ARTS | CULTURE | EVENTS
Fall 2015 | Vol 4 No 2
“The Woods” by TeMahoa Love
The Enigmatic TeMahoa Love
Forrest Pritchard: On Sustainability and Growing a Better Tomorrow
Screening for Tomorrow
American Conservation Film Festival
2 | fluent
Letter From the Editor Changing Course
Poetry Carol Grametbauer
Ed:Cetera Exercises to Advance Your Career
Coda Moonlight Macabre
fluent | 3
C O N T R I B U T O R S Amy Mathews Amos has worked at the interface of environmental science and public policy for 25 years as an analyst, advocate, consultant and now writer. Her writing has appeared in the washington post, pacific standard, high country news. She’s a contributing editor for the observer of Jefferson County and serves on the Board of the American Conservation Film Festival. Follow her on Twitter: @AmyMatAm. Catherine Baldau is a writer, editor, and project manager. As the Publications Specialist for the Harpers Ferry Historical Association, she has edited and designed numerous books, including the award-winning
Mark Muse says he is “an explorer first, a printmaker second and a photographer last who uses the camera to explore.” He has participated in numerous regional group exhibits, and two-person and solo exhibits. His work has been acquired for many personal and institutional collections, and has been published nationally and internationally. Muse lives near Shepherdstown. Judy Olsen, a Washington, DC, native residing in Shepherdstown, WV, has had a love affair with photography since her teens. After 30+ years in the corporate world, she rediscovered her passion and enjoys capturing the world of light and shadow that will never come again in exactly the same way.
HARPERS FERRY UNDER FIRE: A BORDER TOWN IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
Todd Coyle is a journeyman musician who has performed in and around the Eastern Panhandle of WV and around the country for over 30 years. He has worked in folk, blues, pop, jazz and country bands as a guitarist, bassist, singer, producer and sound man. Zach Davis is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, such as CARVE, THE FIRST LINE, BARTLEBY SNOPES, DRUNK MONKEYS and numerous volumes of the ANTHOLOGY OF APPALACHIAN WRITERS. He is the Fiction Editor of FLUENT MAGAZINE.
T H E
Sheila Vertino is returning to her roots as a freelance writer and journalist, after a career as a magazine editor-in-chief and book and research publisher. Based in Shepherdstown, she describes herself as a culturally curious word nerd. Ed Zahniser’s poems have appeared in 5 books, 5 chapbooks, 10 anthologies, and over 150 magazines and other venues. He is coeditor of IN GOOD COMPANY, an anthology of area poets celebrating Shepherdstown’s 250th anniversary. His recent poetry book is THOMAS SHEPHERD LOVES DANSKE DANDRIDGE AND THE SHEPHERDSTOWN SONNETS.
C O V E R
A D V E R T I Z E R S 15 15 15
The Bridge Fine Art & Framing Gallery Two Rivers Turnings Ginny Fite, Author
29 30 31
F LU E N T W E B S I T E See the fluent website for more content: calls for artists lists opportunities. classes lists arts classes for children and adults. back issues is the magazine archive.
4 | fluent
Fall 2015 | Vol 4 No 2 Nancy McKeithen editor & publisher Sheila Kelly Vertino associate editor Kathryn Burns visual arts editor Zachary Davis Fiction Editor Ginny Fite Poetry Editor Todd Coyle Music Editor Sarah Soltow Proofreader Contributing Writers Amy Mathews Amos, Catherine Baldau, Paula Pennell, Ed Zahniser Contributing Photographers Curt Mason, Mark Muse, Judy Olsen, Keron Psillas, Carl Schultz, Sterling “Rip” Smith, Hali Taylor Submissions For information on submitting unsolicited fiction, nonfiction, plays and poetry, please see the website: www.fluent-magazine.com/submissions. Please submit arts news to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fluent Magazine is published quarterly and distributed via email. It is available online at www.fluent-magazine.com. To subscribe
“The Woods,” photographed by Judy Olsen. For most of her linocut prints, Love prefers to use “a process that has been around since the Middle Ages.” Read about it in “The Enigmatic TeMahoa Love,” page 6.
Mark Muse Photographs Over the Mountain Studio Tour Jefferson Arts Council
www.fluent-magazine.com/subscribe All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be duplicated or reprinted without permission from the publisher. © 2015 Fluent Magazine Jefferson County, WV is a Certified Arts Community.
Changing Course You may have noticed the list of features on the left side of the cover is missing on this issue of fluent. After almost four years and now 15 issues, it’s simply time to change that — permanently. There is still a table of contents on the inside cover where you can click an image and go to an article. But mostly, this change in course lets us make the cover image even larger. That goes back to the original intent of fluent: to “go big” with images — in number and in size — and to make the feature layouts into their own kind of “gallery walls.” Inside this issue are images from a linocut printmaker, a painter, a farmer/writer, filmmakers and a designer/ architectural consultant — several on their own “gallery wall.” Most of the images in the feature on the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF, starting on page 36) are production stills from the making of the films. You don’t have to imagine them larger. You can see the films — all 46 of them — at five venues around Shepherdstown at the annual film festival, from October 22 to 25, and again the following Sunday, November 1, when the award-winning films will have repeat showings. In “Screening for the Future” (page 32), Amy Mathews Amos notes that, “A good conservation film can educate, inform and inspire....” Like art does.
On course: “Group Cliff Dropoff,” from unbranded, at ACFF 2015.
Nancy McKeithen Editor & Publisher
fluent | 5
“Self-Portrait,” TeMahoa Love
The Enigmatic TeMahoa Love By Sheila Kelly Vertino
he art of TeMahoa Love is at once gentle and fierce, reflecting her deeply held belief in “the power and peace of the natural world and the profound value of our interactions with that world and with
each other.” A mix of bold solid lines and whimsical details (especially in her
black and white work) infuses her linocut prints with a subtle blend of East and West. Curved lines and elongated shapes, like Love’s vine tendrils and sinuous Italian greyhounds, call to mind Beardsley prints and elements of Art Nouveau. And the almost medieval folk style of her tiles reflect a traditional craftsmanship and simple forms like the Arts & Crafts movement. But in the end, TeMahoa Love’s art is all of this and none of this. Like her background— an exotic mix of Tahitian, English, Spanish, American—TeMahoa the woman and the artist simply defies categorization. For more than 60 years, Love has consciously chosen to isolate herself from others’ artistic influences. As a young woman in London, she dropped out of Central School of Arts and Crafts because “I didn’t ever want to be influenced….And then I always worked alone. I have never not been a working artist.” u
Photography by Judy Olsen
Teaching herself linocut and tile techniques made it difficult for Love. “I didn’t know that was what I was doing. I was not surrounded by wood carving people.” She recalls that it took her longer to learn how to do things on her own than it would have with a teacher. On the positive side, it enabled her to forge an iconic style that is both unique and instantly recognizable. TeMahoa Love’s work reflects an almost magical connection to the flora and fauna of the natural world.
