Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Is This Real Time?

A mushroom in my hand

Cool to the touch

White and fresh

From the forest floor with

Dead leaves and wood pieces

I can photograph it

Collect it

Identify it

Sketch it

It’s right here in front of me

I walked a mile before I found it.

I hold it up to look at the gills

Very delicate

This is real time


Tom Stock

Irish Whiskey – An Unhurried Journey


A couple from Dublin, Ireland stayed with us for three days.

As a thank your gift, they gave us a bottle of Irish Whiskey in a beautiful red box.

I’ve only had a few brief occasions when I tasted Ireland in a shot glass.

The bottle stood in a corner of the kitchen counter for almost a week. Finally, I cracked the cap, poured a small amount into a well-chosen glass, and took a sniff. Then, I lifted the glass to my lips, tilted my head, tilted the glass and sipped. I didn’t swallow. I let the stimulation linger. The first impression was not only the taste, it is the atmosphere of those tiny aerosol Irish droplets flowing to every part of my mouth. When I inhaled, I felt the full effect as liquid whisky evaporated to a gas. This enhanced the whole experience. I was back in Ireland.

I don’t swig liquid like this. I take very small sips to make it last. I want just enough to wet the tongue. The first contact with the whole tongue, front, middle sides, and back, the whole experience. The taste lasted ten seconds, my cheeks flush slightly, and I feel warmth. Then my brain kicked in. in a single word…euphoria!

It is temptation to have a second shot, a third, and finish the whole bottle. I had to use all my will power to refrain from a second helping.

Here’s what the label says:

Triple distilled; aged in hand-selected sherry butts; rich ruby read hue; 46% ABV; non chill filtered; seasoned with the finest Oloroso sherry;

TASTE: nutty Oloroso, spicy raisins and creamy oak. FINISH: long and wonderfully complex with a flourish of orange. An unhurried  journey. Produced by Walsh Whisky Distillery Ltd. Carlow, Ireland

I cried with Irish happiness.


Tom Stock                                                       November 7, 2017

“Stillness Against the Backdrop of Steady, Intensifying Change”

BY Verlyn Klinkenborg – More Scenes from the Rural Life

Main Street in Babylon Village is on the direct route to Good Samaritan Hospital. I live on the eastern side of the Village in a house on Willow Street. A century ago, this was a quiet place. Horse drawn carriages, no motorcycles, trucks, AND cars yet.

Things certainly have changed. While horses produce manure, today it’s exhaust in the form of carbon dioxide and engine fumes. Combustion is the name of the game and at the root of much of the “”intensifying change.” It is EMS trucks howling, sirens and high pitched horns carrying emergency patients to the emergency ward. Main Street is a conduit for noise. People in need of immediate aid from as far as ten miles west of here are carried right through  the business district with two story buildings that reflect and amplify this noise. Walking on Main Street when an EMS truck passes without ear protection is to invite  hearing damage. This is the backdrop of a modern village stuck smack dab in the path of health emergencies.

A Tricycle Built For One


I volunteered to put together his tricycle. He ordered it on the internet. It came in a big, heavy cardboard box. I opened the box and removed the parts. There were no instructions. Lucky for me I know a few things about bikes. I spread all 5- parts on the patio table and began.

It looked challenging, and that’s the way it turned out. I spent five hours swearing, dropping tools, getting charley horse in my fingers holding tiny screws, having to go to my tool chest to get more tools. I figured things out by making a lot of mistakes. High on the list was installing the derailleur. The bolt was small, slippery and round. I was in an awkward position. Both my hands were in odd positions. The bolt slipped and bounced away. I had attached it backwards and had to undo the bolt – 20 minutes, and another half hour to install it again.

Small Craft Warning

The weather report
In the New York Times
Says it’s not a good sailing day
Wind too strong – she’ll remain
Tied the dock
She is a little wood vintage boat
This is my third year
I’m still learning
Haven’t figured how to furl the sail
With no outboard

My Favorite Shirts

Many unworn shirts hang in my closet. This is because I have two favorite shirts that hog the show. These two shirts are the go to ones. I am wearing them out because I wear them almost all the time.

