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A Visit To Mt. Greylock. June 4, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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I had occasion to work last week on the far side of Mt. Greylock, at 3,491′ the highest point in Massachusetts.

It’s not a huge  mountain, but I’d hate to have to paint it.  And even now, at the beginning of June, its weather can be surprisingly brutal, with high winds and dense clouds shrouding the place in powerful plumes of mystery.

So I came home from work by taking the auto road up the southern ridge and over the top, first in weather which kept me swaddled in a hoodie and raincoat, the next day in “better” conditions which allowed me to get the camera out so you can see it, too.

Along the Rockwell Road, a single picnic table with a view to die for sits on a little knoll:

picnic table

It’s pretty sweet.

This is a great low speed drive along a narrow, winding road, making its way to three thousand feet above the farm fields below:

NA view

The road was reconstructed last year, and just reopened about a week ago.  It was a really nice road job, with great pavement and really neat log-and-steel guard rails, very National Park-y looking:

new guard rails

The forest type up here resembles something more commonly found a ways north, up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire or the Greens of Vermont:

krummholz

The summit is adorned with a non-functional tower, the Veterans’ Memorial Tower, which leaks like a sieve and has nearly translucent “viewing windows.”

Vets' tower

The best views are gotten by parking (pay in season) and walking around on the broad, domed summit.  Plus, that’s the only way to see the small things.

Clintonia borealis, or Blue Bead Lily:

blue bead lilies

Bunchberry, a.k.a. Cornus canadensis :

bunchberry

I thought these were single-flowered plants, but a little reading clued me that a clump of tiny yellow flowers sits surrounded by four white bracts, not petals, to give the overall impression of a much larger (1/2 inch) flower.

Here’s a shot of Cypress Spurge, Euphorbia cyparissias,  whose tiny pale flowers are in turn host to a world of complex and beautiful sub-structures:

cypress spurge

By contrast, the seed-heads of coltsfoot are simplicity itself, glowing orbs pole-dancing in the wind, stark and prescient as the plants fail into their future:

coltsfoot seeds

Greylock is primed to erupt into Full Spring Glory, and I hope to have a chance to share that with you.

Cheers, TCR

A Moth. June 3, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, macro photos.
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A brown one, cleverly disguised as a smudge of dirt:

little moth

Cute little bugger.

That is all.

An Agrarian Interlude. June 1, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Down in the Connecticut River Valley, it’s a whole ‘nother world, a place of open spaces and farm machinery bigger than what works up here in the hills.

Here are a few shots from the Flatlands.

A tobacco barn in Hatfield:

tobacco barn

Daisies along that same road witness the sowing of the fields:

daisies

…and in Easthampton, a farm snuggles into the generous flanks of Mt. Tom:

Mt Tom

It’s a pretty place to visit, but come nightfall?

I’m headin’ for the hills!

She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Sister! June 1, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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A fun scene from Graduation Weekend:

strong grad!

And of course, not to be outdone:

strong sis!

We’re blessed with two daughters who love each other.

…When they don’t hate each other!  😆

A Graduation Weekend! June 1, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Uncategorized.
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Last weekend my eldest daughter graduated from Mount Holyoke College, and though the effort was all hers, I have to say that it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

This was a two day affair, with Saturday being comprised of the Laurel Parade, a college tradition combining a unique ceremony with visits from alumni of years past, and many meet-and-greets with faculty who overflowed with praise for our brilliant daughter and her brilliant new wife.  The two of them went through the day hand in hand, making it especially sweet for the Pagan Sphinx and me.

Here are a few shots from Saturday.

Laurel ropes (yes, real laurel leaves woven into strands a hundred yards long) waiting to be shouldered by the young women who earned the right to do so:

laurel ropes

Now to find my Gurrrlz in this sea of diversity:

diversity

It’s cowboy hats, head scarves and everything in between, purportedly the most diverse student body in the country, and it’s a magical pageant of humanity to a country boy like me:

more diversity

Ah, there  they are – on the far side of the procession, which is about to begin:

mer and shan

I’ll have to catch up with them later.  But isn’t it fabulous how everyone smiles when you point a camera in their direction?  And certainly all these women deserve to be smiling – Mount Holyoke isn’t for lightweights, and every last one of them earned this day, Big Time.

The parade begins with invited alumni (a staggered system which avoids having millions of women converge on this unsuspecting little town every May) strutting their colors and reminiscing about when it was their graduation:

alumni

…while more venerable alums watched from a comfortable distance:

car and driver

The Ladies in Red here are proud graduates of the Class of 1934:

class of 1934

Their smiles are as priceless as their memories must be.

And then the matriculating  Seniors walk that walk through the campus which they called home for the last four years:

parade starts

Through the campus they wind their way, arriving at last at the grave of the school’s founder, Mary Lyon:

through the grass

Winding themselves tightly around the tiny fenced plot, passing their laurel ropes forward, swaddling their benefactor’s grave in the glory of their proud accomplishments:

wrapped

It was all a lot classier than I’ve managed to portray it, and made for a beautiful morning, followed by hugs from the Moms:

with Mom

That’s The Pagan Sphinx, flanked by Elder Progeny and her Beloved, with our little Ultimate Spawn rounding out the Gaggle of Gurrrlyz.

Our Beloved’s mom and dad flew in from California for this occasion.  Here’s Beloved with her Mom:

DL and Mom

The parade was followed by a picnic on the lawn, with the requisite nap afterward:

picnic nap

Then there were departmental meet-ups, with faculty touting their students’ accomplishments and passing out awards.  Both of our graduates recieved High Praise and Booty.

It won’t surprise you to know that I was busting my buttons.

All

Day

Long.

Sunday’s photos of the actual graduation ceremony will follow shortly; right now, I’m off to bed!