January 12, 2015

Path

Path
By John R. Greenwood



Path is a word I’ve become drawn to. When I hear the word, “path”, the first thing that comes to mind is the hard packed dirt path that ran across the front yards of a dozen homes in the small village of Greenfield Center where I grew up. That path delivered you to the creaky screen door of the Greenfield General Store. That simple path was my first journey away from something, to something. I use the word path frequently because I’m happier when I find myself on a path to somewhere. That eighth-mile stretch of two foot wide dirt led me to my childhood friends and their stories. It was my first view of the world outside my own yard.



All paths bring us somewhere. Most paths have lessons to share. It’s where I learned that a foot-race with your childhood friend could lead to a line of stitches above your eye thanks to the tail-fin of a 1961 Cadillac. If I’d been a inch taller or six months older I would probably be blind in one eye. I was leading the race up to that point. That “path” lesson taught me to keep my head up and don’t look back. It gave me a deeper appreciation for classic cars and taught me that regardless of how beautiful someone or something may be, that we all have flaws of design. It’s up to us to live with them or around them. Paths teach us a lot.

Jump ahead from 1961 to the evening of January 9, 2015 and I found myself on yet another path. This one brought me to the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga and a 7pm book signing. Actor/Author Richard Caine Cerasani was there to talk about his book, “Love Letters From Mount Rushmore.” I read the brief description on the Northshire website and felt a pull to attend. Seldom do I arm-wrestle with that pull. It would turn out to be a good decision and yet another learning path. 


Richard’s book was fueled by his discovery of a trunk in the attic of his mother’s home a year after her passing. The attic was difficult to access which added to the intrigue and treasure hunt feel to his find. Opening the truck revealed a cache of letters, photos and other family artifacts. The items and the story they told led to a decade of research and ultimately an exquisite book about a six month period in 1940 when his father worked as a sculptor on Mount Rushmore. Meeting Richard and hearing him describe the path he took from the discovery of the trunk in 2005, back to to 1940, and finally to the present was captivating and inspiring; two things that go well together.

The second floor of the bookstore was filled to the brim with people who either knew Richard, worked with him on the project, or wanted to know more about the man and his story. Everyone that evening left with a smile and mind full of pictures either taken or described. The lesson to be learned on this night had to do with following your dreams. Perseverance pays dividends in the end. If something continues to speak to you or pull you in a certain direction don’t waver from that path. Keep forging ahead. Richard's parents and their story encapsulated that premise. Richard’s journey trying to bring it to light for others to enjoy only solidified that notion.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Glen Marsh, the photographer whose many photographs grace the book. Glen also helped revive the vintage photographs throughout. Glen and I shared our own stories and the paths taken to get to where we are now. We both agreed that live is better lived in motion, head up, eyes open, mind open.   

January 04, 2015

Rain Freezing

Rain Freezing
By John R. Greenwood


rain freezing smothers all it touches
slowly 
each drop constricting around its prey

as january air shivers in the driveway 
the wet coldness seeps up your sleeves

sheets of ice like a whisper thin glacier
drift slowly down the windshield 
until there’s no place left to go

crystal streams solidify and stall 
clinging tight to door and handle
never feeling the pain they cause

the rising sun takes charge 
peeling back the icy fingers
loosening the grip
warming the heart of the clouds
tempting you back
making you smile

Here's a link to my voice recorded version: Rain Freezing

December 28, 2014

De-Lighting Christmas

De-lighting Christmas
By John R. Greenwood

Christmas in reverse tastes bittersweet as temperatures tempt me outside to de-light and de-decorate the holiday. Time travels quickly pre-Santa but slows to a frozen crawl when Times Square signals a calendar change. Holiday cheer comes at you like a freight train and leaves you at the station leaning 
out over the tracks, head tilted, wondering what just happened and how many days has it been since you added water to the tree. Does it even matter now? It’s universal and carries a mix of emotion; empty wallet regret versus the realization that spring is next in line. When the Christmas lights come down you know the Superbowl is close behind and CVS will soon be unpacking the Valentine's Day cards. There are so many holidays now they meld together like a bag of sun baked Hershey bars. 


I tote up the lights and pack them away in the back of the shed. Dampness sets in and my mind smells hot coffee and the NFL. With Christmas #59 in the books I smile inside. I think of all the other husbands and fathers who no matter how much they might complain about the hanging and unhanging of lights and decorations can't wait to flip that switch to kick off Christmas #6 or #60. 

I've been wanting to add a voice recording to some of my posts to see what kind of reaction they might generate. 

Here's a Sound Cloud Recording of: De-Lighting Christmas