27 May

Message From The Roost. Memorial Day

by Jon Katz
From The Roost

Stories are important. We are the stories we tell about ourselves. This is why I’m teaching  a writing workshop at Hubbard Hall this summer. The class has been chosen, and they are a great group of very diverse writers. First session is June 14. I am eager to meet them. Tomorrow, Memorial Day,  will be quiet. I’m going with Maria to see the Cambridge, N.Y. Memorial Day Parade and we’ll watch it with George Forss outside of his gallery. Then we’ll have a peaceful day at the farm, reading and talking to one another and visiting our animals.

I was thinking about this sad and mournful holiday and hoping to capture it in a photograph, but there is perhaps nothing new for me to say or take a picture of. We’ll see.  In our holidays we honor wars and the people who fought them and leaders lost or slain. The two holidays we celebrate that are about uplifting ideas – Christmas and Thanksgiving – have been absorbed into the corporate maw and are mostly about sales statistics and online shopping trends. I asked a neighbor’s kid last year what Christmas meant and he said it meant a new Nintendo every single year. I know what these holidays are supposed to mean, but not what they really mean.

I want to think of the millions of people who have given their lives in wars, for sure, and I hope to live long enough to see a holiday celebrating the end of wars –  peace and community. Tomorrow afternoon, some volunteers hope to finish up the exterior repair work on the Bedlam Corners General Store, and that is surely something for me to celebrate. I will also remember my family, and especially my parents. I wish their lives could have been happier, but all I can do about that is to live a happier life myself, and I am working on it. I remember loneliness and fear, and resolve to look forward and continue to work towards a simple, creative and peaceful life. We all  the stories of our lives. Mine is, in so many ways, yet to be written. I am sorry for all of those people who lives were cut short.

I fear looking backwards, and I dread nostalgia. My life begins every single morning, and each day, I seek to renew my promise to live it fully and well.

27 May

There’s A Field. Meet Me There

by Jon Katz
I'll Meet You There

Out beyond the arguments and misunderstandings,

away from the fear and the anger,

apart from the small and sleeping people who cripple and wound us,

with their low expectations, and their frenzied warnings and judgements,

there is a field.  I’ve seen it, honest.

I’ll meet you there.

We will be secret lovers there, and share our most precious hopes,

and stories. And there, we will exist beyond discouragement and surrender,

the what-ifs and if-onlys,

and pity mes, how mean and hard is my gray life, look what they

have done to me now.

We will embrace in a sea of red and yellow petals, floating on a meadow,

in fields of gold, where the flowers dance, and whisper to us to look up, look up.

I’ll meet you there, in the field where the world is filled with soft color and light.

And we will dance in the moonlight and twirl dizzily below the shooting stars,

until we collapse in exhausted joy on the softest bed there ever was.

Trust me. Love me. I will meet you there. In the field of souls,

in the grass.

In the field

of hope and encouragement.

And promise.

And don’t you know?

This is God, what it is. Meet me there.

27 May

Florence’s Lampshades

by Jon Katz
Florence's Lampshades

In my county, they say that if you want to know someone, go look in their barn and see what they throw away. This is good advice. In the New Bedlam Farm, the barn speaks of Florence, the horsewoman and paperhanger who died in the house last year at 103 years of age. Rocky’s owner for 33 years. Her artistic sense is everywhere, in the house, in the barn. The lampshades speak poignantly of her, as does the fact she could not bear to throw them away.

27 May

Communion: George Forss And His Photographs

by Jon Katz

Watching George Forss work, I feel I am witnessing a communion, a sacred rite. When we communicate – with images, stories, with animals, with people – we are making a connection, participating in a communion. Sharing our feelings on the most basic level. This is what I feel when I see George taking his photos. Come and see for yourself in my Facebook Photo Album

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