Entry Date On-Line Journal - March - April - May 2002
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Journal Archives

05/26/02 Sunday
I keep trying to find time to write, but have not been doing well. This morning was gray and rainy, the air smelling fresh and cool. Now the sun is out, and I will go out for a walk soon - and I'll see if there is anything I can get pictures of.

When I wrote my last entry, I had just ordered a digital camera - and it came the following week. That is part of what has kept me from writing. I've been busy taking pictures and then working with them, almost as I once did in a darkroom. During high-school and college, I did a lot of photography, and my own developing and printing. Once I was on my own after college it was too difficult to set up a darkroom in a one room apartment - and I let it go. But now with the computer working as my darkroom, I have almost the same capabilities as I did then - and in color to boot.

Yesterday Marlene and I went to the local Tibetan monastery's Dharma goods store (full of wonderful stuff.) The drive itself was beautiful - utterly clear blue sky and spring foliage that changed mile by mile. The monastery is only about twenty miles from here, but it is a bit cooler there. As a result, spring is about two weeks behind what it is here in Kingston. Mountains in the spring. There, in Woodstock, the lilacs are now at their peak, whereas here, they are well past blooming. And on the mountains beyond Woodstock, you can see how spring is only slowly climbing the slopes, which are brilliant fresh green lower down, but still pale green or brown toward the peaks.

I took a number of pictures. But I still can not get what I see - which is very frustrating. That has always been the case for me in photography, painting, and even in writing - capturing what I see. To some extent, as far as photography is concerned, I need a better camera. The irony seems to be that I have only discovered what I really want by buying this camera I am now working with. And of course I can not afford another. Nor could I have afforded the one I now want in any case, so it is nothing to be too distressed about. Time to learn - and perhaps next year......

And I wish I could be as fast on the draw with my camera as an old-west gunslinger - twice yesterday hawks flew within ten feet of me - they were beautiful to see, but my camera was in its case with its eye shut. No pictures.
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04/21/02 Sunday
Up and out early this morning to do some shopping. Early for me anyhow. And so I've not had time yet, at noon, to have more than my morning tea. No breakfast. So now a decision - do I still eat breakfast, or launch myself directly into lunch? The latter will probably work better because I will be back on a reasonable schedule.

It is a beautiful day - the weather has finally cooled off after last week's run of 90 degree days. Back to sleeping with blankets last night. Now the brilliant sun is warming everything up. Ernie has been mowing the lawns which had become distinctly shaggy - the first mowing of the season. The air is sweet with the smell of cut grass. Many of the trees are in full bloom, or, in the case of the magnolias, past blooming; even the ones that come on late, the oaks and elms, are showing green. The hills surrounding Kingston are just clouds of that soft early spring green.

I have ordered my first digital camera, and I am aching to have it so that I can capture some of this beauty before it is past for the season. Nature may aid me by slowing things down substantially tonight. The prediction is for temperatures to drop below freezing early Monday morning and that will be followed by snow later in the day. Snow! When I look at the weather radar online I can see the wave of precipitation sweeping toward New York.
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03/31/02 Easter Sunday
Today is a day for strange facts. I've been doing a bit of research and have come across some odd things. Connecticut is such a well-tamed state, one hardly thinks of it as having mountains - but here is a list of just a few of them - I include them in part just for the loveliness of their names - Metacomet Ridge, Compounce Mountain, Totoket Mountain, Pistapaug Mountain, Beseck Mountain, Chauncey Peak, The Hanging Hills, Lamentation Mountain, Cathole Mountain, South Mountain, East Hill, East Peak, East Rock, West Peak, West Rock, West Mountains, Short Mountain, Ragged Mountain, Pinnacle Rock, Rattlesnake Mountain, Talcott Mountain, Hatchett Hill, Peak Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Prospect Ridge, Sleeping Giant, Pond Ledge Hill, Onion Mountain, Sugarloaf, Hedgehog, The Knolls, Barndoor Hills, Stony Hill, Manitook Mountain, Rattlesnake Hill, Rag Land, Bear Hill, Orenaug Hills. (To see some of these mountains, click here.)

Note well that two names refer to rattlesnakes - this is not an exaggeration or a myth. Rattlesnakes used to be common in Connecticut, and I was taught as a child what to do if bitten. Fortunately, that was a piece of knowledge that I never had to use.

Some of these names make me wonder - how did Short Mountain get that name? Why not call it a hill? Are there any North Hills, North Mountains? What is Rag Land, and why is it included in a list of mountains? Barndoor Hills I know about because I lived near them. And we drove for miles beside Sleeping Giant when we went to Bridgeport to visit my cousins. Then there is Metacomet Ridge, all 75 miles of it. The ridge is named after the second son of Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags, who helped the pilgrims and made treaties with them. Metacomet, also known as King Phillip, ended up at war with the pilgrims and died at their hands.

And my other strange fact is from a book on Tibetan Buddhism. "Traditionally, Tibetans joined monasteries or nunneries at a young age. The prerequisite was to be healthy and old enough to chase away a crow."
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03/20/02 Wednesday
Now, in the evening of the first day of spring, the snow is letting up. All day, rain and snow have been coming down. The ground is white with heavy slush, and the evergreen bushes at my front door are misshapen under its weight. But any form of precipitation is welcome at this point - the reservoirs are so low.

It was just two days ago that I heard the peacocks, in the park across the street sounding like huge house-cats for the first time this year. The robins have been back for about three weeks and house finches are singing everywhere. Monday we also had snow, and I took some pictures - I wished I had a telephoto lens to capture the robin sitting and singing in the snow-covered maple branches.

Lin Lerner and her group performed the Lingdro again two weeks ago next Sunday. Last year it was in the evening, and down in the Rondout area, but this year it was held at 3:00PM in the empty store next to Alternative Books on North Front street. I helped out this year - and I enjoyed it all the more for doing so. Lingdro Dancer Such a strange, slow, profound dance - its purpose is to destroy negative influences and support everything good; to bring happiness and blessings, to all those dancing, those watching, and the place in which it is performed. I'm including an image here, not of Lin's group - I don't have any of those - but of a Tibetan dancing in Orissa, in India. This is the same group that Lin studied with years ago, and with whom she now has been sharing what she learned then. Full circle.

This image is of one of the men dancers in full dress - seen from the back. Those are banners in his headdress - everything has a meaning, but I don't know it. Here is a link to the community in Orissa where he danced, if you would like to see more.
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