Above photo and images of her work courtesy of the artist.
8 | fluent
The Terribly Precious Tools In a small room, with a single window and a humble desk, Love’s prints come to life. She uses the same carving tools [below] that she bought in London’s Bleeding Heart Yard when she was 22. “They are terribly precious. I’ve carried them all over the world,” recalls Love. “The problem is that you have to sharpen them,” and Love didn’t want to trust that task to just anyone. She knew she had found the right person when she brought one of the tools to Shepherdstown blacksmith Dan Tokar. “He took it like the Crown Jewels. He looked at it and said, ‘TeMahoa, these have not been made in 50 years. I will treasure it.’ ” More than satisfied with Tokar’s skills, Love now relies on him to sharpen all of her tools.
Granny’s Spoon After many preliminary sketches, Love carves the image into a lino block [above]. She applies ink carefully to the block, sometimes with a roller, sometimes with a cloth or even a finger tip to get it into small spaces in the design. Then she carefully positions a sheet of BFK Rives printmaking paper over the inked carving. This specialty paper is made to withstand the pressure of transferring the image, but also delicate enough to capture the fine elements of a design. Love has always used the bowl of “her Granny’s spoon” to burnish the paint and print the image onto the paper. Reflecting on the art of linocut print and what she calls its “physicality,” Love muses, “It’s interesting to make something modern using a process that has been around since the Middle Ages.” u
fluent | 9
Self Portrait Riding on Horse Next to River Love recalled: “Thinking of cooler days and of when there was a big flood [below]. Going along beside the river was so exciting until I realized the water might be able to jump its bank behind us and then we would have to swim.”
What Do the Dancing Birds Say Looking Down Upon Burnt Meadows The dovecotes that dot the roofs of Palestinian homes form the subject matter for one of Love’s linocuts [right]. This piece is also remarkable because it shows Love’s ability to “see” images and letters in reverse when she is carving them. “It’s become part of who I am, so I don’t think about it. But when I’m writing, it sometimes goes wrong. I have to look at it in the mirror to make sure the letters will appear correctly in the print. “When Israel and Palestine had their most recent set-to, besides all the other heartbreak I kept wondering what happened to the doves on their broken roofs.…” The words around the picture are by the 14th Century Iranian poet Hafiz. u
www.temahoa.com TeMahoa Art on Facebook To watch a slide show of “Tem’s World seen through her B&W prints,” click on the View Button.
10 | fluent
Peace and Plenty Using traditional Spanish symbols of abundance— the pig and grape vines—to tell a story on this tile [right], Love creates a charming vignette of prosperity. Tile making requires time-consuming effort, as Love takes designs and sculpts the image, then fires the tile a first time, applies paint and glaze, and then fires it a final time.
Feather “I made this print [left] in the time of snow. I wanted to make a vase of flowers but there was not a flower around so I chose a small vase of feathers. Who knows what memories feathers keep in themselves? The tall one is from a wild turkey in Australia and the flat-topped one is from a wild turkey in this land. The little vase was sitting behind Granny’s spoon with which I have printed pictures for fifty years. I thought I should honor it.” Deer and Hare Love prefers to work with muted tones in her color prints [right]. Although bold in shape, the pale gold shapes still create a quiet background, and allow the eye to focus on the deeper-toned doe, at the stream’s edge. Although Love’s linocut design is quite complex, the overall effect is restful. fluent 12 | fluent
fluent | 13
missed an issue of fluent?
click on any cover to read the issue. 14 | fluent
Mark Muse – Photographs Fine Art Photography and Printmaking • Portfolio Printing Printing for Exhibition Color and Black&White High Quality Art Reproduction
[\ email@example.com markmusephotographs.com
November 14 & 15, 2015 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 24 select artisans • 9 entertaining stops www.studiotourwv.org
Join us! at the Jefferson Arts Council Exhibit
“Cover Artists of Fluent” Opening Reception Fri, Nov 6, 6–8 pm Exhibit: Nov 1–Nov 22 Fire Hall Gallery 108 North George St Charles Town, WV Left: “Relationships,” paper collage, 22 x 30 in, by Fran Skiles, whose work appeared on the cover of the first issue of FLUENT Magazine, Summer 2012.
We Make Art Happen For Everyone!
jeffersonartscouncil.org fluent | 15
On Sustainability & Growing a Better Tomorrow By Zach Davis “Why wouldn’t we want to be more thoughtful about this?” For Forrest Pritchard, this is food: what we eat, how it’s made, where the raw components come from, how they’re grown and how that collective consumption affects us as individuals, as a society and as a planet. “Food is a unifying opportunity,” Pritchard says, giving us a chance to explore factors that we all share. “There is a focus on divisiveness in this country, on what makes us different. It’s an us versus them mentality.” But food is a common denominator, something essential and grounding to life itself, and since we all
16 | fluent
have to eat shouldn’t we be mindful of not only what we eat but where it comes from and what processes it went through to make it to your table? Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation farmer xand his matrilineal acreage, known as Smith Meadows Farm, is one of the oldest practicing “grass-finished” farms in the country. All animals at the farm are regularly moved around the farm to fresh, naturally fertilized grass pastures (never chemically fertilized or sprayed with pesticide or herbicide), thereby feeding and sustaining the animals with natural grasses instead of corn or soy feed.
