Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Month: June 2017

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.


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


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?”



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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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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