Hurricane Irene’s Aftermath

I am so grateful that Hurricane Irene was a tropical storm by the time she blew through Western Massachusetts, but enough rain fell on already saturated ground that we’ve seen some of the worst flooding in over half a century in this area and in many areas of Southern Vermont where one of my sisters lives.

I am lucky enough to be on higher ground, and we didn’t lose power, but many millions did lose power, as well as having to deal with floods and downed trees.

Here’s some photos of the Eunice Williams’ Covered Bridge – where I had jumped from just a few weekends ago – and now it’s near collapse from the Green River flooding yesterday.

Before the flood:

Eunice Williams Covered Bridge, pre-flood

During the flood:

Flooded Green River at Eunice Williams Covered Bridge
Another angle Eunice Williams Covered Bridge flood
Walkway side, Eunice Williams Covered Bridge during flood
Closer view of Eunice Williams Covered Bridge walkway during flood

In this shot, all the water flow to the right in front of the now broken concrete overflow section had been solid ground and trees the day before yesterday.

Reservoir Area now flooded over August 28, 2011

Here is some video footage I took of the flooded Green River:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlaOlZIGlhs

The Deerfield River (of which the Green River is a main tributary) was also at least ten feet above its banks, flooding from Vermont through Massachusetts, where it exits into the Connecticut River, which was swollen as well but not at its flood stage as of this morning.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

Savvy & Simple NEW Marketing Tool for The Actor (via Answers for Actors)

Another cool use of technology to help your acting career and networking. Thanks for blogging about this Paul Russell!

Savvy & Simple NEW Marketing Tool for The Actor Have you got QR? Do ya even know what QR is? If you answered, “Isn’t he that omnipresent prankster from Star Trek – The Next Generation reruns?” pull off your Geordi La Forge visor and hide it in the dresser drawer aside your Mystery Science Theatre 3000 thong. Over the past couple of years you may have noticed  square, maze-like, lookin … Read More

via Answers for Actors

Six and Four

That’s how old the boys are that I provide child care for occasionally, and spent my day with at a lake yesterday.  I used to watch them regularly but changed jobs last year.  The older boy was just two months old when I started the job.

My son was in full-blown adolescence then so it was perfect work for me to watch a child who needed and wanted me as my child was pulling away.  The difference between my son as a baby and the baby I was caring for was so stark.  I didn’t know a child could be so easy to care for.  My son’s pediatrician told me that my son was a ‘high need’ baby as I sat in his office back then, crying from lack of sleep and feeling so inadequate as a parent, and indeed, I was nursing him every two hours, which continued for seven months before he stopped nursing so voraciously, and he was colicky as well.  My mother came to help me during that time, while my son’s father was two states away at his job, coming back on weekends.  My son’s father and I weren’t happy as it was, and having a child only put more stress on our relationship.  We broke up and I moved out when our son turned a year old.

When my friend’s second boy was born, I began watching him at two weeks old, and he was an easy baby as well.  I loved caring for those boys.  It was so good for me because I wasn’t watching a whole group of children as I did when I worked at a daycare center, and I didn’t have twenty-four hour responsibility for them.

I still had parenting duties with my son, even though it wasn’t very joyful anymore, but I had enough positive experiences that dealing with my son’s adolescent angst and unpredictability was more manageable than it might have been.

I would give my son hugs and tell him that I loved him every day, as he stood there, arms by his side, at least allowing me to hug him briefly.  I would say that although he was rapidly changing, I was not, so it was going to take me far longer to adjust.  It was so painful for me to go from living with a boy who wanted to be with me, who called out to me several times a day that he loved me, who enjoyed spending time with me, to the stranger who I now occupied the same physical space with, but could hardly be further from emotionally.  Oh, and did I mention I was living with treatment-resistant depression, and I was a single parent?

I might have screwed up far more than I did with my son if it hadn’t been for my childcare job.  As the boys got older, they were somewhat in awe of my son, especially the older boy I watched.  When my son was there the older boy wanted to follow him around and it was sometimes a challenge to help my son have private space when the boys were with me.  I would usually see if my son could spend time with one of his friends during school vacations or days when I had the boys and my son was around.

I took those boys on many adventures during our days together, but our favorite pastime was finding cows.  I’d drive them to farms and we’d visit with cows and read books about cows, and while other animals were included, cows ruled.

I don’t think I could love those kids anymore if they were my own, and I’m so grateful when I get to watch them now.  The last few times I spent with them, the older boy has been questioning me about why they don’t see me that much.  I explained that I had another job, and they have school now, and days that I could see them their schedule and mine didn’t work that often.  He looked at me and said, “Well, we just don’t see you enough.”

So, I can’t get adult relationships right in my life, but I have a six year-old who knows how to work a room!  Yesterday before I left he hugged me and said “I just don’t want to let go.”  I said, “I know, me either!”  The younger boy and I have a happy, loving, and super fun connection too, but the older boy knows how to articulate what he’s feeling, and isn’t shy about telling me.