“There’s nothing mind-blowing in the philosophy,” he says. “It’s all in the execution.” The execution he refers to takes the form of a best-selling autobiographical work, Gaining Ground, and its upcoming spiritual successor, Growing Tomorrow, as well as a regularly maintained blog. Pritchard is intent on spreading the word about sustainable agriculture, organically grown and raised products, and sensible chemical use. There is a personal connection to the practices, and not just because of the family heritage. The practices of humane treatment for the animals and in building a sustainable environment in which they can be raised is indelibly written on the pages of Pritchard’s books, but anyone doubting the sincerity of the message can see the practices for themselves by visiting the farm. Located in Berryville, Virginia, Smith Meadows Farm offers visitors a chance to roam the vast fields and see the animals up close, in addition to visiting the farm store (completely unstaffed, it relies on a unique model where patrons are trusted to pay for what they take) or the farm’s bed and breakfast (currently ranked #1 B&B in Berryville). All of this is a way of spreading the message, which is simple: bringing readers and visitors to the farm insight into the world of sustainable farming, and hopefully, provoking introspection as well. That introspection, Pritchard admits, is not always easy to engender. As recounted in Gaining Ground, Forrest details the struggles of trying to get people to thoughtfully consider where their food is coming from. After all, it’s easier to go to a supermarket and buy everything one could need all in one central location than it is to seek out organic, locally grown food. “But,” says Pritchard, “it can be easy for perception to trump reality, sometimes. The truth is, we already go out of our way for rewarding experiences all the time through our day-to-day lives. That investment of time is kind of a routine part of the day. We make it a point to go to our children’s soccer games or to visit a museum. Why would we not want to do that with food as well?” Asking these questions — and searching for their answers — is one of the propelling narrative drivers in Gaining Ground. The journey is a personal one, detailing Pritchard’s efforts to save the family farm
from financial ruin. In an early chapter, he details one season where truckload after truckload of corn and soybeans left the farm yet provided little profit; all told it was $18.16. It’s a frustrating reality that many farmers face. Pritchard introduces radical, innovative ideas about sustainable, direct-marketing farming practices culled from innumerable trade presentations and research — inspiration for readers that problems can be solved with the right application of hard work, perseverance and critical thought. The stories presented throughout Gaining Ground’s 30 chapters offer a heartfelt look into Pritchard’s life and experiences, but they are also written to resonate with the individual reader. In talking about how he constructed each chapter, Pritchard said that he took “the Joseph Campbell idea of the hero with a thousand faces” when framing the narrative arc. The book is a work of nonfiction, and all of the events and characters therein are real. Although, as he says, it all comes back to execution. “The magic of storytelling is that we either lose ourselves in the story or it reveals things about ourselves,” he says, and the ultimate goal of his book is to “take the reader on a journey” that allows the reader u fluent | 17
to either lose themselves in the beautiful, frequently poetic descriptions of the Shenandoah Valley or experience a personal revelation. The focus of Gaining Ground is decidedly on positivity. “Let’s celebrate the best in us rather than the worst,” Pritchard says. Growing Tomorrow, available October 20th, continues that focus. Traveling across the country to 18 different sustainable farms (in locales varying from Cape Cod to Washington state to Detroit), Pritchard interviewed people “who are changing the way we eat.” The book tells the story of these people and of their practices through photography and, perhaps most key, through recipes. “I asked each person for their three favorite recipes,” he says. “It was important to me to get that in there” as a means of showing both the practicality of the process and the incredible culinary experience that can be achieved with the products. Another narrative driver, of equal importance to spreading the message about sustainability, is that of community. In Gaining Ground, he encourages readers to not only seek out sustainable businesses but also — and especially — local ones. Free-range chickens at Smith Meadows Farm.
“I want to show how deeply stronger we are as a community,” Pritchard says, “by encouraging people to shop local.” There are a multitude of opportunities out there, many locations that offer organically produced, sustainably grown food, and Forrest encourages people to seek them out. The end goal, the unifying factor of these places — like Smith Meadows Farm — is that they offer a way to sustain the environment, to grow and to heal, and to provide better, more healthful food for everyone. The specifics, however, all come down to the execution.fluent Growing Tomorrow debuts October 20. For information on Forest Pritchard’s Book Tour: forrestpritchard.com/book-tour Reserve an advance copy here. Forrest Pritchard online: Gaining Ground blog: forrestpritchard.com Smith Meadows on Facebook Smith Meadows website: smithmeadows.com Smithfield Farm Bed & Breakfast: smithfieldfarm.com Smith Meadows Farm on Instagram On YouTube
view All photos courtesy of Forrest Pritchard.
A LIVE SHOW!
OCT 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
DEC 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13
*PRESENTED BY AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY
*PRESENTED BY THE BENNETT AGENCY
Six people have come in secret on Halloween to play a murder mystery game at a rustic island cottage. Invited by writer Charles Prince, they appear set for a weekend of fun until ghosts from the past begin to haunt the proceedings and it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. The game takes on a sinister dimension when guests begin to die and the remaining players realize that they are playing for their lives.
The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments for a boys’ band he vows to organize - despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen. Wicked, funny, warm, romantic, and touching, The Music Man is family entertainment at its best!
A THRILLER | Rated PG13
A MUSICAL COMEDY | Rated G
*For BEST Seating, RESERVE YOUR TICKETS: #304.725.4420 Tickets are $19.00 Friday & Saturday, $17.00 Sunday Matinees $15.00 Thursdays & $12.00 Children/Students
www.OldOperaHouse.org | 204 N. George St., Charles Town, WV fluent | 19
ChasingArt By Catherine Baldau
ine art painter Joe Mayer lives and works according to a maxim that he gladly offers to others: “Drop your fear.” Mayer has taken risks, and relied on luck and favors in a fearless quest to make a living in a world that he loves—art, and especially abstract art. And in that world, he believes the only way to truly appreciate the art is to experience it without fear. “Abstract work is an acquired taste,” says Mayer. “You have to look at it for a while, and you have to be not afraid to look at it….All paintings are metaphors. They’re about something besides objects. They can be about an emotion, they can be about an experience, but they’re metaphorical.” A thread of Dickens runs through Mayer’s fearless beginnings. “When I graduated from high school my father gave me a suitcase and 10 bucks and said ‘good luck.’ ” That was the end of the support, right there. There was no going back and living in the basement. There was no hanging around. I had to find some way to build my dream.” Living across the street from the main gate to the Lorain Steel Company in Johnstown, PA, Joe watched men—and women during World War II—coming and going, three times a day, three shifts, and thought, “That’s not what I want from my life. So when my dad gave me the suitcase it was in a way a strange gift. It allowed me to go out and find a way to chase after what I wanted.”
