on a glass plate
soaking a porridge
like a dish
empty of purpose
on the wrong
side of the sky
_______Colleen Redman / Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
on a glass plate
soaking a porridge
like a dish
empty of purpose
on the wrong
side of the sky
_______Colleen Redman / Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
- The following first appeared in The Floyd Press on October 16, 2014
Springhouse Community School (SHCS) students were featured at the October 4th Floyd Radio Show, along with The Buckstankle Boys, writer Mara Robbins, musician Chris Owen and Radio Show hosts Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle. To a sold out show, eight students performed “A Farmer’s Story,” a multi-media presentation based on an oral history interview with local farmer Howard Dickerson.
Working in collaboration with the Radio Show hosts and a representative of the New River Land Trust, students traveled to Dickerson’s farm in September to interview him. They learned that the farm has been in the Dickerson’s family for centuries and was recently placed under a conservation easement with New River Land Trust.
Under the guidance of project advisors and community mentors, students transcribed the interview, wrote a script, created a pictorial story scroll and constructed a crankie, a wooden instrument for scrolling drawings and screening shadow puppetry.
A Farmer’s Story was presented on the Floyd Country Store stage as a narrative and was accompanied by crankie art and shadow puppetry. It touched on Dickerson’s childhood, working on the farm, his college days, his travels and his service in Vietnam.
Dickerson’s story about his own childhood mentor, a family friend who worked on the family farm, was incorporated into the story. “When I was hauling hay at nine years old, Cleve told me that I took the place of a man.”
“When you are out in the field working by yourself, you do things to pass the time. One of the things I do is I write songs,” the narrative quoted Dickerson before the student performance of Dickerson’s song “I’m Ready for Spring.” When you see my cattle grazing on grass … Old Man Winter’s time has passed … Oh, springtime … I’m ready for spring …
“Howard’s not sure what the future of the farm holds,” the narrative concluded. “He just knows that it will always be a farm.”
Following the performance, SHCS advisor Joe Klein addressed the applauding crowd. “We want to thank Howard for sharing his story with us, and for his lifetime of caring and tending the land.”
Klein also thanked the New River Land Trust “for their good work preserving the land in our community” and the project mentors and advisors for their meaningful input. “What a great way to learn local history,” Klein said, referring to the SHCS’s project-based learning model and the results it produces. - Colleen Redman
Photos: 1. SHCS students prepare for their Radio Show performance. 2. Two students perform an original ad for livestock feed with a humorous disclaimer. The feed the ad was inspired by Dickerson’s years of making and selling feed. Also pictured on stage are host Elizabeth LaPrelle (center) and writer Mara Robbins. 3. Adrian Green (left), singing I’m Ready for Spring,” was accompanied by Ryan Leedom on guitar. 4. More from the crankie show. 5. Clip of the crankie narrative. 6. Howard Dickerson and his wife Hilda (center) posed with SHCS students, advisors and mentors at the close of the show. 7. Video clip of the song. 8, 9 and 10 were taken during the making of the crankie and scroll at the Springhouse Community School at the Floyd EcoVillage.
Read about September’s Floyd Radio Show HERE.
October is the best dressed month of the year and the Parkway is a runway show of color.
The double yellow road line winds like a ribbon, tying nature’s glamour, shine and glitter all together.
Like a lit up Las Vegas turned on by the sun, full length trees and a palette of rolling scenery steal the spotlight.
It’s an arcade jackpot of color.
And cars, like flipper-driven pin balls, shoot up and down the winding ribboned ramps while October lights flash, “You’re a Winner!”
1. Mystery solved. On the day the latest Rolling Stone magazine came out with a story on Jackson Browne shown on the front cover, I got a generous amount of hits on my blog via searches (mostly wanting to know if he’s had plastic surgery) that landed people on THIS post.
2. It was hard to refrain from singing the childhood version of happy birthday, ‘Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. You look like a monkey and you smell like one too’ to Liam when his birthday party was actually held at the zoo.
3. I actually did sing it once but changed the word “smell” to “sound,” then made monkey sounds, and he laughed.
4. My Boston Mass cousin Gerry and his wife Marie didn’t expect to meet so many fellow New Englanders in the Floyd during their visit. At Dogtown Roadhouse, they met our friend Chris, who grew up in Hingham, and a couple of friends from New Hampshire. Our friend Bob, a staunch Yankee fan who is originally from New York and who was collecting cover charge admittance, threatened not to let any Red Sox fans in to the show. – More HERE.
5. Each of us holds a piece of the whole story and when we are done, the circle is usually complete. It’s diverse, shines with a common thread and extends out onto something larger than ourselves. I think of a dialogue circle as a work of art, made with the honesty of words, personal reflection and listening. – Colleen on dialogue circle. More HERE.
