Wonderful Winged Walkingstick

When was the last time I saw one of these cool creatures?   I don’t remember.

Here it is — the walking stick.

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But I sure was thrilled to have this resident of the woods visit me this Autumn.

He was easy to spot on the aluminum garage door, but his methods of camouflage are quite impressive.

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I did some online research to learn more about this fascinating stick insect.

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Not very easy to hide on a bin of art prints – I spotted him immediately.

One day when I opened the garage door, he fell to the ground — not hurt — but “played dead” to keep the predator from getting him.

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I looked closely at this prostrate positioned insect.  He sure looked dead — legs and body stiff as a stick . . .

I went about my business and within 5 minutes the little guy was walking and jumping from post to pillar.

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Simple facts about the walking stick — HERE and more detailed facts HERE.

These amazing creatures and others that I meet at my mountain office make my time in transition a true discover of joy.

 

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~mARTi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boobies or Bullies

October is a month of crisp cool air for those of us living in the Northeast.  Although autumn involved two of the worst events in my life, the fall remains my favorite season.

BreastCancer      Breast Cancer   Breast Cancer

October is the month designated for observing and screening for cancer.  The color PINK is everywhere you look — ribbons, shirts, pins — hair and food. Boobies are easier to think about and discuss. We get images of nurturing a life of an infant to a sensual adult pleasure.  What’s not to like about boobs/breasts?  Fundraisers for awareness, screening and survivors receive wholehearted support — emotionally and financially.

The reports of school violence astound us.  Random shootings for revenge trouble us.  We have become aware of ministers, priests, teachers, coaches, counselors who have crossed the line of comfort to criminal.  It takes years for most abuse victims to step forward from the shadow of silence and confront the creeps.

October is also Domestic Violence awareness month.   But who wants to hear about Bullies? Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness.   The title — just makes us uncomfortable.  And, it should.

Most of the criminal acts are not seen on a surveillance camera that caught an NFL player who kicked and punched the person who loved and trusted him.   No. Most violence is of a coercive nature. It happens inside the victim’s home – where we are told to keep the offense behind closed lips and doors.  Consider the Stockholm Syndrome.  One of the multitude of strange lines the abuser said to me was “You talk to your mother too much.”   Here is a helpful link to know the signs.

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The best decision I ever made in my life was getting out of a long-term abusive relationship. The worst part of my life occurred after making that decision.   “Classic Abuse” is what it is called —  impossible to know what is happening when you’re in the middle of it.
People asked “Why did you put up with it?” “Why didn’t you leave sooner?” In addition to corrupt court counsel, I experienced over 2 years of blame and bullying from “friends” and family members.  I never blamed them for not noticing, asking or mentioning what had ALL the signs of abuse (isolation, overworked, siphoned income, covert physical violence, stalking, and harassment).

The legal system continues today in the ongoing problem with abuse of power and control through delays, discounted facts and archaic language in documentation.

If you ask “How are you?” — try to pry or she (he) could die from the effect of avoiding the topic of bullying – a not yet full blown version of abuse.  I was a private person in a public position – operating nearly eight successful businesses by the time I had to evacuate my home/town.    We were all in it together — one abuser leading — the rest of us were left in shock from the result.

No More Silence. No More Violence.

NO more

Thank you to the people I’ve met in my transitional life’s journey.  Those who listened with kindness and no blame.  I’m still not completely free, but I’m doing fine and flourishing.

Time and Talent

This is an article written in 2010 for a writers blog.

 

How to Succeed as an Illustrator Without Really Trying

(and Other Misperceptions)

Talented Tabby Cover

by Martha Pineno

Choosing to be an artist was a decision, not a dream. I wasn’t born with drawing and painting ability. There’s NO talent here, just a decision based on interest and the guidance and support of my parents. My first interest in art came late in Junior High. Art classes in High School and summer art camps gave me the skills requisite for an art career.

I first trained to be an art teacher. Four years, two summers of art study in college gave me that opportunity. I’m a late blooming illustrator. But I believe my years as an elementary art instructor gave me insight into how young persons’ minds work and what would get the picture across. I needed to motivate children to learn new concepts with stimulating projects both in medium and idea.

