We are still in Connecticut and I still have remarkably little energy for writing — or even looking at pictures right now. I REALLY needed that break. I was going to dabble a bit this morning — maybe actually looking at my email or answering comments, but I needed this time off badly. So … I’m still on vacation, a much needed albeit short vacation.
We didn’t get out to sea yesterday. Sea was running at two feet which is not comfortable for just sailing around. So we hung around the marina and talked.
For Garry, who has had a really hard time over the years having conversations can now actually sit around and talk. He can’t hear ME at home but I notice Tom can’t hear Ellin either, so this much be a married person issue.
All the quibbling over “I don’t WANT to cook and did you take out the trash” is what keeps life going. Also, watching all six episodes (it’s on Prime Video) of “Good Omens” is definitely worth it, especially if you read the book. A lot of the episodes basically take the dialogue straight out of the book onto the screen. Scriptwriter was the co-writer of the original book Neil Gaiman. Pity Terry Pratchett is gone, but you could feel his presence, especially in the character of Death.
You sure wouldn’t know it by what’s on television.
Not a single movie, documentary or anything. We watched “Oh, What a Lovely War” with a chaser of “The Americanization of Emily.” Garry scoured the listings, but no channel is showing anything related to D-Day.
Not like there aren’t plenty of movies and documentaries from which to choose. So, have we forgotten? Call me weird, but I think this is a day to remember. Always.
Here I am, cynical, skeptical and nobody’s flag-waver reminding everyone that this day was important. It was the beginning of the final stage of the most devastating war in remembered history.
The summary of loss of life, 1937-1945:
Military deaths: More than 16,000,000
Civilian deaths: More than 45,000,000
Total deaths for the war years 1937-1945: More than 61,000,000
I don’t think we should be allowed to forget so quickly, do you?
Because when we forget, when the lessons we learned are lost. We stand in imminent danger of repeating history. I, for one, think that’s a bad idea. Oh, wait … we ARE in the middle of repeating history.
Lest we forget … this is how it all began. With a world just like the one in which we are living. Today. With leaders who think war is a fine idea.
The cemetery is in the center of the town, across from the dam and just a hundred or so yards from the river itself. It’s up on a hill, so it never floods, even when the rivers rush over their banks. The people who created that cemetery knew about the rivers. And flooding. They picked a beautiful spot. It has a perfect view of the dam and river, but it’s dry and safe for bones and memories.
An old cemetery, dating back to the early 1700s. It contains traces of many generations of those who lived and died in this town, this valley. Folks who lived along the Blackstone and its many tributaries fished in its lakes and streams. They fought in our wars and are buried here — Revolutionary War soldiers, Civil War veterans as well as those who fought in all the American wars since.
Every anniversary of the end of some war we fought, the cemetery blooms with bouquets and flags. The schools bring the children here, so they will remember too and traditions will be maintained. They bring bouquets of wildflowers or from the back garden. Lilacs and lilies, scarlet poppies … and always a miniature American flag. Even if there’s no special holiday, the cemetery always shows signs of caring, remembering.
Maybe it’s easier to remember here, with such a small population. Is that it? Or it’s just part of the air, the character, the history. Remembering is what we do in the Valley.
The cemetery is one of my favorite places. We’re newcomers after all, only living here 19 years. Our ancestors — Garry’s and mine — come from Sligo, Antigua, Minsk, Bialystok. We come from tiny villages in Ireland, England, the West Indies, and a wide variety of shtetls in eastern and northern Europe. Our people were always on the move.
Valley people have been here longer. Many came from French Canada in the late 19th century to work in the mills. Another large group formed the dominant Dutch population. They built churches, businesses and factories, dairy and truck farms, shops, horse farms, and sawmills. Their names are prominent wherever the rivers run.
Newcomers, like us, aren’t rare anymore but also not common. We have no ancestors in the cemetery, at least none about whom we know. Anything is possible in America.
The valley is the only place I’ve lived where the majority of families have lived in the town or in nearby villages for three, four, five generations.
“We’ve always lived in the Valley,” they say, meaning they have lived here as long as anyone can remember. If gently prodded, they may recall at some point, long ago, they came from somewhere else. Some can’t remember when or if it’s true.
I point out they must have come from somewhere because unless they are Native American, they came to this place, even if it was a long time ago. They get misty-eyed trying to remember old family stories handed down when they were young.
It’s hard to remember, they tell you. “You know, that was 75 years ago … a long time.” We nod because it was a long time ago. We can’t remember a lot of things from our “old days” either. So many years have passed and so much stuff has happened.
How many wars have we fought — just in our lifetime? I can’t count them anymore. It’s endless. We honor our dead. I think we’d honor them more by ending the cause of their deaths which I doubt it will happen. Peace is not in us, or at least not in most of us. Certainly not in the people who run our countries.
So another year passes and little flags and flowers bloom in the old cemetery in the middle of town.
When talking about photography, English doesn’t always make the grade. As it turns out, Japanese does.
The Japanese have a word for everything, I think. I just learned “Komorebi. It means “sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees,” and by extension, the natural filtering of light through anything. Like blinds or curtains, for example.
I’ve been chasing that light for more than 40 years. This is the word I’ve needed. I’ve been trying to capture that forever.
Remember it. It’s a great word.
Then there is bokeh, a word so popular it is now included in American books about photography. Bokeh defines something difficult to say in English.
“Bokeh means the aesthetic quality of the blur (a soft and out of focus) part of an image produced by a lens.”
I’m sure there’s more, but this is my vocabulary lesson for the day.
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