this moment: April 28th 2017

{this moment}

“A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.” -SouleMama

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Book Review: American Indian Stories & Old Indian Legends

American Indian Stories & Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Ša– ISBN 9780486780436

This collection of autobiographical fiction and folk stories effectively conveyed the aboriginal experience of Plains people in the early 20th century. Zitkala-Ša, an activist, educator, violinist, and Sioux writer blew me away with her honest, fresh and contemporary-sounding voice. She described being torn away from her own culture and how “re-education” by settlers isolated and ostracized her from both societies. One story talked about desperation, poverty and how the government and others easily cheated natives out of land. These themes were heavy and wrenching but the stories felt personal and not dripping with self-pity.

 

The second part of the collection were the Sioux legends. These helped flesh out the painting of cultural experience: Plains morals, rituals and relationships with nature and with the Great Spirit. The spider spirit Iktomi served as a great “What Not To Do” figure and encountered many creatures and circumstances within the legend landscape.

I’d like to cheer on the publishing company Dover for their Thrift Editions series. (I’m not endorsed by them or affiliated with Dover in any way). I really believe in the freedom of information and especially stories; thus I appreciate Dover’s effort to make classic literature and thought available to the masses. This particular title (ISBN above) costs only $4.50. The hardcover letter-pressed cloth-bound volumes of the classics are unarguably gorgeous, but unaffordable if buying-books-for-their-innards is your game.

Lastly, did you know that Native People became American citizens in 1924 with The Indian Citizenship or Snyder Act? The 19th Amendment, granting suffrage to all regardless of gender, passed in 1920. This means white women were granted the right to vote before native people were considered citizens of the United States. The Snyder Act didn’t necessarily allow suffrage. States founds ways to disallow natives the right to vote up until 1965, with the Voting Rights Act. Race and economic-based attacks on suffrage continue to this day.

The Farm in March

What’s going on at the farm now that we’re on the cusp of spring? This season finds us boiling maple sap, birthing babies and harvesting greenhouse greens. Potted wheat grass and mesclun mixed greens in 1/4 and 1/2 lb bags are available for purchase.

Lynda boiling the sap into sugar, March 2013. Photo by me.

Lynda boiling the sap into sugar, March 2013. Photo by me.

The sap in a sugar maple tree begins to run when the nights are still cold and the days are warm. (Sugaring season ends when warm weather moves in consistently and the energy of the tree is directed to flowering.) This year’s late March has been ideal for sap running and collecting. The Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) collects syrup from maples all around the community by tapping the tree and hanging buckets from the tap. As of March 22nd, we have collected 5,000 gallons of sap. The sap is hand-collected by volunteers and staff and transported back to our tiny sugar shack, where we boil it down into maple syrup. Our boiler is run by wood stove heat. The sugar shack fills with sweet steam, to the delight of the noses and skin of anyone inside.

I highly recommend taking a sugar tour if you live in the area. Tours are reservation-only and will run Monday- Saturday until March 29th. Times include M-F 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM 1:30 PM or 3:30 PM; Saturdays @ 9:30 AM or 11:00 AM. The price is $7/person (no charge for babies on back). Call the Farm at 508-907-6019 to check on availability and if you’re interested in volunteering.

Phot credit: Trish Umbrell

Phot credit: Trish Umbrell

We have 2 sets of piglets, born a couple of weeks apart. The first photo is from NCOF and shows the first drove of piglets pounding their way through the barn. They have free reign over the farm so expect them anywhere. If you visit the farm, make sure they’re no where near you when you move your car! The second photo is of the second litter on their second day on earth. Photo credit goes to Patti Luke. Welcome piggies!

Finally, we have the story of Patrick, the new kid at NCOF. He was born unresponsive at 8 am on March 17th, with a curved spine and foreshortened front legs. At the board meeting later that day, members discussed the budget and planning as they passed around Patrick, bottle feeding him and massaging his spine straight. By the end of the day, he stood on shaky legs and his insides working regularly. Below is a photo of him during the farm meeting and a photo of him the next day, already looking better. Good luck, kid.

Photo credit: Patti Luke

Photo credit: Patti Luke

Photo credit: NCOF

Photo credit: NCOF

What if I Trained Non-Stop on Interstate 95?

This idea came from my friend J Strobel, who suggested I have a map marking my “progress” across the country. This map is a visual representation of where I’d be if I ran on Interstate 95 from my house, straight south. (I had to “run” a few miles on Route 90 West in order to reach Interstate 95). The miles keep adding up, usually 30-45 miles a week, so my progress is quite visible.

In two days, I’ll complete Week 13 of training. With this week completed, I will have run 43 miles this week and 299 miles since I began in December. In terms of hypothetical if-I-ran-south-on-95, this places me in the little Bordentown Township of New Jersey, crossing over Route 206.

Training Sightseeing

I run and train in Boston and Cambridge and have access to some fantastic views and small visual treasures.

View of Boston & the Charles from MIT. An old shot from the 4th of July, 2013

View of Boston & the Charles from MIT. An old shot from the 4th of July, 2013

James Miller, you may notice, was killed on the day of the battle of Lexington and Concord. The battle was the military start of the Revolutionary War. The British troops (what was supposed to be secretly) planned to capture arms hidden by the militiamen of Concord.

The fabled night rides of Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott alerted the militiamen, ordinary citizens of greater Boston, of the prospective British movement. On the morning of April 19th, the redcoated regulars were met by a force of 500+ minutemen on the Lexington green, and there the first shots were fired. Various engagements and retreats continued into Concord, Somerville, Cambridge and eventually Charlestown and Boston.

This day Massachusetts remembers with Patriots’ Day, celebrated on the third Monday of April. Patriots’ Day is always the day of the Boston Marathon.

This fantastic graffiti marks the halfway point of the Mass Ave Bridge, as measured in Smoots. Smoots are approximately 5’7″, or the height of Oliver Smoot, an MIT student who in 1958 measured the bridge with his body as part of a frat prank. The Mass Ave Bridge measures 364.4 Smoots + 1 ear. And Hell refers to MIT.

This fantastic graffiti marks the halfway point of the Mass Ave Bridge, as measured in Smoots. Smoots are approximately 5’7″, or the height of Oliver Smoot, an MIT student who in 1958 measured the bridge with his body as part of a frat prank. The Mass Ave Bridge measures 364.4 Smoots + 1 ear. And Hell refers to MIT.

This was a 7-alarm fire in Back Bay in February that totaled the building, evicted 40 people, caused $2.5 million dollars in damage and sent a fire fighter to the hospital. Don’t smoke and don’t throw your butts in the trash, dummies.

This was a 7-alarm fire in Back Bay in February that totaled the building, evicted 40 people, caused $2.5 million dollars in damage and sent a fire fighter to the hospital. Don’t smoke and don’t throw your butts in the trash, dummies.