September 30, 2011 - "Adagio (shoulders smooth as raven's claws)"
THE SEVERED GARDEN
by James Douglas Morrison
Wow, I'm sick of doubt Live in the light of certain South Cruel bindings. The servants have the power Dog-men and their mean women Pulling poor blankets over Our sailors
I'm sick of dour faces Staring at me from the tv Tower, I want roses in My garden bower; dig? Royal babies, rubies Must now replace aborted Strangers in the mud These mutants, blood-meal For the plant that's plowed.
They are waiting to take us into The severed garden Do you know how pale and wanton thrillful Comes death on a strange hour Unannounced, unplanned for Like a scaring over-friendly guest you've Brought to bed Death makes angels of us all And gives us wings Where we had shoulders Smooth as raven's Claws
No more money, no more fancy dress This other kingdom seems by far the best Until it's other jaw reveals incest And loose obedience to a vegetable law.
I will not go Prefer a feast of friends To the giant family.
"I like my body when it is with your body" by e.e. cummings
i like my body when it is with your body. It is so quite a new thing. Muscles better and nerves more. i like your body. i like what it does, i like its hows. i like to feel the spine of your body and its bones, and the trembling -firm-smooth ness and which i will again and again and again kiss, i like kissing this and that of you, i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,
I'm in the Banquet Hall at Hatter's Park for a Candlewood Camera Club meeting...
... and I keep finding myself drawn to these shadows in the entryway... cast by the writing on the glass doors, illuminated by the sodium lights in the parking lot.
So of course I've got to break away from the pre-meeting chit-chat to grab my camera and capture the scene.
Frame... Focus... Snap... Capture.
Then back to the meeting room for what turned out to be the best program-night presentation since I joined the club four years ago! An absolutely wonderful presentation on creativity given by the very talented Laurie Klein - a student of Ansel Adams, who has gone on to develop a wonderful style all her own.
So I'm celebrating with an ice-cold Pepsi "Throwback". Pepsi the way it should be. Pepsi the way it was... the way I remember it as a kid. REAL sugar... not "high fructose corn syrup". Sugary, sweet and delicious!
Just 100 more days to go!
What will 2012 bring? Something different. Something new. But that is 101 days away...
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Gennaro... the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy...
And so we find ourselves on Mulberry Street in Manhattan's Little Italy for the Feast of San Gennaro.
We started with an amazingly wonderful lunch at Lombardi's Pizza on the corner of Spring and Mott Street. REAL coal-oven Pizza Margherita... with perfect crust... fresh Mozzarella di Bufala... San Marzano tomato sauce... and fresh basil. Perfection!
After lunch we wandered up-and-down Mulberry Street for hours on end. Cannoli... Tiramisu... Gelato... Torrone...
A bit of shopping... (found myself an AS Roma Calcio Italia banner... and key chain)... before heading down to Most Precious Blood Church and the National Shrine for San Gennaro to pin our offerings to the robes on the statue.
Mass (partly in English... partly in Italian) to celebrate San Gennaro... before the Saint Statue is paraded out of the church and into the streets. A band plays as flags are presented and the Statue makes it's way down the steps - as the crowd cheers.
We followed the parade... sometimes behind the Statue... sometimes rushing ahead of it - snapping pictures and talking to the Flag and Statue Bearers along the way. Frequent stops are made so the faithful can make offerings, which are pinned to Statue's robes and ribbons. All along the band plays... and people rush to the Statue just to get a chance to touch it's base for a blessing.
The procession slowly makes it's way up the entire length of Mulberry Street... amidst the crowds... the Italian Flags... The Green, White and Red banners, ribbons and garlands... the lights... the cheers... the smiles.
The feeling in the air is electric. So many happy people in one area... it's a beautiful thing!
The celebrations go on into the night...
We make our way through the crowds... escaping them to go to one of our favorite restaurants for a quiet dinner, before catching a late train back home.
Spent the day traveling to three of the farms that supply the natural foods store where I work.
