Saturday, October 14, 2017

71st Birthday visit

NOTE:  At the end of this post it seems sometimes to repeat itself.  I can't quite figure how to get that out of the post.  My intention was to end with the half duck in Williamstown.  Sorry.

Elizabeth decided the area of North Hampton Mass might be a good destination for an overnight celebration of my birthday, so that was her gift to me.  She made all the arrangements and gave me a huge menu of museums and places to visit.


On Thursday, October 12 we started out a bit later than we expected.  I slept in after being up a good bit in the night.  I was slow to pack and brain addled.  I wanted to bring anything I might like, and even with that thought, I forgot the seltzer.
We checked in first at the Air B and B owned by Mike who runs the Deerfield Fly Fishing shop in downtown Deerfield.
It was a fine little place attached to Mike's home. It was very well windowed, so there was plenty of light.  It had a nice kitchen that was well stocked. 
Outside was one of these movable chicken coops I have seen and a dozen chickens roamed about the yard.  Mike told us to close our door or those chickens would walk right in and make themselves at home.  One did beg entry at the door as we were unpacking.

There was a small walking field that was just right to stretch our muscles.  Mike let us in at noon and that was very helpful.  We left and did not return until after dark, so it was good to have everything in the house and know where we should park.
Everything was super clean.  No corner was left undusted.  I slept in the bed, and Elizabeth slept on the fold-out futon which she found very comfortable.  I was restless in the night as I am always, but we liked the place and would go back.

From there we went to visit Sandy near Hampshire college. She was one of two twins on the Grand Canyon rapids trip.   Elizabeth has often been in the area for authentic movement workshops and showed me around a bit.
It turned out that Sandy had participated in some simulator car experiences and it had not gone well.  She had a vertigo problem and in order to not get sick, she had to lie down on her back.  But she wanted to see us anyway.  Even with the vertigo she had baked the promised scones, so I went off diet to enjoy one with some unusual and tasty iced tea.  Her friend Barbara was there and helped serve.
We had a great visit, reviewing their Colorado Grand Canyon experience and telling stories. Sandy is full of energy and good cheer.  I liked her as I was told that I would.  She had a fine apartment with working piles of books and papers and photographs.  My kind of place.  She kept in touch with some of her teaching, literature on the junior college level with emphasis on Protest and such units rather than a particular time period.

From there we went to a small museum, Eric Carlson,
to see art that has been featured in children's books.  I did not think I would find it as wonderful as I did.

This David Weisner stuff was just wonderful.  I went back to it twice.  It wasn't just the fish paintings that I liked, but all of the bits of nature, woven in an exaggerated and imaginative world.

Here are more examples of his worldless storytelling art.

It was time for supper, so Elizabeth took me to a restaurant she knew called Chez Albert.  I had pork duo and Elizabeth had a salmon special.   There were other tempting treats, but I picked the right one for my tastes that day.  A tenderloin paired with a bit of bacon like belly.  A bit of polenta and vegetables. 
A very unique Sangria.  Great birthday meal!

I sat where I could look out the window and see the evening with the city lights come slowly in.  I liked it, and I liked my date.

The next morning we had our Esselon coffee and a taste of cheese for breakfast.  We had stopped for a taste of expresso the day before and brought some ground coffee back to the hotel with us.

I was not so impressed with this coffee.  I find it hard to find one I like better than the Honest Weight Co-op   People's Power coffee that brother Bruce introduced me to.  But it did mean we did not have to run out in the morning to some distant coffee spot, and so we had time to walk down by the Deerfield River.  There is an old bridge there that gives a good view of the river, including rising trout.  We took a few photos.

We talked to a local who fly fishes near this bridge.  He says the worm fisherman really decimate the trout.  He is "catch and release."

Down one road we saw a new barn that attracted us, with the new pine boards beginning to respond to the weather and making some interesting patterns.

This was a fine, short hike, and well away from any narrow wooded trails that might hold ticks waiting to grab us.


We packed up and out, said good-bye to Mike, and headed to breakfast at Brad's place in downtown Greenfield.