6. I must have some pretty interesting friends. I recently came across an old notepad that I took to a dinner with friends and passed it around the table with the question, “What have you done that I probably haven’t?” The answers were: wrote 50 songs, went to a traditional peyote ceremony, ice skated naked, crawled through a 100 foot cave on my stomach, birthed five sons at home, and rode a pony at 11,000 feet in the Andes.
7. One of those answers was mine. Can you guess which one?
8. I’m not pointing fingers but I’m shaking my head. – Line written down in the same notepad
9. Low self-esteem and high self-esteem are identical ego problems, excessive focus on self. Bo Lozoff
10. Bolivia has become the first country in the world to give nature comprehensive legal rights in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people. Developed by grassroots social groups and agreed by politicians, the Law of Mother Earth recognises the rights of all living things, giving the natural world equal status to human beings. See HERE.
11. I wish someone would invite me to a party like THIS.
12. Liam’s birthday story told via a Facebook album is HERE.
13. It’s been windy on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but not THIS windy.
My Boston Mass cousin Gerry and his wife Marie didn’t expect to meet so many fellow New Englanders in the Floyd County mountains.
They were passing through from a vacation in Tennessee and I promised I’d show them some Floyd nightlife. After seeing our cabin off the Parkway and meeting the chickens that Gerry had been seeing on my Facebook posts, we had a great meal at Oddfella’s Cantina that included a sing-along of Wagon Wheel and some ale on-tap.
While checking out the iconic Oddfella’s sign (far right), I told Gerry that he had to pick which represented him most, the farmer, the hippie or businessman. The avid vegetable gardener, chose the farmer and we all cheered him on.
We were disappointed that the Country Store was closed, but our visitors enjoyed the stories of past Redmans that I had talked into flat-footing with me on the Country Store dance floor. But I never could convince my dad.
At Dogtown Roadhouse, Gerry and Marie met our friend Chris, who grew up in Hingham, Mass, and a couple of friends from New Hampshire. Our friend Bob, a staunch Yankee fan who is originally from New York and who was collecting cover charge admittance, threatened not to let any Red Sox fans in to the show.
It was a Best of Open Mic being recorded for a fundraising CD to benefit the student Music Lab at the June Bug Center. We only caught a few of the all original sets and those were highly entertaining. I explained the who’s who of Floyd’s onstage notables, in this case musician homeschoolers Eli and Aila Wildman, their mom Deb and teacher Mike Mitchell.
Gerry’s phone battery died, so he asked me to get a shot of this new-to-me-band Reptile DysFUNKtion. A couple of the band members are old friends and the lead singer/sax player is a parent of a student at the Springhouse Community School, where Joe is a part of the leadership team.
We really got a kick out of the above recorded quirky song that was something between a love song about heartbreak and one about Mexican food and heartburn. Did he really just say, “My Burning Heart and your Big burrito?” We loved it either way.
More who’s who notables: Abby Bowen, Luke Thomas and Laurel Brooke doing some folk rock with a hint of mountain blue. And who knew Gerry could dance?
I don’t know who these people are or if they are real. Some are statues, some are people and some are reflections. My own apparition appears in some of the shots, taken at the HirshhornScluptureMuseum in D.D. The piece was made by Dan Graham with two way mirrors, steel wood and stone. More on the Hirshhorn HERE.
Below are some comments made to WSLS TV’s Katy Love by members of Citizens Preserving Floyd County on the recent development that the Mountain Valley Pipeline proposed by two partner companies would not be coming through Floyd as had previously been announced.
“We’re so happy that we were able to stop this pipeline and I really think that we have. I’m sure that the company will not tell you that because they don’t want to know that little people can do this sort of thing. Floyd is a great example of a small community who has fought Goliath. We are an example. All these other places could be like us. It’s time for individual places and people to be speaking up to these companies that would damage their environment.” – Jane Cundiff
“It’s wonderful because it shows that community resistance works. At the same time, it’s not good enough. Our campaign is “No Pipeline.” I can’t, in good conscience, celebrate that my kids are safe when our people’s are at risk.” – Tree Gigante
“I think my country no longer represents me. They represent special interests and money. It’s time for people to stop thinking that hope is not possible. We were told this was inevitable. Nothing’s inevitable. Stand up and shake it up. We need to make the world we want to live in.” – Anne Armistead
“I think there were a lot of people that slept better last night knowing that it was not going to come through Floyd, but it was bittersweet … We are very aware that there are a lot of people and a lot of counties that are still embroiled in the same struggle. It’s our intention in Floyd to do what we can to support these other communities with the resources we have.” – Mara Robbins
1. The first thing Joe said to me Monday morning was, “I just dreamt my dream house.” Duh. Of course it was a dream house because he dreamt it, we later realized.
