Wonderful World (?)

Wonderful World (?)

I see trees of green…
Bright blessed days…

Climate chaos. Children dying in windowless warehouses. Cruelty against women. Corruption.

This song played at my wedding as I danced with my grandfather as he sang along–out loud. (He died the very next year. On his birthday.)

The song was sung again last night by a preacher man with a guitar in front of the Meetinghouse where the annual community supper is held in Marlboro on the last Tuesday of June, an event which serves as the opener of the summer season of services still held in the sanctuary upstairs, and includes the rest of us as a fundraiser for the old building upon which we have depended for the preschool and the town meeting luncheon and private functions (weddings and funerals and birthday parties) and especially the brand new community center, housed downstairs.

But I didn’t sing along. And why not? Wasn’t the world around me beautiful? Finally green, and not raining as it had been all day and was predicted to be all evening.

Wasn’t the food wonderful? Baked beans and macaroni & cheese and corn pudding and gorgeous salads. Weren’t there two types of berry crumble—blueberry and raspberry, and didn’t Jean make her coveted, cordialed, chocolate cake?

After supper, the youngest children stood in a line on the stairs out front (like mine once did) to pull the winning tickets for the raffle prizes. Over the years my family has returned home with pottery, calendars, art, wooden trucks, boxes of berries, maple syrup, and even a certificate for a half-cord of wood, and these are just the prizes that I can recall off the top of my head.

What a wonderful world. The small blonde child on the stairs flitted from her grandfather to her father and back to the task at hand: delivering donated prizes to elders and middle-aged ones and parents of small children and even to a teenager or two.

All of this took place in the surround of vibrant green and birdsong and the continuity of a community who connects and cares and creates.

What a wonderful world.

The woman on the bench in front of me, decades older, and in compromised health, sang out loud like my grandfather had. He and I had been a funny couple on the dance floor, with more than a foot between us, and his bald, bony head and mine full of curls looking up at him with my whole life ahead.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

This not being happy, this refusing to sing among all these mostly white people of some means, is the ultimate form of entitlement I suspect–the privilege of choosing to be bitter when everything in my life is practically perfect.

I went to the Community Supper alone because everyone is gone this week from home, and I could have just as easily stayed put, and I wanted to, but then the sun came out just an hour before the event, and I took that as a sign, especially since I had a refrigerator full of food from the graduation party, and I was in the mood for a good dessert and a prize.

It’s been hard this week home alone. I’ve had to lug the trash to the bottom of the road and drag the empty can back up again. I’ve had to take out the compost and wash the pots and pans and carry the watering can to each of the new flowering trees. I’ve had to do all of this along with my own chores, while each day I face my book which flings me into despair for fear I’m not up to the task of completing it, while I could be in a fun-filled city beside a big body of water with my family, and didn’t I bring this on myself, and isn’t it the epitome of privilege to wrestle with that which is of my own choosing.

I wonder if I’d been happier last night if I’d won. For twenty years I’ve been wanting to win breakfast for two at the inn. It occurred to me last June or maybe the one before that I could just call Jean to see if I could come in for breakfast even though I’m not a guest, but I never remember to do that. I just keep waiting on winning. Like I’ve been waiting on happiness and joy.

Until everything–for everyone–is just so.

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Marlboro Vigil for Sandy Hook

Marlboro Vigil for Sandy Hook

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Community members in front of the Marlboro Post Office

We woke to zero and bundled up better than ever to stand in a circle outside the post office where the green banner hung with the sweet faces of those 20 children and the tender adults who cared for them.

There would be no classroom photos of loved ones this year. Noah would not turn a year older. He would not lose his tooth. The candles of the Menorah would be lit without him.

We came for different reasons and for the same reasons, and we came because…

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Marlboro Meetinghouse

they couldn’t;

because children deserve our protection;

because it’s criminal to let this continue;

because without the collective consciousness, we are without a compass…

Despite the bitter cold, we chose not to step inside the Meetinghouse, but we rang its bells, “28 times,” (as decided) including Adam and his mother, among the names we spoke:

of each child,

each teacher,

the Principal,

the aide,

the substitute,

the therapist,

the psychologist.

We were an aging group–the youngest almost 50, and the rest older still. The young people were at home with the children, doing the work of families; while we stood as their representatives, in witness.

