Culture

The Doors

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

The Doors

If you live in Malone you’ve doubtless seen the striking new doors on the Congregational Church.  Meet the builder.  Surprisingly young. (I’d guess he’s in his late twenties.) I figured that the art of making iconic wooden doors would be more likely found in an elderly, seasoned artisan. Someone with a gray beard.  Not in this case.

David Lacroix

David is largely self-taught.  He watched his grandfather (who raised him) and several other craftsmen. The rest came from YouTubes and websites.  A graduate of Clarkson with a business degree, he turned his back on all that to work with wood.  To work not so much with power tools, but his hands.  It’s kind of mystical.  Don’t ask him to build you a house.  Tell him you want a set of beautiful doors, and watch a grin spread over his face.

First Congregational Church

Notes on my conversation with David:

David tried to match the doors to the originals, including the width of the diagonal pieces/insets.  “On the 45° angle portion, there is one little piece that is slightly wider on one door than on the other, because this is what the original doors had. I matched everything up with the original doors. The originals did not match perfectly, either.” 

“The original doors were made of individual bead boards, not glued together. I made the new ones out of panels that were glued together to look like the originals, because I didn’t want water infiltrating them and rotting them like the originals.  Thus you will notice differences in the doors in that respect. Also, the moldings on the interior of the new doors are more elaborate than the originals, because I wanted to add something unique to the new set and I felt the more elaborate moldings would set them off nicely.”

The Franklin County Historical Society was insistent about wanting original doors. “The

originals were oak of some sort, though it was so rotted you couldn’t tell what kind of oak, plus the originals had a softwood core, like a Douglas fir.  My doors are built of solid white

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“On the death of my family’s dairy farm”

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— Abe Voelker

Editor’s note:  I am taking the  liberty of reprinting Mr. Voelker’s tragic story, since it is being repeated, almost verbatim, here in the NYS North Country.

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This Christmas, like every other, I traveled to northern Wisconsin to stay with my parents on the dairy farm I grew up on.

As usual I took the opportunity to help my dad and younger brother with barn chores and milk cows. The cows need to be milked twice a day, every day, roughly around 4AM and 4PM. I didn’t help out every shift but I worked more than enough to once again be humbled about the life I left behind and recalibrate my nostalgia.

Speaking of which, I never had the work ethic to be a farmer. Ever since I was little and playing video games on our NES, I was enamored by electronics. By the time our family got a personal computer and dial-up internet for Christmas in 1997, when I was 11, I was completely and hopelessly sucked in. There followed many evenings where my dad would come flying in to the house to yell at me for being late for chores when I lost track of time on “that damn computer.”

Thankfully for all involved, my younger brother Noah inherited my dad’s insane work ethic and love of farming and took up the farm’s reins (he also picked up my slack when we were younger — thanks Brother). He loves the work and excels at it . . .

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Click here for the remainder of the article.

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In Memory of George and Barbara Bush


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— Michael J. Fournier, Guest Editor
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Should You Go First

Should you go first and I remain
—To walk the road alone,
I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear,
—With happy days we’ve known.
In Spring I’ll watch for roses red
—When fades the lilac blue,
In early Fall when brown leaves call
—I’ll catch a glimpse of you.

Should you go first and I remain
—For battles to be fought,
Each thing you’ve touched along the way
—Will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll hear your voice, I’ll see your smile,
—Though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand
—Will buoy me on with hope.

— Albert K. Rowswell

 

With the passing of George H.W. Bush, I am reminded that the love of his life, Barbara, died only 8 months ago. I recall an interview she gave, saying her husband was the first boy she ever kissed, and how she loved him more at the time of the interview than when they first married.

Love or hate his politics, the Bushs loved one another and this nation.

Their love story and his recent passing reminded me of a poem, “Should You Go First.”  I found the poem and attached a cartoon. The child you see is their daughter, whom they lost early in their marriage.

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I am reminded that there is more to life than conflict and despair.
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Men who beat women

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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

I was talking to Judge Charles Gardner the other day.  He mentioned something that floored me.  He said that at least 85% of the cases that come before the Malone Town Court are fueled by booze or drugs.  “Remove the alcohol and drugs, and our case-load would drop phenomenally!”