2. I recently sent my sister Kathy the picture above of the rug she braided me and our new kitchen furniture with a caption that read “How do you like me now?”
3. A couple of years ago I sent her a picture of baby Liam on the same rug playing with pots and pans and a caption that read “See what a good life your rug is having.”
4. Liam was four yesterday. I called him up and asked, “What special day is this?” “It’s my brr-ay!” he answered. See how sweet he is and how cooperatively he and his brother Bryce play HERE.
5. It must be fall because the hens have stopped laying, the first woodstove fire has been lit and the annual Kind at the Pine Halloween Costume Party is circled on my calendar.
6. Quote seen on Facebook – Writer’s Block: When your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.
7. When my son Josh was little he had an imaginary friend named Tommy. After a long time had passed without him mentioning his friend, I asked him what happened to Tommy. “Oh, he got born, mom,” Josh answered.
8. Life is such a whirlwind that I think the word “world” should be spelled “whirled.”
9. And maybe weather should be spelled whether, as in whether or not?
10. What do you wake up thinking about? What is your beautiful question? What surprises you when you sit in silence and practice self-awareness? What is your struggle and how has it served you? What makes you shake to talk about? What makes you break out in a spontaneous smile? Those are just some of the questions I ask myself before our women’s dialogue circle check-in.
11. Years ago I had a favorite claw-legged Victorian couch that I had reupholstered from purple to green, but then I lost it in divorce. Later, I saw it in a dream being lifted high in the air by a crane.
12. Last week the students at Springhouse Community School, the school that my husband co-founded, performed at the Floyd Radio Show, doing a multi-media presentation of narrative, crankie puppetry and song. It was based on an interview they did with a local farmer who recently put his farm in a conservation easement to assure it would remain as farmland. In telling his story, the farmer shared that he was drafted during Vietnam, but before going to war, he traveled the country, saying, “I figured if I was going to die for my country, I might as well see it.” He also said, “The war took the fun out of me.” See HERE.
13. Speaking of art: How many light bulbs does it take to illuminate one fantastic art installation? The answer is HERE. And it’s worth the trip or click.
At the Live Butterfly Garden in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, I learned that blue butterflies are common in South America.
The Common Blue Morpho is a trickster, though. It’s brown on the outside and only shows its iridescent blue when it opens its wings.
Blue Morpho’s are not shy butterflies and are likely to land on you, especially if you’re wearing a blue shirt.
“It reminds me of a kite,” I said to Joe about this one. He looked up the name and it was “paper kite.”
This one looks like it lost some of its purple spots.
I remember thinking that the museum butterflies were more prone to stay posed than the ones in my backyard. I felt sad to learn that they only live for a few weeks.
We had four hours for each two days we were in D.C. to see museum exhibits. It worked because of the internet and planning what I wanted to see ahead of time. The live butterfly show was among the top three on my list (THIS was #1 and THIS was also in the top 3).
The exhibit didn’t disappoint.
HERE is a good write-up and video clip of the Smithsonian’s Live Butterfly Pavilion.
Students at Springhouse Community School created a story script and crankie show based on an interview with a local farmer who recently placed his farm under a conservation easement with the New River Land Trust. They built the crankie, an old time instrument for scrolling art and screening shadow puppets, with the help of project advisers and community mentors. They also arranged and performed a song written by the farmer, which is shown in video #2. More about Springhouse, a project-based high school at the Floyd EcoVillage HERE. You can read a recent post about the September Floyd Radio Show HERE. Watch for a story on the students performance in this week’s Floyd Press.
While in D.C. visiting the art museums, we made a point to go to the Hirshhorn Museum. You can’t miss the Hirshhorn because the building is round.
Upstairs, we saw an exhibit called Speculative Forms, which was displayed on two floors. Some of the pieces made me gasp, crave to touch or chuckle out loud to myself.
Seeing art in the round makes for a unique viewing experience.
HERE is Hirshhorn Highlights Part I, an account of the downstairs exhibit, a bold installation titled Belief + Doubt = Sanity by Barbara Kruger.
We had a special reason for visiting the Hirshhorn, which also encompasses sprawling grounds and a Sculpture Garden of masterpieces. For years I’ve been reading Naomi Caryl’s blog, Here in the Hills and her posts of the Hirshhorn opening, among other topics and accounts of her life growing up and as a performer/artist in Hollywood. Naomi, who Joe and I were blessed to visit in 2012, is the daughter of Joseph Hirshhorn, whose donations of collected art led to the museum being built. Check out scenes from our visit with Naomi in “Seeing Stars” HERE.