There were 10 of us in all, some strangers, some dear friends, sharing hopes and tears, and ending with a long, group hug.

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Susan & Casey sounding the bell… 28 times.

Saturday, December 13, 2013
Marlboro, Vermont

Susan Kundhardt
Joe Mazur
Jennifer Mazur
Beth McDermet
Marge Wright
Jonathan Morse
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
Chris Lovell
Casey Deane
Kelly Salasin

The Annual Cider Press & PIE Sale: a Marlboro Tradition

The Annual Cider Press & PIE Sale: a Marlboro Tradition

UPDATED 2016

photoThe annual Cider Sale takes place this Columbus Day Weekend (Saturday, October 8th & 9th)  on the green at Marlboro North– at the junction of Route 9 & South Road in Marlboro, Vermont; right next door to Applewoods studio.  Look for the large white tents & families at work–pressing fresh cider as you watch!

Also for sale under the tents: Grafton Cheddar,  homemade apple pie, and other locally baked goods.  Enjoy a cup of hot mulled cider & a slice of homemade apple pie with a side of cheddar in the sit down “cafe” or take jugs of cider home with you for drinking or freezing. (Cider freezes well as long as you leave some space in the top of jug for expansion.) Whole pies for sale too!

The historic town of Marlboro sits just a few minutes west of Brattleboro and east of Wilmington, Vermont on the main thoroughfare across the state: Route 9 (aka. The Molly Stark Trail.)  The Cider Sale has been a Marlboro tradition for 35 years, raising funds for education. This year’s fundraiser benefits the Marlboro Elementary School Junior High Class with Spring 2015 their field studies in Costa Rica!

Who: Everyone! Locals, visitors, families, (even busses–with care to parking.)

What: Marlboro Annual Cider Sale: fresh pressed cider (while you watch), apple pies, cheddar cheese & more!

Where: On the green at Marlboro North, Route 9, Marlboro, VT, Next to Applewoods Studio.

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 8th & 9th, 9am-4pm.

Why: To benefit educational field study for students from Marlboro Elementary School.

How: Community powered!

 

The Road Half Taken

The Road Half Taken

Route 9, after Irene; Marlboro, VT; Kelly Salasin, all rights reserved

Yesterday I drove down my hobbled road, snow encrusted, and turned onto Route 9 for the morning commute to Brattleboro–and didn’t give it a second thought when the flow of traffic stopped, and became single lane, as if it was as natural an occurrence as the mindless speed.

I was surprised to find myself relieved rather than annoyed by the delay.

“They haven’t abandoned us,”  I said to my empty car.

In this post-Irene world, road work had become the norm, and we’ve appreciated every moment of it; but then they were gone, leaving our roads were delightfully “passable,” and eerily unfinished.

Last week over a foot of snow arrived before the plow poles were anchored along the dirt roads or the guard rails finished on Route 9.

I don’t need to explain the significance of guard rails, but here’s the thing about plow poles–they show us where there is and isn’t a road.  When everything is white, it’s hard to tell, particularly when what was once road, no longer is, because it was half-eaten away by water, and restored, but never fully so.

The lower half of my road is one of those. A few weeks back when they put in the temporary bridge at Neringa, someone dropped a lot of rubble on the sides of MacArthur so that the truck filled with dirt could  make it to the site without toppling over. I bet the rubble is fun in a truck. Not so much in a Honda Civic.

When I can’t stomach the bumps, I take the back way to Brattleboro. It’s all dirt, and it’s slower, but it’s predictable, though the potholes are propagating and the ruts where one road meets another are deepening.

Though it’s been two months since Irene, I find myself having flashbacks on this particular day–hauntings from the night we drove home after the flood.

I can see the ghost of a car dangling into a crater near Robb Family Farm. I can see Ames Hill strewn with rocks. I can feel the fear that we might not make it.

So many roads were taken by Irene and so many still hobble. Some friends have only just had their roads repaired, while others have had repairs washed away by the rain. Stopping for a work crew, in the middle of the morning commute, is a comfort now instead of an annoyance; something I once took for granted; like the permanence of highways and country roads.

Kelly Salasin, November 2011

For more on Irene & Vermont roads, click here.