20 | fluent
The chase began at the Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary, where Mayer trained as a commercial illustrator. He paid his way through college the hard-knocks way: school by day, waiter by night. Soon after graduating, he was working at an advertising agency in Washington, D.C., when a voice in his head whispered another calling: teaching. At the time, “Sherwood High School in Montgomery County was looking for an art teacher. I called for an interview with the principal and during our meeting he said, ‘You have no education credits, no fine arts credits. No one is going to hire you.’ “As I was leaving his office, he called me back. ‘Says here you were in the Marine Corps. What did you do in the Marine Corps?’ I told him I was a military policeman. As it turned out the last two art teachers were frequently in his office complaining of student disciplinary problems and he figured an exmarine MP could handle behavioral issues. So he hired me on the spot.” Aspiring to teach at the college level, Joe furthered his own education. “Getting a master’s degree with three kids at home wasn’t easy. I did much of my work between 10 at night and 2 in the morning.” Armed with an MFA from Catholic University, Mayer extended his teaching credits to the University of Maryland, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Montgomery College, Sweet Briar College and Prince Georges Community College, where he was Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. u
Mayer standing in front of “Perfect” (acrylic, 36 x 36), in which he attempted to create a perfect balance between a minimal number of shapes, what he calls aesthetic homeostasis. “It’s all about the relationship between that expressive white linear activity going across the canvas in comparison to that architectural blue line. It’s a minimalist painting, but if you sit with it for a while you realize the beauty of the relationship between those two elements together.” All images courtesy of the artist. fluent | 21
Although Mayer focused on printmaking to earn his MFA, watercolor fascinated him. He went on to study with Skip Lawrence and Edgar Whitney, attend workshops, and scour the books and paintings of watercolor artists he admired. In 1980 he began teaching private watercolor classes, and over the next 30 years he taught workshops across the country and abroad, from Delaware to California, Mexico to Europe. In 1989 Mayer found himself single again, retired from formal teaching, the kids grown. He rented the third floor of a carriage house on Capitol Hill, but Washington’s appeal was fading for him. “I thought, I want to live in a little town in the mountains, where the train goes through, because that’s where I grew up, in Cresson, Pennsylvania. So I got out a map to see where the MARC u
“Blue Barn,” watercolor, 34 x 27: “I was driving to Charles Town after a snow. Everything was gray and misty, but there was that striking turquoise barn. So it’s a barn, but it’s really an abstract piece about turquoise. Controlled edges, intensities, values—it’s all abstract in nature. It’s all compositionally abstract. Even when I do representational work there’s some abstract thing behind it.”—Joe Mayer 22 | fluent
fluent | 23
[commuter] train went. I started to check out the stops, all the way to Martinsburg. I would take one day a week, drive to a town and spend the day in the area. I got to Shepherdstown and it was love at first sight.” On his first visit to Shepherdstown, Mayer pinned a notice to a telephone pole: “Watercolor Lessons.” To his delight, 15 people showed up for his workshop. The town had a creative appetite that Mayer could feed. At the end of the first class one woman said, “Why don’t you move out here?” Though Shepherdstown fit his ideal “little town in the mountains,” he wavered. This was a college town; there were few if any places for rent for a single, middle-aged man. When he came to teach the second class, one of his students had found a cottage for him in the middle of town. For a while Mayer split his time between the Shepherdstown cottage and the D.C. carriage house, but the charm of Shepherdstown eventually won. The little town in the mountains became home. Once he moved, Mayer invested himself in the community. His workshops u
“Bada Bing, Bada Boom,” watercolor on paper, 22 x 19. 24 | fluent
fluent | 25
thrived, in town and across the country. He opened a gallery and studio on Princess Street and was elected to the Town Council. The Friday Morning Artists—an informal forum that he established for artists to gather and discuss their craft—continues today. After nearly a decade in West Virginia, Mayer moved to Easton, Maryland, and with the move from the pastoral Upper Potomac to the Tidewater, he met and soon married Ann Sharp. At the time, Sharp had a career in nonprofits; but Mayer, who had watched many adults blossom into the arts, encouraged Ann to do the same. Today, she is an award-winning portrait and landscape artist. 26 | fluent
“I love teaching adults,” Mayer says. “They’ve been waiting their whole lives to let that expressive genie out of the bottle. When they are encouraged honestly—not just nice job, nice job—but when they get information that they can develop their own way, and the support of others, painting becomes a whole piece of their lives.” Together Joe and Ann formed the Talbot County and the Tidewater Visual Arts Centers. Both had
“Violets Love Green,” acrylic, 36 x 36: “Most of my work has some metaphorical basis to it, but sometimes I just sit down and paint. I do believe that it’s all about the relationship of elements. I continue to be obsessed with composition.”
studios and were actively exhibiting in art shows and galleries. Mayer founded another Friday Morning Artists group. The initial gathering of five or six artists grew to over 100 within a year. The rules he established were simple: no dues, no officers, no agenda, no email. “I realized people need some professional/social contact. You can’t live in a vacuum.” The group eventually formed subgroups, including photographers, mosaic and ceramic artists, and sculptors. They became active in the community with storefront shows and projects. Inspired by the “The Gates” in Central Park by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the group designed and installed 125 miniature sails in Easton’s Thompson Park, a conceptual art piece they titled “Coloring the Winds of March.” The project firmed Mayer’s belief that villages like Easton and Shepherdstown need to support artists 52 weeks out of the year, not just for a two-week show. “If you can make the arts—music, writing, visual
“Santa Fe Winter,” abstract mixed media painting, 16 x 20.
arts—part of the warp and woof of a community, then people will come. But if you do it just to get people into your shops, then it’s short-lived.” Another decade passed. One day Joe said to Ann, “I think we’re getting dull. We need an adventure.” They put their house on the market and it sold in a week. The next move was to the desert: Santa Fe, New Mexico—a renowned art community. They built a studio and kept on painting. Ann began a 9-month atelier on portrait painting while Joe attended Lifelong Learning classes, taught a course titled “Improv for Seniors” and delved more into abstracts, or what he calls “music without words.” Yet, although active in the Santa Fe art scene Mayer couldn’t shake the feeling of being a visitor. “Everything was painted some shade of brown— even our dog, Harry. The sky was too big, the landscape was too big to paint, so I started doing interpretations, translations of the Southwest, of the ever-present sun. u
“Tone Poem,” acrylic, 24 x 24.
Things were so bright out there, you could see the outlines of the mountains in the middle of the night and the gold minerals in the ground.” After four years of “Southwest living,” and missing family and friends, the couple came back to where Mayer’s heart is: Shepherdstown. Now 84, Mayer is studying transcendentalism, an inward-directed adventure. He walks up the stairs of his Shepherdstown home to his studio and finds himself “a hundred miles away.” Much like the transcendentalists he has been studying, he is experiencing the 28 | fluent
arts as a way into a level of understanding that could come in no other way. Mayer still paints, four to five hours a day. While the seasons may inspire him to plein air painting, he typically works in his sunlit studio, open to Ann across the hall in her studio, and the dog curled up somewhere between them. “The great thing about the arts, you can get up every morning and it’s Christmas,” he says. “Every day is an opportunity to be creative with your craft and do something you didn’t do yesterday. What’s better than that?” fluent
Mayer’s work has been exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Corcoran Museum of Art, The Washington County Museum of Fine Art and galleries in New York City and Santa Fe, NM; on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; and The Bridge Gallery in Shepherdstown, WV. See his work at the Over the Mountain Studio Tour November 14 and 15, 10 am–5 pm www.joemayerart.com Gallery also available by appointment: 443-822-0204
Left: “White Square,” Watercolor, 12 x 12
The Bridge Fine Art & Framing Gallery “Abstractions” Exhibit : Fran Skiles – Don Black October 10 to November 15, Opening Reception Saturday, October 10, 6–8 pm
8566 Shepherdstown Pike, Shepherdstown WV 25443 • 304.876.2300 Fine Art, Ceramics, Photography & Custom Framing
fluent | 29
unique gifts under $50 Ice Cream Scoops Pizza Cutters French Rolling Pins Shaving Brushes [ Historic places wood turnings, including work from Elmwood Cemetery, Falling Spring and the Shepherd University Campus, are available.
Neil Super | Two Rivers Turnings Specializing in unique turnings, including bowls and vessels with historic or personal “back stories,” all made from responsibly harvested, local wood species.