First... Rowland Farms in Oxford, which supplies us with amazing Heirloom Berkshire Pork.
Second... Sepe Farm in Sandy Hook, which supplies us with the best damn lamb I've ever tasted!
And third... Stonewall Dairy Farm in Cornwall, which supplies us with Raw Milk and Farm-Fresh Eggs.
I was there to take photos of the farms... the animals... and the farmers. These photos will be posted all around the store... to help "put a face" to the food... and to the farmers that bring the food to YOU.
I took just under 700 photos today... and have quite a bit of "digital darkroom" work ahead of me.
But... of course... it wasn't all work today. I managed to take quite a few shots that were really more for me than for the store...
... including this one - a close-up of the beautiful coat on one of the breeding sheep at Sepe Farm.
It was a Tuesday morning... and Holly and I were running a bit late. It was already getting close to 9am... and Caitlynn needed to be at her school in New York in about half an hour. We rushed out of the house... loaded the kids in the car - and began our long highway trip - just hoping that there wouldn't be traffic and we'd somehow make it in time. Caitlynn... then just 3 years old... was playing games with Brandon, who was only 4 months old - in the back seat. Holly and I - with cups of coffee in hand - listened to "Curtis and Kuby" on WABC talk radio, as always... and chatted about nothing in particular.
Moments later the morning show was interrupted with a report that an airplane had just hit the World Trade Center in New York City. No one thought much of it at first... after all, this wasn't the first time a plane had hit a skyscraper in New York City. Then again... no one knew that it was a major airline... they thought, perhaps - it was some sort of a small plane. They apologized for not having more information... and promised to keep us updated on any developments.
Only a brief moment went by before the report came in that it was, indeed - a major passenger airliner... and that survivors were highly unlikely. Curtis and Kuby immediately switched their program focus - and started to report on the news and debate on the subject. Curtis Sliwa started to predict the worst... that this was some sort of a hijacking and terrorist act. Ron Kuby began to argue with him - that there just wasn't any reason to believe that this wasn't just some sort of a freak accident. They began to debate it more and more... with the subject turning toward things like ethnic/racial profiling... political tensions... certain ethnic groups promoting terrorism... etc. They were practically fighting with each other when the report came in that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center. This was no fluke accident. Kuby fell quiet... and Sliwa stopped debating... they focussed solely on reporting.
Holly and I were in shock. I remember looking around to see if other people in other cars were hearing the same things. This just couldn't be happening!
We arrived at Caitlynn's preschool... where the teachers were gathered around radios playing the reports in the front office. Many of the people who worked there - including one of Caitlynn's teachers - lived in New York City... had just come from there that morning. They couldn't believe what was happening... but had no reason to believe that it wouldn't be "under control" soon. None of us did.
We all felt that it was best not to panic... especially when we still knew so little about what was happening. We said our goodbyes to Caitlynn... told her we'd see her in a few hours... and started to head back home. We were halfway home when the report came over the radio that the Pentagon had been hit. A reporter cut in to say that the President had been alerted that the United States was under attack. There were reports of a possible bomb at the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Reports were coming in of other planes that had not yet been accounted for.
I burst into tears... I just didn't know what to do... what to feel. I remember looking at the other cars. How many of these people knew what was going on? How many were just listening to a CD or something... with no clue as to what was happening "just around the corner"?
We arrived home... ran inside... turned on the TV to CNN. The news was filled with reports of possible bombs... of planes that are "missing"... of chaos... of people jumping to their deaths from the WTC. Then it happened... the first tower fell. You could see the people...
I remember standing in front of the TV watching that as it happened live... and I felt as if someone had just punched me in the stomach. I couldn't breath. It was the single most horrific thing I had ever seen.
Holly was on the phone with her mom at the time... and came in to the room to find me standing there. I looked up at her... and she said to her mom: "I have to go... we have to go get Caitlynn right away".
