Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Vortex –

I discovered something interesting on my walk around Argyle Lake. There on the water surface, a black hole surrounded by counterclockwise swirls. I stopped, hypnotized and curious.

At this point, water drains from the Lake into an auxiliary pond which is two feet lower than the lake. I checked the pond and saw a ribbed plastic pipe with water emptying. The conditions for these phenomena must have been perfect. The water level of the lake was just right. There was a faint hollow sound coming from the hole. My curiosity led me to the dictionary:

“A mass of spinning air, liquid, etc. that pulls things into its center”

I remember the Titanic as it slipped beneath the sea creating huge vortexes. To be caught in a vortex, you might be sucked in and drown.

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Screaming Woman – the poem

If she’s scared
A good scream may help
Don’t hold back
Let it out
Press with the diaphragm
And force with as much power
As you can manage
A good scream can
Scare the crap out of
Whatever you’re afraid of
A blood-curdling high alert
For a mouse, axe murderer,
Spider in the shower stall

Husband says “I got goose bumps
And hair standing straight up
On the back of my neck.
You’ve scared the shit out of me.”

“It’s a defense mechanism” she says
“Honey, if it were an intruder
In the house, then scream your lungs out
Don’t cry wolf over a tiny spider.”

Deck Vacation – Clouds

The only way I can see far is to look up. Buildings on all sides block everything. From my deck, I lounge in a chair and just look up. Those beautiful clouds, a passing parade of white, light grays, and dark grays. Right now the sun is directly above. It appears as a perfect orange-red circle blocked by a cloud. Today is partly cloudy so I have to be careful not to look directly at the sun. It’s a game I play with the clouds.

The patio is my sky theater and my clouds are the thespians. From this orchestra seat I am front row for a spectacular performance. Four clouds are closing in on blue sky for all four directions. It looks like the iris of my eye adjusting to bright light. The clouds are great white barges closing a hole in the sky.

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Manifesto: A Recipe for Climate Change, Global Warming, and Sea Level Rise

Introduction:

More and more “Big Ass” heavy cars, and pickup trucks  are being used for transportation. For women, they feel safer. For men, it’s size that matters. The following guidelines are suggestions for solutions to halt the increase in Earth’s temperature:

Cars can only weigh 1,500 pounds or less

No forms of entertainment will be sold in new cars including, radio, air conditioner, TV’s, and cigarette lighter

When idling in neutral, a computer that comes with the purchase of the car will measure the idle tome. Owners will pay a “idle tax” for exceeding a standard based on previous driving time and distance.

Auto races are prohibited

Crank windows only. The car is not an entertainment center. It is only meant as a mode of transportation.

Gas stations will be closed on weekends.

All car owners have a yearly maximum of 5,000 miles. Above that, a fee will be assigned.

Cost of cars and related fees – tripled in price

Price of gas – tripled

Tolls – quadrupled

Auto mechanics fees – boosted to $400/ hr

Tax break for people who don’t own cars and use public transportation.

Parking fees – quadrupled

$40 toll for crossing any state line

No more TV auto ads

Car rental business is closed

Only one make of car will be available for sale

Auto supply stores, junk yards, tire companies, repair shops will raise their prices by four.

 

 

 

Manorville Hills Spring Hike

To describe our most recent hike in Manorville Hills County Park, a single word will suffice. FRESH.  Moments after we exited the parking lot and headed toward Trail #5.

Early June, no one in the park but Mark and me. Along with sunshine, we entered the renewal of this Pine Barrens Forest. Fresh new ferns, grasses , mosses, blueberry shrubs,  and the oaks. Gypsy moths were at work. There was evidence on the trails. I found pieces of partially chewed leaves, as well as caterpillars because leaves are fresh and tender.

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Homecoming Farm – Startup Day

With a break in the weather a dozen share-holders and volunteers convened on the farm to catch up after several rain delays. Elizabeth provided bagels and juice before we broke up and worked to get the farm ready for harvesting a few weeks from now.

Don, the farmer, suggested various tasks. A mother and her son planted leeks. Several women descended on the two weed-filled herb and flower beds. I pried fennel with a long-handled spade. Fennel is n invasive and aggressive. It’s tap root goes straight down like dandelions.

After an hour, several large piles of weeks needed a trip to the compost pile. I wheel borrowed three loads. Don prepared a bed for planting. This season, Don decided to eliminate grass pathways along the beds. “Insects live there as well as weeds and travel into the beds.”  Behind his roto-tiller, flat,  smooth, velvety, brown, soft soil was to become the home of the roots of one of the dozens of kinds of produce the form will provide.

Soil is the key to growing healthy, organic produce. Lots of compost is applied and worked into it. Just by  thrusting my hand into this fresh soil, full of air, minerals, organic and organic elements, I could tell that any plant put in this soil and watered, is going to grow big and strong.

On my trips to the compost pile, I looked Austrailian Winter Pea cover crop. Don plants cover crops to increase carbon and nitrogen.

Don is particular about the way seedling plugs are planted. He wants the rows straight and the distance between each plant the same. He knows what space the roots of each plant needs. He used a 100 fool long string, measuring tape, and yardstick to plan where each plant will go. Once an entire bed is planted, I imagine a battalion of soldiers marching in place.

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What’s Not There

Cutter is a form of interruption. Space is interrupted by objects. It can be as large as a building that blocks the sun and view. It can be small, like a living room loaded with collections on shelves, floor, and furniture

Reactions to clutter can run from like, tolerate, and abhor. I fall somewhere between tolerate and abhor. If it’s my clutter, like. Others clutter – abhor. Clutter is stuff you think you need, you want, you can’t part with. As soon as I step across the threshold and encounter a cluttered room, I form an opinion and I don’t feel comfortable.

Beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, hills, and meadows are clutter escape hatches. To to one of these places is to reorder mental clutter. After an uncluttered experience and return to a cluttered environment, the person might ask themselves…”Why do I keep all this stuff?” Garage sales are held so they people selling old stuff can buy new stuff. Or they may be moving and say. “How did I accumulate all this stuff?” if it was a gift, it is nice to show respect by keeping it.

I’ve seen photos of minimalist living quarters. The walls are bare. There is hardly furniture…maybe a chair and table. The people who live in this kind of environment chose to stay clear of the task of taking care of their stuff, protecting it, and eventually, finding room for more. They maximize calm and they see what’s not there. Empty is the new full.

Here’s an example. I volunteered to help set up hundreds of books for a used book sale. Eventually the room was packed with table after table of books. After just a few minutes, I stopped searching for a title I’d like. I had to leave. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. I needed balance. Outdoors, less clutter, mind clears. I drove to a pier on the bay and parked. I saw the horizon. This alone relieved my stress. Open space is necessary for everyone. What is there is not there…space, minimal information. This is the kind of place we all need from time to time. Nature is relevant, intelligent, and related. We experience networks of ecological connection.

Seeing nature is a holistic experience, a bigger picture experience. You are not closed in by walls. There are no boundaries. Nature is not cluttered. We all need “not there” experiences, away from job, house, neighborhood, traffic,and away from our monkey minds that jump and sway from tree to tree.

Where can you go to get away from busy, from speed, and noise, what’s not there is the there we need to find.

Hot

You never know when hot shows up

Like, for me, making copies at Staples

She walks across my vision

High heels, nice coat, hair groomed

She stands at the machine next to me

I catch a glimpse of her ankles, high heels

Hot

I have not seen her face…to dangerous

When I sneeze, she says faintly, “God bless you”

Her face will confirm, which I can’t see

She has her back to me

All I have is imagination

Is this a hot moment?

I have to confirm

She shuffles papers

A sound that under ordinary circumstances

Doesn’t mean anything.

But her shuffel…hot

I’m dying here

She’s killing me

She’s hot and she knows it

She’s teasing me

And it’s making me crazy

How could she not have a beautiful face?

Finally she exits

She’s have to pass me so I can see her

I see her face – only two seconds

Serious, glasses, austere,

Hot on a scale of one to ten = 6

Ankles – 10

High heels – 10

The way she walks – 10

She’s gone

“What if she had turned to me

When she said god bless you?”

 

Motion

There is nothing that doesn’t move. As close as scientists have tried to achieve absolute zero where nothing moves, they have not. Or is there?

Earth is consumed with motion as is the whole Universe. Most plentiful is the ocean of ocean surface and currents beneath, clouds, rivers, streams, etc. There is motion too inside the hardest rock, ice, steel, and everything else in nature. Its motion slow, medium, and fast.

Where did all this motion come from? It came from our Sun, of course. Early Earth was a ball of molten magma that cooled down to what we have now. The sun caused it all. The sun moves constantly, and so do we. Earthquakes, avalanches, tornadoes, hurricanes, you name it…its all motion.

We are motion – circulation, muscles, breathing, thinking, molecules vibrate all the time. It’s called Brownian Motion. Some guy named Brownian looked at water under a microscope and he saw molecules of water bouncing around and moving at random. How can there be any motion in a 150 pound anvil? Atoms, electrons, nuclei, those little suckers move. Light…is it a particle of a wave. Makes no difference, there is motion in light.

All this potential energy wants to move faster. Motion is spent energy. It is potential, then kinetic, back and forth, slow and fast. Standing still is motion

Earth is motion, we revolve, rotate, process and have done so for eons and even before this. Yet, who is to say that first motion came from no motion. Certainly the big bank started motion off and running. My arm, my hand, the keyboard I used to type this essay, all came from an amazing painting on the cover of a journal. The painting is just the surface of water whipped up by wind. After I looked at this cover, I had to write this essay. Thanks for popping by. The next post will #200!

 

Boy Becomes Man

Cross-legged inside a “lodge”, in this case it is a twelve foot circular dome five feet high. Tree saplings lashed together make a strong framework. This framework has many colorful cloth strips tied to it. Keith says “to honor someone no longer with us.” I tie a purple strip over the door to remember my brother Martin.

Keith’s youngest son, Liam, is on center stage for the “lodge” ritual, short for sweat lodge.  Liam is 18 years old. The lodge is to mark the entrance into “manhood.”  Ted and Keith invited 11 males to help celebrate the passage. The age span is 10 for Sebastion to me – 77. Ted has offered his location, planned, and acquired the necessary materials. We are in Northampton in the Pine Barrens Woods just north of Wildwood Lake. We are isolated. Most of the neighbors have summer cottages and are still away.

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