I have been mulling this over.  Do these people (the ones who appear before court) resort to booze or drugs to embolden them in their horrid behavior?  Do they drink or shoot-up or take pills to give themselves “courage”?  (This isn’t courage; it’s cowardice. Bottled cowardice.)  Does the alcohol or drug inflame them, make them go berserk, so they do awful things?  Do they consider their behavior awful?  (This last question is especially troubling.)

The judge went on to note that many of the worst cases before him are drunken or drugged men who have just beaten up their wives or girlfriends.  The sterile legal phrase is “domestic violence.” The story gets worse. While being arraigned before the judge, some of these besotted men (some being no more than teenagers) have the gall to inform the troopers, village police, prosecutor, and even the judge that he, the drunk standing there in shackles, is going to kill all of them sooner or later for having the temerity to interrupt and arrest him for smashing his wife or girlfriend in the face!
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Attend one of  these 2 a.m. arraignments sometime and witness this sickness first-hand.  While you and I are peacefully tucked in, there’s another world unfolding in the wee hours.  A bizarre, brutal world where the police and DA and judges are dealing with an alcohol or drug-enraged male who has hammered a woman.  The appalling part is, there’s no remorse!  On the contrary, he’s now notifying everyone within earshot that he’s going to murder them and their wives, while the husband looks on!

This isn’t Camden NJ I’m talking about; this is North Country teenagers and adults. These are people you see filling their 4×4 Ford or GMC with gas at Maplefields.

My wife, a psychiatrist, sees lots of

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“Bang bang, you’re dead!” School shootings

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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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I write this while news sources frantically piece together the circumstances of a school shooting in Florida.  At least 17 people, students and teachers, killed.  At least 14 wounded.  The death toll will likely rise as the critically injured succumb to wounds.

Kids shot and killed by another kid in school.  It’s no longer surprising.  It seems to happen weekly.  Something’s wrong.

I don’t have answers.  I’m not going to preach “gun control” or probe the role of social media, video games, and the Internet.  Not here, not now.  I can’t do a damn thing about guns, social media, video games, or the Internet, and neither can you.  Not do I care to.

What I can do is this.  I’m an adult.  I am not about to abdicate my role as an adult.  These are very troubled kids doing these shootings.  What we know is that they always vent their deranged thinking on social media and generally among acquaintances.  Well before they show up on campus and begin blazing away, they typically post images and messages of themselves as a kind of avenging superhero about to annihilate the vermin around them.  (The vermin they refer to are their classmates, by the way.)
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This is where I am offering my services.  My services as a former university professor who has written numerous books on the philosophy of history, this being merely another way of saying the “philosophy of human behavior and thinking.”  (One of my books was titled “The Way of the Human Being.”  Another, “The Great Forgetting.”)  I think I can get through to some of these kids.  At least I’m willing to try.

What I propose is this.  If you or your kids know of another kid who fits the above profile, somehow get the message to me and I will do my damndest to meet with this person and begin a one-on-one crash course on humanness—his own and that of the vermin he wishes to rip apart with bullets.
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You see, I have taught (pro bono) at two state prisons.  Some of the men were

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Mike’s Point of View

 

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:  An Inquiry into Values.  The book was a classic when I was a young man.  Pirsig published it in 1974 — after 121 publishers had rejected it.  It sold over 5 million copies.

One hundred twenty-one publishers were pretty darn embarrassed.

It was Pirsig who introduced me to bikers and the novel idea that they may have something worthwhile to say about things like quality and gumption.  When I moved from Santa Fe to Malone and met a motorcycle aficionado named Mike Fournier, I knew this was the guy Pirsig had in mind — the kind who didn’t “sit around dissipating and stewing about things,” a man “at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes.”

For years I’ve been trying to persuade Mike to start a political blog — with quality and gumption as his lodestar.  He finally took my advice.  Click here.

I urge you to read it.  Regularly.  As I now do.

