Zelda Watch: Not in labor yet, standing well and eating heartily.
You can write us at Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, New York, 12816
24 April 2014

Letter From Oregon: Photo From A Stranger Who Is A Friend

By: Jon Katz
Letter From Oregon

Letter From Oregon

I went to our Post Office Box yesterday afternoon (Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816), it is a magical box often filled with sparking jewels of feeling and communication from everywhere. Bedlam Farm has a long arm now, it reaches far and wide. Yesterday was no exception, there was a photo and letter from an old online and blog friend, once known as Cheryl-By-The-Sea, now known as Cheryl-In-The-Mountain since she moved to the mountains of Oregon. She and Maria are good pals, I gather. Maria has more friends than Red, it is a joy to see how many other people lover her too.

Cheryl Brondstatter may think she is a stranger, but in fact she is a familiar and very valued friend. I have been seeing her e-mail and messages for years, always loving and wise and supportive. As she put it, "my retirement date and your blog were born the same day seven years ago I am one of the thousands of "orphans" who call Bedlam Farm 'HOME,' checking in every day for our dose of balance, spirit, and a never-ending love story."

Cheryl has been following my writing about the New York Carriage Horses and while she says her bones are too thin to ride any longer, she is awed by the ancient connections people have with horses.

"Yesterday," she wrote, "I gave myself an afternoon off from home chores and spent hours puttering through an antique/collectibles store in town. What stories these places hold! When I came across this very old photo of another "John and his pony," (the inscription on the back of the photo) something about it made me think of you. Perhaps it's the determined facial expression or his ease astride the back of a beautiful companion. It spoke to me of your dedication to working animals everywhere."

Cheryl asked me to forgive an unsolicited photo from a complete stranger, but there is nothing to forgive, of course, and Cheryl-In-The-Mountain is no stranger at all. She has walked the long walk with me, and seems to know me as well or better than I know myself. That she thinks well of me after all that she has read and seen of me is humbling. There might be hope for me yet.

"You speak our truths," Cheryl wrote, "your voice echoes from many hilltops and valleys, coast to coast. May you continue the good works with words that so many of us ordinary folks cannot articulate as eloquently." And then she added, "P.S. I love your wife too! – You are a lucky man."

Cheryl, you are no slouch with words, your voice echoes from my heart right up to my brain, how touched I am you saw John and his pony and thought of me. He does look a bit determined and opinionated, for sure. He seems to know where he might be going. And I am a lucky man, I remind myself of it a dozen times a day. You are too generous to me, but as my blog enters it's eight anniversary this coming Memorial Day, I see that I have collected some of the most meaningful, loyal and loving friendships of my life. John and his Pony will sit astride my computer for a good long while, and I thank you, Cheryl-Of-The-Mountain, for reading me, thinking of me, and sending me that photo. I am happy to have it.

People so inclined can write us at Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

I thank you for your love,  your own spirit and passion for life, your curiosity and passion for the creatives spirit. And I thank you for hanging in there with me. I'm just getting started, as I suspect you are.

Posted in General

Open Mike Night At The Round House

By: Jon Katz
Poetry Reading

Poetry Reading

We are coming to look forward to open mike night, a monthly celebration of creativity and community at the Round House Cafe. Last night, I did something I've never done before, read my poetry aloud. I read three poems, two about Spring, one of the Divine Old Dog Poems, "Running In The River Of Life." I felt comfortable doing it.

The open mike program ran from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The cafe served pizza and salads and soups, there was a slightly smaller crowd than usual as there were all kinds of activities at Hubbard Hall next door – theater performances, chorale rehearsals. The music was great – blues, piano, accordion, guitar, much of it surprisingly good. There was a great feeling at the care, people sticking their necks out a bit, putting their work out there, getting a lot of support and encouragement. It is a very safe place to read or perform.

I like reading my poems, I think I might do it again.

Posted in General

On The Hill. Visualizing Calm

By: Jon Katz
On The Hill

On The Hill

We took the dogs up on a hill near the farm, we sat on the windswept hill with them. More and more, I'm using visualization techniques with the dogs and the other animals on the farm, I've been working on this for nearly 15 years, I want to write about it in my "Talking To Animals" book, but I have learned that animals can relate in many ways to the images in our heads about them, it is a way I have always communicated with my dogs, it has always worked for me. In my house, on the walks, I picture calm, I picture peacefulness, I picture them sitting with me or Maria. This has come to pass.

I've done this regarding the road, being left alone while I write, being left alone while we eat. My dogs never run off, never wander, when we sit and talk or just feel the wind, I picture them becoming a part of it, I picture the scene in this photo, it most often comes to be. This is something I think I need to share and teach, it has become a powerful part of my life with dogs.

Posted in General

Still Life: Sofa In The Morning Sun. Life WIth An Artist.

By: Jon Katz
Sofa In The Morning Sun

Sofa In The Morning Sun

When you live with an artist, almost anything can become art. This is our living room sofa, I'm not sure I know what it looks like, it has always been covered in quilts, coverings, and this morning, even a potholder, all made by my prolific and talented wife. Today, the morning sun came in and graced the sofa, spotlighted it's beautiful colors and coverings. Sometimes, you don't even see the real art right under your nose.

Posted in General

Windy Day: Poetry

By: Jon Katz
Poetry

Poetry

Insane winds today, I can't recall a time when the weather was the same more than a couple of days in a row. None of this seems to bother Red, who keeps a steady eye on things, through rain, wind, ice and snow.

Tonight something new for me, a poetry reading. I've chosen two poems about spring and one or two Divine Old Dog poems. I am not comfortable reading poetry much, I've never done it, but I am  never uncomfortable at readings. I always feel it's my destiny to stand up in front of crowds and read my work. We'll see how tonight goes, the reading starts at 7 p.m., at the Round House Cafe in Cambridge.

I am thinking of collecting some of my poems into an e-book form along with some photographs. I'll publish them myself, with my agent, Christopher Schelling. I am hoping to go to New York City next week to meet my friend George Forss there, he wants to go to New York to visit some friends and he also wants to go and photograph the carriage horses with me. I'd love that, trying to figure out if I can justify going to New York purely for fun. It is an expensive place to visit.

Posted in General