This was a grand little diner right next to a baseball memorabilia shop.  Again I was able to look out the window and see the movement in the town.  
We had some fine omelets.  I had "Sarah's special" and enjoyed it.  There was something in the taste of the cheese or perhaps in added butter that made the omelets really tasty.
I had a great vanilla coffee and they were around to do refills.

Next we went to see the Poet's Seat Tower, a stone tower set in an area above Greenfield, built in 1912 to honor Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, an over looked Transcendental era American poet.

Here is an overview:

A better discussion of his life and work is here:

I had not read his work in college, when the Transcendentalists were top on my list of writers, nor can I remember him.  Much of the poetry of that era seemed weak.  I did enjoy Jones Very, but Emerson/Thoreau poetry always seemed less to me than their prose.
For poetry I liked Whitman.
Ironically, Emily Dickinson wrote poems from seclusion at the same time as Tuckerman, but as far as we know they did not know each other's work, or perhaps even that the other wrote.  Dickinson knew his family and they lived very close to one another.
Hawthorne liked him.  Of all the writers in those 19th Century years, I like Hawthorne best.

I have been enjoying this fellow's work.  This poem, in particular, seemed appropriate from our visit to the spot that often inspired him.


    Oh! who is there of us that has not felt
    The sad decadence of the failing year,
    And marked the lesson still with grief and fear
    Writ in the rolled leaf and widely dealt?
    When now no longer burns yon woodland belt
    Bright with disease; no tree in glowing death
    Leans forth a cheek of flame to fade and melt
    In the warm current of the west wind's breath;
    Nor yet through low blue mist on slope and plain
    Droops the red sunlight in a dream of day;
    But from that lull the winds of change have burst
    And dashed the drowsy leaf with shattering rain,
    And swung the groves, and roared, and wreaked their worst
    Till all the world is harsh and cold and gray.
    Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

    from: where others can be found as well.
Grand alliteration.  I could have used it in my classroom.
I especially liked: " And dashed the drowsy leaf with shattering rain,"  This is a rather unusual view of Autumn where the elements are more violent and the leaves don't just fall softly.

Generally, I have always found Fall more exhilarating than sad in decadence, but this year, I can feel sadness as well.

Tuckerman also had some eye issues which hampered his college pursuits.

I envy him his eidectic memory, especially in my declining years where without these blogs I would hardly remember the details of any travels.

The tower itself was a pleasure to climb, all stone and brick and very old and heavy steel.  The geometric shapes and angles were very satisfying.

Elizabeth seemed to remember that her father attended Deerfield Academy, so we drove down to the campus and looked around.  She did find what she was after.

And we took a photo of a modern student in what must have been a very similar outfit in her dad's day.  A discussion with a fellow working on sets in the Reid Theater explained that they had lost the battle for a dress code among the girls, but a vast majority of the boys dressed in this manner, some with long pants, some with suitcoats, but all with this look.

The campus was very pleasant.  It would have been quiet, except someone was cutting the grass.  Here is a little rock display.

It houses a small art display as well.  We poked around a bit.
This is the art of Robin Mandel and it was quite interesting.

"All motion is relative; motion is relation"

 We feared one of the wine glasses was positioned to tip and fall, but that was all part of the display.

My favorite was this presentation of spinning bottles. 
Because of the spin, flat images of bottles appear to be complete bottles.

There is a Reid Theater, endowed by no relation of Elizabeth's.

And this art was in the theater lobby.

Most of the buildings in the area were antiques. Some could be toured, but we just ran out of energy and simply walked around.  Here is an interesting Post Office based on an old Meeting House design.

And while it was my birthday, I could not help pointing out the irony of the last movie in this theater's list.


On our way home we stopped in Williamstown, Mass.  to get our favorite half duck at the '6 Pub Restaurant.

This time it was over spinach with very tender green beans on the side.  I had a Dewar's and they were generous with that.
We were too tired to stop in at the Clark.  Another day.
It was a fine birthday celebration.

71st Birthday visit

NOTE:  At the end of this post it seems sometimes to repeat itself.  I can't quite figure how to get that out of the post.  My intentio...