I have to figure out how to spend more time with them because they’re going to be seven and five in a few months, and the opportunities to spend significant time with them grows slimmer with each year.  While I so enjoy working with children, it can also be heart-wrenching.

I’ll be bringing my son back to college in a week, and he’ll be back home for Thanksgiving and his winter vacation, but he won’t be back next summer.  We know we love one another, and our bond is solid, but he’s a man now – no matter how much I wished to keep him a boy – and I feel the grief about losing him rising up all over again.  I don’t need to be consoled through platitudes or pity – not that anyone is trying to – but I do need a new purpose and I don’t know where to go or what to do yet.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Calm Before The Storm

It’s supposed to be a sunny, hot, day today and I hope to get to the beach for a last hurrah.  Sunday we’ll have a most unwelcome guest in Hurricane Irene and I am hoping that the hype and anticipation are worse than the event.  I need to secure what I can and make sure we have enough batteries and water in case power is knocked out for a few days, but outside of that, there is nothing we can do but wait.

I’m grateful to live in a time when storms can be predicted fairly well in advance, but only the aftermath will tell the truth. I’m remembering Hurricane Andrew‘s devastation on Homestead, Florida in 1992, and while Irene is as large a mass, I don’t think the winds are as strong.  Hurricane Katrina, was so incredibly devastating, but more because of weak levees and the criminal action (or non-action) in the aftermath.  Flooding is the direst warning at this point, so we’ll see what happens.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers

Flowers are one of the best facets of nature.  I wish I were a better photographer, but I still feel joy when I look at the pictures I’ve taken of flowers.

This was my first attempt at staging flowers for photography, but don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job…

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Venting

Ever have one of those days, or a stretch of days, when things aren’t so great and you’re a ball of neediness and instead of just being available because it’s temporary, those who’ve traditionally been available shy away as though you’re toxic or ‘too much’ or whatever their term or phrase might be, and you realize that you’ve overestimated your importance to them, and then you start to question anything you’ve ever relied on, which actually might be a good thing because I think the point is that the only person, place or thing you can rely on is yourself, even though you are so thick in the hell of disequilibrium that having a sane, or relatively sane, friend present and available would be the best remedy, but just then you realize their limitation and you have to land your metaphorical plane solo even though at that moment they have better piloting skills than you, but, hey, they never promised you anything when you get down to it, and you can’t fault them because they never did agree to be anything at all to you, but somehow you thought there was an implied ‘hey, I’m here for you, man’ – but again, that was my assumption – and now I’m an ass, and alone with my crazy stupid thoughts which are not any less crazy because now not only do I have the original issue I was having difficulty with, but I also feel like a contemptible freak because I told someone the truth about where I was, and it was the wrong someone, but I can’t take it back because it’s already out there, so now I just have to realize that ‘friend’ has been downgraded to ‘acquaintance’ and maybe even ‘casual acquaintance’, and now I am laughing because of the freakish nature of this stupid life that I will be so happy to leave, while far better people than me die far too young when they would have been the ones to do worthwhile things here?  So, I apologize to you too.  I don’t get it either, but if my being here helps one other person on this god-forsaken world, then, cool.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Jump!

It’s raining hard and steady today, as it was yesterday, and I am ruing the end of summer.  It was a hot, sunny and sultry summer weekend before this past one, and I went swimming with some old and new friends a few times at a place called the Pumping Station where there is a covered bridge over the Green River, and a concrete dam where the reservoir water spills over.

Some years ago the river below the dam was filled in with tons of sand to keep people from jumping off the bridge, and the bridge walk-way was fenced over from the roof of the bridge to the bottom of the walk-way rail.

It was an effective deterrent until the huge storms of the last years washed the sand downstream, and actually made the swimming hole deeper than it had previously been.  Someone had also bent the fence out enough that you can slide through the railings, grab hold of the fence on the other side and pull yourself out to step onto the ledge to jump, and that’s exactly what we did.  Getting out onto the ledge was more frightening than jumping, although the first jump I took was dizzying.

I wanted my friends to jump with me, but I was among only a few adults jumping with the group of kids and teens.  My friend who used to jump off the bridge with me many years ago was happier staying on the edge of the water taking pictures of the rest of us

This is me, and my friend, Barb, back in the day when we’d go nearly every weekend and jump and swim:

Here I am last weekend:

Closer:

Happy and proud:

It was an extraordinary weekend spent in the company of some of my dearest friends, and the memory comforts me now, even as I long to be back in the water again.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

As The Pendulum Swings

A friend and I were debating about taxes and about living in a society rather than as outlaws and renegades.

She thinks everyone should pay the same tax, regardless of income and I disagree.  It’s not about merit that I agree or disagree.  Certainly there are those who are content to not work and subsist on what they are given or can steal, and there are those who work ceaselessly and still never make enough to even be called ‘middle class’.

I’m not debating about how we got into the mess we’re in, or the ridiculous tax code, although those are issues to deal with – and in fact, form the crux of the solution through true reform rather than lip service and reneging on deals, or perpetual amendments.

My conclusions are based on my personality, and what I’ve been through or witnessed in this world, so of course I’m biased.  Every last one of us is biased depending on our brain structure and/or our life filters.

