A new rock musical will premiere at the New York City’s Public Theatre on 14 February 2017. “In the Fire” is set twenty years after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic. Her mother is determined to clear her name. My novel “Playing with Fire” is still looking for a publisher. Hope springs eternal.
Pops, my maternal grandfather emigrated from Banff, Scotland shortly after WWI to America with his family. He had lost two brothers in France during the war, and he, himself, had volunteered at fourteen years old. After a stay in Canada and then Detroit, he ended up in Cleveland, Ohio. His brothers and sisters stayed in Detroit and his mother in Canada. I often heard him tell stories of his North Sea town where all his people were fishermen. This summer I visited Banff and found his home, and that of my great great grandfather, in nearby Portknockie. So today, as the polls are closing in Scotland on the historic vote for their independence, I salute my ancestors, the Cormacks, who fought in the wars and fished the seas, who left their homeland to find a better life in America.
Eldorado is a small community about 7 miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is a covenant based residential area and for the last two years the question of whether chickens are pets (not designated in the covenants) has caused feathers to fly. Yesterday, a judge ruled that in Eldorado, at least, chickens do not qualify as pets. The community has spent over $55,000 on the lawsuit (brought on by pro-chicken advocates) and now may face an appeal. The chicken ownershave spent $22,000 on their case. It’s sad really that it couldn’t have been mediated more sensibly. If we can’t resolve neighborly issues like these, how do we hope to truly attain world peace?
Spring’s pilgrimage to Cactus League baseball denies all the injustices of boys playing a field game for millions of dollars while charging adoring fans $9 for a cup of beer. Despite the inequity, we continue to trek to sun spotted parks with pristine outfields, manicured tracks and a slow game of strategy and skill, athleticism and even danger. We witnessed All-Star Cinci Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman getting hit by a line drive after throwing a 99 mph speedball against the Kansas City Royals catcher, Salvador Perez . Chapman will be out for two months. The game was called. Royals won. We saw the Indians win a slug fest against the SF Giants and then the Royals lose to the Angels. Check out your local AAA ball and the college circuit. The stadiums are small, the game is good and the beer is cheaper.
Dominica calls itself the Nature Island. And so it should. There are miles of hiking trails, national parks to preserve the luscious waterfalls and rivers, the pristine rain forests and rushing rivers.
Because of the elevations, rain comes and goes with frequency. Dominica is unique among the islands. It has recognized its natural heritage and now celebrates it. If you go there, I recommend taking the local transport which originates at various places. You’ll have to find it via the locals. It’s reliable, economical and somewhat energizing as the road are hair-raising up and down hair pin turns on cliffs to the sea. I’ll admit, Dominica is not a typical beach island, but it is well worth the visit.
It’s the little Caribbean island you’ve never heard of because Dominica is relatively untouched by tourism. At 250 square miles, with elevations that reach 4700 feet, it is a tropic rainforest with 300 rivers, crystal clear pools, snorkeling, winding roads along the coastline with breathtaking views and a national hiking trail that spans the island. Unique and friendly (English is the national language) it’s easy to navigate via local vans (once you get the hang of it). It’s not famous for beaches, there are no large hotels. Rum punch is potent. That said, the ubiquitous touring cities stop at the port of Roseau, the capital, and off-load folks who bolster the local economy. They are gone by 4pm. More in the next post about the Nature Island, as they called themselves, but for now, colors accent an already gorgeous palate.
George reluctantly came to the military and political table. He viewed himself first and foremost, a farmer. “Nothing in my opinion would contribute more to the welfare of these States, than the proper management of our Lands,” he declared as he noted soil depletion from heavy tobacco planting. An ardent composter, according to Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners, an outstanding account of our agricultural/horticultural heritage, Washington “was obsessed with manure and the improvement of the soil.” A man after my own heart. I visited Mount Vernon several years ago. Built on the backs of slaves, it remains a moving testament to the conflicts that gave birth to aristocratic rebellion against the British and then less than one hundred years later, a civil war. Happy Birthday George.
Tucked away about 20 miles north of Tularosa on New Mexico Highway 54, the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site, managed by the Bureau of Land Management provide a glimpse into the Jornada Mogollon culture that lived in thatched, semi submerged earth dwellings from approximately 400 AD to 1200 AD when so many thriving cultures seemed to have disappeared…Chaco, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep and many others. Left behind are the rock tablets that depict a common humanity. Animals, symbols, handprints and iconic faces can be seen easily on a trail and it’s only a fraction of the 20,000 some thousand that have been identified.
Just a short jaunt from my home is a tiny train station that services, among other things, the Amtrak line linking us to Los Angeles and Chicago via the Southwest Chief. A controversy now embroils the community because an oil company is proposing to bring crude oil into the station and off-load it onto trucks for transporting to refineries. Tracks and transporting trucks are outdated and the infrastructure has proved incapable of handling the increased demands. In the small village, two wells are in close proximity to the proposed off-loading station. A petition against this ill-conceived plan needs your signature. Lamy is named after Bishop Jean Baptist Lamy who served Santa Fe from 1851 to 1885.
Since I’ve had an AARP card for almost ten years, the next decade moves me into another bracket for, let’s say, a sprint triathlon. So with one rotation of the earth, I’ll be competing as the youngest in the bunch. I’ll need the advantage since it’s my first. While gardening certainly gives me ample exercise, there is nothing like the challenge (fear notwithstanding) of the unknown. It’s more a commitment to health than competition. It’s a commitment to trying new things, to pushing beyond comfort zones. Where would we be if humans and others weren’t compelled to explore new territory? As Anonymous once said…Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.