Friday, June 15, 2018

A Storm is Coming

The Road Darkens
Nestled into the woods in several dozen different places, mostly along lakefronts, in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge are summer camps of all kinds. I’m not talking about small summer residences of individual folks, though there are plenty of them to be sure. I’m talking about places where young boys and girls get what, for most of them, is their first experience living in a community separate from those of their parents.
A hundred years ago there were many more. Their names now consigned to books of Native American history and faded shirts and banners in the drawers of old men and women. Of the survivors, some of them are day camps, others have managed to avoid the developers dozers by moving to shortened sessions at higher per week prices, others have been taken over by foundations or nonprofits. Many maintain a tenuous foothold in a era of computer camps, sports camps, summer schools and parents who too often delude themselves into believing that they will make time for their kids.

The Maples of George Road, Hebron, NH
I was a camper at camp Mowglis on Newfound Lake by a complete accident that changed my life. In early June of my very first summer there William B. Hart wandered into my father’s barber shop on Main Street in Plymouth for a trim. Hart, an FBI Agent who had just resigned to run Mowglis for the newly established Holt-Elwell Memorial Foundation, was in a quandary. The Foundation that hired him had just purchased the camp on behalf of its alumni who were determined to avoid the development of over 100 acres on the north end of Newfound Lake and camp was scheduled to open in just a few days.

That morning he had received a call from his camp nurse to tell him that she had been in an auto accident and would be unable to work for the summer. In those days there weren’t a lot of regulations governing camps but the state required every camp to have a licensed nurse on staff.

Like a thousand men and women who unload their troubles on their barber or hairdresser every day, Bill Hart conveyed his dilemma to my father who saw the chance to give his son an experience he could never have afforded on a barber’s salary and he jumped at the opportunity, offering my mother, a Registered Nurse, as a part of a package deal that included me and my two little sisters - though Mowglis was a boys camp.

So serendipity brought me to Mowglis and an ongoing scholarship kept me there for ten years until I was old enough to be employed there.

Many of my life lessons were learned from my parents but at Mowglis I learned to believe in myself, to stretch the boundaries of my imagination, to reach out to the fellow who was struggling and help him up. Of all the touchstones in my life Mowglis remains the most important to me.

Camp introduced me to boys of all colors, all religions, from every socio-economic level and to staff members who were role models that still continue to provide inspiration to me.
Myron Braley


One of them was Myron Braley of Hebron. Myron was an old Yankee who talked New Hampsha’ as if he was straight out of central casting, though I’m still not sure if he was putting it on half the time. He had a great sense of humor and often played us. Myron was the “maintenance man” at Mowglis. By social tradition he should have been considered low man on the totem, barely noticed, but he was revered by campers and staff both. I think it was, in part, the respect shown for him by Bill Hart. Leadership, real leadership, grants dignity to every member of a team and engenders a loyalty that is timeless and powerful.

Myron was there every summer as I grew up and my respect and admiration for him only deepened as I grew older.

One day, after I was an adult, I stopped by Myron’s shop where he was sharpening an axe on a giant grindstone. He carried on a conversation with me as his foot moved forward and back, running that grindstone, as if by instinct, as the sparks lept from the axehead.

It was a beautiful cloudless summer day and I was filled with the vigor and enthusiasm of youth. I was about to lead a group of the oldest boys into the Presidential Mountain Range. Myron walked me to the door and he paused and looked up into the sky. Then he stopped me and handed me a lightweight tarp. He pointed to the slightest whisper of clouds gathering in the western sky. I wouldn’t have noticed them had he not pointed them out.

“Take this” he said. “There’s a storm coming.”

Late that day, as I set up the tarp in a copse of trees above timberline on the side of Mount Washington, as a thunderstorm from hell brought rain and hail down around us, I silently thanked Myron for helping me protect those boys. I never ventured into the Presidentials again without a way to shelter us from the storm.