When starting an illustration project

Where do I start? For accuracy, I ask the author what she prefers. Then do visual research. People have pre-conceived ideas about what something may be. For example, given the task to paint a dog one conjures up at least a dozen images of various breeds. So the image needs to be narrowed to one concept. Then elaboration can begin.

Doodle on scratch paper. Create thumbnail sketches. Ideas don’t just pop and picture themselves on paper. Read the text, letting an idea emerge into a cartoon type image. Then start sequencing. Put the ideas in order to match the script. If working with an author who is receptive to ideas, one might even suggest simpler text, easier to illustrate in a more active manner.

Inspiration?

Ideas are everywhere. Observe. Research online. I actually have to shut off my creative mind in order to get daily tasks completed. I constantly look forward to future projects, trying to find ways to fit illustrating into 24-hour days.

What keeps me motivated?

I’m self-motivated, but being paid for a project gives me extra energy. I’m also concerned about pleasing persons for whom I’m illustrating. I need verification they’re content with my work. I never assume all my work is great. Small suggestions for improvement are welcome but I become annoyed if something requires repainting mostly because of the additional time it will take to correct. However, being somewhat a perfectionist, getting things just right takes precedence over my feelings.

My favorite illustrated book?

Talented Tabby because it focused on one character, Leo. I had more time to complete it and fewer distractions.

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Second favorite?

The Coffee Connection, a compilation of my designs and paintings created over a 25-year span. I find hand-done illustrating more satisfying than computer art.

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Medium choice?

Watercolor, acrylics, oils, pen & ink, cut paper, photography. Sometimes the illustrating process is determined by the medium. In general watercolor has a soft, fluid, spontaneous look. For an Early Reader my first illustrated book (watercolor) appeared delicate. Adding ink enhanced detail. Varying medium makes subsequent books unique beyond just text.

What inspires my illustrations?

Characters. But story determines background. Photos help with characters and accuracy in motion. I often combine several photos to create one illustrated page.

Lifeless illustrations?

Not mine! Paint’s naturally intrinsic motion by the brush lends flowing attention to detail. My years of painting, particularly people and animals, serve me well.

Challenges and Suggestions?

Designing entire books. Planning page turns. Blocks around art? Word placement? Title and Signing pages? Page number to meet publishing/printing costs? To stimulate mind pictures early on, divide manuscript into sections. Then focus on one action or detail. Readers can picture the rest. Since each page must relate to previous and next page of story art, illustrating is probably harder than painting complex individual artworks. Working with someone else’s idea can be difficult when it isn’t something you’d choose to paint.

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Arts or Alcohol, Books or Beer

This week in my email there was a Groupon for a Paint Nite.   It is a painting activity scheduled in a Pub:  In just about two hours, while you’re sipping on a cocktail, our performing artists will guide you through each painting so that you come up with your own unique masterpiece at the end of the night that you will be amazed YOU created…You just bring your fun loving friends and have a few cocktails to keep the spirits high and inhibitions to a minimum and we’ll make sure your inner Picasso is unleashed.

How did I manage to get through 4+ years of Art School without a drink?!  Geeze – Do you think I could have earned better than an “A” with alcohol in my system?    I know artists and musicians are considered “free-spirits” and “non-conformists”, but I realize after all these years since college (35), is that I am one of the few TRUE non-conformists in the world. I don’t do drugs.  I don’t smoke.  I don’t drink.

I founded an art studio in the early 1990s, promoted musicians, added Coffeehouse in 2006.   We were the most amazing and creative facility in the area — till an abuser became determined to destroy the joy.  I had a Drink-n-Draw activity in the studio/coffeehouse 10 years ago, so I find this new Art and Alcohol activity amusing and annoying.
I became successful because I have ALL my “faculties.”

Back in 2009, my mother and I displayed our picture book “A Box of Bears” (I’m the illustrator) at a downtown festival in a former bank along side a photographer, potter and painter.    We met many people who were gracious enough to listen and hear how the story and illustrations evolved.   We sold a handful of items.

I walked out the front of the building and noticed a long, long, line of people forming on the opposite side of the street, stretching all the way from the middle of the main street intersection down the block.   I inquired what the line-up was about from a gentleman who was also selling his illustrated book.  He informed me that there was a special wine and beer tasting event scheduled at 2 pm.  People had to sign up for it ahead of time, get the special bracelet, and wait in line to show they were of legal age to drink.

