The season past…

…is far more attractive than while in it.

A sculptor has a little fun with perspective.


Middle schoolers try their hand at ice fishing with a county naturalist.IMG_3112

Waiting for the snow melt.9AdIUIu9SomuBgHUCNn3pw

What’s a little snow to a dedicated runner?fullsizeoutput_bab

Frosted lines.fullsizeoutput_bac

Take me out to the ball game

College play on the baseball and softball diamonds is a riot when the season gets under way, when pitchers get their throws under control, batters rediscover the thrill of a solidly-hit ball, fielders reach for and snag a line drive and a person on base slaps the perfect tag… or something like that.

All that grace is being discovered, so there’s a lot of amusement as the rust is shaken off.

Here’s a couple of examples taken from action in my town a day ago.

Watching my college softball team face the opposing pitcher and listening to the old farts leaning on a the top row of a cold set of bleachers complaining about a couple of the women’s “hitting slumps,” I have to make a comment: “What’s so hard about hitting this pitcher?”

Turning to leave, I miss the swing and the contact, turn to see what happened and watch the softball head for the tree just past the center field line. Sure enough, that old tree, which is known for collecting hard-hit balls, collects yet another, and my team collects two runs on the play, winning that game with not that home run, but one in the sixth inning, in a doubleheader that featured seven dingers.

To be fair, the wind was fairly whistling out of the softball park, so any ball hit with any solidity and high enough had a great chance of clearing the park.

Then, just across the way, where the wind raced toward the left pole marking the base line, another home game is under way, this one a baseball game between county rivals, one of them my college team. In the second game, in the fifth inning, the starting pitcher finds himself in a jam with one out and runners on every base. The batter finds a pitch and whistles a hit, right back at the pitcher.

Pitcher becomes backstop. The ball ricochets off of him. “That’ll leave a mark,” yells a teammate. Pitcher goes down. On hands and knees he scrambles for the ball. Grabs it an pitches it to the catcher for a force out at home plate. The catcher pops up and fires the ball to second base, where the shortstop gloves it and surprises a runner off base to retire the side.

Earlier in that game, the home team put down four bunts between the mound and the left-field base line, all four batters reaching base. Darndest thing I ever saw… all four bunts in exactly the same place.

The team erupts in both instances. Pitcher wiggles out a bad spot, batters collect six runs on four bunt singles, a double, two errors (one a dropped fly ball in left field), a couple of base hits, a wild pitch — and the home team goes on to win the game. 8-1.

It’s a short, intense college season up here where the snow flies in March. There will be many more plays like these before mid-May.

On the finalization of a genre

Okay. I’m an aberration among readers of fiction. I’ve read James Joyce’s Ulysses twice. I will read it again. I’ve read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick twice. I will read it again. Each of those books, mark an ending point in literature. I’m not entirely sure exactly what type of literature, but I can’t see another author reaching the pinnacle the Melville and Joyce reached with those works.

It is work getting through them.

But, I digress.

I am always late to the dance. I do not surf on the literary waves crashing down on the eyes of the literati. But, I do get there.

I am finishing Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, recommended by a nephew who teaches literature to high-school kids. (I spotted his bookshelf at his home, and it groans with quality literature. In fact, it might qualify as a literary black hole. I certainly was nearly trapped by its event horizon. Information bends in its vicinity.)

But, again, I digress.

I caught a little buzz (probably traveling through space time and back several times before it reached me) that McCarthy’s book marked the pinnacle of the Western. Having read it, the sheer ferocity of the humans depicted, the blood, the depravity, the Judge, all combine to mark this book as the end of the line.

Oh, and that ending…

The myth of the wide-open West still calls, but I wonder if folks have stopped to think about the implications of the ethos of that kind of living. McCarthy certainly has, and he pushed it to the limit. No one will be able to advance the genre after this book. All others written in this vein will find it mined fully.

I would include references, but I don’t have the strength.

You’ll have to read it yourself.

It’s nightmarish. It’s true. It reflects humankind with no limits.

I’m going to read it again.

Spring snow

March 24: Here’s the wet, heavy snow that some forecasters said would go north east of us. Others said rain and a trace of snow. Others said maybe an inch would fall. Try four inches and blowing conditions.

It made for a lovely walk, though. It’s not particularly cold, other than a bit of wind chill. Another plus is that the winged creatures flocking to our trees are much more easily spotted.


When I’m 64

Janine and I turned the proverbial corner in February and March. We both celebrated 64th birthdays.

I guess it wouldn’t quite the deal if the Beatles hadn’t come along with their famous tune. Naturally, I had to look up a rendition.

I’m trying out hearing aids, as well. My, my, my, how technology impacts my life these days. My hearing is being augmented by a pair of dandy, very light high-tech devices. My savings will take a hit, but once those marvelous devices were popped in my somewhat tired ears, the world’s soundscape changed dramatically.

I’ve been straining to hear what people say, and hearing what people say is a big part of my job, so the specialist says that delayed the inevitable.

I’m not complaining. I’m grinning more widely, since bird song is three times more present, as is every other low-volume sound I hadn’t been able to pay attention to.

With a smartphone, hearing aids become even more flexible.

I’m going to like this adventure.

I second it!

It’s a digital mix tape, thanks to a host of tunes posted by! This first bunch of choices are stellar for kicking back after a busy day. The visuals are a little hokey, so I suggest listening with video tucked away. Links expire after a time. If that happens to you, try going directly to and enter the artist and title. I’m pretty much repeating Fimnora Westcaw’s choices, so if you’d rather, check out her site.

Van Halen: Happy Trails

Quicksilver Messenger Service: Fresh Air

John Denver: Sweet Surrender

Hayley Westenra: Dark Waltz

Loreena McKennitt: Night Ride Across the Caucasus

John Denver again: Rocky Mountain High

Loggins and Messina: Watching the River Run

Simon and Garfunkel: Bookends

The Beatles: Something

The Beatles: Because

Eric Whitacre: The Seal Lullaby

Robbie Robertson: Unbound

4 Non Blonds: What’s Up

And this way-old timeless classic
Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight ,Stevie Wonder: Thats What Friends Are For


This next bunch might make you move around a bit.
Sly and the Family Stone: Dance to the Music

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (reminiscent of Springsteen’s sound): Wild Summer Nights

Deep Purple: You Keep On Moving

The Grateful Dead: Truckin

Michael Franti: I’m Alive

Daniel Powter: Crazy All My Life