Summer’s Goodbye

Summer’s Goodbye

South Pond Heaven, Kelly Salasin, September 2011, all rights reserved

Deer in the North

Owl in the West

Geese in the sky

Crickets in the grass

Clouds above

and below

as I float on the pond

Waters pregnant

with Summer’s Goodbye

Wondering,

like a Nursing Mother,

Will this be the last time?

~Kelly Salasin, New Moon, September 2011

my gift to you…

my gift to you…

FLOOD RELIEF

for body, mind & soul

Thursday, September 29, 2012

Route 9, Marlboro, Vermont

5:30 pm

Klimt, visipix.com

Like the Little Drummer Boy, I’ve humbly asked, “What can I give in the face of so much devastation?”

But the best I’ve had to offer is my presence; which pales in comparison to those with hammers and shovels and know-how.

Physical labor has never been my passion.  But I do like to move. To music. And I could offer that to you.  And it would feel good. And you would leave restored–body, mind & soul.

The first class of my fall YogaDance session at Marlboro Elementary School on the miraculously restored Route 9 is Thursday, September 29 at 5:30 pm; and I’d like to offer that class as a gift to all of you.

There’s nothing you need to bring, except for maybe a water bottle. You can dance barefoot or with clean, non-marking soles (like sneakers), and you can dress comfortably with layers to peel off as needed. You don’t need any skill or experience, and basically the music does what it needs to do– inside of each one of us.

What I bring as the instructor (besides a rocking sound system) is what I offer in my writing–deep presence to what is alive in me and what is alive around me–in you.  In this way, I create a soundtrack that is always eclectic, bold, soulful, soothing–and just plain fun.

I begin with something quiet, maybe some classical cello, and then move into blues or jazz or funk before opening into something really powerful–rap, world, rock; and then shifting again– into the sweet sounds of the heart, before really ramping it up with something energizing and FUN.

As the hour ends, the music turns inward again–with a ballad perhaps; and then we sink into final relaxation with notes that transcend thought.

This is what I’d like to offer you. To all those touched by flood, murder, and all manner of trials.

If you’d like to come just show up–or drop me a line with questions or anything else that comes to mind.  (See form below.)

Details:

  • FREE Community YogaDance Class
  • Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm
  • Marlboro Elementary School gymnasium, Route 9, Marlboro, VT.
  • Bring a water bottle, dress comfortably to move, dance barefoot or with clean sneaks.

Absolutely no charge. This is my little drummer boy gift to you. Given freely. In the hope that it will serve all who come.

Pass it on.  The space is expansive, and so is the heart of the people in Vermont.

Kelly Salasin, September 2011

For more about YogaDance, click here

or ask a question/RSVP below:

What Soothes You

What Soothes You

“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.”

~Sri Nisargadatta

visipix.com

I had the opportunity to connect with a renown naturopathic doctor friend of mine, who just happens to live locally; and we touched on the stress people are feeling following the floods.  A light bulb went off when she said that this can manifest in different ways–even in physical injury.

I excused myself from the small gathering and called home right away. My youngest answered the phone and brought it outside to his father who was chopping wood.

“You know how Aidan has been hurting himself so much lately,” I said. “Maybe give him a little extra attention tonight. It could be fallout from the floods.”

My doctor friend also touched on nutritional and supplemental support for post traumatic stress, which hadn’t occurred to me, and I wondered if the Co-op might put together a end cap display of products for that. Between the murder and the flooding, they could use the extra support themselves.

Unlike my friend the doctor, I didn’t watch the flood come across the road and into my house; and unlike my new colleague at work, I didn’t see it take out my entire road. I also wasn’t there at the Co-op Tuesday morning a month ago when a shot was fired inside.

And yet, I am emotionally and physically spent from August as if I had been everywhere.

What do I need, I ask myself.  What would soothe me?

…some soft music, a cup of chai, time walking with a friend.

It was ten years ago this month, when I had to rock myself into letting go of the heartbreaking strain of 9/11.  I walked my dirt roads, soaked in the changing colors, and restored my sense of self and place.

May we all find what soothes us as we rock ourselves into the changes life brings.

Kelly Salasin, Marlboro, VT

To read more about the devastation in Vermont, click here;

or here, to read more about the tragedy at the Brattleboro Food Co-op.