Corporations should pay a higher tax rate than solitary citizens when they make higher profits, and especially when they are a type of business that uses resources directly, but also indirectly.  We all use our planet for sustenance, but those who use greater resources need to pay to play.  Industries who are reaping greater profits than at any other time in history, such as the oil and gas industries, should not be government ‘welfare recipients’ in the form of subsidies.

My friend argued that someone working harder than others shouldn’t be penalized by having to pay higher taxes, and while I heard her argument, I disagree.  I don’t think the taxes should be burdensome, and I think that higher rates should apply after a certain threshold, but I question what ‘working harder’ means.  If she works for a company that compensates her well, and she was lucky enough – because I do know that some people are in a better position than others through birth or by chance, as she was and is – then that is good for her, but there are others working just as hard, and actually harder than her at multiple jobs that won’t hire full-time workers so they don’t have to pay insurance, and those people are not making nearly the wages she is.  I know she doesn’t want to have to help lazy users as she envisions her tax dollars going, and those people shouldn’t be helped if that’s an honest assessment, but the majority of people are working hard and still not making ends meet.

Those tax dollars do a lot to ease the burden of those trying to better themselves by making education less expensive or having more dollars available to help pay for an education that will help those people get better jobs.  Those tax dollars help keep our food supply safer by having more food inspectors.  Those tax dollars help keep art and music programs available which enrich our lives and broaden our minds as surely as any core subject does, and perhaps even better as art and music stirs our creative selves helping us to bring more to our life as well as others’ lives.

Tax dollars help pave our roads, build bridges, and keep police, firefighters and other local, state and federal workers.  Those tax dollars also help the poor get health services, along with giving the elderly and infirm an income – however meager.

A majority chose this as our social standard when the economy went to hell over half a century ago, and it helped build a middle class in this country that was strong and relatively stable.  When the more cynical and greedy among us got power they instituted deregulation of polluting industries, of banking and securities, as well as giving corporations and the wealthy even more money and power by declaring money as a part of free speech in the horrid FEC v. Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.

Now some in the Republican party are hell-bent on breaking up unions and trying to send us back as a nation to the robber-baron era of lawless rapaciousness in business and industry.

Democracy is only as strong as its safeguards, and I’ve been noticing a lot more foxes guarding our collective hen-house lately.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Where I Belong

I was excited and happy to be in Boston yesterday.  I love the bustle, and variety – maybe not so much being stuck behind a garbage truck for miles – but I don’t like that at home either.  The smells of the city are more concentrated, not having anywhere to go from being hemmed in through sky-scrapers and a labyrinthine road system that’s always in the flux of disrepair and repair somewhere along the routes, and usually in several areas at once.  The same is true in the hill towns, but it’s not as oppressive as it seems in a more concentrated environment.

I enjoy the challenge of successfully navigating through the crush of people and traffic.  I practiced letting go of control while my son drove through the city on our way in.  We very nearly hit a pedestrian, and it would have been that guy’s fault crossing against the green light, his eyes only on his destination – meeting someone on the other side of the street.  If I hadn’t been there to call out for my son to stop, that guy would have been hit because my son said he never saw him.  I’m glad we averted that tragedy, and that my son didn’t have to bear that responsibility, but I hope the event made him a more aware driver.  This is real life, son.  People are idiots – including myself…

On the drive home, I started to relax, as I usually do, once I headed into wilder country.  Seeing the hills of home in the distance at about the half-way mark between here and Boston is like a drug kicking in and I feel like I belong to that land.  I know my friends and some family members are there, but it’s the actual vista that claims my heart.  I will probably die here, or ask that my ashes be sprinkled from a plane over the hills. (Can you imagine being those hit with my ashes? “What the he-” choke, cough.)  Maybe I can have someone just spread my ashes on the forest grounds.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

The Tree of Damocles

On my hike at Franconia Notch, this tree was hanging in mid-air, caught up by the branches of two or three trees growing over the river bed.

It looks like the spring run-off, or one of the intense storms that sent a surge down the river, made this tree vault straight up, where it now hangs.

I didn’t capture the full view with my camera, but I tried to shoot where the broken tree’s branches were caught up with the live tree branches above the middle of the river bed.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

The Festival Day Of Lughnasadh (Or Lammas) Today

Harvest Festival - a sacrifice of food during ...
Image via Wikipedia

Not only am I transitioning from vacation back to my typical life, but today is the internationally agreed upon day for Lughnasadh, or the First Harvest Festival.  The ancient Celts would most likely be celebrating after sunset on August 13th this year, being this month’s full moon.

I found a fairly short piece about Lughnasadh at: http://www.druidry.org/obod/festivals/lughnasadh.html

I am very affected by the change of seasons, especially to the loss of light, so while this is a celebratory time for the fruits of the harvest and sustenance through the long winter ahead, it is also a period of mourning the shortened daylight hours.  Thankfully, there is much work to do and a lot of energy to put toward the tasks ahead.

May you have a plentiful harvest in all ways.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.