Walking out the door... it was like walking into another world. I remember hearing sirens. I remember hearing planes. I found out later that the sirens were a combination of Danbury police trying to scatter to maintain order... and Danbury fire departments rushing to NYC. The planes were from all over... people who were forced to land by the FAA... who had to get to the nearest airport - and ours was the one.
Traffic was heavy... after all, we were heading right towards NYC... and there were literally thousands of people trying to get there. I remember seeing police... fire trucks... Army Reserve and National Guard vehicles - some racing toward NYC... others racing in the opposite direction.
We got to Caitlynn's school as quickly as we could. She couldn't understand why we were there! Teachers were in tears. They couldn't go home... the City was closed off. They couldn't get in touch with their families there... the phones were either down - or the switchboards were too busy. Kids were crying - they didn't know what was going on, but knew that something was happening, and they were scared.
We grabbed Caitlynn - and flew out of there as quickly as we could... racing back home. I didn't know what was going to happen... I only knew that I needed to make sure that my wife and children were with me. I needed them to be where I could see them.
We got home... and the phone started ringing. People who knew we had to go in to NY that day - checking to make sure we were safe. People who were part of our spiritual group (Moonlight Circle... which no longer exists), in need of counseling to get through what they were seeing. People who had no way of seeing or hearing the news, who wanted to know if they could come over.
Within a few hours we had a living room full of people... glued to CNN... waiting. There wasn't any talking... there wasn't any sort of debating or anything like that. We silently watched the TV. Footage came in of both towers falling. Footage came in of President Bush being told the news while at an elementary school in Florida. Footage came in of the Pentagon... and of the crash site in Pennsylvania. Footage came in of the planes themselves - hitting the towers.
I remember feeling exhausted... I remember clinging to Caitlynn and Brandon... I remember my eyes hurting from crying...
I remember the next day... the intense feeling of terror when I walked outside and an airplane flew extremely low overhead. It was a military plane.
I remember walking downtown on Sept. 12th... there were hundreds and hundreds of people... having a candlelight vigil on the Green... then walking down to the War Memorial where there were candles surrounding the base of the flag pole. I remember police officers and fire fighters lining the streets... and people hugging them.
I remember having over 30 people... most of them Pagan... but also some members of the Buddhist, Baha'i and Christian faiths - gathering at our house for Memorial Rituals and Circles of Peace. It brought together people who ordinarily would not get along... and people who had not been speaking to each for many moons, yet have not stopped speaking to each other since.
I remember trying to continue... to "live life so the terrorists won't win". I remember hanging up the "Together We Stand" signs in the windows of our home... I remember hanging American Flags up on our car... I remember going to a Blood Drive held at the Danbury Fair Mall, where several members of Moonlight Circle donated blood. I remember going to the Chuang Yen Buddhist Monestary in Carmel, NY... and just praying for peace.
And I remember taking the kids to a playground on the weekend after September 11th. I remember having a moment of panic when I saw a white van pull up... driving very slowly along the edge of the park - the driver scanning the playground. I immediately started searching the playground for Holly and the kids... while keeping a close eye on that van the whole time. Then a little girl went running up to the van... and the door opened... and a man stepped out - and the girl gave him a very excited hug as she yelled "Daddy!!!"... and her mom came over and gave the man a hug and kiss as he held his daughter and they walked back to the playground together. That was the moment that I knew that things would never be the same.
* * *
Today's image is of flowers and flags left at the base of Danbury's September 11th Memorial Tower on Main Street this morning. The tower - made of glass - includes the names of all of the Danbury area residents who lost their lives on that day. Here are more photos of the monument, taken today...
Two-and-a-half months since her shutter froze... and my baby - my Canon EOS 40D D-SLR - is finally back home!
Apparently I wore the shutter out! It's rated for 100,000 shots... but considering the fact that I took just under 7,000 images in the first month (which was over three years ago now) and, well... I guess I'm not surprised that it finally gave out!
But now she's back home... fresh and rejuvenated by the wonderful technicians at Canon...