Shirt #1:

A long sleeved, buttoned, gray, very strong material, some elbow wear, IT was made in Sri Lanka, size large, Craft & Barrow label. The shirt is warm and it fits. Nancy, wife #2, bought it at a garage sale for .50. As soon as I tried it on, I knew I might as well discard the shirts in the closet. It is an excellent travel shirt because it’s all I need.

Shirt #2:

A forest green sweat shirt. It was a gift from Ted as a thank you for helping him. It is warm and comfortable. I wear it inside out. Recently I discovered  a picture and words on the front:


Look both ways before you cross the road.

Be a good listener.

Know when to lay low.

Tread lightly on the earth.

Take time out to browse.

Leap over obstacles.

Don’t pass the buck!

I resonate with “Know when to lay low.” Deer are not the type animal that thrives on the paparazzi. Their fur blends in so that they seem to dissolve before your eyes when they leap into the woods. The fawns have white botches to match dapple’s light in the forest. Deer spend the day resting and chewing the night’s worth of vegetation. They speak to me saying: “Tom, chill out, lay low once in a while. You’re too high profile. Take a back seat once in a while. Don’t hog the spotlight.”

”Leap over obstacles’ also gets my attention. Go at them head on. Don’t let them stop you.  Be proactive. The high arc of leaping deer is a sight to behold. For a brief moment, the animal seems suspended in air. This ability allows them to bypass heavy brush.

All animals are teachers. When I’m in Ms. Deer’s class, I sit in the front. I don’t to miss a single thing. She tells us how deer signal danger. Lift your tail. How simple is that? I don’t have a tail. How shall apply this to my life. Ah ha. I have it. I’ll shout at the top of my lungs. HELP DANGER WATCH OUT, DUCK. Deer as so much smarter than us.



Tom Stock                                               October 30, 2017

Let’s Take a Big Gulp of America

Sandwiched between Mexico and Canada
America, our country in the heartland of North America
Take a big swig, gulp it down
Keep on drinking
Swallow and do it again
There’s plenty big to choose from
Corn fields in Iowa stretch to the horizon
Soybeans, cotton reaching infinity
Huge chunks of open land in the southwest
Sod farms for instant lawns and chemicals
Homeowners can look like the most wealthy people in the neighborhood
Farms with big ass tractors that take bites that are county-sized chunks
Trucks with tires 12 feet high

Combustion Chamber – the poem

It is hot and it’s dark
I huddle inside a piston chamber
Of an 8 cylinder Cadillac engine
The piston rises, my space diminishes
Just when I think I’ll be crushed
The piston drops
A spark plug explodes gas vapor
A chamber with crushing pressure
Give it gas, step on it
Pedal to the metal
Anger builds
Ready to explode
Into carbon dioxide
Then it starts again

Hunters Garden Association – Report

Twice a year, on the third Thursday in May and October, men gather for lunch. They have met for the past 184 years, On my 78th birthday, I decided to attend their biannual clam and eel chowder lunch.It took place deep in the Pine Barrens of Southampton north of route 51. A long dirt road leads to a clearing. There is no running water nor are there bathrooms and therefore, no women. The association has a truck which holds boards for tables and seats. A small group of men set up the cooking area. A railroad rail holds five cast iron cauldrons. The lead chef directs the cooking. Two kettles are used for the clam chowder and three for the eel chowder. A garbage can propped over a fire was used for coffee.

A Basket of Finds

Mark Harrington gave me a basket full of nature objects that he  collected. I’d never received such a gift before. I rummaged through it and left it until I decided to write this post.

I don’t have my collection of nature things in a basket. They are here and there. A turkey skeleton and sea robin head on my nick knack shelf, bottles or garnet and magnetite sand in the garage and scattered here and there.

Of the 45 items, one of these was Florida shells. I could only remember the scientific name, Fossor donax. A google search produced the AH Ha…Coquina. These tiny shells accumulate by the millions in Florida and become combined by lime which glues them together. They have reached the Long Island shores.

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