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Don’t work yourself into hysterics over whether you agree with him.  Instead, listen between the lines for that distinctive Harley rumble of quality and gumption (click above) — and let him challenge your relationship to the same principles.  Every essay Mike writes challenges me.
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If America goes to hell in a handbasket someday, it will be because we abdicated quality and gumption.  This includes the political sphere.  Read the debates between political opponents and policy-makers in the early years of the republic.  You can’t help but notice the quality and gumption of all the participants.  George Washington.  Alexander Hamilton.  Benjamin Franklin.  Thomas Jefferson.  James Madison.  John Adams.  Aaron Burr.  The list is lengthy.  I’m not saying they were always right; I’m saying each of them knew that “if you’re going to repair a motorcycle” or create a new nation, “an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool.  If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools

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“Two Little Mice” (a poem)


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Two little mice
Swift, soft, furry
Scurry from some recess
Or hidden little nest
In the palace of my mind

Two little mice
Feet padded
Noses pink
Whiskers long
Teeth razor sharp

Two little mice
One called Fear
The other Anxiety
Explore
Every corner
Of the palace of my mind

Two little mice
Play, hide
Tease, fight
And slowly
Slowly conquer
The castle of my mind
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— Susy Cantwell

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Witness to Revolution: Istanbul with Susy Cantwell

Turkish coffee

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— Susy Cantwell*

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For two centuries my homeland, Hungary, was a province within the sprawling Ottoman Empire.  As a child, I thrilled to tales of skirmishes between heroic Hungarian patriots and villainous Turks.

Time has a way of healing old wounds. Hungarian bitterness toward Turks would eventually be displaced by hostility toward more recent invaders.  Hence, when the opportunity arose to spend several days in Istanbul, I seized it.

Paul and I took a direct flight to Istanbul from NYC, arriving in the late afternoon — fifteen years ago.  We had reserved a room at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel, featuring a spectacular dining room (serving traditional Turkish cuisine) on the top floor with live music and breathtaking panorama of the city.

The restaurant was indeed superb, the food excellent and music delightful.  But this is not what won my heart.  We were stirring our evening’s last cup of delicious Turkish coffee when the musicians left for a break and another trio took the stage.   Picking up their instruments, my heart stopped as the plaintive strains of a Hungarian gypsy violin filled the room.
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So began my love affair with Istanbul.

It’s one of the oldest cities in the western world.  The city’s strategic position, overlooking the Bosphorous, straddling Europe and Asia, combined with an extraordinary mix of cultures going back three thousand years, ensures its geographic significance.

Istanbul is huge, overcrowded, and noisy.  Buildings reflecting centuries of conquerors line the narrow streets, thronged by people speaking many languages and selling all manner of goods. Strange and unfamiliar smells fill the air.

We would revisit the city several years later.  Things were different this time.  There was a palpable tension in the air.  Street life was less freewheeling.  People were subdued and many of the women wore the Moslem headscarf.  Religious fundamentalism was on the rise.
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We booked into a tiny hotel close to the historic Old Town and were received  by the concierge with the warmest of welcomes.  This was a good start.

Since we had missed visiting the cisterns on our previous visit, they were the first stop on our

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Panties & Burkas: Travels with Susy Cantwell

Queen Nefertiti

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Editor’s note:  When I read the newspapers about the Middle East my reactions run from horror to incomprehension to anger to sorrow.  Somewhere in that pile of news — that mess — there are real people living real lives, or at least trying to.  I yearn to meet these people — the ordinary people.  I yearn to smell and experience these places.  To eat the food.  Talk to people.

But I’m a chicken.  I’ve never been off this continent.  (Don’t tell anyone.  It’s sort of embarrassing.)

Then I made a wonderful discovery.  Susy Cantwell.  I’ve known and admired Susy for years.  What I didn’t know is that she and husband Paul travel the world.  They’re as comfortable in Lima as they are in Istanbul or Prague.  They “get into it.”  The food, the bazaars, the local people, the crazy cab drivers — the works!

