Archive for February, 2011

Monday, Washington’s Birthday. I just heard about a flack boasting about the great skiing up at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe and how much snow they have, etc, etc.

Well, there is a lot of snow. Lots of wind this weekend, bitter wind chill. On Saturday Mt.Snow in Wilimington, Vermont shut down. Too much wind. Some lifts at Bromley and Stratton were closed. Also Magic Mountain, all in southern Vermont. A few nearby towns lost their electricity and motels, lodges and homes turned cold indeed. So many skiers hightailed it to Manchester and buried themselves in the shops, browsing books at Northshire, visiting the craft shop Epoch, where I was (and sold two of my photographs!)

Up in Stowe the wind and cold scoured the mountain into ice. Many casualties. The nurses on duty worked full steam through the weekend and one said the meat wagons were hurrying from the area to the hospitals all day. A call to Jay Peak and a plea for a straight answer about the ski conditions brought this reply:

“The skiing sucks.”

I like that. Lot of my friends don’t ski Mt. Mansfield anymore. They can’t afford it or can’t stand the management. So they ski at Bolton, Smugglers, Mad River Glen, and Jay.

I have to get up to Jay. You gotta support those that tell it as it is.

Monday night. It is 10:10 PM and the temperature is down to -2 F and supposed to drop to -10 and stay frigid tomorrow. I figured the average temperature here in Colbyville, next to Ben & Jerry’s, was 9 degrees for the month of January. I had my roof shoveled and never have I seen such big blocks of ice form on the eaves of this old house.  However, the wind is all blown out.  Right now, at least.

Tomorrow I’ll test some new enlarging papers and developers in the darkroom. I’ll give a report on what develops.



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Text Messaging the Departed


Remember my last post about my dear friend’s quick departure from this world? The shock has worn off and I got around to looking over my Quickbooks she just updated and then I received the bill. She left me the highest bill ever and besides, she forgot to enter two social security checks and had placed a deposit in the wrong account! Oh, was I  going to give it to her! And have her lower my bill. Then, after squabbling, we would talk about old friends and who was sick, drinking too much—whatever gossip there was about our old bunch of buddies.

But she up and died. In her sleep. I have no one to bitch at and I have to pay that bill to her estate and who knows who is going to snatch that money and run? And I miss my friend.

Damn I wanted to talk to her. Then I had a brilliant idea. Maybe I could reach her by text messaging on my IPhone. After all, that call goes through the ether and maybe she could tap in, wherever she is.

Guess what? It worked! I cleaned up our text message doublespeak and here is the transcription:

Susan, is that you? This is fantastic!

Hello Peter. It’s me for sure. I’m just out of sight, in another plane, a world that is almost the same as yours.

Where are you?

Right next door. It is a little higher. Imagine looking into an aquarium. I have to look down into your world.

Wow, Susan. Can you play golf?

I did this morning, it was a beautiful summer day, the sun warm and benevolent and the greens were emerald bright. A soft breeze was blowing.

Play well?

I can’t recall. That’s not important.

Sail, hike, ski, play bridge?

Oh all those things.

So what’s the difference?

Well, I’m dead. We don’t have all that mass. Actually, there is none of that. It’s like a virtual world. A matrix.

Are all our dead friends there?

If I want them. There are billions of these planes, which we enter when we die. We can make them private. Well, I saw my old boy friend. Remember Ted who bit the head off my parrot? He died in his sleep, like I did. Ted walks around with that jerky motion he always had and keeps trying to flit away the headless parrot that sits on his shoulder.

Your family?

Oh, now and then. Not too much. You know how it is with family.

Who else?

All my old pets are here. That’s fun. We go for walks, and the dogs follow around when I am riding.

How was it, moving over?

It was nothing, just a buzz, then silence and I woke up and there was this world just like the one I died in. An alias world, I guess. I just moved over into my alias bed. I like snuggling under the blankets. Of course I never sleep. As I said, it’s a virtual world. You can’t touch it, but our minds are here, just our body and anything material is wasted away.

How about those who are young who died, or are killed? Are you a ghost?

Oh My God No! I’m completely gone from your world. You’re talking about people trapped half in your world, half in mine who didn’t finish out the life they intended to live. They need to have closure. Sometimes, if they are in a house, a thorough renovation by the new owners will do it, particularly if they don’t like the decoration or the new owners.  Other times it’s a spiritual thing.

Susan, are you coming back?

Sometime. I can pick my mother.

But what if she aborts you?

Oh, if that happens, we just pick another mother. We don’t move in until the first breath. I think I want to come back as a golden retriever. When I’m ready.

Wait, before you go. That last bill you gave me for bookkeeping was too high. And you made mistakes. Nothing matched my electronic statements. I’m ripped and I have to pay the full amount to your estate?

Oh, don’t worry about such little things. Wait until this world comes to you. No money. No lawyers. No taxes. No banks. No Shaws. Just us. Our souls you call it. Our virtual identity. But don’t hurry it; there are other planes for some type of people and what they did or what happened to them. They have their problems. For a while, at least.  …Got to go. I’m taking my pets for a walk in the fields. Guess what, I’m never out of breath!

And that’s it. My IPhone went blank. I’ve tried to reach her since and it hasn’t worked. But I know Susan is a lurker, soaking up gossip that splutters and bounces in the ether. I’ll catch her sometime, hopefully before she becomes a golden lab.




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You’re divorced, the kids are gone, your best friends have moved away or expired, and you, like them, drop dead. So who cares?

This happened to a dear friend of mine in the past week. She died in bed, and was found a few days later. The disconnect was sudden, surprising and a shock. She will never see the brilliance of the sun on a golf course, or relish in the latest gossip, take a trip to the seashore, or visit me and do my bookkeeping while we catch up on what’s going on with our friends and family. The artery that flows between us, that transmits our emotions, and the other frameworks that make a relationship, no longer pulses.

Concerned friends found Susan. I received a call soon afterwards.

I live alone too and if I dropped dead, it could be a while before someone drops in. I live in an area where neighbors have been replaced by businesses operated by employees who drive here from there. My best friends live out of town. And I don’t pick up my mail regularly.

I do have a backup.  My sister-in-law stops in every so often and I immediately say to her, “I’m not dead yet!” and we laugh.

She is important. if I were cold on the floor,  she would notify the authorities that would cart my body away, call my children who live thousands of miles away, and tidy up the mess I am leaving behind. She would alert the newspapers and my lawyer would set to work.

Loose ends. I have so much to do, so little time to do it. What will I miss? The sun and the beautiful light and color I capture with my camera. The map of humanity I see in a face. Time I spend with my friends and children. The smell of fall, the crispness of a winter day, losing myself in a spy novel, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning and dreaming up a new project, reading something I wrote or a photograph I have taken and being pleased with what I created—momentarily.

But you know, when I am dead, I won’t give a damn.

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