Monday, June 25, 2012

Death Interrupts Morning Walk

I frequently feel motivated on summer mornings to move the old body and burn a few calories.  During summer break I have the luxury of sleeping past five.  I find that 7:30 is generally a good wake up time.  If I'm sufficiently organized I can get my morning exercise taken care of before the Mid-Atlantic humidity makes it impossible to move. 

Fiona, my border collie mix, is better than any personal trainer.  She follows me with her body and her eyes, to make sure I've selected the sneakers and socks.   She will not let me out of her sight until I have donned the baseball cap, sprayed insecticide and started in the general direction of Sam's lane.

Our walk is pretty routine.  Sam's lane is one quarter of a mile in length, wooded and private.   Sam, a retired U.S. Army drill instructor, who served three tours in Vietnam lives at the end of the lane in an old farm house.  Sam bought the "farm" about twenty five years ago and planned extensive and ambitious renovations. Unfortunately, heart disease, diabetes and strange maladies from his Vietnam tours have stolen his health and prevented Sam from "finishing" anything.  He does not walk very well but can climb onto his backhoe.  It seems that Sam's greatest joy is to dig holes.  He has an extensive pond system complete with waterfalls behind his barn. 

Normally, I try to walk up and down the lane with the dogs unleased about four to five times.   This enables the dogs to run about chasing things in the woods.  Some days I allow them to swim in Sam's ponds.  Some days we walk though the trails in the woods.  Black raspberries are in season now.  I found a new patch.  Sometimes I bring along a container to share with the rest of the family.

Today the walk was interrupted by death.   Living in the woods is what it is.  We have creatures.  Creatures fight, creatures die.  I am not quite sure which type of creature crept it's last but I spotted the turkey vulture before I smelled the carcass.  Fiona tore after the buzzard, while my intellectually challenged golden retriever Freja tromped through woods, hoping to roll in the odorous product.

My walk was ruined.  The smell was overwhelming.  I find it hard to enjoy nature when it smells bad.   Perhaps I will have to wait a week or so to allow the vultures and the carcass beetles to clean up the mess a bit.  Perhaps then I will find an interesting skeleton to clean up use as a drawing prop for my students.   I already have quite a collection of deer, fox, and raccoon skulls.   I'm wondering what I'll find next.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Irish Culture in the US of A

For the past twenty seven or so years, I have lived in the culturally deprived township of Dover, Pennsylvania.  Dover is considered to be a rural suburb of the thriving metropolis that we call York, Pennsylvania.  York's claim to fame is the home of the Continental Congress and considers itself the "First Capital" of the United States.    George Washington supposedly slept here.  Abraham Lincoln passed through here.  Our property was reportedly part of the trail to Gettysburg, a mere 30 miles from here.   York is on the west shore of the mighty Susquehanna River.  It is an incredibly beautiful, wide river with arched bridges and mile wide stretches worthy of sailing.   This river empties into the Chesapeake Bay. 

As a transplant into the community I have taken advantage of numerous cultural events.  I have participated in the York Art Association, my daughter has been a member of the York Junior Symphony.  I am a teacher in one of the local school districts.   I was a member of Penn State York's Pullo Center.   I vote.

Last week I decided to visit the Irish side of my heritage.   A friend of my father's wanted to celebrate Bloomsday.   She could not find any record of the celebration so we met at "Maewyn's" the local Irish pub to read some Ulysses and drink some stoudt.  I chose Murphy's over Guinness.   Maewyn's pulls a great draught, but they are inept in cuisine.  Kim and I read a few passages over lukewarm Irish stew but we enjoyed the company.

On Saturday, June 16th the actual Bloomsday proper I attended the Penn-Mar (Pennsylvania-Maryland) Irish festival  thinking I'd hear some traditional music perhaps or find some drunken Bloomsday afficianados, but was incredibly disappointed to find only bad "Irish rock" , and Irish dancers with wigs and China made kitsch sporting mooning Notre Dame leprechauns and keychains with your "Irish" surname.  Yes people wore green and drank whatever beverage they were serving,

 Not a cultural experience for daughter or self.  We had more fun at the Amish market next door.  Daughter was looking to buy a bohdran to supplement her Irish flute.   She has become quite good at it.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oscar Wilde Sculpture in Dublin

Here he is in all his glory.  Oscar Wilde in Dublin's Merrion Square Park.  I did take my own photo but could not find it and had to borrow one of the many from Google Images.  When I was in Dublin about six years ago, our "guide" suggested that he was in his typical drunken state.  When I googled "Oscar Wilde Statue, Dublin", I found some rather nasty commentary such as "The Queer with the Leer".   Oh stop you asshole homophobes!  Oscar was a wonderful writer regardless of his sexual preference.  I loved Dorian Grey.  I also  love his socks1