Susy’s Hungarian.  Grew up in Hungary.  How on earth she made her way from Hungary to Malone and married Paul is a story I’d like to hear someday.  (Mail-order bride?)  In any case, the cultures of the world are an endless source of fascination to her and Paul.

I contacted her recently, asking if she would share her fascination with our readers.  I was especially eager for her thoughts on the Middle East and Moslem culture.

She responded with the essay, below.  In a handful of paragraphs, she humanized the Moslem world.  (Who else do you know who compares underwear with Moslem women at a visitor center outside Cairo?)  I stopped seeing Middle Easterners as stereotypes and — presto! — began recognizing real human beings.  (Though, I must say, I never compare underwear with strangers at visitor centers.  Never ever.)

I’ve asked her to continue her reports, wherever her airline ticket and pen and her courage take her.

 

— Susy Cantwell

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Like everybody, I am in awe of Egypt’s wonders.  Paul and I have visited the country twice over the past 20 years.

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On our first visit, Cairo seemed subdued.  There were many devout Moslems, especially in the countryside.  Most were reserved.

Though not all.  At one

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Miracle on Mill Street

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

 

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How much would you be willing to pay to spend a night in this?  (Here’s a few close-ups.)

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Still undecided?  This might sway you.
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Imagine waking up to the dawn chorus of larks and sparrows, and gazing out on the rolling, bucolic landscape through this splendidly arched window.  A mug of hot, steaming coffee in hand.
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Still wondering?

Don’t bother, ‘cause you don’t have a chance of staying here.  For starters, it’s booked solid through December 2017 — at a cool £475 per night.  That’s 475 British pounds sterling.  That’s $732 USD.

Obviously, I left something out of this little story.  Omitted was (a) someone with a vision and (b) someone with skilled hands.  People like this:
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A visionary and a pair of hands, the two ingredients missing from my little story.

Think of Rodin’s hands.  Fingers that, from indifferent, unyielding marble, created “The Kiss.”  Think of the mind of Steve Jobs, the visionary who could thrill an audience with the challenge, “Let’s go invent tomorrow, rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.”

With these two ingredients, we’re ready to reconsider that pile of rubble, above, currently renting at $732 per night.  We’re ready because somebody like Steve Jobs looked at that pile of rock, and didn’t see a “mess”; he saw “possibilities.”

The visionary happened to be 3 men, and this is what they saw:
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To make it happen, they needed a pair of hands that could perform magic on that crumbling mass of stone and mortar.

They got lucky.  They found a master mason.  (Actually, they found a number of master craftsmen.)  And this is what their hands built:
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Look carefully.  What you’re looking at is a 21st-century building erected within a ruined, 13th-century castle in Warwickshire, England.  It goes by the name “Astley Castle.”  Strictly speaking, it was never a castle; it was a manor house that was added onto over the centuries, including the addition of decorative parapets (i.e., “gingerbread”).

Ingenious!

Okay, how much would you pay to spend a night here?

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Winter solstice

wintersolstice fixed

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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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Winter solstice.  Christmas eve.  And I am a hibernating bear, deep within the cave of winter dreams.

All my life I have sensed a strange convergence between solstice and Christmas, like two vast planets wheeling into near collision.  Then each slowly spinning off on its separate course into darkness, the dream of deep space.

For a moment the realms of mythology and history nearly intersect, the one briefly illumining the other.  At that instant we see more of each than we ever do.

In the eerie light of mythology I recognize that Christmas is old mythology.  We fool ourselves that it’s history.  The Kiowa poet N. Scott Momaday taught me years ago that we all live in myth.  We live in history too, but history is veneer.  Beneath the mask of history is the truth that never happened, it just always is.  Scott went back to his grandmother’s cabin and her gravesite at Rainy Mountain to realize this.  I have never forgotten his story and its lesson.

For years I have hunted for the crackup of myth into history—the  shattering of the flawless sheet of glass into shards.   When mind that thought in union with the earth collapsed into the mind that now observed the earth—mankind apart.

