Year’s End 2022

“The world exists to end up in a book,” wrote Mallarmé. I like to have ulterior purposes as a tourist, so I was happy to take a “day trip to Wilmington, Vermont” assignment from the Berkshire Edge in order to put my existence into writing for others. Wilmington is only 20 miles east of Bennington on the Molly Stark Scenic Byway (a.k.a. Route 9), but my prior experience of the town was limited to lunch at Dot’s, dinner at the Anchor, and time spent at Bartleby’s Books, which carries my titles and once hosted a poetry reading by me and other minor poet. Oh, and I had stopped to get a photo of the statue of Molly Stark herself for my Battle book. Amelia and I made a day trip of it on September 30 and had a good time. You will too (pp. 55-57):

Last year I wrote about the Bennington Museum’s annual end-of-year art show for the Berkshire Edge’s online news site. I did it again:

I thought those Bennington Triangle T-shirts were so clever that I bid a modest sum on one and was one of the winners. Meanwhile Amelia bid on a piece by Bennington’s Rhonda Ratray just for fun and found she had bought the painting. I hadn’t mentioned to her that it was one of my favorite works in the show. It illustrates an incident in the childhood of the protagonist of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, when it rained stones on her house:

Raining Stones — Rhonda Ratray
Bennington Museum photo

I never thought I would provide the text for a sermon from the pulpit of Old Bennington’s Old First Church, but I was told that the Rev. Clarke used at a Sunday morning service in December my piece from several years ago telling the story of Robert Frost’s Christmas poem “To a Young Wretch.” In Frost’s poem, “Christmas feeling” prevails (barely) over resentment at a young spruce’s having been rustled from Frost’s Gully property in South Shaftsbury by two local youths, who were caught soon after the act by the local constable. The poem is a splendid parable about justice and forgiveness in a case where two “goods” were opposed. It concludes:

And though in tinsel chain and popcorn rope
My tree, a captive in your window bay,
Has lost its footing on my mountain slope
And lost the stars of heaven, may, oh, may
The symbol star it lifts against your ceiling
Help me accept its fate with Christmas feeling.

On that note, see you next year!

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