30 | fluent
Find his work at The Ice House and the Artists At The Works Co-op at Berkeley Arts Council, both of which will have special “holiday” shows. Private showings are available at Two Rivers Turnings. Call 304.279.0506 to arrange. www.tworiversturnings.com | Facebook
Detective Sam Lagarde had a gruesome murder and no firm suspects, but all he needed was one good break in the caseâ€Ś. Meet the Author | Book Signing Friday, October 16, 7 pm Four Seasons Books, Shepherdstown, WV ~
Reading at Artober Sunday, October 11, 3 pm Happy Retreat, Charles Town, WV ~
Scarborough Lecture Series November 12, 7 pm 301 N King St, Shepherdstown, WV ~ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Ginny Fite Author
things youâ€™ll find on the fluent website all free, all the time the magazine: current & past issues to read and download image of the week gallery exhibit information calls for artists / contest info / audition listings arts class listings arts news how to subscribe, how to advertise, how to submit work, how to contact us <updated daily>
fluent | 31
For the Future By Amy Mathews Amos
A FEW WEEKS AGO, I was clearing out clutter
in my den and found, tucked away on various shelves of our television stand, old DVDs—remnants of past seasons of Shepherdstown’s American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF). I’ve served on the Selection and Programming Committee of ACFF for six years now, and although I’m supposed to return all copies of our films once I’ve finished reviewing them, I’ve hung on to some that I particularly liked. But that cleaning day was time for some serious culling. So I flipped through the piles one more time to make sure there weren’t any films I couldn’t bear to lose. There were only two. And both were student films. Student films have been part of ACFF almost since it began 13 years ago. If we want good films in the future, then we need to nurture the next generation of filmmakers now. Not an easy task. A good conservation film can educate, inform and inspire, as we at ACFF like to say, and so the karmic benefits are great. But the pay is lousy. Like most artists, filmmakers create their works because it’s their passion, not because it’s lucrative. As in other artistic fields, filmmakers often end up leaving their passion for other work that actually pays the bills.
32 | fluent
So each year, to support particularly promising young filmmakers, ACFF presents a $500 award for the best student film of the festival—an award generously funded by the Friends of the National Conservation Training Center. But often we struggle to cover that student’s travel expenses to attend the festival and receive the award. This year, in memory of ACFF Board Member Alex Kemnitzer, we’re adding a new component to our student support. The Alex Kemnitzer Emerging Filmmaker Fund (sidebar, page 47) will allow ACFF to bring more student filmmakers to the festival each year and cover their tuition to our Conservation Filmmakers Workshops. Those workshops allow students to learn new skills while networking with professional filmmakers. ACFF’s selectors are a little more forgiving on student submissions, accepting some films that otherwise wouldn’t make the cut. But student submissions also reveal stark contrasts in talent, and almost every year at least one student film stands out. Those standout films aren’t just top student films, they’re top films for the entire festival. This year’s student award winner, White Earth, is one of those: It already has won 12 awards at film festivals around the
world, including festivals in Anchorage, Alaska, New Orleans, Louisiana, Bogotá, Columbia, and Seoul, South Korea. In it, filmmaker J. Christian Jensen captures the harshness of a white winter in the town of White Earth, North Dakota, a community transformed by the oil and gas fracking boom sweeping the state, where entire families crowd into RVs because rents have skyrocketed and housing is scarce. Where fathers attach plywood rooms to stationary trailers to create more space, and return home at the end of their shifts smelling like diesel. Parents see the boom as an opportunity to make money until the fields bust. Their kids often see it differently. Jensen tells the story of White Earth through the eyes and voices of the children, providing a unique perspective on u
Oil drilling near White Earth, North Dakota, has transformed the landscape. White Earth Poster Design: Randy Bangerter Photo courtesy of J. Christian Jensen
fluent | 33
an American phenomenon whose effects are rippling through the global energy market. But sometimes it’s hard to pick just one winner. Eddie Roqueta’s beautifully filmed Silencing the Thunder opens with a head-on shot of a helicopter chasing a bewildered bison down the road near Yellowstone National Park. In his film, Roqueta explores the ongoing controversy between ranchers—who fear disease from wandering bison—and preservationists, who want to restore America’s iconic herds. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Roqueta as a 2015 Student Academy Awards finalist for documentary film. Although Silencing the Thunder didn’t win our top student prize, Roqueta will be traveling from Santa Barbara to introduce his film, answer questions and attend our Filmmakers Workshop thanks to the Alex Kemnitzer Emerging Filmmaker Fund. And those DVD’s that I couldn’t bear to toss a few weeks ago? The first was The Last Iceman of Chimborazo,
by Gabriela Lozada Pazo, the ACFF student award winner in 2012. It follows 68-year-old Baltazar Ushka as he climbs the Chimborazo glacier of Ecuador with his donkeys and pick ax to bring blocks of ancient ice down to urbanites anxious to mix a bit of the Earth in their drinks. Pazo shows how the restauranteurs seek Ushka out, how his son marvels at his stamina and how the source of his strength—the melting glacier— is disappearing almost as rapidly as his contemporaries. The second was the 2011 film Charcoal Burners, by Piotr Ziotorowicz, a student at the Polish National Film School. In it, Ziotorowicz visually documents the daily life of an aging couple in Poland’s Bieszczady Mountains who make their living turning forest logs into charcoal in crude furnaces. It quietly juxtaposes the drudgery of a hardscrabble life on the land with the search for beauty in its midst: a bouquet of wildflowers, a kaleidoscope of butterflies, a beloved pet. This film wasn’t an award winner—I discovered
Film poster and photograph courtesy of Eddie Roqueta.
34 | fluent
to my dismay that my fellow reviewers either loved its hidden narrative as I did, or, conversely, found its laconic couple tedious. And so we bestowed the award on a film we all admired—Laurie Sumiye Filiak’s poignant Struggle for Existence about Hawai’i’s most endangered birds. Which goes to show that it’s hard to pick just one. I’m glad to know that in memory of our friend and dedicated board member Alex Kemnitzer, ACFF can now nurture the promise in the Charcoal Burners of the world as well. u
White Earth shows at Shepherd University’s Reynolds Hall, Saturday, October 24, in a block of films starting at 7 pm, and at the Shepherdstown Opera House on Sunday, November 1 at 4:30 pm. Silencing the Thunder shows at the Shepherdstown Opera House on Friday, October 23 in a block of films starting at 7 pm focusing on western wildlife and public lands.