Today, though he is long passed, I think of Myron often as I watch the nightly news.

There’s a storm coming . . .

I pray that we are ready for it.





About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, he was the 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor and most recently the CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., a public company in the environmental cleanup space. His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images. His most recent novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline has been published on Amazon.com. He lives in Rumney at the base of Rattlesnake Ridge and proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing


Storm Over Smith Bridge

Thursday, June 14, 2018



Five Star Review of "Sacred Trust" from Charles Feuer
"It's totally enthralling to become immersed in this tale. The descriptions are excellent and the connection of the story line with reality is daunting! The characters are so intricately involved and effective. A great work that you will either finish right away or desperately seek waking minutes to live through. Thank you Wayne for your painstaking awareness and ability to bring a serious environmental, economic and public safety issue to light." ~ Charles Feuer


Thank you Charlie!!
If you've read Sacred Trust and would be willing to write a review for Amazon, Kobo, Goodreads, or Apple iBooks your input would be greatly appreciated!

https://thesacredtrust.blogspot.com/

Mooned by a Moose

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Skunk Cabbage - Sweet as Spring

My first trip into the woods after snowmelt this Spring was at that moment when only the Skunk Cabbage had pushed its way toward the light. No other spring wildflowers had yet emerged. Unable to contain my zeal for the season I took an image of a small patch of Skunk cabbage and turned it into an image I've titled "Spring's First Bloom" and a second, monochrome print "Springs Dance of Form". Here are the two images from that effort.

Springs First Bloom

Spring's First Bloom:
Skunk Cabbage is the first plant that pokes through the ground in New England. This image is a treatment of Skunk Cabbage as a blossom of spring. This image is a hand colored monochrome image.
Join our email list for new images, stories and art delivered right to your inbox: http://eepurl.com/bbOh3n
Open Edition Prints: The digitally initialed open edition provides you with the closest approximation of an original without the premium cost of the original.
Originals: Only one original edition of 5 prints of this image is created, signed, dated and with a certificate of authenticity Printed on fine art paper with archival inks. The image is used for creation of a digitally initialed open edition but otherwise archived and kept only for historic purposes and publications. To purchase an original click here: http://bit.ly/Springs1st


Springs Dance of Form

#2 Springs Dance of Form:
A surreal abstract created from a clump of Skunk Cabbage printed in monochrome to emphasize the form and beauty of the image.
Join our email list for new images, stories and art delivered right to your inbox: http://eepurl.com/bbOh3
Open Edition Prints: The digitally initialed open edition provides you with the closest approximation of an original without the premium cost of the original.
Originals: Only one original edition of 5 prints of this image is created, signed, dated and with a certificate of authenticity Printed on fine art paper with archival inks. The image is used for creation of a digitally initialed open edition but otherwise archived and kept only for historic purposes and publications. To purchase an original click here: http://bit.ly/SknkMono

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Democracy 2.0

Birdhouse Blues

Democracy 2.0
Democracy Should Be a Messy Business with Lots of Noise

Spring has finally come to Rattlesnake Ridge. Last night I asked Alice to add the Wild Leeks that I had gathered on my daily walk with Boof, our Siberian Husky, to the evening meal and it turned out to be quite delightful.

Our daily walk in the shadow of Rattlesnake is a time for reflection. Sometimes I listen to the latest book I have downloaded from Audible, but mostly I prefer listening to the birds and the angry Red Squirrels that chatter from the trees, or the bears that hoot and grunt from the woods.

Quiet, the absence of sound, is really not a good thing here. The sounds of a healthy environment - the sounds I hear beneath Rattlesnake Ridge - are the noisy sounds of life: leaves rustling in the breeze, a Pileated Woodpecker drilling for insects in an old White Pine, critters large and small celebrating the return of longer days and warmer weather and readying themselves for the days ahead.