How’s this for a Sunday Shadow Shot? It’s The Great Warrior of Montauban by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and was a gift of Joseph Hirshhorn.
This sculpure of Rodin’s “Les Bourgeois de Calais,” was especially meaningful for me to see. I remembered seeing it on Naomi’s blog when it was in her father’s garden at his Greenwich, Connecticut estate. She also had a picture of her father standing with it HERE.
A shipbuilder from Maine,who was visiting the museum, explained the story behind the scene. Completed in 1889 the monument depicts an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years’ War when Calais, an important French port, was under siege and leaders (feeling certain they were facing their deaths) were ordered to surrender and walk through the city wearing nooses around their necks and carrying keys to the city. Obviously a fan of Rodin’s sculpture, the shipbuilder knew when most of his famous works were made, when they were cast and how many casts were allowed.
Here’s Joe with Rodin’s Walking Man.
I also loved seeing this piece, The King and Queen by Henry Moore, because I remember seeing it on Naomi’s blog at her father’s home and at the museum opening. Naomi wrote about it and other pieces HERE.
Here’s what the Hirshhorn brochure says: “The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the Smithsonian’s museum of international modern and contemporary art. The Museum opened on October 1, 1974, as the result of the efforts and generosity of American entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981), who donated his collection to the Smithsonian in 1966.” The sculpture above is pictured in THIS post by Naomi about the 1974 opening.
Joseph Hirshhorn also bequeathed another 6,000 pieces of art after his death. All toll, it is likely to be the largest amount of art given to the United States by an individual. What an amazing gift that is enjoyed by so many and will be for many years to come.
Coming soon: I will be posting photos of Dan Graham’s “For Gordon Bunshaft.” It’s the piece done with two-way mirrors, steel, wood and stone pictured on the left in photo #5. We had a lot of fun photographing ghostly shots reflected in the work, which was acquired by the bequest of Joseph Hirshhorn after his death, along with museum purchase funds.
Even the escalators seem like part of the art installations at the Hirshhorn Art Museum in D.C.
Is that a real bathroom sign or part of the exhibit?
Hey, where can I get linoleum like that?
I love larger than life Alice in Wonderland installations that stretch the boundaries of reality.
According to exhibiting artist Barbara Kruger, Belief + Doubt = Sanity.
After enjoying this exhibit in the lower level of the Hirshhorn Museum and buying a Kruger postcard that said “Don’t Be a Jerk,” we went upstairs and saw the Speculative Forms exhibit. We also spent time in the Hirshhorn’s renowned Sculpture Garden and took pictures for our blogger friend Naomi at Here in the Hills. Naomi is the daughter of Joseph Hirshhorn, who donated his large collection of art to the Smithsonian in 1966 and was instrumental in the founding of the Hirshhorn. - Hirshhorn Highlights Part II is HERE.
_____Our World Tuesday
1. Time feels shorter because at my age it really is, and solitude is like sugar, something I can’t get enough of because it’s an easy rut and more of it isn’t what I really need.
2. The best compliment comment of the week came with my shadow shot photography at the art galleries in D.C. when a reader wrote, “You made your own art in addition to viewing what was on display!” See HERE.
3. I’ve always believed that if you have a good thought about somebody, such as ‘you look nice today,’ or ‘you did a good job,’ the compliment that comes through you actually belongs to the other person and to hold it back is a little like stealing.
4. After having new carpet installed in the living room and bedroom and then getting new furniture in the kitchen, which involved the emptying of drawers sorting through clutter and living out of boxes for few weeks, Joe finally sat at the new, impressive kitchen table and said, “I feel like a king.” “I feel like Cinderella,” I answered, referring to the all the work the changes took.
5. From my Dharmacratic poet friend Will: Our words “satisfied”, and “sad” are actually closely connected, both coming from more ancient words meaning “enough”, or to have had one’s fill of something. The word “saturate” is also from the same roots. The end of summer and beginning of fall brings this thought to my mind. Another dark, cool, rainy day here in the Blue Ridge and everything is going to seed, storing the lessons and energy of the past season in preparation for next; letting go and falling to Earth. The excesses of summer’s bounty are rotting on the ground. It has been plenty. Enough! now. I feel sadisfied.
6. New word used on Facebook by my friend Pat Woodruff: Cluckle, the sound a flock of turkeys makes.
7. Andrew Wyeth was home-schooled. So was Ansel Adams, Robert Frost, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Frank Lloyd Wright, Whoopie Goldberg, Alan Alda, several presidents and more.