Alex Kemnitzer Emerging Filmmaker Fund In February of this year, ACFF and the Shepherdstown community lost dear friend and ACFF board member Alex Kemnitzer, when he died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Alex was 32 years old. He served on ACFF’s board for many years and was always a dedicated, enthusiastic and supportive ambassador for ACFF. We miss him and his many contributions greatly. Many people made donations to ACFF in Alex’s memory. To honor our friend, and with a founding gift from Alex’s parents, Sue and David Kemnitzer, we have established the Alex Kemnitzer Emerging Filmmaker Fund. One of the primary tenets of ACFF is to encourage aspiring filmmakers to explore the craft of documentary filmmaking, give them a platform to show their work, and provide learning and networking opportunities to further their education and involvement. This Fund will help us better achieve this mission by supporting student filmmakers to attend the festival and the Filmmaker Workshops each year. ACFF hopes to build this fund for years to come to grow new conservation filmmakers while honoring Alex. Donations to the fund can be made by contacting Jennifer Lee at email@example.com. Or, send your donation to ACFF, P.O. Box 889, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 or donate online at the Festival website, www.conservationfilm.org, and indicate that it’s for the Alex Kemnitzer Emerging Filmmaker Award.
Bison from Yellowstone National Park who wander outside park boundaries get herded back—or worse—to address ranchers’ fears of disease. fluent | 35
4 days American Conservation 5 venues Film Festival 2015 46 films Season 13: Oct 23â€“25
See complete schedule of films, page 44. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies National Conservation Training Center Opera House Reynolds Hall Shepherdstown Opera House Photo courtesy of Mari-Lynn C Evans, Director and Producer
36 | fluent
BLOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN, 93 min, Filmmakers: Mari-Lynn Evans, Jordan Freemanâ€‰â€”â€‰Blood on the Mountain is a searing investigation into the economic and environmental injustices that have resulted from industrial control in West Virginia. This new feature documentary details the struggles of a hard-working, misunderstood people, who have historically faced limited choices and have never benefited fairly from the rich, natural resources of their land. This film delivers a striking portrait of a fractured population, exploited and besieged by corporate interests and abandoned by the powers elected to represent them. 6:30 pm Friday at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Block 1 u
fluent | 37
REVOLUTION, 86 min, Filmmaker: Rob Stewart — Produced by Gus Van Sant, Revolution follows Rob Stewart, director of the documentary Sharkwater, through 15 countries — from the coral reefs in Papua, New Guinea and deforestation in Madagascar to the largest and most destructive environmental project in history in Alberta, Canada. He reveals that all of our actions are interconnected and that environmental degradation, species loss, ocean acidification, pollution and food/water scarcity are reducing the Earth’s ability to house humans. 8:05 pm Sunday at the Opera House, Block 15
38 | fluent
THE BAT MAN OF MEXICO, U.S. Premiere, 60 min, Filmmaker: Tom Mustill — Rodrigo, “The Bat Man of Mexico,” has been saving the amazing bats of his homeland since childhood, when he kept vampire bats in his bathroom. Now his favorite drink, tequila, is at stake. The bat that pollinates the plant that this famous liquor comes from is in trouble. Rodrigo decides to track their migration to save them. He braves hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs and seas of cockroaches to find and save the bats. This is a rare heart-warming and breathtaking conservation success story. 1 pm Saturday at the Shepherdstown Opera House, Block 5
COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret, 85 min, Filmmakers: Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn — Follow filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers one of the most destructive industries facing the planet today and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about animal agriculture. This documentary reveals the devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet. 1:20 Saturday at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium, Block 3 and 7:35 pm Saturday at the Opera House, Block 9
UNBRANDED, 106 min, Filmmaker: Phillip Baribeau — 3,000 miles, 16 wild horses and 4 men are the raw ingredients of an outrageous plot. To demonstrate the value of wild mustangs, these men adopt, train and ride their horses from the Mexican border to Canada through the wildest terrain of the American West. Unbranded is a soaring tale of danger and resilience, an emotionally charged odyssey that shines a bright light on the complex plight of our country’s wild horses. 7:05 pm Friday at the Opera House, Block 2 u Photo courtesy of Ben Masters
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT Green Fire Award Winner, 94 min, Filmmaker: Robert Kenner — Robert Kenner, acclaimed director of Food Inc., lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued punditsfor-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities — yet contrarily are aiming to spread maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. 7:30 pm Saturday at Reynolds Hall, Block 10
OVERBURDEN, 65 min, Filmmaker: Chad Stevens — After a coal mine disaster kills her brother, a pro-coal activist joins forces with a tree-hugging environmentalist to take on the most dangerous coal company in America, Massey Energy. As the coal industry faces extinction, will our two heroines be able to heal their wounded community? 4:15 pm Saturday at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium, Block 7 Photo courtesy of Chad A Stevens, Director
DARE TO BE WILD, 102 min, Filmmaker: Vivienne DeCourcy — From the green hills of Ireland to arid Ethiopia, to London’s Chelsea, Dare to be Wild is a romantic adventure based on the against-all-odds true story of Mary Reynolds, a modern-day heroine, whose quest is to show the world the power of wild nature as she reaches for her dreams—one garden, one vast desert, at a time. 3:25 pm Saturday at the NCTC Family Theater, Block 6 u
ISLANDS OF CREATION, ACFF Broadcast Award Winner, 46 min, Filmmakers: Nathan Dappen and Neil Losin — In the Solomon Islands, Albert Uy is trying to do what Charles Darwin never did: catch evolution in the act. But the islands’ resources are being exploited and the wildlife there is at risk. Islands of Creation documents the race against time to prove the existence of a new species before it’s lost forever. 12:30 pm Saturday at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium, Block 3
CHASING ICE, 75 min, Filmmaker: Jeffrey Orlowski — The story of one photographer’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet: the Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, James Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. 1:20 pm Saturday at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium, Block 3
42 | fluent
LIFE ON THE LINE, U.S. Premiere, 20 min, Filmmakers: Nick and Cheryl Dean— Wallacea is the biographical designation for a group of mainly Indonesian islands. One of the areas of the world with the widest range of endemic biodiversity, it remains virtually unknown to most people. This short film highlights the region’s biodiversity and the efforts of a few individuals to protect this fragile ecosystem and its inhabitants. 2:50 pm Saturday at the Opera House, Block 5
TIGER TIGER, DC Environmental Film Fest Presents at ACFF, 91 min, Filmmaker: George Butler — Spotlighting the tiger as the most charismatic animal on earth, this adventure-conservation film takes the audience to the Sundarbans region on the border of India and Bangladesh. Known as one of the most dangerous places on Earth, this tidal mangrove forest may be largest, wildest remaining tiger population. Tiger Tiger follows Dr. Alan Rabinowitz as he confronts the dangerous terrain both tiger and man must navigate in their struggle to survive. Asking the essential question of wildlife conservation everywhere — how can man co-exist with nature? — the film seeks to communicate the desperate state of tigers and the vital work being done to save them. 6:15 pm Sunday at the Opera House, Block 15 u All images provided by ACFF except where noted.
