Merry Christmas!

Here’s to getting here and finding the light and appreciating it where we find it.

Northern Exposure End Scene: More Light from Markus Avrelius on Vimeo.

Survived a night with roaring winds and rain so I might be a little droopy later but there is good everywhere. Soak it in, revel in it! Strength friends, for what’s ahead!

Merry Christmas!

Sandy Hook

Today is the eighth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I had gone the previous night to a midnight showing of the Hobbit in Nyack NY where there is a “real” IMAX movie theater. A group of us went and had a good time hanging out and enjoying the film.

I stopped at the Nassau Diner on my way home, thinking it was funny to be doing my day sort of in reverse, drinking coffee on the way home rather than the way to work. A news alert popped up while I was there about another shooting. Tired but caffeinated I drove home.

When I got home the news was overwhelming and unbelievable. And we live with a string of shootings now that are overwhelming and unbelievable that have happened since then. That day was Columbine all over again and now there are almost too many to recite.

There have been attempts to deny that any of this happened. How incredible is that, all by itself? But no one can deny the realty that these children died, along with others shot down by unnecessary assault-style weapons. As have many others – too many – since then.

Sandy Hook

The Gettysburg Address

Perhaps we could all take a moment to read this aloud, and to think of what the words meant then, and mean today.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Gettysburg Address

Tonight’s Light Show

I was lucky to find myself out and about in just the right place and time. Click this photo for the flickr album!

12 Nov 2020 Sunset//

Tonight’s Light Show

7 November 2020

There was this and then moments later there were all kinds of wonderful headlines! Thanks everyone for keeping the faith and working and being strong. Now the real work begins.


7 November 2020

November 6, 2020 – Letter to my elected reps

November 6, 2020

Dear Elected Representative,

We are in the last moments of this election and still holding our collective breath. While we are hopeful of the outcome, the thought still is there: how can “these people” feel so strongly in ways that are against what our nation stands for?

I had a moment while looking at the county breakdown of voting in this election. Most of my “blue state” was red. The signs and banners and trucks certainly indicated this to me previously but the voting didn’t lie. The only thing that kept the state blue was the concentrated votes in the populated areas. My moment wasn’t one of “thank goodness” but – how do we find common ground again? Rural areas (where I live) are the mirror of inner cities – little work opportunity, often poor education at all levels, poor pay, poor health care, food scarcity and insecurity, few cultural offerings. If we want to join together with our neighbors again we can’t dig in and WIN. We must find ways to offer ways to live better and to make room for caring for everyone so that anger subsides and being open to each other can begin.

This isn’t a new state of affairs, but a sure decline of urban and rural areas for many generations. And it is true for many of the “blue” states.

I live in an old house in a rural area. The center of the economy to those driving through here is all about cars. Old cars, a race track for racing cars, a NAPA store or two in every village. We have had minimal internet service, at times not reliable phone or electrical service. Where I live there’s no cable TV offerings at all because it’s not economically interesting to the cable companies. There are no grocery stores nearby, just convenience stores where you can pick up milk, bread and eggs with your gas fill up. In season we have farm stands.

I saw all the red signs. I heard a lot of the muttering and talk. I saw all the people who wouldn’t wear masks from the start and do so now minimally only because our local shops won’t let them in without one thanks to our governor’s strong guidance.

I see the local school whose newsletter touts the sports teams but doesn’t mention the academic results because they’re pretty bad.

There are people from downstate buying up property that was once farmland because they have the money to buy it and pay taxes on it. They rarely do much for the economy in terms of offering new industry or employment.

Why am I painting this view for you? Because to get back on track and start to push our country forward we can’t be US vs THEM. We have to make sure that opportunity is there for anyone who wants to try for it. That education is good and free at local schools and affordable to those who want to go on, and that this education prepares people for good-paying jobs that allow them to live well. That an unexpected illness or accident won’t destroy a family because of medical costs. That medical care and services are available everywhere to anyone who needs them.

I think of my childhood – all the little moments of a child’s oblivious growing up – and realize how we were not worried. We weren’t worried about losing our house or car or job, losing family members because we couldn’t get them health care. That’s privilege that comes from economics more than anything else. I grew up thinking if I worked, and it might be hard work, I could keep going and live an all right kind of life. I could take care of myself and my family.

I could be relaxed about the future, not worried and angry with worry and fear. I could save for retirement and someday not have to work.

How can we extend a better life with a sense of that to everyone? Health care, education, job training and opportunities, everyone pulling their weight to make things move for everyone?

This is what I ask of you, my elected representatives going forward. Stop catering to the billionaires and the mega-corporations and start – and finish – with the people you represent in the cities, the suburbs and the rural communities. We need your support to make the American dream of possibility and hope a reality for everyone so we can be one nation and one community again.

Mary Beth Frezon

November 6, 2020 – Letter to my elected reps

(August) Poetry Postcard Festival 2020

So many months at home. So many postcards. So many poems going out in the mailbox and quite a number coming into my mailbox too! Here’s the two groups of cards (two “groups” or “months” worth) that I have received to date.