Socrates, Plato’s teacher, illustrates the point.  The Socratic method:  we’re all more or less familiar with it.  Teaching by questioning.  But it is more radical than this; it is a clue to the beginning of the modern mind—the collapse of the quantum wave into something stunningly new.  And dangerous.  The teacher would have his students recite truth and mystery, and perforce they would recite myth:  the ancient thing, the unquestioned thing, the thing that got its power through the telling, the repeating, the power in the words themselves.  The thing that never happened, it just is.  Now Socrates questioned it.  “How do you know?”  Over and over, he sowed doubt.  They were dumbfounded, his students.  There was no response.  It is said he created an uproar in Athens.

socrates fixed2

Words now became different.  Instead of being the thing itself they began to refer to

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Antidote to the (ghastly) world news …

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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

I was 17 at the time.  In Southern California.  A college friend, Mike Madden, had invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family, since I couldn’t go home for the holiday.

Mike and his mom lived with his mom’s dad, a retired medical doctor.  I remember sitting in the living room with the old doc.  Just the two of us.  Around 6 pm, Mike’s mom brought his dinner on a tray, turned on the evening news and left the room.  I stayed with him, the two of us reviewing the events of the day around the world.

At one point I happened to glance at the old man.  He was quietly weeping.  Tears streaming down his face.  He said not a word, just tears — which said everything.

“He does it every night,” Mike later explained, obviously embarrassed.  “He insists on watching the news, alone, and without fail he weeps.  He’s getting senile,” he added with lowered voice.

old_man_by_figuraarto-d77ee6f

No.  This wasn’t senility, I decided.  The old black-bag healer who had brought children into the world and watched over the feverish and dying — had the courage and wisdom to weep at the horrible spectacle we casually refer to as The News.

Daily, I read the NY Times.  (I don’t own a television.)  The stories appall me.  I am grief-stricken as I read.  Even so, something compels me to read on, day after day.

I read on, even as I am wounded.  And feel helpless.  That is, I felt helpless till I discovered this poem.  Its message whispers to me.  I have fallen in love with it.  It tells me I need not be the hapless victim of human folly and tragedy.

It tells me to wage peace and goodness.

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:

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What is death? — Part 1

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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Open this video.  Sit with it for awhile.  (Turn up your speakers.)

Achingly beautiful, isn’t it?  You could listen forever, couldn’t you?

(The other day I happened to be in a café, quietly playing this on my laptop. “Oh, so relaxing!” exclaimed the waitress.)

Keep listening.  I’m going to say something you will have trouble believing.  You won’t believe it for the very good reason that you won’t “feel” what I’m talking about.  (Generally I don’t feel it either, despite knowing it’s true.)

meditation

That stream is you.  And you do, in fact, listen to it and live it.  Forever.  And so do I.  Although neither of us realizes this, save for rare moments when we sense we’re in the presence of something infinitely larger and more powerful than ourselves — something almost painfully beautiful and yet incapable of being expressed in words.

stream

You have always been suffused with this stream.  Dissolved in it.  Even before you were born and after you die.  For the stream is eternal.  It is the universe.

When I say “universe,” I’m talking about more than deep space, whether it be the breathtaking beauty of a cold, clear February night or the esoteric study of black holes, supernovas and galaxies — the field we call astrophysics or cosmology.  I’m talking about a great, patient Intelligence that created you and me, spring peepers, whales, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and night-blooming jasmine, along with birth and death.

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Cosmologists and astrophysicists know a great deal about the mechanics of the universe, such as space-time, gravity, the strong and weak force, dark matter, the Big Bang — phenomena that yield their secrets to mathematical interrogation.  What they don’t know is the answer to Einstein’s famous question:  “Is the universe friendly?”

It happens the answer depends on who’s asking — a fact confirmed by quantum mechanics and implied by Einstein’s special relativity.

cigarette

Let’s go outside and have a smoke.  (Mind if I bum one?)  Yeah, heavy stuff.  If we’re going to ponder death, we must first understand how “reality” works.  Which means we’ve got to come to grips with 

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“I struggle with depression” — Part 2

Burning matchstick on white - vector

Part 2:  Light

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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In the dark before dawn the woods are quiet and still, as if waiting.  My wife sleeps nearby; I hear her rhythmic breathing.  We are camped in the Adirondacks.

