a bit of luck that only happens now and then. And inasmuch as the condiments and secret travail of human nature are always the same, and that certain psychological moments must ever and ever recur, what more tempting than to pin down such a moment with the blow of a borrowed hammer?”


“no one is more trustworthy than the repentant sinner who has been found out.”


“The charms of seclusion are seldom combined with the conveniences of civilization.”




Not Quite Daily

See more MM Kizi at  Story Page & https://mmkizi.org


International Caption It Competition




Series Seven Images


If you like MM Kizi consider buying her new book

Lily the Cowboy HERE




Quizzes

Current Quiz #3


What is the collective pronoun for

  



a group of bureaucrats?


More Quizzes>>>


Image Notes — Dec 18

Marilyn Monroe




Did you ever begin Ulysses? Did you ever finish it? Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926–August 5, 1962) did both. She took great pains to be photographed reading or holding a book — insistence born not out of vain affectation but of a genuine love of literature. Her personal library contained four hundred books, including classics like Dostoyevsky and Milton, and modern staples like Hemingway and Kerouac. While she wasn’t shooting, she was taking literature and history night classes at UCLA. And yet, the public image of a breezy, bubbly blonde endures as a caricature of Monroe’s character, standing in stark contrast with whatever deep-seated demons led her to take her own life.


But her private poetry — fragmentary, poem-like texts scribbled in notebooks and on loose-leaf paper, published for the first time in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters (public library) — reveals a complex, sensitive being who peered deeply into her own psyche and thought intensely about the world and other people. What these texts bespeak, above all, is the tragic disconnect between a highly visible public persona and a highly vulnerable private person, misunderstood by the world, longing to be truly seen.



Art & Soul

Notes on Creating by Audrey Flack


The New Subject Matter, A Problem OF Transcendence

  




Christian Renaissance art dealt with transcendent images. The Resurrection, the Ascension, the Baptism — these images were uplifting. Tintoretto, Reubens, Piero, Raphael, and Michelangelo had their imagery clearly cut out. Live and death, heaven and hell, were depicted in subjects like the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Last Judgement. Transcendence was built in; it was often almost literal.

Veronese, Poussin, and Puvis de Chavannes dealt with mythology and allegory, still an attempt to work with heroic and transcendent subject matter.

In surrealism, transcendence occurs when one shifts from the conscious object tot he subconscious.

Impressionism, in dealing with the common man and common objects used in everyday life, is no longer heroic or transcendent in terms of specific objects and ideas. Transcendence is transferred from subject matter (the object) to the actual paint itself.

This leas to modernism — as exemplified by Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko [Illus.]— in which paint and transcendence are merged, and the object has disappeared. The subject matter is now the fusion of transcendence and paint.

This fusion resulted in a distancing from emotion, and encouraged a cool dispassionate art, in which sentiment, romanticism, and passion were dismissed.

The current return to representation art brings with it new subject matter, as strong reaction to the formalist and modernist past, and a reintroduction to emotion, through the artist’s personal statement and mythology. This sets the stage for a new transcendence.




Now, here, this!  Dec 28


Short & Long-term forecasts




There is a useful on-line resource which tracks real-time lightning strikes here

http://www.lightningmaps.org/




To This Degree

An image a day every day of the year



Taurus 1

The Image: A clear mountain stream

Keynote: The pure uncontaminated and spontaneous expression of one’s own nature

Keyword: Its Own Nature


Taurus 2

The Image: An electrical storm

Keynote: The cosmic power able to transform all the factors of natural existence

Keyword: The Visitation


Taurus 3

The Image: Natural steps lead to a lawn of clover in bloom

Keynote: The gradual expansion of individual consciousness after a fecundating experience

Keyword: Natural fulfillment


Taurus 4

The Image: The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Keynote: Riches that come as result of linking the celestial and earthly nature

Keyword: Communion


Taurus 5

The Image: A widow at an open grave [Illus.]

Keynote: The impermanence of all material and social bonds

Keyword: Discard the past




Image groups comprise a 5-fold sequence

(1° to 15° TAURUS in Scene 3 ‘SUBSTANTIATION’

in Act 1 of 4, Differentiation)


FOOD INQ

This Page Is Under Construction


  



A new column about Food is under construction, no peeking!


 

Photos of the Day


“Depending on the tide”

&

Mystery Picture