I had three thoughts:

  1. I have never or probably will never drink any alcoholic beverage.
  2. Who would ever want to wait in a line that long just to get a drink?
  3. Wasn’t the event supposed to be a community arts & crafts day?!

So, I went inside to let my mom know what all the fuss was about.   I shook my head in disbelief for the condition of the human race. We haven’t evolved socially over the centuries.  We just have technology to talk about it and take risks with the effects.

I said:  “Art or Alcohol”, Books or Beer – I could add: Music or Meth, Dance or Drugs

We have become a culture that can’t get together socially without expecting some form of alcohol in our hands.   There are signs outside of eating establishments with BYOB – as if 15 + different beverages they have aren’t enough of a choice and suitable for customers to consume.

It’s enough to “drive you to drink.”  But don’t drink and drive – difficult to do when you drove away from home to that event.

 

Share the Shelter

This link to the newsletter from The Community Action Program of Lancaster County provides some wonderful insight into how women (yes, it’s still predominantly women) survive the destruction from domestic violence.

I was intrigued by the article of the lady who housed pets for victims.   It is interesting to note that there are MORE shelters for animals than for human victims of DV.

When I needed assistance, town police were inept (duped with the con-manipulation) and there were no rooms available in any Lancaster County shelters.   I also learned that a mother of 4 children couldn’t find a place to stay in the entire Philadelphia area.

Carmel Reflection

Carmel reflecting on his days as a homeless cat

Carmel on the Parlor Seat

Carmel on the parlor seat in the coffeehouse

Carmel, my cat, had been locked from his litter box and food on the days I stayed away.   My employee would discover this situation upon entering for her shift.

I was able to flee with my cat at the end of Sept 2011, to a home of a former customer.   The family was willing to let Carmel stay with me for a couple days.   Unfortunately the home owner got weird about her space.  She began to think I might want to move in (no way) after she invited me to teach lessons in her sun room. She had her own dragons to slay . . .   As it turned out, her husband rounded up volunteers to remove many of my belongings and put them in a free storage space for a year — very thoughtful, indeed.

I had to move 1.5 hours away from the town I called home for 27 years.  Three years have passed since I made the decision to end an abusive relationship.  I was able to get out before the physical violence escalated.  I kept my customers and employees safe — but we were out of work and my 7 businesses destroyed within 90 days.

I’m still not completely free but Carmel is here with me today — watching as I write.  He’s been my comfort cat through everything.   His day of adoption is coming up early May.   I can finally say that both Carmel and I are doing well 🙂 though we still need a home to call our own.   Anybody got leads?

There’s No Place — Like a Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure Safe Shelter

Throughout my life, I learned of people who were homeless.  One person was an employee from a public school in which I taught for 10 years.  She and her children considered the car a home for several weeks.

  • There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the US. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990) Numbers have increased in the same proportion since then.

A woman is seen in a shelter built by California artist Gregory Kloen.

Then, a young adult student whose father couldn’t pay the rent for an apartment they occupied entered the studio looking agitated.  I asked “Are you living in your car?”  He, reluctantly replied, “uhmhm, yes, I am”. My poignant and persistent question led him to ask if I knew of a place for him to stay.  Well, there was space . . . in the basement of my studios.  He stayed till he found an affordable apartment.

After opening a coffeehouse, another young person came for help.  He (an avid reader) had frequented the public library. The government-funded entity added a coffee shop (8 months after mine!) in the space this fellow took refuge. He crashed on sofas in friend’s homes.  I could only offer a bar of soap and towel to freshen up in the not-yet-opened pottery painting place.  He eventually moved 35 miles away to live with an aunt/uncle.

Empathy has always been part of my nature.   My kindness however was used to provide identity and income for illicit indigents.  I housed a family-in-law for 18 years in property I owned.  They needed assistance.   It seemed like the right thing to do . . .

Then — I finally woke up from the controlled cash captivity. The harm and hurt had to stop.   I couldn’t live in fear anymore, nor be a slave-tenant in my home.  MANipulated to pay to live and work in my own home, I was able to support myself, business, employees.  The fact that my family was covertly robbed and my community company was embezzled to support a con-X and HIS family — that was inconceivable.

