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A day of high slow grey clouds with warnings of "sprinkles" coming through brief breezes of cooler and moist promise. Periods of sunshine visited regularly and no hard rain was seen to fall. The weather was "perfect" some were heard to say. I took my usual all-accepting attitude and, as directed, picked flowers so the outhouse would smell purdy. Host of the Wheeler Hill Readings (an outdoors series of poetry held in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State) Michael Czarnecki was amused when the weatherman stated there was a chance of "sprinkles". What sort of self-respecting weatherman uses the word sprinkles in an official sounding public report?
None that I knew of and I bet this guy doesn't know which way the wind blows either. But was "sprinkles" related to "sprites" or "fair" weather to "fairies?" I never got a chance to ask Michael as I was joining in and helping out with the domestic chores, chopping onions and trimming chapbooks. The Fair Folk are the fairies so I think there must be such as "fairy weather." I'll have to call up that weatherman to see what he knows about it. Looking it up I say we can rule out "sprites" as sprinkles comes from Middle English sprenklen; akin to Middle High German sprenkel spot. "There may be a spot of rain on Wheeler Hill this afternoon."
The other featured reader, Jennifer Campbell from Buffalo, New York arrived and shortly after the chairs and hay bales were filled with listeners and raconteurs and the reading started. Jennifer is co-editor of Earth's Daughters (a feminist literary journal) and has a FootHills Publishing book available Driving Straight Through (2008) Her poems displayed a variety of movements, comings and goings, strong swimmer knowing the tides and able to challenge and respect the natural forces. She also writes poems of human relationships, man/woman, family, friendship, toil. I get the sense she uses observation as we sometimes say "the power of observation". One poem she read titled That M.C. Escher Drawing puts her and another in the familar Escher imagined space of doors and stairways. "Its me, he says on voicemail/confident in your automatic reply."
Creature of expectation, you call back
right away, lead with the full name
your mother used to yell from the bottom of the stairs.
I liked the new unpublished poems she started her reading with and hopefully she'll stay in touch and sharing her work with us at Rootdrinker. Then I read next. I guess I did O.K. Some people said they really liked my reading and poems. These were the same people who thought the weather was "perfect".
My own FootHills Published book Thirty Poems was released on this day. The title is not an attempt at concrete obviousness like naming your dog, "Dog". There is a literary tradition surrounding the title and I intend writing about that tradition as I introduce the book to others. If you want to do your own research, mine is not the first book titled Thirty Poems. The poem I finished my reading with I DREAMED LAST NIGHT OF THE CIRCLING OF STARS had been mentioned by many poet friends and this day Michael Czarnecki pointed out that the outdoors was the right setting for reading the poem. My own field of vision expanded as the poem asks us to see:
Horizon is not a line.
Horizon is also a circle, turn around,
circle as the stars circle, look in all directions,
each shows horizon
the boundaries of a great circle
as well as the sky.
The day before my wife Jennifer Pearce and I had gotten lost on some of the back roads as we tried to drive from Seneca Lake to Hammondsville on Lake Keuka. Many smaller country roads did not have route markers. Even intersections were unmarked. We were approaching the crest of a long straight uphill stretch. Ahead you could see lighter sky and the deep downhill road beginning right behind the crest. "There's the lake right ahead," she said and I agreed. We came over the rise to see straight ahead a landscape of pastures in a series of brilliant green swelling hills. No lake but I immediately said, "Look at the lake today, the water is so green and the size of those swells-- must be a heavy wind out there on the surface to cause the waves to be so huge and rise that high."
On Wheeler Hill you can see out over many acre sized hills. The landscape of the Finger Lakes Region has large hills that fill horizons with summits that themselves cover areas big enough for homesteads, clusters of farms and hay fields of 50 acres or more. A city on the hill could be built here pretty easily. There is no city here now. My expectation of a tent city and acres of R.V.'s all parked for the upcoming poetry readings was alittle unrealistic. There was a gathering of friends. One of my suggestions to local poets of the northeast woodlands is to develop a calendar of events and I'd like to add the Wheeler Hill readings to just such a calendar. Totally informal at this point. The evolution of territory is the evolution of the brain.
A FINGER LAKES CREATION TALE
Mother Turtle and Grandfather Carp
were together at the beginning.
They named Lobo, they named Trout
Bear came upon them
"Let us have Bear help us create this world"
said Grandfather Carp
"Fine" said Mother Turtle
"Bear, What is the name of that green frog?"
"That is Green Frog."
"What of the black bird with red on the wings?"
"That is Red-Winged Blackbird."
They all thought this so funny,
they laughed till their bellies hurt.
'Oh Bear," said Mother Turtle
"You are very good at the naming of things."
"Yes" said Bear, "but I have to go. Before I do
I shall name my kindred"
"No." said Grandfather Carp still laughing.
"That is Brown Bear and that is Black Bear"
"Delightful," said Bear, "Exactly as I would."
Note: As Stephen Lewandowski might point out carp are not native to the Finger Lakes Region, however Grandfather Carp was present and involved in the naming of things back at the time of creation. He did not stay around and returned to Asia by swimming through the mysterious sprenklen, also known as "the doorway to infinity" found at the bottom of a deep hole in the water of Canadice Lake ( Which had a different name at the time)