prettyboy reservoir

Prettyboy Reservoir, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. © 2017 S. D. Stewart

Clouds near Prettyboy Reservoir, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. © 2017 S. D. Stewart

field report 3

Today the clouds demand close observation. Why is everyone not looking at the clouds. Absurd. All colors today are vivid: the dark and choppy white-flecked waters of the harbor, the green sloping lawn of the former Civil War lookout, the red of the restaurant roof below it. Now is the time when the first psithuristic hints of the autumnal approach appear. Observance and acknowledgment of this occurrence is essential.

A passing child of about 7 says, apropos of nothing: ‘I hope I get a lawnmower soon…a real one…vrrrrrm [presumed lawnmower noises].’ His family chooses not to acknowledge this proclamation. Theory: this is not the first time it has been uttered.

A large black dog (LBD) enjoys the grassy, treed oasis behind the seafood restaurant, complacently chewing a tennis ball as its person paces in circles while jabbering on her mobile phone.

Shirtless males run on the promenade.

Tourists relentlessly take photos of a boat, the so-called ‘Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor,’ by far the most photographed object in the vicinity.

My doppelgänger walks by, as he is wont to do.

Midway through the reading period, sudden drama rushes in when cigar-smoking man (CSM) arrives on his bicycle, only to find LBD lying in the exact spot where he traditionally sets up his legless portable chair. For a few moments the air crackles with anticipation. However, this soon dissipates as, undaunted, CSM approaches the occupied territory and sets up his chair immediately adjacent to LBD. Soon, the fragrant scent of cigar smoke floats upon the strong breeze as CSM cracks open his book, occasionally casting a shrewd eye upon LBD, who pants in patient oblivion as its owner continues chattering.

On the return trip, while walking, a man pauses to execute a precise ballet move: a half-knee bend followed by a jump in place, arms outstretched. The grace of this move is surprising given the man’s overall GISS. He then taps a light pole with the thick book in his left hand. Further on, he thumps the book in his hand like a revival preacher, resulting in a few turned heads. A strong temptation rises to follow him for research purposes, but alas, recess is over.

moleskine miscellany (annotated)

i.

the sky in the glodes between masses of cloud was irenic blue—j. gardner, ‘the warden’

ii.

in the dream, people called it a giraffe but it wasn’t a giraffe—it was orange, maybe shaped more like a zebra—someone was leading it for a time, and then it was running along the river with the migrating birds. we all saw it.

iii.

when i ceased to be alone, solitude became intense, infinite—m. blanchot, the one who was standing apart from me

iv.

to be alone in public is true freedom. to be alone in a private residence holds a spell of constriction, resulting from the receding of the outward-facing gaze into an inward-facing position. as self-consciousness fades so too does presence of mind, of the rooting of the self in its role, be it outsider or not, within society.

[post-transcriptional annotation]

1. outward-facing: infinite possibilities; heightened awareness from surging external energies

2. inward-facing: finite possibilities; shrinking awareness from negative self-generated energies

(my talk show starts tomorrow. during a series of six silent sessions, i will expound upon the nonsense listed in part iv. tune your magic dial to eleventy-six-oh at quarter past the slowest hour of the day or if you don’t have a cardboard box with day-glo dials painted on it, tune your peepers to the suspicious-looking cloud formations in the western sky, which i have arranged in advance to spell out the answers to all of your questions. that’s all.)

sf trip: days three & four

Note: I apologize for the terrible quality of these photos. Most were taken with my cell phone, which doesn’t have a flash.

The fun mostly came to a close on Day Three, when the conference officially started. Suddenly I found myself trapped in a bland hotel meeting room for most of the day. Horrifying. The most exciting presentation I saw was given by Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. If you don’t know about Brewster and the Archive, that link might warrant a look. They are doing important work over there. That’s all I’ll say about the conference, though, because I don’t think the majority of the content would be of interest to readers of this blog.

I snuck down to the Ferry Building on Day Three for more donuts. I just couldn’t help myself. Even though it was almost a 20-minute walk from the conference hotel, it was worth it. What can I say…I have a thing for donuts. And vegan donuts are not easy to come by, at least not where I live.

Goodbye, vegan donuts…

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Pepples Donuts, San Francisco, California

I ate at Loving Hut one more time, too. Even though it was in a mall…blech.

Goodbye Loving Hut…

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Loving Hut Restaurant, San Francisco, California

On the morning of Day Four, I had to check out of my hotel. The room was a bit small but it suited me fine. They also had free fair trade coffee every morning and a free wine happy hour every evening. The irritating thing was there was no free internet anywhere in the hotel, not even in the “business center.” But at least they printed our boarding passes for free.

Goodbye hotel lobby…

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Serrano Hotel lobby, San Francisco, California

We had to leave as soon as the conference ended and headed straight to the airport. As I stared out the car window at the hills, I didn’t feel ready to leave. There was so much more to explore! I knew I would have to return some day.

At the airport, I ate the only burrito of the trip, which was surprisingly good for airport food. I wasn’t looking forward to the redeye flight staring me down, so I consoled myself with a double espresso (on the company dime, of course!).

Goodbye California clouds…

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Sky above San Francisco International Airport

Once home, I consoled myself with a full day of birding on the weekend. The bright songs and flashy colors of the forest songbirds were the perfect salve for the vague unsettled feeling I usually get upon returning from a trip.

Hello green green park lands…

© 2012 S. D. Stewart, Susquehanna State Park, Havre de Grace, Maryland

the acidic pleasures of baudelaire

From “One O’ Clock In The Morning,” in Paris Spleen (Varèse translation, New Directions):

“At last! the tyranny of the human face has disappeared, and now there will be no one but myself to make me suffer.”

Of course no poet can be acidic all the time, not even Baudelaire.

From “The Stranger”:

“I love the clouds…the clouds that pass…up there…up there…the wonderful clouds!”

Wonderful clouds indeed!

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