The basement that once provided refuge to a former student became my only option.  The x-CON who I graciously agreed to house after his release — was fired from his job — replaced me in my own basement refuge.  I am shocked and dumbfounded that I was forced to leave my home and self-sustaining career.  MANeuvered by a Con, his Counsel and the Court.

Even Safety and Security take precedence over Shelter.

  •  The costs of intimate partner violence in the US exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

California artist Gregory Kloen, who builds small portable homes using salvaged materials, says an inexpensive structure is a way to keep someone safe and out of jail.

How many of these shelters fit in one Pro-athlete, Politician, Lawyer or Hollywood home?

Leave it to a creative entrepreneur to solve a serious concern over shelter.   Government can’t do it — they’re too CONcerned about their own paychecks and trips to paradise island.

Spinster or Spouse

It is preferable to be a single spinster than surviving the wrath of a louse-a-spouse.  Thanks to a former customer for sharing this artist’s link on Facebook. The artist represents a great photo perspective on the social pressure women experience to conform to society and the expectation to marry and have a family.   Being a single female is a better option for me than what I experienced in a 22-year covertly coerced cover-up commitment.  I’d still have the career that I began as a 21 year old single female.  a MANikin can’t embezzle from a successful career woman’s business.   There may be a need for a female version also.

2013 At Home - SLEEPING IN - 650px-wmk

no chance for assault . . .

The current legal counsel doesn’t like my use of sarcasm in describing the bizarre events leading up to my abrupt exit from my long-standing career.  I comment that sarcasm is simply Truth with a Twist.

More about sarcasm in another post . . .

Persistence, Practice, Perseverance

Last month I moved into “middle age” (55). Or is that 40 — 30 — 20?   Who knows what middle age really is?   Doesn’t it depend on the total length of your life?   And who knows what age it is while we’re living it?

I owned and operated several businesses from age 21 – 52. The reactions and questions were not gender or age-blind.   Now that I’m an official “senior citizen”, I have a bit more stigma with my age and experience in the workplace.

I survived the standard social pressures of youth, but decided to make the most of my time to study and pursue a subsequent career by working days/evenings/weekends — my choice.  My dominant career mother and nurturing career father encouraged me. They provided what was necessary for me to learn the skills for my own career.   I had persistence. I practiced. I persevered.

At 55, I am about to embark on a new career.  Some folks lose jobs due to “downsizing”, “economy”, death of an owner, environmental disasters.   I’m starting over, not by choice, but by control and conduct perpetrated by one person and an antiquated legal system.

X vs XY Chromones

X vs XY Chromones

Men Mimic the Muse

Men Mimic the Muse

As a woman with incredible drive, I have more knowledge, stamina, experience than most youth.  I’m anticipating my new career to be an extension of  life experiences from many years developing concepts through creativity and consistent character.

Senior citizen means I’m at the top of my “game” without having to jump through hoops to get results.  Well, that’s what I’m counting on from this month on.

Solace in Sweets

Solace in Sweets

“Becoming a senior citizen should not be a time for sulking or melancholia. You are a survivor otherwise you wouldn’t be celebrating today. Survivors have lots of things to do and full lives in front of them yet. So take a weekend, a day or a few hours and just reflect on the good things that have filled your life to date and then start planning to enjoy tomorrow with joy and gratitude for the chance to be the best senior citizen ever” (source: My Thinking)

55 Alive

The number 55 may conjure up thoughts of control and restrictions.  A majority of state highways have the speed limit set at 55.  Studies over the years determined a reduction in fatal accidents after the highways reduced speed limits — from 65 & 60 down to 55.

My own state has a “Stay Alive – Drive 55” campaign to promote responsible driving, accident reduction and knowledge of traffic laws.   Citizens who want to reduce their auto insurance rates can participate in driver education courses about driving more defensively. The course is available to drivers age 55 and over.

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Drivers push the limits on the highways in a cat and mouse style game with law enforcement using the “everybody does it” expression to justify speeding.   I survived over 20 years with a person who used a radar detector to thwart authorities so he could drive anyway he chose — even at 140 mph — with ME in the car.   It was not exciting. It was not acceptable.  It was designed to show control and terrify me.   “I’m a good driver” wasn’t acceptable in response to my “Don’t drive like that with me in the car!”

