Saturday, June 22, 2013



Now I'm all grumpy.
I started out in a nice mood.
But, before I could even get into the blog, just as it started opening I got one of those error messages. My security settings have decided they no longer like the little rotating globe. For awhile there, I got a window dialogue (oh, yeah, with whom?) box which required me to approve the globe's use. It appeared all the time, even after repeatedly checking the "always allow the rotating globe with the little red dots to do its thing" box. I like the globe. I like the little red dots. They show the geographic locations from which visitors to this blog have arrived. It annoys some people. It makes me smile. There have been a few updates recently to programs I use, most for security issues of course. Somewhere in the updates, default settings were changed - but not by me. So now I get a message that my security settings have blocked the globe application from running. This message was a statement. I was not given an option to change the setting involved. It didn't even note which program was doing the blocking. Was it Java? I've always suspected that in the end the Java would get me, but I expected the word mocha to be involved. Was it my web browser? My antivirus? My Firewall? Windows own security settings? My ISP? I know what is likely to happen here. I'm going to become obsessed at a time when I'm really, really busy with other things in life. I don't have the time right now to allow gritty determination to conquer the problem to take hold. I'll inevitably end up at some point spending hours checking settings, trolling for updates, researching otherwise arcane inane online forums for a solution that allows me to see the little rotating red globe with the... arrrgh! Frustration is already mounting.

Maybe this is just an illustration of my topic. In a way, these ramblings are here for me to come back to 20 years from now (if I last that long) so I can snicker at the hopeless idiot I used to be. What happened was this: I walked down the street. Ya know, I wonder how many times I say I walked "up" the street. It feels like it's always walk "down" the street. I don't know that for sure, it just seems likely. I was walking down the street to go up to town. Well, I'm already in town, so I guess I meant walk uptown to downtown. At any rate, I was zooming off somewhere when it hit me smack dab in the middle of the ol' third eye - I was zooming. Again. I walk fast. Even using a cane I pass most people out there. I find myself doing it all the time. I walked fast in New York. There the energy is manic anyway and I was a diagnosed manic depressive - we fit like a glove, but maybe I shouldn't use that tired old phrase anymore as somewhere in the back of my mind I now hear "If the glove don't fit...." But I never hurried because I felt unsafe or anything like that. I just rushed from place to place - a lot. From time to time, when the pressure to start, to do, or to finish something was off, I'd stroll. I like strolling. Down the beach. Down the boardwalk. Down the boulevard. Through the Village, through Central Park, out onto the Morton Street Pier, through Boston's historic downtown, the South End and Back Bay neighborhoods of Victorian bowfronts, down the trails on Mount Wantastiquet (a.k.a. rattlesnake mountain, but no one has seen a rattler for ages so strolling is okay) across the river from Brattleboro. Yes, I like to stroll. Every now and again, I find myself bustling about like I was auditioning for a holiday movie scene, rushing home to get warm again. Zooming around in winter has a purpose, I can excuse it. But this time of year? It's a pattern into which I often fall. I have to remind myself to stroll. I'm retired now. It's okay to do.

Certainly, there is a lot to take in around Brattleboro these days. June just about anywhere in New England is a wonderful thing. There's lots of flowering trees, lots of gardens to walk by. The peonies are in bloom. Etc. For instance, here's a building more or less across and up the street from my place. I see it when I look out my sliding door windows. it's one of those old big houses left over from the days when the rich local merchants built huge homes just off the center of town.

The trees and shrubs were in bloom, it would have been natural to run over there for a visual drink it all in tour. But I never got there. Too busy. Then it rained for days and days. When the rain stopped, the blooms were gone. I've lived in this apartment through five springs, but I've never seen that place bloom like this. And I missed seeing it up close because I was rushing about.

Summer has arrived. It really is nice out, if a tad warm. This time of year the setting sun hits the leaves of the birch trees in front of my apartment in such a way as to make a glance heartrendingly beautiful. The effect only lasts a few seconds as the late afternoon begins the slide into twilight. It's one of those things I enjoy seeing, one of those things I like, one of those things that make me smile. Sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down, to see, smell, take it all in.

I have a garden on another edge of town, on the grounds of an old Governor's mansion which is now home to many holistic health practitioners. For the last several years, my poor garden has been left to its own devices. Now that I'm retired, I'm trying to save what's left. I've no car and it's a good 45 minute walk. Two days ago, a day the sun came out after another spate of rainy days, I remembered to stroll on my way there. I suddenly noticed I was passing a beautiful classic Triumph.  I would normally have hurried by and not noticed it. Now, my pocket sized digital point and click died, and I'd just purchased a new one on sale plus discount coupon. I decided to stop and take a snap.

When I looked up, I saw this almost immediately across the street in front of the Blind Masseur:
 Over the last few years, "classic" cars and bikes seem to have become a 'must have' item around these parts. And they are spawning. Every year there are more. Now there is barely a nice weekend that goes by without a small coterie of Chevys, Fords, or what have you rolling through town. They fit in to the area, they belong here - if you know what I mean.
The above picture, for instance, is not an old kodachrome. It was taken just 5 minutes up the road last fall by a local friend, Gene Herman. The blue Dodge is his. I hope to get a ride in it one day.

When one talks about June in Brattleboro, one must be careful using the word "stroll". Brattleboro has become known for our annual rites of tourist June, The Strolling of the Heifers. There is a big parade, with young cowlings led up Main Street to the Common. People come from all around to see it. Lots of people from nearby cities who have only seen cows on the animal planet channel. I'm not making this up. When the idea was first broached, I was quick (along with about 12,000 others) to label the concept "The Running of the Cows". The original sponsors were big corporations like Con-Agra, and a new company becoming known for its ice cream - a company with a home address right in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch country, redolent with images of bucolic scenes of goodness and wholesomeness, except that they refused to commit to using growth hormone free milk in their products. In other words, it was a sham, its location meant to burnish a false public image. Sort of like the Parade of the Cows. Over the years (how can this have gone on for more than a decade?) the event has repositioned itself as supporting local organic family farms. It even raises money for education. I finally broke down and watched the parade a couple of years back. After the parade there is a "dairy fest" on the Common and on the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat (which started life as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane - enough said.) I didn't get to go this year, as the radio station participated in the parade and I was in the studio with DJ Wild Goose playing appropriate strolling music. Here's a couple of pics from a couple of years back just to prove I'm not making this stuff up. It's Brattleboro, making stuff up never trumps the unreality of the place.

And at the "Dairy Fest", which used to give out ice cream for free, but now everything costs. And since everything has the label "local" (even when it's not) the price has a "value added" extra cost:

Oops. I just noticed the time. I'll have to finish this another day - this has already been a two day'er. If I don't start work on my radio show for tonight in the next few minutes... What on earth possessed me? Ah, I know what happened. I was strolling...


Austan said...

Being a gimp has made me slow down to where I see things I hadn't noticed since being a child. There is so much to see, and our town really is a lovely spot. Get taking pix, Stevil. That's what you should have been doing all along. You and Allyson are born photographers.

sdt (a.k.a. stevil) said...

Why, Thank You, Ms. Austan. The new camera really was a good deal - I couldn't have afforded it otherwise; I got it for about $70.00 and even then it cleaned me out. It's just a point and click type, but since it's digital it has all these things I have to figure out how to get around just to take a picture. Someday I'll save up enough to get a decent SLR type digital. Digital pics don't cost(like photos used to), so I'll end up taking more of them. Then you'll beg me to put it away.