Monday, December 5, 2016



"The army all saluted
As they marched along the road.
Was it the King? Or Kitchener?
No. It was Mr. Toad."

This morning on a visit to the blog "Beyond The Fields We Know", 
I was taken with the photo for the Yule season. I decided to arrange
a bit of seasonal cheer myself and brought out the Nutcrackers. 
All I can say is the collection started innocently enough with one.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dolomites Part 2



"Where’s the trail to Cold Mountain?
Cold Mountain? There’s no clear way.
Ice, in summer, is still frozen.
Bright sun shines through thick fog.
You won’t get there following me.
Your heart and mine are not the same.
If your heart was like mine,
You’d have made it, and be there!"

from Words from Cold Mountain
by Han-shan


The Dolomites seem much more developed
than the Rockies with electric power
extending high into the mountains. We asked
our driver who has taken tourists into the
mountains for 7 years, what animals he
had seen, he had only seen deer twice again
a real contrast to the amount of wildlife we would
we would normally see in the Rockies.







These paved paths extend around the entire 
mountain a walk of 2 or 3 hours.


In the photo below you can see two transmission towers 
bringing power right up the mountain.







“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, 
the time of day, the beholder's frame of mind, or any one 
thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is 
essential to recognize that we can never know more than 
one side, one small aspect of a mountain.”

from A Wild Sheep Chase
by Haruki Murakami

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pieve di Cadore birthplace of Titian


On our way to the Dolomite mountains we stopped at a charming alpine town.







Pieve di Cadore was the birthplace of Titian a leading artist of the Italian Renaissance.



The Church, Chiesa di Santa Maria Nascente was lovely.











Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lagoon Part Two


Here we are visiting the Island of Torcello for lunch.

both quotes below are from Wikipedia

"Torcello is a sparsely populated[ island at the 
northern end of the Venetian Lagoon, in north-eastern Italy.
It is the oldest continuously populated region of Venice,
and once held the largest population of the Republic of
Venice."

One of the most popular site is,

"The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Cattedrale di 
Santa Maria Assunta) is a basilica church. It is a notable 
example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture, one of the most 
ancient religious edifices in the Venetto, and containing the 
earliest mosaics in the area of Venice."

We were blown away by how lovely the island was and 
the mosaic's in the church were amazing. We hoped to go 
back for a second visit but ran out of time.

                               






We did climb the church tower, but most of my photos
were not great, it was still a bit foggy. Someone has found
a way to shorten the commute.







The boat driver took us to a family fish farm. This farm was not stocked 
with a single species like ours are, they open metal gates so the fry can 
enter and then close them and feed whatever enters.


Helen loved this small building that was built on an
old barge that was then floated in and sunk.




Hunters were busy building duck blinds.



"On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle —"

from At Great Pond
by Mary Oliver


The lagoon was very quiet and peaceful, we saw egrets, herons, 
cormorants, gulls, terns, a Kingfisher, swallows, and shorebirds,
but none of the sparrows and blackbirds we expected.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Leonard Norman Cohen, 21 September 1934 – 10 November 2016


"All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky 
The holy books are open wide 
The doctors working day and night 
But they'll never ever find that cure for love 
There ain't no drink no drug 
(Ah tell them, angels) 
There's nothing pure enough to be a cure for love "


"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
                    Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in 
                   Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove 
                                     Dance me to the end of love"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

" They are also called liberal because their aim to free us. 
It's as if knowledge contains within itself the power
 to give us some form of freedom, to free us from 
various sorts of tyranny; "

from reading dante (text version of the free 
Yale Open Course on Dante' s Comedy)
by Giuseppe Mazzotta, this quote is on 
the difference between the liberal and 
mechanical arts, "an old medieval 
distinction."



I think in this trying time, when rationality and decency seem
largely absent, that I need to turn my back on the certainties 
of the past, engage less in the present (especially the news) 
and quietly reexamine what I want to do for myself, my family
and what I want to contribute to the world. I see this as part exile
and part journey of discovery, to identify some new mental or 
emotional tools that can bring me a new, stronger sense of 
equilibrium that I can use to deal with a changing world.

I may have mentioned before that I have spent many years
studying the lives and works to two very contradictory individuals
 Charles Darwin and Dante Alighieri, in my mind Darwin personifies 
scientific inquiry and Dante the results of government and faith 
questioned. Both questioned what they saw, spoke truth to power
and both left works of great beauty and power. As Dante himself 
may have melodramatically phrased it , They shall be my Virgil.

"I hear new news every day, and those ordinary rumours 
of war, plagues, fires, inundations, thefts, murders, massacres, 
meteors, comets, spectrums, prodigies, apparitions, of towns 
taken, cities besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, 
Poland, &c., daily musters and preparations, and such like; 
which these tempestuous times afford, battles fought, so many 
men slain, monomachies, shipwrecks, piracies, and sea-fights; 
peace, leagues, stratagems, and fresh alarums. A vast confusion 
of vows, wishes, actions, edicts, petitions, lawsuits, pleas, laws, 
proclamations, complaints, grievances, are daily brought to our 
ears. New books every day, pamphlets, currantoes, stories, whole 
catalogues of volumes of all sorts, new paradoxes, opinions, 
schisms, heresies, controversies in philosophy, religion, &c. Now 
come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, 
jubilees, embassies, tilts and tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels, 
sports, plays ; then again, as in a new shifted scene, treasons, 
cheating tricks, robberies, enormous villainies in all kinds, funerals, 
burials, deaths of princes, new discoveries, expeditions, now comical, 
then tragical matters. Today we hear of new lords and officers created, 
to-morrow of some great men deposed, and then again of fresh honours 
conferred; one is let loose, another imprisoned; one purchaseth, another 
breaketh; he thrives, his neighbour turns bankrupt; now plenty, then 
again dearth and famine; one runs, another rides, wrangles, laughs, 
weeps, &c. Thus I daily hear, and such like, both private and public 
news, amidst the gallantry and misery of the world"

from Anatomy of Melancholy 
by Robert Burton 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Venice Lagoon Part 1

"the tide
and the current for a moment seemed to hang
still in balance and the creaking and knocking
of wood stopped all at once and the known voices
died away"

from Another River
by W.S. Merwin

We spent a day on the Venetian lagoon. It was a bit foggy 
to start but lovely by late morning.