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The paralegal who works in the law office that handled my divorce said I was the first person who cracked through the radar detector of control.   She was exceptionally perceptive in her analysis.   When someone has been as persistent and convincing through manipulation as a con-X — law enforcement and the legal system fail to recognize the pattern of abuse.  Until this year. . .

Anyone who is a survivor knows, physical wounds can be easier to heal than mental or financial abuse.   There has been an awareness of bullying in schools and communities, yet that information and knowledge lags far behind in a domestic relationship where an abuser is allowed to control through a license from the court.

55 is also the official age to be labeled a senior citizen.  Sure, when I was age 19, 30 seemed far off.  When I “reached” age 30, 40 seemed probable.   Then I “became” 40 — and 50 was likely.   This year I “turned” 55.    I celebrated — ALL day on my Birthday AND throughout the weekend.

I’m SO happy and relieved to be 55.

My future is uncertain at this moment, yet It IS certainly GREAT in comparison to living with abuse.   My father (d. 2009) , known as “Mr. Safety” asked me throughout my life: “Do you have enough money to live on?”

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“I secured my safety first, dad.” “I apologize for the money that was robbed from you and me”, I said when visiting his gravesite recently.  Now in the next few months, I expect that my financial future will be secured as well.  Not through revenge, greed or manipulative means, but through financial facts. This year is the beginning of a new life for me and that gives me hope for the brightest future ever.

55 and Alive to THRIVE.

More about being a “senior” in my next post . . .

Perfect Pencils

costumes, candy, creativity

iCygnet

This is a repost of a blogpost from last year.  The only change was with the weather – a dreary drizzly evening – yet the groups of visiting treat seekers was varied and steady.

It seems like a strange tradition to me, but tonight I really enjoyed handing out surprises to all the children who were “drawn” to my house by the porch light. Children and adults have a longstanding interest in playing dress up — wearing costumes. Our Trick or Treat night was rescheduled to Saturday night due to hurricane Sandy’s Frankenstorm. The change was a good move since everyone would have been puddle jumping and slipping around on wet leaves otherwise.

The air was crisp and cool this evening. The sidewalks were darkened through the absence of street lights and limited household participants on the block. A porch light is the symbol for We’re Open For the Event…

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Yes, you CANE

Oboe reeds are made from a plant — not bamboo — but a type of hollow cane called Arundo Donax.  Arundo Donax can grow from 20-30 feet high and reeds are made from the part of the plant that measures 10-11 mm in diameter — referred to as tube cane.

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Most American oboists use cane grown in France but we are beginning to see cane for making oboe reeds coming from Argentina and China too. Cane is also used for making clarinet, saxophone, bassoon and bagpipe reeds.

Arundo Donax is not native to the USA but it grows as an invasive and destructive plant throughout the southern part of the country.  It grows very quickly and can produce up to 25 tons per acre.  This cane, growing as a weed in the U.S., does not have the qualities needed to make good oboe reeds.

Handmade oboe reeds require a lot of work:  Split the tubes. Gouge the cane to the correct thickness.  Shape the cane to the correct dimensions. Tie the cane to an oboe staple with special nylon thread.  Scrape the cane with a sharp reed knife. Test and Play. 
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Fun Facts are compliments of SinginDog.com

My Music Medicine

There were two comments made to me — about me — in the last year that I have been pleased to keep active in my memory:

1. “If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want to be there with you.”   I knew what my colleague meant by the statement.  She had witnessed my broken aura.  She knew I’d find a way, a solution and anyone in my close proximity would benefit from my instinctive, inventive, inspirational ways to survive.   Another person I told about the complement, totally missed the mark — replying that I’d play my oboe to keep happy.   That’s not at all what the comment was about.

2. When you play oboe, I see a white glow around you.  You bring life to the notes.  This comment was especially impressive.

The Auric Field – Aura is life. It is the energy that animates our physical body. The auric field exists in different layers sometimes referred to as harmonics because of the color fields they emit. Each layer of the auric field is a body just as real and alive as the physical body. Each layer is a mini world with its own sense of purpose. The magic of the auric field is in how these mini worlds intertwine and dance with one another. These layers interconnect with one another determining our experience with our physical reality.”