Something has awakened me.  I have no idea what it was.  A moment later there is a roaring like wind in my right ear and the hearing in that ear vanishes.  Just like that.

I shout for Nina to wake up.  She’s groggy, trying to make sense of what I’m saying.  As I squint at the sky and trees above me, everything begins spinning.  Left to right, the universe scrolls past.  I squeeze my eyes shut.  The vertigo continues beneath the eyelids.  “Nina, everything is spinning!”  From inside her sleeping bag, her muffled voice gently urges me to go back to sleep.

By now I’m getting nauseous.  Terrified, I peel off my sleeping bag and stand up.  But I can’t keep my balance.  I tell her I can’t stand up and I’m about to vomit.

Suddenly I feel her seize my arm, steadying me.  No, I can’t walk to the car; I have no balance.  She throws my arm over her shoulder and virtually carries me out.

The moon’s brightness hurts my eyes.  While she goes back to collect our camping gear, I lean out the door and vomit.  I black out.

This is how it began, my encounter with the mysterious force that would lead me by the hand, like a child, through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

journey fixed

In the weeks following, I would be unable to sleep.  (I now understand why sleep deprivation is a universal method of torture.)  Over the next months, I lost tens of pounds as my appetite disappeared.  I wept easily.  I was devoured by anxiety and a vague fear — of anything, including, as pitiful as it sounds, going down to the basement.  I couldn’t tolerate being alone, and yet conversation was difficult and being in public was torture.  (My hearing returned, I’m happy to report.)

Two or three months before this event, I had received an advance copy of

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“I struggle with depression” — Part 1

match in dark2

 

Part 1:  Darkness

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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“Midway in the journey of life,” begins the narrator of Dante’s “Inferno,” “I came to myself in a dark wood.”  (Full stop.  Take a breath.  Now go on to the next paragraph.  These notations are for me, by the way, not for you, the reader.)

So did I.  Literally.  (Those four words are difficult to write.)  “Ah, how hard it is to tell the nature of that wood — savage, dense and harsh,” continues the speaker, “the very thought of it renews my fear.”  (The very thought renews my fear.  Oh god, yes! More than once in the past day or two I’ve considered aborting this essay — going AWOL, as it were.)

“It is so bitter, death is hardly more so.”  (Re-read that line.  This isn’t merely a fragment of text from one of the world’s great masterpieces, Dante’s Divina Commedia — the Divine Comedy.  The words breathe.  Are sentient and conscious.  Like Death, the words know my name.  They know the name of many of us, alas.)

The narrator presses on.  “But to set forth the good I found, I will recount the other things I saw.”

So will I.  Had I not found “good,” I would not be alive today.  Insofar as I can put words to it, this is my journey through the dark wood.  The journey of my entire life, I now realize.  Although now it’s a good journey — one I embrace and welcome.  One I would not trade for anything.

I saw blackness.  I saw the image, above — without the match.  A black void.  The cosmic abyss.  Milton, clearly no stranger to this experience, called it Chaos and Old Night.  What I write is no exaggeration.  Not literary license.  Every noun and adjective carefully, painfully chosen.  I was consumed by a darkness that had texture, substance, and an eerie, pulsing, throbbing life of its own.  In this blackness I was absolutely powerless.  If there is a hell, this was it.  I was completely, definitively undone.  Pulverized.  Ground to dust.  Mind.  Spirit.  Body.  Helpless.  Prisoner 

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Sisters Café: (Hopefully) Coming Soon to Downtown Malone

News Flash (November 5th)

Andrea Dumas just won a seat on the Malone Village Board!  New to political office, she ran against two incumbents — and prevailed over both.  (We’re delighted to see Joe Riccio returned to office.  He’s a wise and thoughtful man, and essential on that board.  Brian Langdon did a creditable job as trustee, and deserves our appreciation.  It’s a thankless job and Brian did well.)

