Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Night, August

Kelly works on Monday nights, leaving me on my own to venture out with the baby and dog (no mean feat, single handedly) if I want to make any good use of my after-work hours...

So the past few Monday's the three of us have been exploring various town centers on short, combination dog-walk/night-photo/baby-learnin' expeditions: The canine generally pulling us along and navigating course, while the bloggerette monitors our mileage and travel time via fuel (milk) consumption.

The last night of August found us in Amherst as a burgeoning full moon was just starting to peek into the edge of the sky, but the stars were still visible.

We made our way down a back street near the center of town, and past the police station...

Although the air was cooling rapidly the little girl didn't seem bothered. She absorbed the sounds, motions and lights of the busy town at night. College season is getting ready to start, and the town is beginning to bustle with students again. I threw a couple of socks onto her bare feet, kept her hands warm in mine between picture stops, and we sailed on...

A little further and back out onto Main Street, the constellation Cassiopeia was watching over Emily Dickinson's house...

...and just a little further still, the moon now climbed high enough to take command of the sky and wash out the starlight over the train station.

My first mate then called bingo fuel, and all too soon it was time to round back. The canine set course accordingly. It was a short but gainful voyage to wind out yet another glorious August...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Dredge Report

A recent look at Nashawannuck Pond in Easthamtpon showed that the dredging project going on there is well under way...

Water levels used to go to just under this raised platform.

There's now a broad mucky beach surrounding the perimeter.

As the water recedes, all kinds of gunk and goop and yeckh is emerging, and on that particularly hot humid day, giving off an odor you might expect.

It's not really a foul, garbagy odor or anything, but let's just say you can definitely smell the mussels.

A brighter, cheerier object - namely a Phoenix Bear, had recently emerged as the waterline dropped. But it was rudely yanked out and spirited away by the authorities...

While I was there a couple of fishermen were casting into the newly created shallows for whatever sunfish remain, while a couple of others looked on.

The pond is being dredged in order to remove decades of built up sediment and weed growth that has been choking the shallow pond. The deepening of the water will make it harder for the oxygen obsorbing plantlife to grow, as will the removal of the fertilizer/nitrogen soaked sediment.

The removed dirt will be stored somewhere and used as fill by the town.

There's talk of restoring the old man-made pond to it's former glory as a town centerpiece; with a new boat ramp, a re-landscaping of the edges with a new walkway and gardens, and maybe even a restored town beach...

Wouldn't that be ideal...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Was There, Man

Getting to Look Park in Northampton just early enough to scarf up a couple of tickets to the 19th annual Transperformance show before it was too late, it looked like others weren't so lucky...

With much of the local population strongly rooted (ideologically) in the 'hippie' era of the 60's , the show commemorating one of the pivotal moments of that era was predictably sold out in no time. This year's theme, 'Lookstock', was in tune with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with a roster of local bands paying tribute to the famous bands that graced that stage so long ago.

Proper attire was optional, and surely encouraged.

The music started about four o'clock with Country Joe Arlo, John B. Sebastion and Canned Heat setting the love and peace theme, and getting some early starters dancing while the amphitheater filled up.

Then Joe Cocker got by with a little help from his friends, followed by a woodstock-audience-walk-thru-medley by the famous local band Primate Fiasco.

By this time the place was full up and the warm setting sun glinted off of a re-sprouted sixties spirit...

I had to miss the next few performances so I could go back outside to meet Kelly and the bloggerette who had just arrived, and lead them back in time. It was the little one's first concert, and she quickly felt the mellow.

While outside I noticed that many people had camped out to listen, or waited in line for people to leave so they could get in with their donated ticket stubs...

...Northampton Mayor Higgins and the fire marshal were aware of and appraised the situation. With some cooperation from the crowd, room was made to safely allow a few more grateful people in.

Northampton media personalities kept the show flowing with original Woodstock references and characterizations, and at one point brown acid got up on stage to clear his maligned name and set the story straight.

Another time an original woodstock attendee regaled the crowd with memories of rain, mud, overturned port-a-potties...and of course love and peace. Peace and love again predominated, and the huge crowd offered up only token problems like people going into the surrounding off-limit bushes. Later on there were two nervous instances of wayward children, but they were quickly recovered; cuing much applause...

The show grooved on. Joni Mitchell paved paradise, Blood Sweat and Tears carried on, and Janice Joplin prayed for a Mercedes Benz, a-capella.

The crowd was heavily sprinkled with Woodstock era throwbacks and ideologues that kept emerging, serving to recollect what it was all about back then.

As it was getting down to the final handful of remaining performers, (there were some 24 acts in all), some of the most well known and iconic performances of the original Woodstock were still due to come onstage. The sun began to set as Sly and the Family Stone grooved everyone into the twilight...

...followed by famed senior singers Young @ Heart as they flew the Jefferson Airplane into night proper.

The darkness brought out the heavy stuff, and The Who electrified the audience until their speakers burned.

They. Rocked. Out.

The Grateful Dead followed up with surprisingly authentic sound; so much so that a couple of old timers in front of me gushed out 'Thank You! Thank You!' when they finished up.

F. Alex Johnson did a stellar tribute to Jimi Hendrix, right down to the guitar burn.

...unfortunately the crowd was pressed in so close to see it, I couldn't get a good shot.

These last few performances made the concert for me. But we would have to forgo the final few acts (Crosby Stills and Nash, and Richie Havens) to beat the traffic. We made our way out, with the tune of Mountain's Mississippi Queen fading in the distance behind us.

It was a great show, and an impressive tribute to that far reaching August weekend, 40 years ago...

Friday, August 21, 2009


Finding his humans resigned to docile indoor slavery to the rumbling air conditioner, the dog demanded that we snap back to life, and go out for a walk,

We headed for Mount Holyoke to try to gain some elevation in the hopes of rising above the hot, humid, and damp conditions that had enveloped the valley. But the fog proved impenetrable even at those heights. We were in a cloud.

Walking the pooch around the top for a bit, it was actually a beautifully dreamlike haze, though the views were absolute nill.

We loafed around until we began to get a little soaked, but I was secretly hoping the fog would begin to lift and maybe give us some cool views of the clouds breaking up below us over the countryside. Unfortunately, it didn't look too forthcoming.

We made for the summit house to bide some more time, where the fantastic Hadley 350th photo exhibit was still going on.

Fascinating stuff, both from now and then, and I was engrossed with some very old picture books about the floods of 1938...Kelly graciously gave me plenty of baby-free time to indulge myself and I managed to peruse three or four of the books they had out on the table.

But it looked like the wet wasn't going away anytime soon, and we couldn't hang around all day...

We gave it a chance, but it was time to go;

It was a good thing the exhibit was still on, otherwise this would have been less than an overly productive outing.

...although the bloggerette did get a chance to learn about the finer aspects of umbrella wielding.

Few trips are wasted ones...