A healthy community is the same way really. There is the daily buzz of activity but there is also the conversation, debate, agreements and disagreements that attend everyday life and local governance. Sometimes it’s enlightening, sometimes it’s more heat than light, sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes downright weird.

Take the case of the late Colonel Joe Kent. Colonel Kent - a rock ribbed Republican - played a major role in my first election to the Senate in New Hampshire. He was the Co-Chair, along with Doris Tunnell, of a group calling themselves “Republicans for King”.

“The Colonel”, as he was known around town was active in local government and he showed up for every town meeting, school board meeting and quite a few planning board, conservation commission and other meetings. He and his wife Ann - a loyal Democrat - also founded a group that would eventually preserve the Quincy Bog, a beautiful example of a glacial pond habitat now on its quiet way to field as the succession and eutrophication process plays out. It is a small place on the planet that is full of life and its wondrous cacophony.

Now Joe was a conservative guy; never threw out anything that he hadn’t worn to a frazzle. He had an old jacket, the kind we rarely see these days, with leather patches on the elbows. He loved that old coat. Ann did everything she could to keep that coat presentable because Joe liked to wear it when he attended the various town meetings. She sewed it, patched it, even replaced the elbow patches when they wore out. She was beginning the process of breaking the bad news to Joe that the old jacket was just too ratty to keep repairing. Then one day she simply gave up. Into the trash it went.

Two weeks later as Ann was putting away some other clothes, she discovered the coat hanging in Joe’s closet. He had retrieved it from the trash, possibly on his weekly dump run.

One evening, a few months later, Joe wore the coat to a meeting of the town selectmen - they were all men then - Joe had retired from this “prestigious” group a few years before but that night he had some business that he needed to discuss. The topic, lost to history I’m afraid, led to a heated exchange between Joe and the town fathers until finally, at the end of his rope, Joe got up and walked out. His last words to the board were “You’ve not heard the last word from Joe Kent on this!” Whereupon he walked out of the town hall and promptly dropped dead in the parking area.

When the people of the town gathered together to say goodbye to the Colonel, including many of those who had been in attendance on that last fateful night, some may have noted that he was wearing his favorite coat. Ann buried him in that old ratty jacket. She had a great sense of humor and irony.

I tell you this story because Joe and Ann Kent represented everything that is good and decent heart-warming and funny about the wonderful people with whom I share this special spot on planet earth. They participated in the life of our community in every conceivable way.

All over our country citizens are participating in the life of their communities in the same way. Lively and raucous debates are frequent, even encouraged, because they eventually find their way into committees, or teams, or ad hoc groups of people, rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the hard business of building consensus.

Too often, when we are bemoaning the divisions in our country, we pine for consensus but forget that the process for achieving it is often messy. In fact, the messier it is - the more often that citizens feel that their hands have touched it and they have been heard - the more likely it is that the middle will hold and consensus will be achieved. Bi-partisanship, civility, all of these things we feel to be in short supply these days are at the end of this rainbow but the rainstorms, the thunder and the lightning must come first.

The folks on Rattlesnake Ridge know this. Town meetings are never dull. Everyone who wants their say gets it. Usually it’s pretty civil but not always. A few years back, one attendee referred to me as “Comrade” suggesting that I was a big spender for wanting to see some improvements to the school. Months later that same fellow rescued Boof when he got away from me on our walk, we had a great conversation when I came to fetch him. Remarks made in the heat of the debate were forgotten and we were just good neighbors reaching out to one another.

Unfortunately, the folks who are leading our country seem to have forgotten all this. The procedures and rules that have been created in both the House and the Senate are designed to stifle debate and closely control the agenda. This process denies the American people the opportunity to understand the full range of opinions and options for resolving the issues we confront.

It also allows small groups of partisans, particularly those inclined to think way outside the mainstream, to avoid having to defend their positions openly, where we can see and hear the extent of their ‘crazy”. They are often able to quietly control the agenda without having their views exposed in their full measure.

