June 26, 2010

Courageous Ben











Courageous Ben

By John R. Greenwood


Fearless soldier

Courageous Ben

Husband, brother

Son, and friend


Sense of humor

Playing ball

Skiing fast

Standing tall


Compassionate neighbor

To those in need

All out effort

His hearty creed


Love of country

Larger than life

One love deeper

His loving wife


Lake George water

Crystal clear

Rising high

Of fallen tear


J.R.G.6.23.10


June 20, 2010

Dad, Happy Father's Day...

Dad passed away February 27,2009. I wrote this piece and gave it to him on his 85th Birthday. This photo is one of my prize possessions.

June 18, 2010

Cobwebs in my Asics


Cobwebs in my Asics
By John R. Greenwood

Days slip away
Workouts but a
Faint memory

Scales reveal
Like a calendar
Tight pants and
Depressed thoughts

Cobwebs in my Asics
Tell the tale
Tic Toc
Small hand on the five

Turn up the music
Laces snug

One mile
Then two

J.R.G.6.17.10

June 12, 2010

Life is Where You Look

Life Is Where You Look

By John R. Greenwood


As a leftover milkman, it’s in my blood to be up early in the morning. On a recent morning in June 2009, the anniversary of my birth over a half century earlier, I decided to take an early morning walk as a gift to myself.


I have lived in Saratoga County all my life. I grew up in Greenfield Center, attended school in Saratoga Springs, and raised a family in Wilton. I have witnessed all the growth and development this area has experienced over the past few decades. In my little corner of the world on Waller Road in Wilton, I am surrounded by hundreds of homes where once there were forest, field, and farmland. In some ways that is sad, but it has been a great place to grow up with my family. We have nice people all around us. I have a good steady job close by. Saratoga Springs has a great school system. There are churches of all kinds, a wide variety of stores, and so much more. The history and quality of life this area provides are two of its finest components.


Well, as I took my birthday walk I also spent some time reflecting about life in general. What’s in store for me? What’s next on life’s shopping list? As I came to the end of my road, where Waller meets Route #9, I stopped to listen to the chorus of songbirds and quiet that surrounded me in this now highly developed area. After all, it was 6am on a Sunday morning. It was then that I heard the most beautiful songbird singing high atop a light pole in a nearby parking lot. I approached it slowly. I could not believe what I was hearing. The sounds were crisp and distinct, but rapidly changing, as if mechanical. Chirp, chirp, chirp, whistle, whistle, caw, caw, caw, the concert grew louder and more intriguing. Was that the sound of a kitten’s meow? I swear I heard a cricket on top of that light pole. For a brief moment, I hear the cry of a seagull, but there are no seagulls in sight. One of the most amazing creatures I have ever experienced, the mockingbird, was providing this medley of animal and insect sounds. If you have never witnessed this display of talent, you will not believe your ears. My heart raced, I wanted to capture nature’s personal birthday gift to me. No one would believe what I was listening to right smack dab in the middle of new homes, townhouses, and offices. We can despise or embrace technology and growth, but just as I was about to go down that path of longing for the good old days, I reached into my back pocket and pulled out life’s most revered technological wonder, a cell phone. It was just a few days old and has more options than a new Toyota. As I researched its abilities, I remembered seeing an audio icon with the word recorder listed below it. Could I actually use this phone to tape record these sounds? Now, if I can just figure it out before the concert ends. With slightly more technological skill than a cement block, I was able to push record and taping began.

This feathered master of imitation, the mockingbird can recreate sounds that you cannot imagine. Here are just a few I was able to identify: robin, bullfrog, whippoorwill, chipmunk, crow, nuthatch, and as I mentioned previously a kitten’s meow. Just when I thought I had watched enough Animal Planet and National Geographic Channel to see and learn everything humanly possible about wildlife, it happened. I opened my birthday gift from above. The most amazing sound to ever echo through the treetops came from that little bird of black, grey, and white, a sound that will make any man, woman, or child stop dead in their tracks and listen, the piercing shrill of a modern day car alarm. I cannot replicate the sound with words but that mockingbird, the size of a quart of milk, blasted off a half dozen shrills and whistles unmistakably identified as a human manufactured car alarm, and I just recorded it on my cell phone.

There are many gifts in life; a beautiful wife, healthy warm-hearted sons, harvest moons, and Cape May sunsets, but this was something special. I have a newfound appreciation for technology and I have a new mantra for my second fifty, “Life is where you look”.

J.R.G.6.14.2009

Please note * This video was taken 1 year later in the same parking lot where I first recorded the Mocking Bird. I lost the original sound recording when I had to change phones several months ago.

video

June 11, 2010

Sunday Morning Gunshots

Sunday Morning Gunshots

By John R. Greenwood


Cool not cold

One damp November morning

Early morning walk beckoned

I grabbed a coat


Hunting season

The smell of wet oak leaves permeate the air

Hunters rejoice

Deer take cover


I understand thinning of the herd

Yet, I cheer for them

To escape the harm

The bullets spray their way


The early morning silence is broken

In the hilltops while I walk

Bang, bang, bang, bang

I cringe

Bang, bang, bang

I cringe again

Why so many?

Why so many?


November deer

Helpless to escape

Run

Scatter

Hide

Dodge the bullets

That come their way


Oh what a quiet morning

Shattered by that sound


As my steps bring me closer to the wood

I tilt my head

Bang, bang, bang

How many deer could there be?

I tilt my head, trying to decipher the reason

Why so many?


Could the deer be fighting back,

Surrounding hunters and giving chase?

Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang


My early morning search

For solitude and peace

Has turned into a nightmare


As I began to turn, and go back home to quiet walls

The sound seems clearer

More sorted

More familiar

I’ve heard that sound before

A sound I’ve made myself

The sound an early morning hammer makes


An anxious man

Hammer in hand

An early morning project

Roofing nails

Hammered down

Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang



Everyone wins this cool November morning


The deer escape


The man with the hammer, his roof complete


My walk fulfilled, my heart, is light


The hunter

Sits and waits

And smells the wet oak leaves

And dreams of points to grace his wall...


J.R.G.11.15.09


June 08, 2010

(?)


(?)

By John R. Greenwood


Age Behind

Age Ahead

Never Full

Never Fed

Pounding Heart

Pounding Head

Life Because

Life Instead


J.R.G.6.7.1955

June 03, 2010

Camp Chingachgook Bound

In this Photo from left to right: Helen Greenwood, Philly Dake, Frances Greenwood, and Heidi Dake. John Greenwood and Perrin Dake sitting on the trunk. The picture was taken facing toward North Broadway in front of the City Center.










Camp Chingachgook Bound
(Broadway, Saratoga Springs N.Y. circa 1967)
By John R.Greenwood

Maternal guards
Arms patiently folded
Await Trailway’s bus
Of grey, white, and chrome
Childhood friends
Sit anxious
Atop black trunk
Of bug spray and sweatshirts

Visions of swims
In cold Lake George waters
Pine-nestled cabins with
Green paint-peeled
Screen doors
That slam in the night

Cold pancake breakfast
Bright plastic dishes
Hikes on Buck Mountain
July campfire wishes

Memories born
Journeys long taken
Bring life to the surface
Smiles freshly shaken

Thanks for the picture
Of those pictured here
For time in a capsule
Sweet, savored, and dear