RiverCityMalone.com interprets Andrea’s win as big “thumbs up” for Sisters Café and a signal that we all need to take a fresh approach to our village.  (It is indeed ours!  No, it does not belong to the Franklin County Dept of Social Services and the slumlords and riffraff they recklessly and infuriatingly bankroll — hopefully the dept’s new leadership will change this.  Nor does it belong to NYS or Washington, with their outrageous and financially crippling directives, including those damn DSS mandates.  Starting today, with Andrea’s victory, remember this.  Malone is ours!)

Let us work with this gutsy woman to make her vision come true.  Andrea Dumas is the face of the new optimism and determination in town.

It’s a good day in River City Malone — CLM.

 

— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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“What this country needs,” began Kansas Senator Joe Bristow, rising to address the US Senate on everything that ailed America — in 1917.  Today, a century later, nobody remembers a word the man said, except for the rasping phrase, “What this country needs  — ,” prefacing each item in his long list of solutions to America’s ills.

Presiding over the Senate that day was Woodrow Wilson’s Vice President, Thomas R. Marshall, a man notable for his wit and fondness for cigars.  As Bristow droned on and senators dozed off, an exasperated Marshall reportedly interrupted, “What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar!”

cigar

I sometimes feel like Mr. Marshall as I listen to local politicians wind on about Malone’s ailing downtown and what’s required to get it “up and running.”  Solutions include:  grant money, state intervention, a hoped-for economic boom, “expanding the tax base,” “growing the economy,” another $20K

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Powerful video against bullying

 

A local news anchor who was criticized by a viewer for being obese decided to use her morning news show to directly address her attacker.

WKBT anchor Jennifer Livingston, from La Crosse, Wisonsin, responded to a letter she received chiding her for not being a ‘suitable example for this community’s young people’ – particularly girls – because her ‘physical condition hadn’t improved for many years’.

The writer of the letter referred to Mrs Livingston’s ‘obesity’ and said: ‘I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.’

 

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Rock Star? Malone?

A warm summer evening.  Fair Week.  The stands jam-packed.  The excitement is palpable.  A rhythm & blues legend is about to perform.

The crowd explodes in applause as four young men take their position on stage.  Four singers who will be inducted, seven years later, into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.  The group that Rolling Stone Magazine ranks #81 among the “One Hundred Greatest Artists of All Time.”

With this man on drums.  

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Some Good Wead

—Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

 
Detail from dust jacket of “The Horse in Art,” John Baskett

David Minnich, Director of the Wead Library, was honored this week by a gift of books from Dr. Nina Pierpont (my better half).

Pierpont made the gift to celebrate Mr. Minnich’s century of service as Librarian.  (If not a century, it sure feels like one.  And it’s felt good.  Mr. Minnich has run a splendid community library.)

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“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”

Click on the image, above, to play.  In the new window that pops up, click in the middle of the red box, where it says “Play.”

(Ignore the website itself.  This version of the cartoon was widely available a year ago, Xmas 2007, but seems to have disappeared from the web this year–except on this website.  You can find it on YouTube, although it’s an inferior version.  The Editor.)

And here’s the original:

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Meditations

You are welcome to post a meditation here. Preferably one you’ve written, though not necessarily.  If you have a short piece written by someone else which has especially spoken to you, go ahead and post it.  Be sure to give the author credit and, if possible, the original source it came from.

Your meditation might be religious, or more broadly spiritual and not identified with any particular religious tradition. It might be something healing, comforting, compassionate. Or sorrowful, wistful, and searching.

This is, withal, a place to meditate. To share life’s joys large and small, its mysteries and pain. Share these with the community of mankind which, despite its follies, remains an endless source of warmth, humor, compassion, and fascination.

—Editor

 

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Once upon a time, 500 million years ago

—by John Miletich, Earth Science Teacher, Malone Central School District

Take a quick look around New York State and one characteristic quickly becomes apparent.  The state, as we know it today, consists of a great variety of landscapes and geologic formations.  As a matter of fact only two states in the entire United States, Colorado and Alaska, have more landscape regions than New York.

“High Peaks Layers”
“High Peaks Layers”
©Carl Heilman, with permission

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