Loon Island Misty Mindscape
Take the case of the United States Senate “silent” Filibuster. Today any Senator can choose to “filibuster” a bill by simply signing a form. Unlike the “talking” method of filibustering, so memorably depicted in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” by the great Jimmy Stewart, no Senator has to go through the uncomfortable process of debating the bill openly, or listening to the debate.

In both the House and the Senate, leadership of the majority party controls everything that comes to the floor and a Senate President or Speaker of the House decides what bills will or won’t receive a vote. This led, during the Obama Administration, to the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice, Merrick Garland, who never received a vote and thus was never seated, one of the great injustices in our Democratic history.

More recently, though there is broad consensus on the matter of the “Dreamers”, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan refuses to bring a bill to the floor because, he says, the President has not given any indication of what he will support and Ryan does not wish to deliver a bill to the President that he won’t sign. Ryan ignores the fact that the separation of powers, so carefully designed in the constitution, between the legislative and executive branches, presumes that Congress will act on what it sees as the best interests of the country and the President will take action on what Congress passes based on what he or she sees as the best interests. Congress is not subservient to the President, it is equal. Furthermore, such subservience did not keep Ryan from bringing no fewer than 30 bills abolishing the ACA aka ObamaCare to the floor, with no consultation with President Obama. His hypocrisy belies his deceit.

This problem exists when either party is in control of the House and the Senate. They may handle it differently but the results and the power plays engaged remain the same. Whether leaders are Republican or Democrat each is inclined to place their thumbs on the scales of debate and transparency.

Bringing such bills and resolutions to the floor is important, whether they will pass muster with the President or not, because this creates the opportunity for open debate, allowing the American people to take the measure of those making the case for passage or defeat of the legislation and, even more important, creates the opportunity for the public to hear the debate so that they better understand the ideas and their implications.

During the past few weeks a few small rays of light have shown through the dark shadows of Congress on this. In the House, a group of Democrats and Republicans have taken the first steps toward exercising a provision that allows a bill to be brought to the floor over the objections of the Speaker, specifically on the Dreamers act. If they continue in this direction the House will have the opportunity to vote on a Dreamers act, despite the Speaker’s roadblocks.

In the Senate a movement to create a law to protect the transparency of the Special Counsel’s findings in the Mueller investigation, even if the President removes him from his appointed office or uses the removal of some other appointee to try to limit the scope of the investigation. Republican Leader McConnell has indicated his opposition but members are pushing back and may be successful.

These efforts show some signs of hope but the central problem remains the same. House and Senate rules too often centralize control over the people’s representatives, contrary to the best interests of the American people and Democracy itself.

Democracy - or more specifically American Democracy - today is at a point of maximum danger. In an “Age of Accelerations” the world is moving and changing at a breathtaking rate. If Democracy is to move as rapidly and agilely, we need to make the process capable of meeting the challenges. Opening that process up, decentralizing it and giving power back to the people’s representatives will be much more noisy but also more transparent and productive.

If the Leadership feels they need something to do in order to be relevant, I suggest that they begin thinking about the future and crafting opportunities for members to debate, learn and discuss issues relevant to our future. It would be a nice change to have our representatives thinking ahead and beginning to ask themselves the big questions that will help us meet the challenges of the future instead of responding in crisis mode because we have failed to think about them.

Just as my noisy woods are a sign of a healthy environment; Just as my contentious and raucous community is a sign of a healthy democracy at the local level; Open, honest and thoughtful debate at the national level are needed to help us move from Democracy 1.0 to Democracy 2.0 without stumbling any more than we already have.

We need more debate, more noise, not less.

-=-=-=-=-=-
About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, he was the 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor and most recently the CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., a public company in the environmental cleanup space. His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images. His most recent novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline has been published on Amazon.com. He lives in Rumney at the base of Rattlesnake Ridge and proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing


Looking for Hope? You can find it at the Rumney Dump.


