Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy May Day and Happy Birthday Aidan

see you in the lake

Some folks buy motorcyles or sportscars in their midlife; not me, instead, its a red cayak!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

birdsong: poems from Wendell Berry

The question before me, now that I
am old, is not how to be dead,
which I know from enough practice,
but how to be alive, as these worn
hills still tell, and some paintings
of Paul Cezanne, and this mere
singing wren, who thinks he's alive
forever, this instant, and may be.
Ask the world to reveal its quietude—
not the silence of machines when they are still,
but the true quiet by which birdsongs,
trees, bellows, snails, clouds, storms
become what they are, and are nothing else.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ted at Fifty

My friend Ted Cetto writes:
"So what's to learn at fifty? My credo for NPR's "This I Believe" will be Sweat the Small Stuff, inverting the usual axiom of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. For me, in both music and life, the devil is in the details. If you can get the little things right, then, hopefully, the big, good work follows. And in music, as in life, by polishing the small stuff, eventually the whole will glisten. What more can we ask for?"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

tour schedule

Sam is going on tour to the following!!

May 11 with Valgeir Sigurddson: Reykjavik
May 13 (Ancienne Belgique) Brussels
May 14 STUK Labozaal Leuven
May 15 Great Escape Festival Brighton, UK
May 16 S. Barnabas Church London
May 18 Manchester, Midlands
May 19 London
May 21 Voxhall Arhus
May 22 Patronaat Haarlem
May 23 Amsterdam
May 24 Urban Explorers Festival Dordrecht
May 25 Festival Malmo
Jun 16 Cakeshop NYC
Jun 19 University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
Jun 20 Grand Rapids, Michigan
Jul 3 Nuvolari Festival Cuneo, Torino Italy
Jul 5 Schillig Festival (Estonia) Kilingi-Nomme
Jul 12 Riverland Festival (Italy) Sora

travels of the boys

Stefan is going to be on tour in Denmark and Shetland Islands with Lissa Schneckengberger, Corey DiMario and Keith Murphy the next 10 days after just returning from an east coast/southern US tour with Brendan Taffe and others.
See you soon at your graduation walk in May, Stef!

(These photos are taken by Sargon de Jesus at American Week at Pinewoods where Stefan was on staff last summer and we were campers).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sustainable Table
Just found the daily blog of a website which had been recommended to me called Sustainable Table and was happy to see it dedicated on Earth Day to Wangaari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. She has visited our little church in Guilford, Vt. and has even planted a tree there. We sang my setting of Wendell Berry's poem Great Trees for her and now that song has made its way to Kenya.
The blogger writes:
"The amazing thing about Professor Maathai is that in 1977 she looked around at the problems in Kenya, where she lives. She saw that there were problems with lack of water, lack of firewood where women had to walk further and further to gather wood, deforestation, hunger and poverty, women’s rights issues, as well as other problems. Rather than get overwhelmed by it all, she looked at the problem very simply and thought ‘trees’. Yes, she decided to start planting trees. And she did - over 20 million trees were planted from 1977-1997!
How much more simple is that? By planting trees, she and thousands of Kenyans are reviving the landscape where food grows again, water is retained in the soil, and people aren’t as hungry. In addition, she has women gain more rights and get their dignity back.
According to the Green Belt Movement website, “Through its holistic approach to development, the Green Belt Movement addresses the underlying social, political, and economic causes of poverty and environmental degradation at the grassroots level. Its empowerment seminars help people make critical linkages between the environment, governance, and their quality of life. Participants develop a deep desire to better their own lives and communities. As they gain economic security, they are willing to protect shared resources such as forests, public parks, and rivers. The GBM started by addressing a serious problem with a simple solution: getting communities to plant trees as a symbol of their commitment. Today, this approach is taking root worldwide.”

Also, on today's Speaking of Faith program ( Krista Tippett they interviewed Wangaari and I learned this:
"For a quarter century Wangari Maathai and the women of her Green Belt Movement improbably faced off powerful economic forces and Kenya's tyrannical ruler, Daniel arap Moi. She was beaten and imprisoned. Nevertheless, the movement spread to 600 communities across Kenya and into 20 countries. After Moi's fall from power in 2002, Wangari Maathai was elected to her country's parliament with 98 percent of the vote."
"Then, sitting across from her, it is not hard to imagine that this woman has stood up to a dictator and won, and that she has fought off encroaching desert by leading thousands of people to plant 30 million trees. She became the first woman in Central Africa to earn a Ph.D. and the first woman to chair a department at the University of Nairobi".
Happy Earth Day!

