Wednesday, October 27, 2010


 I WAS SITTING IN MY FAVORITE CHAIR READING by the fire the other day.  It was a warm day, and the late afternoon sun was filtered by high mackerel clouds. Suddenly something caught my  eye.  It was dark, moving fast and big.  A dog?  Probably.  Then another dark shape ran by.

They were two bear cubs, probably 70-80 lbs.  They ran right past the big, floor to ceiling windows right to a small apple grove about fifteen yards away.

Then she arrived, slowly, purposefully, with an ambling gait like a sailor too long at sea.  She was big, maybe 200 lbs.  She was wonderful.  A brown nose (snout would be disrespectful) and a powerful body.  She stopped and looked in the windows. I don’t know whether or not she saw me.  The afternoon sun might have reflected in such a way that I was out of her view.
The cubs were climbing the apple trees.  Fast!!!!  They went way up to shake the limbs and get the apples down on the ground to eat.  After all, winter is coming and they need to fatten up for the long winter sleep in some cave or under a ledge up on the ridge behind us.

The big bear lingered in front of our house certain that the cubs were safe.  Then she joined them to feast on the apples on the ground.

I grabbed my camera and had the foolish notion of going outside for a close-up.  I canceled that notion.  They are after all wild creatures.  I shot pictures from the safety of the inside of the house.  They stayed for maybe fifteen minutes and then ambled off.  Their range is about 10 square miles, and they probably had visited our apple trees before.

I wonder what they think of us?  I thought that they were incredible.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cold Day

I’M SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING TODAY.  Supposed to be is the operative phrase.  I don’t want to.  No, I like writing; I really like it. The work I’m talking about is all the stuff you have to do to be an author and a publisher: Contracts, trademark infringements, license agreements, lawyers, more lawyers!  Yuck! I’m a writer and a traveler. That means reading, research, talking to people, thinking (daydreaming sometimes), and then putting fingers to computer keys.

Being a writer is somewhat like being back in college.  Papers need research, good ideas, writing, re-writing, and deadlines.  If you like that kind of stuff and you don’t mind being alone a lot, then maybe writing is for you.

The internet revolution is providing space for  people to be heard and to get their ideas, thoughts, and creativity out there.  I love and believe in the book and the bookstore, but we can’t ignore or overlook the computer and what it offers. Change, as we all know, is the one big constant.  Embrace it.  It’s not always easy, but it is real.

It’s a cold day in Vermont. There is snow on the upper part of the mountains.  The leaves are gone.  Good riddance. I have never liked the overblown colors of the fall, it’s like too much candy all at once.  Now the hills and mountains are more prominent. I like seeing bare tree limbs.  I like pecking away at these keys.

Hurry back spring.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ancient Ones

THE ANCIENT ONES  or the Anasazi, pueblo people in the Southwest dating back hundreds and hundreds of years lived a perhaps-idyllic life.

We went to Santa Fe, NM for a working vacation recently. While there, we re-visited one of our favorite spots: Bandelier National Park, home for more than 600 families 5-600 years ago.  These people lived in a narrow canyon with soaring sandstone cliffs.  A stream runs through it providing water and fish.  Back then there were deer and wild turkey, squirrels, other birds, rabbits and--bears, mountain lions, and snakes.  The rattlers were poisonous.

The canyon sheltered the people from the sometimes severe winters in this high desert land.  It was sunny, pretty warm, and fertile for growing corn and squash.

The people lived in what was apartment-style or condo-style lodges.  Some were tucked up by the cliffs and others were in a large circle on the valley floor.

These people were agricultural and peaceful.  They shared in the work and the benefits of hunting and fishing the stream.  They enjoyed a communal life. Today  the valley in this canyon is much the same as it was when it was inhabited by the ‘ancient ones.’  But they are gone.  Was it disease? Or warfare? Did they hunt an fish it out?  Did they lose faith in their community? Did they jut decide it was time to move on?

We will never know; they did not leave written records, only wonderful carvings in the soft sandstone cliffs and the remnants of their buildings.

Is there a cautionary tale in this?