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ROBERT FROST: STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING

On this day in history, March 7, 1923, Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, was published. My mother taught it to me when I was in the fifth grade – I needed something for school – and it was the first poem, I believe, I ever memorized after nursery rhymes.

Though Robert Frost spent much of his life in New England and a few years in England, he was born in San Francisco, California, in 1874.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-christmas-horse-image17337038

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.  ~ Robert Frost

I love the imagery of the quiet snow, the wind’s sweep and the tinkle of the bells. The narrator is drawn to the deep woods and the solitude, but reminded by his little horse they have places to go, responsibilities waiting. Frost refers to the responsibilities as “promises to keep” and to me that connotes a desire to accomplish, a willingness to go the miles “before I sleep.”

Mr. Frost graduated from high school in Massachusetts as a co-valedictorian and three years later married the woman who had been the other valedictorian, Elinor White. They had four children and struggled financially while farming in New England.

In 1912 he moved his family to England where he published his first work of poetry, A Boy’s Will in 1913, followed by North of Boston in 1914, which was well received in the United States. He returned to a New England farm at the start of World War I and continued to publish his poetry. A frequent instructor and lecturer at universities, he also was invited to speak at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy….

oregon coast north

 

 

Villanelle on the Oregon Coast

For Margaret Prentice

Many a time I’ve dreamed of such a place,

Where darkened headlands tumbled to the shore

And a white ocean blew against my face;

An inland valley gave a breathing space

Against the water’s overwhelming roar.

Many a time I’ve dreamed of such a place,

But the great wind of dream-time would erase

All human detail, leaving just a core

That the white ocean blew against my face;

Now, though, our footprints measure out our pace

Upon this homeland that I never saw

(Many a time I’ve dreamed of such a place);

The cypress-pins and huckleberry-lace

Had been invisible to me before

When the white ocean blew against my face:

Sister and stranger, you gave me the grace

To read the print upon the windblind shore.

Many a time I’ll dream of such a place,

Where that white ocean blows against my face.

                                           Frederick Turner

Oregon Coast

The Pacific here

Once a vague postcard

Has taken on new meaning.

 

Once a blur,

An uncertain picture

A far away faint notion

Has come into focus clearly.

At first it was BEACH

And SHORE –

LAND and

SEA and

SKY

But now I have shared its breath

Its smell is on my fingertips still

I have stared for hours

Into crystal tide pools

To find treasures

Hidden from my first grainy impressions

Each little pool

Holding complex webs of organisms

Interacting with each other

Logically, beautifully

Predictable yet

Each full

Of surprises

 

 

Hermit crabs,

Bright green sea anemones

Orange and purple sea stars

Rough,

Slow,

Rigid,

Strong.

 

 Isopods, mussels,

Tiny darting fish,

Limpets and snails

And so much more.

All in

Less than

One cubic

Foot of

Water.

 

Each has its own story,

Its own cycle

And each fits perfectly

Into the balance

Of

This

Place.

 

Then looking up and out

At the gulls and crows

And vultures and

Great blue herons

And pelicans

And curious sea lions

Spying on us

From a

Distance.

 

Now I am AWAKE

And AWARE

And there is this blend of

Mystical and scientific,

Magical and measurable,

Tangible and intangible.

 

Now it is truly beautiful.

Every animal here is

Perfect in its place

Every creature plays

An essential role.

And every creature

In every tide pool

Is part of that shoreline

That beach

That ocean

This earth.

An Evening with ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’

The coolest thing to ever happen on an Oregon Coast beach is when Paul Newman rode (and crashed) a motorcycle on Fogarty Beach. In fact, this image, which is part of the larger story of when Newman spent the summer of 1970 filming Ken Kesey’s epic Oregon novel “Sometimes A Great Notion,” is so cool, it’s one of the principal reasons I want to write a book on the making of the movie.