2015 ACFF SCHEDULE THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22 Special Event at NCTC Byrd Auditorium 7:00 All Over the Map: I Dream of Seney (30) Q&A with Peter Schriemer, filmmaker—All Over the Map: I Dream of Seney 7:40 The Power of One Voice: A 50 Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson (52) Post-show discussion with Mark Dixon, filmmaker—The Power of One Voice
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 BLOCK 1: Wild, Wonderful, Endangered WV at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies 6:30 Blood on the Mountain (88) ➢ 7:50 Elk River Blues (57) ➢ 8:50 Poisoned WV Water Crisis (2) BLOCK 2: Broncos and Bison: Threats to Western Wildlife at the Shepherdstown Opera House 7:00 A Line in the Sand (3) ➢ 7:05 Unbranded (105) ➢ 8:52 Silencing the Thunder (27) Special Event: Get Shaken and Stirred with ACFF at Tito’s Night! Special cocktail offerings, free nibbles, late night dinner menu, and mingling with friends and filmmakers. 9:30–Midnight, Domestic Restaurant, 117 East German Street
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24 BLOCK 3: Diversity and Destruction: Islands and Icebergs at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium 12:30 Islands of Creation (46) ➢ 1:20 Chasing Ice (76)
BLOCK 4: Charismatic Critters for Curious Kids—and Their Parents! at the NCTC Family Theater 12:30 Flamingo Factory (7) ➢ 12:40 Electric Amazon (46) ➢ 1:30 FINconceivable (4) ➢ 1:35 Siyaya—Come Wild with Us: Searching for White Eye (26) BLOCK 5: Bats, Tigers, Vultures and the Ring of Fire at the Shepherdstown Opera House 1:00 Natural World: The Bat Man of Mexico (64) ➢ 2:08 Zapovednik - When Men & Tigers Meet in the East (17) ➢ 2:27 Vultures of Tibet (21) ➢ 2:50 Life on Wallace’s Line (20) BLOCK 6: Discovering Ocean Mysteries and Your Passion in Nature: Films for older kids and adults at the NCTC Family Theater 2:30 Legends of the Deep: The Giant Squid (52) ➢ 3:25 Dare to be Wild* (102) *some mildly mature content BLOCK 7: Africa, India, Washington and WV: Impacts of Intervention at the NCTC Byrd Auditorium 3:15 Last Days (3) ➢ 3:20 Pathways to Coexistence (18) ➢ 3:40 Snowy Owl Goes to Washington (15) ➢ 3:57 Broken Landscape (13) ➢ 4:15 Overburden (66) BLOCK 8: Extreme Nature: Outdoor Adventures in Wild Places at the Shepherdstown Opera House 4:15 CO2LD WATERS (11) ➢ 4:30 The Little Things (47) ➢ 5:20 North of the Sun (46) ➢ 6:09 Nature Rx: Prescription Strength (3)
*Number after title indicates running time. 44 | fluent
continued SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24 BLOCK 9: Eating the Planet at the Shepherdstown Opera House 7:00 Add One Back (17) ➢ 7:20 No Jile (10) ➢ 7:35 Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (91) BLOCK 10: Con Men and Conservation at Reynolds Hall 7:00 Black Gold (5) ➢ 7:07 White Earth (20) ➢ 7:30 Merchants of Doubt (94) ➢ 9:05 Nature Rx: Prescription Strength (3) Special Event: Saturday Night Wrap Party Celebrate the festival with us with free hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. 9:30–Midnight, Blue Moon Café 200, East High Street
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25: BLOCK 11: ISO Sustainable Food at the Shepherdstown Opera House 12:00 Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (92) ➢ 1:40 GMO OMG (84) BLOCK 12: Better Living in the Urban Jungle at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies 2:00 Gateway (5) ➢ 2:07 City of Trees (74) ➢ 3:35 Bike vs. Cars (88) BLOCK 13: New Perspectives on Vanishing Wildlife at the Shepherdstown Opera House 3:45 XBoundary (6) ➢ 3:53 Last Dragons: Protecting Appalachia’s Hellbenders (10) ➢ 4:05 Osprey: Marine Sentinel (15) ➢ 4:22 European Lake Trout (12) ➢ 4:35 Secrets of the Hive (46)
BLOCK 14: Waste Not, Want Not at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies 5:30 Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste (57) ➢ 6:40 Just Eat It: A Food Waste Movie (74) BLOCK 15: Urgent Calls to Action at the Shepherdstown Opera House 6:15 Tiger Tiger (90) ➢ 8:05 Revolution (85)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 BLOCK 16: Award Winners Encore at the Shepherdstown Opera House 4:30 White Earth (20)—Student Award ➢ 4:50 Islands of Creation (46)—Broadcast Award ➢ 5:40 Merchants of Doubt (94)—Green Fire Award ➢ 7:20 Audience Choice Winner—to be determined
Byrd Center for Legislative Studies 213 North King Street (on Shepherd University Campus) Shepherdstown Opera House 131 West German Street Reynolds Hall 109 North King Street (on Shepherd University Campus) NCTC—National Conservation Training Center 698 Conservation Way Film times and venues are subject to change, so please check the ACFF website for the latest start times and locations. Film descriptions and advance tickets will be available online at conservationfilm.org. Screenings at NCTC and on November 1 are “pay-as-youcan.” Please register online to reserve your seat. NCTC requires government-issued IDs for all guests 16+
fluent | 45
To a Mockingbird in Autumn Thirty minutes before sunrise, in the chill October fog, you launch a tentative phrase,
Carol Grametbauer lives in the Shenandoah Valley region. Her chapbook, Now & Then, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Her poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Appalachian Heritage, POEM, The Kerf, Still and drafthorse.
then shatter the gray air with a full-blown aria: robin-phoebe-jay-flicker-vireo. The dawn chorus of May has long since completed its coda, no one singing to us now at the day's dim birth but you and some early-riser wrens; and in any case we're a collateral audience — what you're imparting is an announcement of your feeding territory to everything with feathers. But what a gift to eavesdrop on that bountiful outpouring of sound, the blending of every birdsong you've ever heard into one virtuoso performance: in the autumn dark, a bright operatic tangle of something like joy.
Beginning to Be Late
On the North Old Mac Trail
In from deck and porch we lugged each pot — Boston ferns, begonias, the variegated ivy that wept a trail of yellowed leaves as we jostled it through the hall: frost's threat come early, we had no time to waste, wrenched each from its outdoor home, wedged them into any indoor corner that would serve. Perhaps they mourned the breath of summer stirring leaves and fronds: as the autumn daylight died, some of them began to sing in field-cricket voices, small hosannas to June's pearled light, the sultry breezes of July, smothering embrace of August heat, a chirred anthem of dim reminiscence piercing the October night.
