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Random Shots. September 5, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Life is ever changing, and I’m feeling myself swept up in currents which aren’t necessarily about blogging.  If I’m scarce for a while, it might be that I’m busy consolidating my life, moving to a new place and diggin’ my favorite time of year.

I’m prejudiced, of course, being a Child of Autumn.

Here are a few shots from this past week.

Mount Negus on a typical morning, with the river rising up its flanks:


A Purple-flowering raspberry with Goldenrod and Spotted jewelweed:

raspberry, etc

Laurels at lakeside, taken earlier in the year:


A bear running from an unwitting pic-nicker:

running bear

…do you see the guy behind the tree?  He just walked up from the river and surprised this yearling bear.

And lastly, a carpet of White wood asters surround a pic-nic table at Mohawk State Forest:

white wood asters

Gotta run – I have mountains of wild mushrooms to dispatch.  I’ll let you know how that goes.


The Church Of All That Exists November 22, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Those of you who’ve had the poor judgment to spend any amount of time here probably know that I’m a Recovering Catholic. I was reared in an over-the-top Catholic home, went to church and Sunday school, said my prayers before bed and Loved Jesus.

But a schism developed when I was a teenager. I had learned about too many Crusades, too many Inquisitions. I saw too much money flowing inexorably upward, from the frayed pockets of The Poor to the Gilded Basilicas of the Vatican. There was too much dogma, too much hypocrisy, too much disregard for Earthly suffering, too much finger-pointing, too many distortions.

There was too much othering.

Even back then, this was important to me, not as a concept with a word attached, but as a visceral feeling of something-not-quite-right.

So I left the Church and wandered in the wilderness, coming to rest before too long in the strong arms of Mother Earth and the warm light of Father Sky. I wrapped myself in Nature, and found it to be a tapestry woven of All That Exists, with nothing superfluous and nothing lacking.

And I saw that it was good.

I’m happy to say that I’m not alone, here in the Church of All That Exists. I’m rubbing elbows with all the good people who now live or ever have lived, and all the flawed people who ever strove to be good. People of peace and love and vices, people of empathy and compassion and countless human failings. The living and the dead, the children of the future, the Ancient Forgotten Ones.

The Peacemakers are here, not in perfection, but in intent. Siddhartha is here, teaching about letting go of the material world, and about having respect for all living things. Gandhi, with his bullet hole, is here; his wife has forgiven him. Dr. King is here, still advocating for social and racial justice, though it astounds him that so many still cannot see.

He’s listening intently, sadness in his eyes, to the contrite tales of nineteen young Muslims who learned to fly, but not to land, because they believed their God demanded that of them, that they give their lives for social justice, as had Martin two generations before. I feel them struggling beneath the weight of the innocent souls surrounding them, asking “Why? Why me?”

There is no right answer, at least not a clear one. The Church Of All That Exists ask only about intent.

“What were you thinking?

“Were you giving of yourself, or were you taking from those with less?”

The Lion is here, lying down with the Lamb in its jaws, doing only what it must to survive. There is no evil in its heart, no malice in its mission.

But not all who live, not all who do, not all who take will be welcome here. The Rumsfelds who sit at a safe distance as they send their neighbors’ children off to die for the profits of the already rich will not be here. The Hitlers who categorize and contain and exterminate for the attainment of their own goals will not be here. The Cheneys who sneer at the pitiful poor who are ground into dust by their For-Profit-War-Machines will not be here. The Phelpses who revel in the suffering and deaths of others who are not like them will not be here.

Nor is my tenure here certain, guaranteed, preordained. My love of All That Exists is not enough. To stay here, to live and die and remain in this place, I must own it, embrace it, commit to it, to the air and the water, the rocks and the trees, the lion and the lamb, and the people. Caring is a necessary first step, but it’s trying to make a difference that makes my bed here.

There are many different paths to this understanding. Some have frescoed ceilings and gilded statuary; others have the humble trappings of a neighbor’s house. Some have choirs and pipe organs; others have the deep stillness of the Silence of Friends.

Mine has a dome of stars, patient and serene, with thin clouds scuttling by, their edges back-lit by a waxing moon. Mine has the low moan of wind over the surrounding hills, and nearer, the rattle of beech leaves refusing to fall. Mine has the bracing cold of hoar-frosted moss, crisply crumbling beneath my knees, penetrating my jeans with an awareness of this world as I bow down to my Mother Earth, humbled beneath my Father Sky, asking for a way to make a difference.

I know it won’t be easy, but on this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m grateful to The Church Of All That Exists for teaching me that I must try.

Autumn in New England October 4, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Nature. Child of Mother Earth and Father Sky. The Temple where my soul goes to die and be reborn. The reason I carry on through the lies and the pain and the bullshit.


In a season which has been sorely lacking the vibrant colors for which October in The Berkshires is justifiably famous, the only significant color this year is at the water’s edge.

For this small blessing I thank you, Mother and Father.

A Conversation September 28, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A warm September night in a deep pine forest. I’m stacking firewood for the long-anticipated gathering of Weekend Warriors, come to slay rocks, trade tales and get loose among friends.

The Sun has departed, something about a prior engagement to the West. The Full Moon is expected, but is fashionably late. I drop an armload of dry wood into the roofed crib, my hands and arms streaked black with pitch, sticky, smelling gloriously of pine, and turn to appreciate the evening’s symphony: cicadas in the meadow down by the river, a chorus of tree frogs surrounding me, the distant hum of short-haulers dieseling up the hill on their way to Points Unknown.

Then you glide in, silent as the sky, curiosity conquering caution, come to see what the commotion could be. I smile, and settle back against a tall stump. I had hoped, dreamed, wished for you without having the temerity to speak your name, without daring to expect you, without believing I deserved you.

But here you are, securing your perch, taking my measure, and before long, asking the Eternal Question, your lucid eyes fixed upon my sorry silhouette, “Whooo?

I let the night slide past like a slow-moving cloud. There’s a pace to this, like leaves falling, like a vole snuffling a circuitous path toward its destiny.

In time I take in the night air, cup my hands about my mouth, and exhale a reply: “Hoo-hoooo!”

Your head swivels, tilts, feathers fluffing. You digest me as the minutes pass.

Then, shoulders hunched, forward-leaning, you catch an unseen current and glide away, not away, but to a nearer pulpit. Now my head swivels, shoulders hunched, a lesson well learned, thank you, and I ask again: “Whooo?

The thinness of my entreaty startles me. I had meant to sing your song, but instead had sung mine.

We’ve had this conversation before, you and I.

Your forward lean becomes a trajectory, and you disappear into the night.

Making The Most Of A Cool, Dry Day. August 29, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, climbing.
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In the high country of Monroe, where it’s always 10 degrees cooler.


With the road closed due to a busted bridge and the sound of the waterfall over my shoulder, it was good.