Just in my initial research, I have quickly discovered that what went down that summer is one great fun Oregon story, which was completely undocumented. Frankly, the stories that have reached me so far border on the incredible, including a sensational yet unconfirmed report that Newman walked into a Toledo bar and cut the legs off a pool table! (Which is totally believable if you’ve read up on Newman’s passion for drinking and practical jokes.) It seems almost everyone who was around Lincoln County in 1970 had some brush with Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Richard Jaeckel, Michael Sarrazin or a member of the crew.

Matt Love is the publisher of Nestucca Spit Press. He lives in South Beach and can be reached at lovematt100@yahoo.com. 

Thanking Rachel for a noisy spring

[Posted June 25, 2008]

Six thirty. The mist falls on one of the last spring mornings before summer begins. I hit the beach with the dogs needing the shot of salvation the beach routinely injects whenever the disease of depression infects me.
We cruise north to the south jetty. In the distance, a ship waits for calm seas before making the narrow run between the rocks toward the safety of Yaquina Bay. The dogs break off east to sniff at the wrack line and I turn my head and look the other way, to the water, where all life began.

Ahead, less than a football field away, I see two large raptor-like birds standing on the sand, unmoving, staring straight west, as the last inch of a wave trickles over their talons. What the hell? Hawks don’t surf.

Tacking at northwest angles, I move closer to investigate, employing all my senses as Henry David Thoreau once commanded me — all of us — to do.

Suddenly, it dawns on me: for the first time, I am watching bald eagles in Oregon not in flight. They now exist less than 50 yards away, on my beach, and not another human is around to pollute the moment.

Immediately, I don’t feel the disease of depression anymore because I know that without one woman, a scientist, a writer, a warrior in defense of nature, a hero, a goddess who should adorn our currency, I know that without her monumental effort, bald eagles would not exist in South Beach or anywhere else in America.

Her name is Rachel Carson, and in 1962 her landmark book “Silent Spring” launched the modern environmental movement by exposing the ecological disaster wrought by the indiscriminate aerial application of poisonous chemicals, namely DDT. It was an overnight bestseller around the world and attracted an astonishing variety of readers, including a President of the United States, John Kennedy, who convened a special panel to investigate the disastrous effects of pesticides on the natural world. Later, DDT was banned, and with the help of the Endangered Species Act and Richard Nixon, who signed it into law, the birds came back. The spring wasn’t so silent anymore.
Without Rachel Carson and “Silent Spring,” there wouldn’t be a pelican, peregrine falcon or bald eagle left in this county, even Alaska. DDT was wiping them out as the government and farmers sprayed oceans of this poison across the land and water. It was a modern-day industrial plague encouraged by chemical corporations and their hired men in white coats who apparently never listened to birds.

I feel better after seeing the eagles, but I want more. I want to see the eagles launch from Earth. I want to see something I’ve never seen before. Yes, it amounts to a rude hominid interruption but I’ll beg forgiveness later.

I sprint toward the eagles and they lift off the sand on course for Asia. They quickly bank east and fly toward the cliffs. From nowhere, a third eagle joins the formation and I watch all of this, annihilated yet saved, restored, ready to keep at it and get good work done, part of which is pulling all the weeds from my lawn by hand and not spraying herbicide.

Matt Love is the author of the Beaver State Trilogy and publisher of Nestucca Spit Press (www.nestuccaspitpress.com). He lives in South Beach and his books are available at bookstores along the coast. 

 

forty old photos plus fifteen colorized ones

One thing we really need to thank the internet for: colorized historical photographs. Of course, the phenomenon comes to us courtesy of Photoshop and the talented editors who transformed black-and-white images into digital works of art. We’re just happy we get to feast our eyes upon them.

Behold, 15 of the best colorized photos on the web:

1. This boy clutching a stuffed toy in 1945 London.

Abandoned boy holding a stuffed toy animal. London 1945

Original Photograph by Toni Frissell. Colorized by Andreas Larsson2. Albert Einstein enjoying a Long Island summer in 1939.

Albert Einstein, Summer 1939 Nassau Point, Long Island, NY

Colorized by Paul Edwards 3. This young boy in Baltimore in 1938.

