Is anyone weary of trains yet? Steeples? Lovely Amish women? Even tho we arrived late in Chicago due to snow, the day that followed, free until 9 pm, was spring-like and happy. And I got a little medieval time in.
The days, weeks, & months following our decision to move kept us very busy, and so, only a little time for sketching. But I still have Hopkins to work with; we’re talking a sonnet here! And suddenly it’s February, we’re back on the train and headed for Massachusetts. In winter? Are we crazy? It turned out to be a longer trip than usual.
June 28, 2018 – Reflecting during these difficult days in our country, our world, there are times I consider this sketchbook work to be little more than idle mark making; I should be doing something important. Today my thoughts move in a different direction. My father’s basic moral priniciple handed down to me is, “I just try to keep my little corner of the world clean.” Here, in the sketchbook, both as I spend calm moments drawing, and as I send them along to whoever may be out there, I recognize better what it might be about. After all, according to Buddhist tradition, who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad?
I sometimes ask a local post office to postmark my sketchbook. So into Hudson we went, to buy these wonderful Wyeth stamps. As long as I’m there, I ask. My clerk is a little hesitant, and her cohort calls across, “Oh no, you can’t postmark anything but a stamp.” We compromised, and she grudgingly agreed.
We were curious about Rhode Island, spent 3 days near Providence, giving us a chance to spend a day in Newport. Nicholas Benson allowed us a peek inside his sign shop. A calligrapher’s enchantment, such work, such beauty, and he keeps very busy. The shop was founded in 1705 and has been carving stone through generations. I like that this page reminds me of stones – crumbling walls snaking through forests, cantilevered gravestones, and one lovely Jizo found in the Smith Campus gardens.
Cape Ann, the northeast corner of Massachusetts, is a favorite. In Gloucester, it’s the harbor, the Cape Ann Museum, and the strong Italian presence: Cafe Siciia for coffee and pastry and Italian conversation bubbling from out of the back room. Rockport is beaches and combing for broken pottery jettisoned from sailing ships long ago. And in Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Public Library you’ll find yellow African Nubian marble memorial plaques. Somber and beautiful. Greg found a hidden fossil within, surprising even the librarian.