The Antipode of Autumn

Listening to Peepers, outside in the yard.

 

(to start of project)

I hope you can hear this. The vagaries of computers and the web makes some things uncertain. But if you can, this is what it sounds like here, right now, tonight. Driving home from work late, just after dark, I rolled down the windows just to listen when passing a wet place in the woods, or a farm pond overgrown.

Nothing sounds more like Spring to me than peepers on the first warm night of the year, the same way calls of geese coursing southward overhead on moonlit nights, plaintive and cacophonous, sound like fall. Minstrels announcing the entrance and exit of a very hard season, with a harmonic flourish.

Continue reading “The Antipode of Autumn”

The Road Ends in Water

Brickyard Point Landing, photo by T

 

(to start of project)

The week following New Year’s was cold – record breaking cold – so it wasn’t the best time to visit the seashore; but that made it a good time to visit family. My folks now live on an island  outside Beaufort, South Carolina, which is about halfway between Savannah and Charleston. When I was growing up we took vacations here every summer, back when the place was still a little wild, so we have a lot of memories scattered around the island. When the last of my siblings left home, my parents sold everything in the suburbs and bought a house there before real estate got crazy. Now my own kids have grown up spending summers there, too, and on lucky occasions like this one our visits overlap with my sister or brother and the girls get to see their cousins. Continue reading “The Road Ends in Water”

Warm Inside

 

 

Big snow storm tonight. Took two hours to get home, and Terri is still stuck in town, staying with friends.

It’s already deeper than the dogs. Emily is outside with them, and they bound through it like antelope, or burrow like groundhogs. I can hear her laughing in the dark.

It will fall through the night and into tomorrow.

A good night to be warm inside by the fire.

We’ll have a White Christmas.

 

 

 

A Little History

Howard Chapelle melonseed skiff melon seed plans smithsonian
Chapelle Plans from the Smithsonian

Funny how things circle back.

It was the mid-1930’s, at the business end of the last Great Depression, that a young, not quite gainfully employed naval architect named Howard Chapelle signed up for a job with the WPA. Everyone needed work, and the government was creating jobs and funding them as fast as anybody could think of them. Someone in FDR’s administration came up with an idea to put the nations destitute naval architects to work. It was to be called the “Historic American Merchant Marine Survey/” Along with a lot of other projects that came out of the WPA, it would turn out to be an incredibly valuable storehouse of historic documents; though, with humble beginnings and a short life, it’s eventual cultural value would not be evident for quite some time. Of the two largest work programs created by FDR – the CCC and the WPA – it was this one, the WPA, that received harsh criticism as wasteful and unnecessary, particularly from the conservative opposition.

Continue reading “A Little History”

Embarking

8th Lake Adirondacks

8th Lake, Adirondacks

The word has some appropriate origins:

 

|emˈbärk| begin (a course of action, esp. one that is important or demanding)
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French embarquer, from em- ‘in’ + barque ‘bark, ship.’

 

I’ve been planning this project for quite some time. Years, in fact. Life intervenes between many a fine notion and it’s fruition. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Big projects begin innocently enough, with an idea or impulse, and before you know it it’s taken root. If you don’t pull some weeds up quickly they drop seed and it’s all over but the mowing, or in this case, rowing.

Continue reading “Embarking”