Young boy in Baltimore slum area, July 1938

Colorized by Jordan J Lloyd 4. This stunning snapshot of Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn

Colorized by Dana Keller 5. This unemployed lumber worker in 1939.Unemployed lumber worker, circa 1939

Colorized by Mads Madsen 6. These Japanese archers circa 1860.

Japanese Archers circa 1860

Colorized by Jordan J Lloyd7. The tragic Hindenburg Disaster of 1937.

Hindenburg Disaster – May 6, 1937

Colorized by Dana Keller 8. These British troops on the first stage of their trip to the front lines in England, 1939.

 British troops cheerfully board their train for the first stage of their trip to the front – England, September 20, 1939

Colorized by BenAfleckIsAnOkActor9. This startling picture of Joseph Goebbels allegedly frowning at photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt after finding out he’s Jewish, 1933.

Joseph Goebbels scowling at photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt after finding out he’s Jewish, 1933

Colorized by Mads Madsen10. This ‘Old Gold’ store in 1939.

‘Old Gold’, Country store, 1939

Colorized by Jordan J Lloyd11. This portrait of Walt Whitman in 1887.

Walt Whitman, 1887

Colorized by Dana Keller12. This car crash in Washington D.C. in 1921.

Auto Wreck in Washington D.C, 1921

Colorized by Sanna Dullaway13. Mark Twain lounging circa 1900.

Mark Twain in the garden, circa 1900

Colorized by Mads Madsen14. Charlie Chaplin in 1916, at the beautiful age of 27.

Charlie Chaplin at the age of 27, 1916

Colorized by BenAfleckIsAnOkActor15. Elizabeth Taylor in 1956.

Elizabeth Taylor – Giant (1956 film)
Original Photograph by Frank Worth Photo. Colorized by malakon.

Gas Resistant Pram in England

#2. Unpacking the head of the Statue of Liberty, 1885

#3. Elvis in the Army, 1958

#4. Animals being used as part of medical therapy, 1956

#5. Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923

#6. Charlie Chaplin at age 27, 1916

#7. Hindenburg Disaster, May 6, 1937

#8. Circus hippo pulling a cart, 1924

#9. Annette Kellerman promotes women’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, 1907. She was arrested for indecency

#10. Annie Edison Taylor, the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, 1901

#11. 106-year-old Armenian Woman guards home, 1990

#12. Deleted

#13. The original Ronald McDonald, 1963

#14. Disneyland Employee Cafeteria in 1961

#15.Deleted

#16. Soldier shares a banana with a goat during the battle of Saipan, ca. 1944

#17. Little girl with her doll sitting in the ruins of her bombed home, London, 1940

#18. Construction of the Berlin wall, 1961

#19. Unknown soldier in Vietnam, 1965

#20. Bookstore in London ruined by an air raid, 1940

#21. Deleted

#22. Measuring bathing suits – if they were too short, women would be fined, 1920′s

#23. Martin Luther King with his son removing a burnt cross from their front yard, 1960

#24. Deleted

#25. Lifeguard on the coast, 1920′s

#26. Artificial legs, UK, ca. 1890

#27. Mom and son watching the mushroom cloud after an atomic test, Las Vegas, 1953

#28. Deleted

#29. Austrian boy receives new shoes during WWII

#30. Hitler’s officers and cadets celebrating Christmas, 1941

#31. Christmas dinner during Great Depression: turnips and cabbage

#32. The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, ca. 1927

#33. Last prisoners of Alcatraz leaving, 1963

#34. Melted and damaged mannequins after a fire at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, 1930

#35. A space chimp posing to camera after a successful mission to space, 1961

#36. Illegal alcohol being poured out during Prohibition, Detroit, 1929

#37. Princeton students after a freshman vs. sophomores snowball fight, 1893

#38 Deleted

#39. Suntan vending machine, 1949

#40. First morning after Sweden changed from driving on the left side to driving on the right, 1967

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365179383/

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory