Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

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Potato Planting

Two weeks of off and on rainy weather left the soil at Homecoming Farm in North Amityville too damp to plant potatoes. We got a call to plant potatoes. this was urgent because of too wet soil

It is not advisable to plant seed potatoes in wet soil. Today, the soil was perfect.

Dan used a rototiller to make 8 inch deep furrows in five 200 foot beds. We laid out a 100 foot long measuring tape so as to space the seeds a foot apart.  “We don’t cut the potato seed into pieces in order to prevent wire worms from burrowing. We had six boxes of fifty pound potatoes to plant. Because the bags sat for three weeks, they sprouted stems and white roots. Potatoes are subject to fungus is planted in wet soil. Today the soil was perfect, the weather was perfect, and we had four volunteers to help…Nancy, my wife, me, Tom, Mitch, and Andrea, a new intern from Porto Rico who will be with us for a month.

When We arrived, Sister Jean Clark, A Dominican Nun, was visiting. She conceived of the farm 20 years ago. She believes that community supported agriculture that is organic is wholesome and Earth Healing.

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The Discovery Process

The Center for Environmental Education and Discovery has launched a groundbreaking effort to establish an education center in Bellport.  After three years of hard work, the board of directors has earned the key to a large building where future programs will be conducted.

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Three New Poems

Big And Fast

Me and my little Civic Idle at an intersection To make a left turn
A leviathan Ram 1500 Pulls up along side
Dwarfs me
I look up, see his tattoos Me, Mr. stick shift
Him all automatic
His rumble to my purr His exhaust pipe
Size of a sewer cover His boom box thumps
His monster flag snaps His decal “TRUMP”
Mine “ Trees are Good” Light green- he lurches
Off the starting line
Like a 100 meter track star I shift into first gear
He’s gone,
I wait for passing traffic To make a left turn
Behind me an impatient honk By another big ass
Oversize battleship
My 25 mpg to his 12

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A Fabulous Greenbelt Walk- Part 1

A late May walk is memorable for several reasons. Much of the landscape is vegetation with crisp, new leaves, not yet eaten by insects, many shades of green, and a variety of textures. This is migration time for birds. I was walking in a botanical museum. I am part of the Carls River Corridor.

Warblers were singing in the forest canopy. I decided to walk from Babylon Village up to Belmont Lake State Park and back, six miles total. The trail is wide and slightly elevated. When Southern State Parkway was constructed and Belmont Lake State Park opened, fill was layed down to create a path through an extensive wetland.

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Poetry In Babylon Village

Jack Jack’s Coffee House owner Mike Sparacino has graciously offered his charming  Café for a monthly poetry reading and open mike. A featured, experienced poet will present their poems for 25 minutes every FIRST THURSDAY of the month from 7:30 – 9:30 PM.

After a short break, guests may read two poems during the open mike. One poem should be their writing, and the second poem by a well-known poet like Emily Dickinson. the cafe is located at 223 Deer Park Avenue, close to the LIRR Train Station.

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Calm Through My Lens

A sense of peace and serenity comes twice when I photograph a landscape that evokes these feelings. First are the simple landscapes I’ve seen and captured with my camera, and second, viewing the photos thereafter.

I look for scenes that have practically no information. There is no clutter. The following ten photographs pull me in as a way of leaving the busy world and entering the calm world:

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North Shore Beach

Petite wavelets sweep a north shore beach. I have come to Long Beach on Stony Brook Harbor, to experience early morning calmness in summer;  to listen to the cadence of tiny breakers that curl and fall onto wet sand at the edge of a placid Long Island Sound.

The surface of the Sound is glass. High tide has me walking right along this edge because the upper beach consists of pebbles. Walking on pebbles is hard. It might be compared to walking on millions upon millions of solid, metal pin balls. I want solid footing. Only the strip of wet sand at the very edges allows me to do this.

The slush part of the beach goes right up to the bluff. Tidal surge eats at the base of north shore bluffs and erodes it. The pebbles stay, the silt and clay are carried off into the sound.

I wasn’t expecting such astounding beauty. The scene is sky, water, and a thin strip of Connecticut on the north horizon. I wanted nothing to change. I stood quietly knowing that everything changes. The sun’s ascent changes the light and washes out what find textured details I am now seeing. I am thoughtless because this place has emptied me. I have lost the manic pace of Long Island life. The tacit lap of wavelets are like the second clicks on the stopwatch on the TV show 60 Minutes. This is Earth meditating. I feel my pulse. My heartbeat and wavelets are in tune. I am reminded that all of us  are part of a much bigger picture.