A Ripple of Hope 
Wayne D. King

This morning I awoke at 5am - as I usually do - with a steaming cup of coffee, I ascended the oak stairs to my office in a loft on the second floor of our home,. The plan was to spend a few hours writing before the sun rose over Stinson Mountain to the east and began its warming traverse of the morning sky, when I would get ready for my Sunday morning dump run.

Folks here in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge are divided into two groups. Those who have more than a few years on them who continue to refer to our recycling and transfer station, located on the Buffalo Road, as “The Dump”; and, the younger ones who have grown up referring to it as the Transfer Station and Recycling Center. The only exception to that rule seems to be Sonny who runs The Dump. Sonny is my contemporary but is hip enough to refer to it by its “new” nom de rigueur. It may be that his years of being tapped for every annual Job Fair, Earth Day, Science Fair, and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle event has made him a sensitive new age guy or it may be more pragmatic, its his job after all.

Along the way to my destination, I drive along the Buffalo Road passing by “Rumney Rocks” where climbers prepare for their day of rock climbing. My son Zach, an ardent climber, claims that you can climb the various routes on Rattlesnake Mountain for years and never have to climb the same route twice. Hundreds of cars are parked in the designated areas and the overflow is managed by a local landowner who has figured out a way to help the Forest Service prevent parking along the road by renting out spots on his property for both parking and camping. What began as a way to generate a little extra cash on weekends has turned into a full fledged rustic campground . . . no RVs, thanks, there’s a place for them over on Rte 25.

A bit farther along I pass by a small oxbow, a shallow pond pinched off by the years as the Asquamchumaukee River, now called the Baker River, meanders along the valley. Though it is now mostly an overflow for high water events (PC for Flooding), it is filled with life: lilies, turtles, frogs, pickerel weed; a dressing room for the chorus. Tonight the spring peepers will emerge to sing their joyous songs welcoming spring to the North Country.

I will know I am almost to my destination when the trailhead to Rattlesnake Mountain hiking trail comes into view, but just before I will pass a bronze plaque denoting that here was once a small cottage in which Nathan Clifford was born. A Lawyer, apprenticed to, and trained by, the illustrious Josiah Quincy; Clifford served as Attorney General of Maine, Congressman, and finally United States Supreme Court Justice during, and after, the Civil War.

As a Justice, Clifford would be chosen as one of a small group of individuals - electoral commissioners - that would decide the outcome of the disputed Tilden vs. Hayes Presidential election. The election results were disputed in what historians refer to as the “young nation’s first real constitutional crisis” . . . I suppose the historians forgot about the Civil War itself.

Finally a giant snow plow blade comes into view, demarking the entrance to the Transfer Station and Recycling Center. Built in the days when the snowplow was the first thing on the road after the storm, there are no moving parts, it is one big unified blade. Half the blade aims snow to the right and the other half to the left. It clearly took up most, if not all, of the roadway. Even I was not around when it was in use.

In the space of only a few miles, I have driven along an historic timeline of this place we intrepid 1,480 souls call home. Now I am here.

Sonny greets me smiling and gives me the weather report and points out an immature Bald Eaglet sitting atop a large gravel pile where he or she has the best view of everything happening at the Transfer Station. “Its been here all day!” he says excitedly

The Dump Run
With the exception of a very few people, who have one of those fancy pickup services like Waste Management, Inc. or Casella Waste Services, this is a shared experience for every family in the small town of Rumney where I have hung my hat for the last 38 years. My Sunday drive to the dump cum transfer station terminates in a usually smiling reunion with neighbors, white collar, blue; old and new; equalized by the task before them as they each pull their vehicle up to the large dumpster that carries Rumney’s refuse away when it is full. Then they proceed onward to the recycling area where they greet one another as they empty their recyclables into various containers. Many stop to chat with a neighbor whom they have not seen since winter weather placed parkas and hoods between them as they hurried to do their duty, not feeling particularly sociable at God-knows-how-many degrees below zero. Now the warmth of early summer will seem to make them downright chatty.