I started the festival early this year, in April. I had misgivings because April is not August but it is Poetry Month and I had committed to writing a poem every day as I usually do in April for NaPoWriMo. I laid this down as my caveat for starting early, because I post those publicly each day. But I figured, the recipients of these cards may not be expecting a card in April and well, no one really looks at my blog. I figured it would all be good.

So I started writing. I’d been home since March 4, the first couple weeks of that with some illness. In April there wasn’t much to do except online work “stuff” and sitting outside to paint and watch the world. I started carrying a pocket sized notebook and actually writing down phrases or ideas that came to me although normally I compose on the computer. I have often jotted a digital note or done a voice recording of an idea on my phone but there was something nice about scribbling down an idea. I quickly realized that the process was much better if I at least tried to be legible in my scribbling.

In the past I have written in a form or with a theme for NaPoWriMo or Poetry Postcards. This year I had no set ideas along those lines. What developed really surprised me. My poems developed a trend of being double sonnets. Like, I could not fit a great number of these daily poems onto the back of a postcard at all. I started using blank postcards, perhaps with a little watercolor swirling on the front, and putting the start of the poem on the front and continuing it on the back. For someone who tends to sonnet length and haiku, this was amazing. One was even three sonnet-lengths long, two being all 5 syllable lines and one being all 7 syllable lines! Where the heck do these things come from?

Now, we are encouraged in Poetry Postcard Fest to write “spontaneously” on each card – to write that day’s poem directly on the card. I confess, I have never done this. I write directly into BBEdit on the computer, in a file for that month’s poems. No more editing than one might do scratching out a word as you’ve just written it. No later fussing. This gets backed up a couple ways. I copy it directly onto the card. No edits. The address gets put on the card. A stamp. I wander downstairs, scan the front and back of the card and carry it out to the waiting mailbox.

Rarely, perhaps a couple times in any postcard/poetry month I might write something I think is a little too personal or one I feel uncomfortable sharing. Usually I can put it aside and write out something else in a short while. Or I will write a second poem or set of haiku using something about the first one.

I look forward to the daily ritual of writing, copying it out onto a card, making a digital copy and then bringing it out to the mailbox. I love going outside late at night and this is a wonderful excuse to go out – to mail off a handwritten poem to someone who doesn’t expect to get this particular poem. Oh yes, I know they hope to get something in their mailbox! Who doesn’t?

I wrote daily in April, most of May, a part of June and then it seemed I needed a break. I waited for August and it was hard to pick up the pieces of the process because that excitement had been in April. It was all right and will be again. I chatted with the other poets and sent a few cards and got close to the actual place where I was on the second list of names. And so I started writing again with the sense of deadline and someone waiting. And I started getting more cards in my own mailbox as people started their August Month of Poetry Postcards which lingers on into September. We were all needing some support and strength and it was good to talk about our lives and the world.

I have a tradition of writing a special poem for August 31 and sending it to everyone in my group. Day 31 still gets their own poem though! I used part of my free time in August to think about that and work on it. After I’d addressed all those cards I thought about all the different people in all the different places they were going. I hoped that my first cards had made it to them safely, maybe even that they’d been enjoyed along the way as well as by the recipient. I send a card to my two local postmasters as thanks for their help and to some bonus folks out of PoPo. That is something I really enjoy doing.

In September I took a rather intensive online watercolor class which sort of kicked my butt and head for two weeks about painting with intention. In theory, this is hard when you start and then should get easier. As the class was ending I realized there was a poetry class available about spontaneous writing and that seemed to fit into the deep thinking I was doing about intentionality and flow so I took the leap and signed up for that. I’m not sure what will become of me but I will carry on and have already signed up for August Poetry Postcard Fest 2021.

Signing up for the future is like planting bulbs – a pure sign of hope in the world!

(August) Poetry Postcard Festival 2020

Creativity vs Art

From The Painters Keys newsletter which usually gives me something to chew on if not a little kick to the head.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.Scott Adams

Creativity vs Art

Also, This, Today…

First this in my mail. I stopped at the Brainard Post Office on my way out. Sounds like they just found out themselves! And the staff there deserve better. I’m told it’s an emergency closure and no one knows if it will be permanent. I thought about how when I bought this house, the post office was my way into the community because everybody who was anybody went to the post office. I had a box there for many years and was quite friendly with the first postmistress I met there, Betty, who had worked in my house when the post office was there.

Also today at Hand Hollow Conservation area:

Threw my left over paint last night onto a little sheet of paper.

Today I used what I’d learned long ago in Fred Lisaius’s class to put a wash of clear water over the whole thing and add another layer or two wet in wet to what had gone before.

Also, This, Today…

Addressing Your Colors

This is just a great quote by Robert Genn:

For those of us who struggle with colour and painting every day, my current conclusion regarding this research is to be of two eyes. Your honest, truthful eye sees the colour, and your knowledgeable eye knows how to mix it. You need to address your pigments on a first-name basis.

Addressing Your Colors