The sky is clear. There are no boats, no gulls, and no other people. Thousands of slipper shells lay at my feet. There is a boulder about 50 feet off shore whose tip is just above water with just enough space for a gull to perch. I slowly see the tide ebb as the wet edge of the boulder grows. It has its own world. Periwinkles, rock weed, mussels, and small crabs live in community on its surface. It boulder looks like a surfacing gray whale. The bluff is bare. Up top, a tree trunk is perched having fallen curing a strong hide tidal eroding event that took away just enough topsoil to undermine the tree so it fell. Beach grass grows at the base of the bluff. Every scene I see flows. And all during the time I’ve spent so far, wavelets rise, curl, fall, and sweep.

There is no need to walk. Instead, I sit on a log and run my hands through sand. It is getting brighter. I have lost track of time. I am not waiting. I am completely absorbed. A ring-billed gull has landed on the boulder. The wind has picked up. At once, the Sound takes on a different tone. A patch of wind comes in contact with the water. The surface becomes a chameleon. The water surface whirls and moves with textural changes every minute.  All the while I hear louder lap, lap, wish, wish. The sound of the sound speaks to me. The sun has overexposed everything. It’s getting hot. I walk back to the car, out of a church, having had a spiritual connection with…

A sacred place.

 

 

 

Give Me A Blank Notebook

Nor sheets of paper

I have done all that

Lost myself in words

Filled journals

Written letters

Sketched

Collected tear outs

Taped them on pages

Pages that keep on coming

Since the 60’s

Daily notes –

What I did

What I cooked

Whom I met

Why?

Don’t give me scrap paper

Don’t supply me

With pen or pencil

I can’t stop and

Why should I?

After more than fifty years

I’m approaching the starting line

Browsed dozens of journals

Looking for November, 2002

I need some details

Or do I?

 

Everything Goes Some Place

Where is it? In your ditty drawer, closet, attic, garage, trash? Aha. The garbage truck swings by because you hear it’s growl, a guy in an orange vest jumps off, grabs the can, dumps it, and crashes the can back on the curb of your house. The truck drives down the street until it turns left and it’s gone. So is your garbage. Wait, I see that truck way up there on top of that hill. I see it dumping, my garbage is on top of the hill. Is that the end of the line?

I flush and everything goes someplace; down the pipe under the toilet; makes a right turn down a larger pipe; connects up with a concrete pipe under the street; into a bigger pipe, then an even bigger pipe until…yes. It ends up at the sewage treatment plant. Then where? Or in a cesspool. Then where?

At the edge of a parking lot at the train station, someone rushes to catch their train. Oops, an empty cigarette pack falls on the ground. Don’t want to miss the train, runs, cigarette pack sits there hoping that person will not forget and will pick it up on his way to the car.

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Tag Sale

There were no tags. We met the man in charge at the garage door. “Make your pile and come to me. I’ll give you a bargain.”  With only a narrow alley way to pass through and into the house, we had come to browse, and perhaps to find a treasure. The cold day-long rain urged us out of our house. So here we are – a tag sale.

There was so much stuff it looked like avalanches pouring out of the walls. So much was covered up that we had to pull stuff off to see the stuff underneath. I was discouraged. This was stressing me out. Nothing was organized except bottles of alcohol. A woman pulled bottles from a cabinet and lined them up on the top. We were looking at the accumulation of a lifetime. We spent two hours looking to “make our pile.” We started to accumulate biographical information. I spotted a man leaving with his pile. He carried some vintage stuff. My spirits rose.

The owners must have saved everything, took many vacation trips, played an organ and piano. I found a bookshelf, four tiers high filled with bibles, music books, and “whatnot” In one corner, mice had chewed into two books and made a nest. This was the empire of stuff. In the music room, a man sat in a rocker looking befuddled. He was waiting for his wife. I pulled on old book from a stack to start my pile. I followed with large tin Italian cookie box which I filled with books. I always try to find some small item for my grand kids. Bingo…a tiny imitation alligator skin change purse only 1 ½ inches across for Maggie.

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