No one, even the most partisan of activists, cares if you are a Democrat or a Republican. No one cares that their job ranks higher on the income charts. Whether you call it the dump or the transfer station, whether your income puts you in the 1% or the 99%, whether you are a raving left winger or right winger. You have to toss those bags into the same dumpster, you have to separate your plastics by number, and you have to separate your aluminum from tin.

Hope lives here at the Transfer Station. Just as it lives in a hundred other places at the local level. Hope that we can find ways to talk with one another without breaking down into the factions that right now threaten our Republic.
As NY Times columnist Tom Friedman says, “If you want to feel good about America, stand on your head.”



About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, he was the 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor and most recently the CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., a public company in the environmental cleanup space. His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images. His most recent novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline has been published on Amazon.com. He lives in Rumney at the base of Rattlesnake Ridge and proudly flies both the American and Iroquois Flags. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing

Links:
Ripple of Hope: http://bit.ly/RippleHope
Nathan Clifford: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Clifford
Tilden V. Hayes: How Congress settled the disputed electoral count in the presidential election of 1876 https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1893/10/the-hayes-tilden-electoral-commission/523971/


Gazing at the Newfound Moon











Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Vote for One of Wayne's Images


I've entered this piece of mixed media art into a contest at TheArtlist.com.

 If you like it, I'd appreciate a vote of support from you. Click here to vote: https://woobox.com/9po8cw/gallery/Abwx4fKg4Sk


Mixed media image hand-painted monochrome with Haiku. This image is part of a developing series on climate change.

This image can be purchased in the following forms:

A signed limited edition original with a certificate of authenticity. Edition of 25 prints on fine art rag paper with archival inks $495, Click here.

Open Edition print 12"x14 $20.00 Click here

Open Edition print 12"x14 $20.00 

Open Edition print 20"x23" $48.34 Click here

23" x 26" Poster  $34.34 click here


Monday, May 14, 2018

Bar the Door! We're Here.


A Marine's Pride

As most of you know by now, my ancestors on my father's side were members of the Iroquois nation. To them we are all illegals. John Kelly's remarks on NPR made me wonder what the story was behind his own family history.

Here's a useful tidbit of information. File it under: "Bar the door! I'm here!" (General) John Kelly's ancestors, who arrived in America before we began classifying immigrants as documented and undocumented, included his Great Grandfather Giuseppe Pedalino and Pedalino's second wife Concetta. (Kelly's great-grandma died in 1898.)

Giuseppe Pedalino was a wagon driver. It is unlikely that he had more than a few years of schooling but we don't know this (yet) His wife was illiterate and could not speak English 10 years after arrival.

John Kelly's maternal grandmother Teresa was a child in the 1900 census. Her father, a day laborer named John DeMarco had been here for 18 years.

He had not become a citizen.
He could not read, write, or speak English.

The 1930 census shows his great-grandparents living with their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, one of whom was Kelly's mother.

John DeMarco had been here for 47 years and was STILL not an American citizen ("AL"). His wife Crescenza had been here for 37 years and STILL spoke no English.

pic.twitter.com/N9AfuLNvb1

These facts tell us a number of things: 

1. In only 3 generations this immigrant family went from "the great unwashed" to the ancestors of the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States of America. That is nothing short of a true American success story.

2. General John Kelly is either completely ignorant of his own family's history or a hypocrite - I'm guessing the latter. This is less of a disappointment than his behavior in not having the courage to speak out against the treatment of John McCain at the hands of his own Whitehouse Staff but it's right up there.

A Marine's Pride
https://www.redbubble.com/people/waynedking/works/2282692-a-marines-pride


Spirit Buffalo Before a Frozen Lake

A Storm is Coming

The Road Darkens Nestled into the woods in several dozen different places, mostly along lakefronts, in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge a...