Great Trees by Wendell Berry
Slowly, slowly they return
to the small woodland let alone
great trees outspreading and upright apostles of the living light.
Patient as stars they build in air
tier after tier a timbered choir
stout beams upholding weightless grace
of song a blessing on this place.
They stand in waiting all around
uprisings of their native ground
downcomings of the distant light
they are the advent they await.

Receiving sun and giving shade
their lives a benefaction made
and is a benediction said over the living and the dead.
In fall their brightened leaves released,
fly down the wind and we are pleased
to walk on radiance amazed
oh light, come down to earth be praised.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Eckardt Tolle's book A New Earth has been all the rage its seems thanks to Oprah, but for good reason as its got some important reminders and insights about the ego, living in the present, stillness and connection with nature. He says that nature is a beautiful access point to inner stillness; flowers are messengers from another realm. Be like the lilies of the field, not anxious for the morrow. Don't name the tree, just be present with the perception.
Becoming conscious of our thoughts and attachments instead of getting so identified with them, is to be freer from them and to recognize that they are not our real selves. If you are trapped in mental noise that absorbs your attention you don't see the vitality of the world.
Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat Zinn is lovely in helping me remember to not miss the feast available each day. David Whyte, Midlife and the Beyond, says you could do well to read a poem a day; to stop and ponder the deep looking of a poem, which by the way his are great.
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

dear friends

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Coat

Here's part of the coat I'm working on; only got the sleeves to go!

Brenda Ueland's gems from If You Want to Write

"The imagination needs noodling -- long inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering. People who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas...But they have no slow, big ideas."

On why the creative power inside of us should be kept alive: "Why? Because it is life itself. It is the spirit. In fact, it is the only important thing about us. The rest of us is legs and stomach, materialistic cravings and fears."

"...daily life, so much of which is nervous cacophonous, where one's attention is unhappily jerked from this to that, so that the imagination inside cannot accumulate its strength and light."

"Do not forget to keep recharging yourself as children do, with a new thinking called 'inspiration.'"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

cool socks

Rosie came for dinner and had these cool socks she made. She told about two knitting websites that sound fun: (where you keep track of your projects among other things) and Thanks, Rosie!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Play it again, Stefan


Try out UNO, the "Mozart" of mindmapping. go to
and have fun with any project or topic you want to brainstorm or plan. Its meant for writing papers to help intuitively organize your thoughts. You can print it out and go crazy!

Well Hall

We turn to this from what we were by chance
Transforming who we are by what we choose
Our life is given meaning in the dance

Seeking the music's momentary balance
the counterpoint's in woven, mystic clues
We turn to this from what we were by chance

In this small space we find a large expanse;
turn single, turn together it renews
Our life to study meaning in the dance.

In times when fate has thrown us on the slants,
Unsure of what to hold and what to lose,
We turn to this by what we were by chance.

Before, we saw each other in a glance;
Now we see by deeper, older clues
As life is given meaning by our dance.

We breathe together, keep the time, take hands;
the music starts; who knows what then ensues?
We turn to this from what we were by chance;
Our life is given meaning in the dance.

Nicholas Jones (my cousin's husband)
written for the Pinewoods Early Music Week auction item

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

beach walking

Hey, I just booked our flights using all frequent flyer miles to go to the tropical dance vacation in St. Croix for a week with Wild Asparagus and George Marshall in Feb. 2009 to celebrate Peter's 60th birthday and which will occur while we are there on Feb. 10. It also happens to be our 30th anniversary year.
One more round of Florida palm trees and a beech walk since there is still snow in our yard.

Peter's walk in St. Augustine in March

Walking heaven

So here are my top music listenings on my ipod for euphoria- inducing fast walking.
My playlist includes the following for a good solid pace:

In the Dance Tent, the Horseflies "John Brown's Dream" "Pretty Little Girl""Emory Bailey"
Other Side of the Tracks, Assembly "Kathleen Collins","Hickory Jack", "Martin O'Connor""Hughie Travers"
The Western Star, Eric Merrill: "The Golden Ticket", "Queen of the Earth & Child of the Skies",
Trois, Nightingale "Eric and the Angels"
Flying on Home, Airdance, "Killavill Fancy/Highlanders Farewell/Peter Street
And for going up hills: Bound for Canaan, Keith Murphy "Nous Allons en Fete" and "C'est Aujourd Grand Fete"
Evergreen, Becky Tracy John Henry's Reel
Oh! and St.Germaine the album Boulevard: track 1 'Street Scene" and 3(a great jazz trio from Paris) (thanks, Sam)