Friday, April 28, 2017

Trip to Wheaton College

We are at Wheaton College in Norton, MA , for an a cappella concert by The Blend.

                  The Blend

Peter Green is a member of The Blend:

                                  Peter Green

Peter and his twin bro, Sam, were born c. 22 years ago. They were seriously premature. Peter weighed 1 1/2 lbs., Sam 1 1/4lbs. I could hold Peter in the palm of my hand. 

          Peter singing Goin' to Carolina in my mind 

Peter Green after the concert

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring flowers

Shirley's grave is at its loveliest at this time of year, I think.

We just saw a movie about Emily Dickinson, A Quiet Passion. We were in the very front row - really in the film. Intense! A beautiful, sometimes harrowing, film. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Finally, Spring!

Up here on the north side of Black Mountain, the feeling of spring has been slow to come. Down in Brattleboro, things have been blooming for some time and the trees are that amazing spring green. But up here, we still had a little pile of snow left over from the snow plow until just a few days ago. The trees are just barely beginning to bud and the grass just starting to green. We have quite a large deposit of gravel on the grass left by the plow from the last storm which came when the ground was soft. That will have to be raked up. 

Last Saturday, John and I held our "Eco-Spirituality Father-Son Dialogue" at Hallelujah Farm. Fourteen people were there, including ourselves, and everyone was engaged and seemed to be glad to be there. John was particularly clear in communicating a very challenging message, and people really appreciated that. It was a special day for me, for sure. I never even thought to take out the iPod and take a picture of the group or the place! Sorry about that, loyal blog followers! 

Meanwhile, my knee slowly improves. A little raking I did yesterday seems to have aggravated it, so I have to be careful. 

Yesterday was a particularly good session at the Osher lectures on race (a.m.), and conflict transformation  (p.m.). We are reading contemporary authors on race, e.g., Kwame Anthony Appiah and Paul Taylor. Yesterday, local biologist Bob Engel gave a succinct summary of the state of research on the biological basis for the concept of race. The bottom line is that there isn't much. There is more generic variation within a group of people we would commonly assign to a particular race than there is between any two randomly chosen individuals from two different races. And there is no correlation between genes and commonly held beliefs about racial characteristics. The idea of race is a social, cultural construct. Virtually all natural and social scientists acknowledge  that, but differ on whether it is still necessary to speak of the existence of different races. But the reality is that all "white" people have "black" ancestors who moved out of Africa and went north, where all that melanin that had protected them from ultra-violet radiation in the tropics was no longer needed and even became a liability and fairly quickly (c. a 1000 years) faded away. 

Today was a full day! We had a Hallowell sing at noon, then it seemed pointless to go home because Ellen had a Bereavement Training session at 3, so we went to the Coop - actually she first visited a friend in the hospital - we had lunch, she walked to her meeting, I met John to do a debriefing of our Saturday workshop, then I had to go home to get music which I forgot to bring for an evening rehearsal, grabbed a bite to eat,  met Ellen at the coop again, and went to rehearsal. Now we are at the supermarket. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter weekend

Last evening, we had John and Cynthia over for supper - to celebrate John's birthday, among other things. Ellen prepared a wonderful meal of eggplant Parmesan with gluten-free crumbs, roasted potatoes, asparagus and corn bread. It was yummy! Cynthia brought gluten-free cookies, ice cream and strawberry sauce. A great meal. We talked and laughed a lot.

      Cynthia serving up the eggplant

            A beautiful plate-full

This morning we went to the Easter sunrise service in Guilford, the pancake breakfast following, then came up to Dummerston for the choir. We sang William Billings' Easter Anthem, which is a raucous piece, and the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. The choir sounded good. 

               Assembling for church

      The view from the bass section
         (Right behind Ellen)

Easter flowers

       Flowers for Betsey and Shirley

It is very early spring in Vermont. We still have some snow at our house, but at the cemetery, it is just sort of brown. But I got tulips and also planted some pansies to decorate Betsey and Shirley's graves for Easter. I'm the only one in the entire cemetery who has put out fresh flowers for Easter. I think for most people it just seems a bit early.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


As we came out of River Singers rehearsal this evening and came down the stairway, we saw hundreds (thousands ?) of ladybugs on the wall of the stairwell-hundreds clustered in the corners and many more on the wall, including on the lamp fixtures. Quite a sight! A sign of spring. It got up to 85 degrees today. I guess that brought them out.

Ladybugs on the lamp

Monday, April 10, 2017

Passover Seder

We are at the Feinland Seder which is being held at Pathways common house (where they used to live). It brings together many members of Jerry's family - his parents, siblings and their families, aunts and uncles and their families. 

            Ellen made gefilte fish plates and matzo ball soup. 

          Gefilte fish (actually made with salmon  - it's delicious

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Gradually, the snow is melting

We have had a week of warm weather and a lot of rain, but we still have a lot of snow. Compare this photo with my last posting:

                     The view out our back door today

It's supposed to get into the 70's and even the 80's this week. That should melt some snow!

We celebrated Palm Sunday this morning in Dummerston. I led the choir - they were good! But my knee is still sore enough that being on my feet quite a bit for over two hours left me feeling pretty wiped out, so I opted to stay home this afternoon while Ellen went to a pysanky session at Robin Davis'. 

So, what has the past week been like? I went to see Dr. Morrison Friday about my knee. He aspirated it to see if there was any infection - none. So it's just a bad bruise that will take time to heal. My last PT session I performed better on various balance and strength exercises. That's good. 

We had a lot of music in the week. We had River Singers on Tuesday. Concert Choir on Wednesday. A Dummerston choir rehearsal on Thursday. Then on Saturday morning, Peter Amidon had asked me to lead a rehearsal of an ecumenical choir for music at a Good Friday service - he had to be in Nebraska! So I did. We covered 8 anthems in 1 1/2 hours!  That was possible because (1) they were familiar to some; (2) we started in each case by singing along with a recording; (3) they weren't that difficult. Then later on Saturday we joined three others in a Hallowell sing in West Dover, a very sweet 90-year-old woman who had been one of 18 children! The youngest girl. She is the last fruit on the vine.   

And of course, on Monday, we had our Osher lectures on "race" in the morning and "conflict" in the afternoon. Both very interesting. Tomorrow, however, is Passover, and we will celebrate the Seder  with the Feinlands. 

Hanging over everything, of course, are ominous events growing out of decisions by the President. It is a worrisome time. Hug your loved ones!