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May 23, 2010
I often walk this hill.
I imagine when my great grandparents and my grandmother and her siblings finally settled at the foot of this immense mound, they had already looked up at its greatness for several years.
I imagine them, maybe, walking about the hill, maybe, taking a break from farming the land. And, really, I can only imagine them looking over the valley and seeing woods covering Sunderland, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Easthampton, and beyond, that little more exist.
I imagine my mom riding her horse around this hill, young like me. That’s what I imagine her doing here.
When I look from the top of this hill, I see the farm, still in the family; my parents’ work hard for a life I’m not sure I will take on.
I see the University of Massachusetts, treetops, crevasses where there are major roads, and mountains I believe exist in the works of Erastis sailsburyfield.
So many times I have walked up this hill – with neighbors, family, friends, horses, dogs, boyfriends, Sean.
Mostly, I feel, it’s the one thing here that isn’t stale.
When I was young, a real child, and the hill was covered in snow, just so the grass couldn’t poke through, I would walk alone making footprints with intensions, walking backwards.
If the snow melted in the sun and hardened into a half inch of crust at night, we would all scurry our way up the hill, and slide down, and dive off whatever our vehicle was before hitting pickers at the bottom.
When the snow was light, we would hitch up the horse to the sleigh and ride up and around on sunny days.
When there was no snow, no mud from the spring thaw, and the grass was short, we’d ride the horses around there too. I think my earliest memories of being on the hill is of my parents shifting me on and off the front of the saddle; one of them always holding me around my tummy.
That might have been before they rented the field out, but I don’t really know.
One renter planted cow corn. The neighbors and I would run through the isles of tall stalks, getting whipped by long fuzzed leaves.
Later on, we got a new renter, who does hay. It was always fun to climb the gold bails, to try and push them around. We were all too weak and young. I’m pretty sure we all loved the smell, of the dried grass warming in the sun. The dust would tickle our noses.
Before we were of age, we learned how to drive out there. Before grandma died, when I was practicing how to drive, we put her in the car too. She liked going for rides. She told me to put the pedal to the metal, of course I didn’t. I always think about that when I’m driving and I think of grandma.
I was real sad then, when I was in high school. I did a lot of imagining. I would always imagine romantic affairs up there. Who wouldn’t want to be up the hill, seeing everywhere, so far, with someone you love who loves you back? But I was mostly alone then.
So, sometimes I would take the dog up there – just the two of us. She was really my mom’s dog, and I could never have loved her as much, but it made me happy to see the dog prancing through grass three feet high or snow three feet deep. Then we’d have to pick the tics off her, or melt away the beads of snow caught in her paws. Once she bit a porcupine up there and it took days to get the quills out. That was a long night.
Mostly we go up there at night anyways, I mean, when the sun is setting, at the end of the day. Sometimes, we all would walk up there and see UMass lit up at night. It was even easier to see the stars, the Milky Way, the moon.
Today, I walked up there with my camera. It’s a good camera. I can take some pretty good photos. The grass was mixed in with clover. The hill is passed spring, so there is no mud and the anthills are underway. It’s not ready for hay, hasn’t even been planted. Actually, I don’t know if it will. But I have to walk carefully, like my parents would always tell me, not to tramp all over the clover and grass. So, I walked carefully, trying not to trample all over the hill. I took some pictures. And, really, what I thought this time is, man, it’s going to be hard to leave this, one day.
May 23, 2010
I was walking around Amherst today and decided to stroll through the Amherst farmer’s market.
I, unexpectedly, saw this folk-countra trio playing some good traditional style string music.
They are called Shingle the Roof.
New England based, Shingle the Roof has a whole list of shows to come, according to their MySpace page, and consists of Kate Spencer, Tim Woodbridge, and Jerry Devonkaitis.
The band’s story is feature on their MySpace page, but what is the most ironic thing for me, is that the stringed instruments store, Maple Leaf Music, that Spencer opened in 1979 was the shop my first real guitar came from.
I went to the shop with my mom when I was 13, picked out a guitar I hardly new how to play, and from the moment on, the next five years of my life were set. I wrote music, took lessons, formed a band, played in a duo, and played shows at every chance I got.
While my music career dwindled when I took on my degree in journalism and this career in film, my playing turned into a source for music soundtracks for my videos and documentaries.
I don’t talk about playing music or anything much these days, but it’s something that definitely changed my life, and learning about Shingle the Roof was quite the surprise today.
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January 9, 2010
I’m not an orchid fanatic or anything, but I did write an essay on orchids for a science class in high school. The assignment was to feature any organism on a regional, national, and global scale and take an important account of their environment. Here’s a an excerpt from the essay.
Orchids (Orchidaceae) are perennial plants cherished for their beautiful and sometimes fragrant three-petal flowers. They are commonly associated with originating from the tropics of Central and South America, Africa, Madagascar, Asia, New Guinea, and Australia, but are native to temperate zones in North America and Europe. For hundreds of years explorers and horticulturists have journeyed all over the world to discover orchids, mesmerized by their intricate beauty, gathering them from mysterious jungles, striving to recreate their natural habitats and use hybridization in order to grow these wondrous organisms. Because many orchids, such as the Cypripedium acaule of New England, the Encyclia tampensa of Florida, and the Vanilla planifolia of Mexico are native to such diverse regions of the world, they must adapt to their environment as well as their pollinators in distinct ways.
Orchids are monocots, flowering plants that have a single leaf (cotyledon) in the seed and floral parts in compounds of three. Monocots are generally herbaceous as opposed to trees, which do not lack wood. There is one germinating pore for their pollen grains. Other examples of monocots are all grasses, rice, wheat, and corn, lilies, and the vascular, palm trees.
Not too shabby for a kid.
I’ve been researching stone walls for a school project. So I checked some books out from the library.
When I opened Sermons in Stone: The Stone Walls of New England and New York, by Susan Allport, I found someone had written their own inscription, or perhaps sermon, or, something inside the cover’s check-out card pocket.
It reads in a vertical column: YOU, ME, HIM, THEM, US, HER, IT. In a horizontal row reads: NOW, TOMORROW. Then implies these words won’t change between now and tomorrow, the future. I wonder if the writer is alluding to pronouns and genders. I don’t know. Why, in this book? Who?
According to this Web site with no clear title or author, these are object pronouns, and the site allows one to fill in the pronoun blanks.
I found a blog called you me him and her. It has many images of fashionable and design savvy items.
There is also a song by Jay-Z called “You, Me, Him and Her.”
And there is a movie based on a book called And Now Tomorrow.
Only speculation. And mystery.