Treatment Tunes

Musical Resonance

Music Therapy

I currently perform with the Sunbury City Band.  It doesn’t provide income — most of us professional musicians can’t survive on our highly skilled craft.   But band is part of my “music therapy”  — priceless reward of camaraderie.

L-R: Marti, Christina, Deanna, Marvin

L-R: Marti, Christina, Deanna, Marvin

My next therapeutic session will be providing music for others during a Sunday at Six program at All Saints Episcopal Church of Selinsgrove.  Second Sunday at Six (10/13/2013).   My mother (Mariam) will accompany me with piano on four pieces. One selection will be for unaccompanied oboe.

The proposed program is a mix of traditional folk music, standard ballads (instrumental version) and film theme.  Hope to see you there — if you’re in this country or county.

Office of One

Each day brings a new challenge for me as I determine where I will locate my portable office.

1. Will I work in my transitional space in which I was forced to take refuge after my multiple businesses were destroyed?

2. Should I locate a new eating establishment with WIFI and a suitable table for my laptop and papers?

3. Is the weather such that I can explore an outdoor space with a canopy of trees or gazebo?

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Of course this is not the typical issues a regular office worker has to deal with.  Many TV shows portray an exaggerated work environment of friendships and personality conflicts.

Lately, I find the best office space for me is OUTSIDE with the unknown ceiling height of the sky.  Research has shown that work spaces and areas with high ceilings are more conducive to creative thinking, productivity and problem solving — yet most companies confine workers to cubicles for fear an employee or student will get distracted.

Today I couldn’t set up in one of my standard locations due to a towering oak tree propelling acorns at rapid intervals — boing, bounce, plop, plunk — either on my papers or head. What I did find was and enchanting surrounding — nicer than the previous location.

ButterflyOffice

I update inventory for my website, write articles for the blog and plan for upcoming music programs and a potential replacement brick & mortar business.  I spend rainy/inclement days inside completing oboe repairs and sketching out new ideas.  Sunny/temperate days give me the greatest joy for work — outside with nature to accomplish the goals of the week.

My only concerns when working outside are rapidly changing temperature (too hot/cold), invasion of spiders, flies, mosquitoes AND rain, wind, darkness, too much light.   (hey, those sound like the same concerns during an outdoor music performance…)

Today, I had two visitors pass through my “office”:   a lady on her afternoon stroll and a stray calico cat on her afternoon prowl.  I sometimes have the pleasure of a ladybug, caterpillar, katydid and squirrels to check on my progress at work.

Katydid

Oh — office hours are ending shortly — the battery on the laptop is 20% power !    I still have time for pad and paper till “lights” dim for the evening shift.


OutdoorOffice

Caterpiller

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The Road Not Taken — or Found

Many of my blog readers are familiar with the poem by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken“.

Now with GPS, it would seem all roads would be discovered AND traveled.    Not so when it comes to the road leading to a monument memorializing the victims of Sept 11, 2001.  

The location of the former World Trade Center was easy to locate.  All trains, subways have it as a destination.  It has been a point of interest since it was first built.    The new construction being erected in place of the destroyed/demolished Trade Center Towers is incredibly stunning — by day and night.  Security was located everywhere and barricades were placed on each street for most city blocks surrounding the WTC.
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Why is the extraordinary monument constructed by the Russian government and its citizens not mentioned in a prominent flier or tour guide for NYC?   I was fortunate to be introduced to the artwork through a friend and an online video.

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It took much determination and alternate directional skill to located the monument.  NO road matches the one listed online. There is NO sign or marker pointing the way to the monument.  The towering reminder is on a desolate space that looks across the water with a view of the Statue of Liberty AND the newly constructed WTC memorial tower. 

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While snapping several photos of the Tear Drop, a young gentleman approached and asked if I wanted him to take a photo with the monument in the background.   He shared that his uncle was killed in the Towers. He travels from California each year to see the Russian monument. He added that there is a new item added on the grounds each year — the latest being a sample of the steel beam from the WTC.

I took the road less traveled and discovered a monumental display of art that expressed without words, the grief of loss to our country AND the world.   

www.youtube.com/watch?v=88sz4SPVefQ

 

Tear Drop Monument
Former Military Ocean Terminal 
Bayonne, NJ