8. ”Mom, school is like being in the army. They make you stand in lines.” - My son Dylan upon starting public school in the 5th grade after homeschooling and going to Blue Mountain School.
9. When it comes to life I don’t do a lot of homework but I pay attention in class.
11. THIS so puts the wind in my sails.
12. Message to Summer: Close the Door on Your Way Out HERE.
13. I want a poem I can live happily ever after with even if we fight, a poem that will talk to me but one that won’t say what it thinks I want to hear.
- The following first appeared in The Floyd Press on September 11, 2014
The Floyd Radio Show at the Country Store opened the first show of its fourth season in old time tradition with a variety of musical performances, announcements ripped from the Floyd headlines, radio skits, letters from camp and more.
Spoken word poet and storyteller with a rural Southern twist, Minton Sparks, captivated the crowd with her dramatic performances, which were accompanied by John Jackson, a Nashville-based guitarist who toured with Bob Dylan from 1991 – 96.
Taking on the characters of her stories, Sparks donned tap shoes and demonstrated buck dancing (like flat footing) for one performance. Another involved the inheritance of her “mama’s genuine leather pocketbook,” referred to at one point as “a Tennessee tote bag.” It was “a bone bag that dangled from her wrist for years, like a growth” and held butter rum lifesavers, shed keys, waddled up Kleenex and a secret.
Impressive duet performances by Mac and Jenny Traynham and Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle, the hosts and writers of the Radio Show, ranged from fun-loving to hard times ballads and were streamed live online.
Mac Traynham changed the lyrics to an old blues tune, “All I Got is Gone,” singing “I lost my job. I lost my home. I lost my hair. Now I lost my comb.” LaPrelle, who has appeared on Prairie Home Companion, surprised and delighted the audience with her impressions of Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan and William Shatner in a spot that involved guessing the real life story, one out of three, told by John Jackson.
Showcasing their outstanding harmonies, Roberts-Gevalt and LaPrelle repeated their rendition of “Jealous Hearted Blues” in the second hour of the program, when a first performance of the song was not recorded due to a thunder and lighting storm going on outside.
The variety show format included a segment of home-groan jokes, a shout-out to Coach Beale – who was said to be grieving after Floyd’s recent football loss to Galax – and a news take-off on Virginia current events with allegations of a local scandal. “Looks like the mayor’s been enjoying a steady stream of fruitcakes and cookies recently,” reported Jenny Traynham. Mac went on to report that the mayor’s wife was caught giving out secret recipes and that Ladies Club of Floyd may have been meeting in the Town Hall basement for secret Bingo games.
Near the end of the first hour, Mayor Will Griffin presented Sparks and Jackson with a key of the Town. “It’s a real key. I bought it this morning at the hardware store,” he later said.
Note: The Floyd Radio Show is a first Saturday monthly event. Check the Floyd Country Store website (floydcountrystore.com) for a list of upcoming guest performers. – Colleen Redman
Post notes: The next Radio Show will happen on October 4th, at 7:30 pm and will feature, among other acts, a performance by students from Springhouse Community School that my husband co-founded. The performance will involve a story creation and a crankie based on an interview with a local farmer who has a conservation easement on his land that’s been in his family for centuries. Radio Show hosts Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Gevalt-Roberts, and Andrea Langston of the New River Land Trust have been working with the students. More on the radio show HERE. Visit the Springhouse Community School on Facebook or check out their webpage HERE.
The word glorious came to mind: a bounty of apples picked with our precious grandsons in our favorite abandoned orchard.
“I’m taking some good Andrew Wyeth shots,” I said to Joe, who was reassuring three-year-old Liam that the grazing cows wouldn’t hurt us.
Our favorite “golden tree” stood alone in the sun-filled pasture. It had the best tasting apples of the day.
It was a fairy tale setting in which a monarch butterfly and a small flock of bluebirds flew by.
The rolling mountain countryside had us so enchanted that we all started talking with an Irish lilt.
The boys learned to avoid fresh cow patties and listened to stories about Robin Hood and his merry men. “I just saw a real cricket,” said Bryce, who walked with a big stick for knocking down apples. He remembered being at the orchard when he was not quite three. He had a big stick then, too. See HERE.
“I wish daddy was here,” said Liam, who beamed when his hopa (Joe) helped him climb a tree. Liam decided he would pick his daddy six apples. “How about sixteen,” I suggested. “Sixty!” shouted Opa. Sixty is was.
“One day you could make this your place, not abandoned anymore,” Bryce said. Liam agreed that we should build a house right next to our favorite apple tree.
______Our World Tuesday