Mid-season, as sunrise and sunset daily creep closer together, summer makes a course correction — away from the white-hot frenzy
Along this trail, just beyond the point where the branch cascades down the hillside over dark shale, lies the campsite we used four decades ago: our worn wildflower book still holds the faded pencil records, sightings of blue cohosh, Dutchman’s pipe, Indian pink. The forest canopy
of mating, nesting, blossoming, toward a stillness as poke berries, elderberries, persimmons purple, morning bird song yields to the pulsing of crickets and cicadas. Suspended between solstice and equinox, we cling to the pastels of chicory and Queen Anne’s lace even as Joe Pye and ironweed take their places along the roadsides; calculate the dwindling sum of fireflies each sultry evening, the buds remaining on tawny daylilies along the drive, reminded again of Thoreau’s observation: How early in the year it begins to be late. We doublecheck our calendars, cast wary eyes toward the lowering sky, forge our way past grasping vines of bindweed and anglepod gone to seed, hasten out each dawn to seize the day.
46 | fluent
has closed over the spot where the shagbark hickory used to stand, tall and straight behind our pitched tents, our rear guard. Twenty years on, it was a moss-covered trunk prone on the forest floor, Christmas ferns sprouting along its length. Now it’s vanished, not even a mound in the soil. Hiking past that site today, favoring my bad knee, I can almost see that twenty-five-year-old with her backpack, light-footing it up the steep slopes as if gravity hadn’t yet been invented: she had no idea what twists and turns a path can take, the rocks and gnarled roots that might lie hidden underfoot. I make my way along the trail in the late-afternoon sun, imagining lush green moss growing thick on the backs of my legs, picking up speed on the long downhill.
November Ghazal Soft as gauze, gentle as a snowfall comes November's dying light. In the dusky hedgerow, chipping sparrows mourn the dying light. At the Kitchen Window She remembers the summers of her childhood, leaf-green, the way in early June they stretched ahead, long chains of days with no apparent end; sweet anticipation of sun-filled afternoons melting into long slow twilights, chants of ally-ally-in-free in the near-dark. How the tarred patches on her street bubbled in the noonday heat, how the shade that pooled under the arching branches of the mock orange by the back steps created a cool cave she could read in for hours. The rusty-gate calls of jays in the mornings, bees bumping through the tall purple phlox by her grandmother’s front porch, the honeyed crunch of sweet corn and watermelon at Sunday supper. And then the way that gilded eternity was truncated at last by the lure of new school shoes, fresh tablets and pencils, summer’s loss ignored in the clamor of the yellow bus’s squealing brakes, bright chatter outside classroom doors. Now, decades later, she stands at the kitchen window and sips coffee, watches a cool drizzle shake yellowed leaves from walnuts and sumac, the slow, sure dissolution of purple phlox, mock orange, bird calls, bumblebees trickling down the clouded pane.
Here the final fading hour of night: pale deer in dripping fog, framed by ghosts of oak and sassafras in pre-dawn's sighing light. A wedge of geese slices the sky above the field, wingbeats thrumming; their feathered forms slip downward toward the pond, flying light. These final breaths of color in the rain-soaked woods: pale gentian, blue lobelia, purple aster shedding petals in the shying light. The rising sun ignites threads of swirled clouds above the half-bare trees; hoarfrost jackets twigs and grass and broomsedge, amplifying light. On a pearl-gray afternoon I watch brown flocks of robins on the lawn. Last leaves flutter to the ground, ocher and saffron in the dying light.
Change of Season
Two weeks ago these ridges still wore green, only sumacs and Virginia creeper tinging orange. All October we bided our time,
She wouldn’t have chosen this color, but it was the only pair in her size in the style she wanted: thick fleece lining, cushioned indoor-outdoor soles. Red’s not her color, makes her feel bleached-out, faded, inconsequential; all her adult life she’s avoided it. Her mother, though, in the ‘50s, had that fire-engine-red dress, form-fitting, with faceted black buttons down the front, wore Very Vermilion lipstick every time she left the house. And Red was her father’s nickname, a nod to the fiery hair of his childhood. The longer she stares at the crimson scuffs nestled side by side in their tissue-paper sanctuary, the headier the ruddy sea of images that comes flooding back: the riot of scarlet climbing roses draped across her grandmother’s white wooden arbor, fat December berries on the prickly-leafed holly by the back door of the old house on Woodmont Avenue, the cardinal that visited the pear tree by her bedroom window every day the winter she had measles. On autumn’s first chilly evening she brews a cup of orange pekoe, snuggles her wool-socked feet into those rosy house shoes and props them on the footstool, clicks her heels together and thinks about how it’s true there’s no place like home.
waited for signs of the coming color explosion, that watched pot refusing to boil until November, when sugar maples began at last to slide toward gold, sourwoods deep burgundy, crape myrtles that delicious shade of peachy-orange. It seemed just one more day would bring it all to peak perfection, and it did: after a night of screaming wind and sideways rain, the new day dawned with perfect autumn splendor in brilliant sodden piles around our feet like so much broken crockery, the bereaved trees stretching their bony arms toward the sky.
fluent | 47
Exercises to Advance Your Career By Ed Zahniser Today’s world buzzes with sound bites divorced of context. Advance your career by confidently identifying who said what at arts event receptions and other free-food occasions. For artists, photographers, writers and poets, “Practice makes perfect.” Who said that, Thomas Edison or Tre Cool? Not sure? These exercises from the Common Core Curriculum will build your confidence and enhance your arts future.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. q Dr. Oz q Nelson Mandela
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. q Ralph Waldo Emerson q Hansel and Gretel
Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself. q Marcus Tullius Cicero q Justin Bieber
Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance. q Sen. Ted Cruz q George Bernard Shaw
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. q Kim Kardashian q Henry David Thoreau
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. q John Wooden q Kanye West
The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. q Walt Disney q Beyoncé
Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it. q Warren Buffet q Rabindranath Tagore
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. q Donald Rumsfeld q Socrates
When it is obvous that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. q Confucius q Steve Jobs
It seems as though I had not drunk from the cup of wisdom, but had fallen into it. q Donald Trump q Søren Kierkegaard
48 | fluent
Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. q Sen. Rick Santorum q Nikos Kazantzakis Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. q H. Jackson Brown, Jr. q Gov. Chris Christie Never let you head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. q Dr. Phil q Richard M. Nixon When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. q Viktor E. Frankl q Hillary Clinton For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” q Steve Jobs q Jack the Ripper
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. q John Glenn q C. S. Lewis If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. q Lao Tzu q Yogi Berra Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one things of changing himself. q A precocious wet baby q Leo Tolstoy If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. q Dick Cheney q Maya Angelou I have a good record with women. q Casanova q Donald Trump
You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself. ❏ Jim Rohn ❏ Caitlin Jenner
fluent | 49
Photo by Linda Shea, designer and architectural consultant, II-Shea Design. Taken with an iPhone 5 through the lens of a (tabletop) Bushnell 50mm spotting scope on August 31, 2015 (soon after the full moon on August 29), at Flat Earth Lane, Harpers Ferry, WV.