Yesterday evening, I joined the folks from Delaware Paddlesports in a "social paddle" at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Prime Hook is on the Delaware Bay near Milton, Delaware, and includes a large range of marsh and open water. We saw Ospreys and Herons and Skimmers and many other birds. Very pleasant, a nice minor workout, and quite relaxing.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Walking downtown today, I realized that it has been 25 years since I moved into the City of Lewes, Delaware. I came here in the spring of 1987, after a winter in Rehoboth Beach.
I had a tiny bachelor apartment on Second Street before Karen and I married. We had a small apartment on West 3rd Street when we first married. We rented a small duplex on Market Street briefly before buying our first house, a Cape Cod on East 3rd. Eighteen years ago, we moved into a suburban-style house on Inlet Place. And here we've stayed.
I've lived in Lewes for half of my life now. In fact, this is the place I've lived longest in all of my life.
I'm proud to be a part of this town; glad that our daughters have grown up here. It's been my honor to serve for several years now on the Lewes Planning Commission.
I wonder if I'll still be here in 25 more years?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The story, the history and the evocation of time and place are wonderful. But I was struck by this passage about playing the music. In this scene, a young, scrawny black German trumpeter first comes to play with an established group of musicians, who are skeptical that he can even hold his horn. The narrator is Sid, a bassist from Baltimore.
But when he lifted his horn, we gave him a respectful silence. His trumpet was a cheap-lookin thing, dented, like a foil-wrapped chocolate been in a pocket too long. He put his rabbity fingers on the pistons, cocked his head, his left eye shutting to a squint.
"Buttermouth Blues," Ernst called back to him.
The kid nodded. He begun to tease air through the brass. At first we all just stood there with our axes at the ready, staring at him. Nothing happened. I glanced at Chip, shook my head. But then I begun to hear, like a pinprick on the air -- it was that subtle -- the voice of a humming-bird singing at a pitch and speed almost beyond hearing. Wasn't like nothing I ever heard before. The kid come in at a strange angle, made the notes glitter like crystal. Pausing, he took a huge breath, started playing a ear-splitting scale that drawn out the invisible phrase he'd just played.
The rest of us come in behind him. And I tell you, it ain't took but a minute more for me to understand just what kind of player this kid was. He sounded broody, slow, holding the notes way longer than seemed sane. The music should have sounded something like a ship's horn sounding across water -- hard, bright, clear. The kid, hell, he made it muddy, passing his notes not only over the seas but through the solid too. Sounded rich, which might've been fine for a older gate, but felt fake from him. The slow dialogue between him and us had a sort of preacher-choir feel to it. But there wasn't no grace. His was the voice of a country preacher too green to convince the flock. He talked against us like he begging us to listen. He wailed. He moaned. He pleaded and seethed. He dragged every damn feeling out that trumpet but hate. A sort of naked, pathetic way of playing. Like he done flipped the whole thing inside out, its nerves flailing in the air. He bent the notes, slurred them in a way made us play harder against him. And the more we disagreed, the stronger he pleaded. But his pleading ain't never ask for nothing, just seemed to be there for its own damn sake. In a weird way, he sounded both old and like he touching the trumpet for the very first time.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
It got me thinking back to about this time of year in 1980. I was a senior in high school and had invited a young woman from New Zealand to be my prom date. Helen was an exchange student and part Maori. She had the coolest accent ever.
It's traditional, for Maori New Year, to look to the skies.