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Jim's blog

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Location: Osterville, Massachusetts, United States

I am a professor at Cape Cod Community College and and a member of a Buddhist order. After a 30-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor I became a full-time professor in 2001. I am the author of the textbooks "The Elements of News Writing" and "The Elements of Academic Writing." I enjoy running, hiking and camping. I have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wednesday at work

In the morning I picked up my Mitsubishi ("Mitch") from the service station, where they repaired the exhaust system so it could pass inspection. While we were there we got the same folks to inspect my mother-in-law's car, which passed, despite some significant rust. Whew!

I spent the day at work. I got to help several students, including one with multiple disabilities who will require significant accommodations in order to make it through one class. Right after that, I helped a gifted student who is getting college credit for the advanced-placement courses she took in high school. I love the wide range of students we serve at a community college. It is not a cookie-cutter approach.

In the evening I went to the Wednesday-evening running group at the high school. It was fun to see my old friends there. We ran for about an hour. Half was a long, slow warm-up, and half was speedwork on the track.

The news from New Orleans is so tragic. Apparently it is all much worse that we thought. How awful

(Running: five miles)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Today I am scheduled for a bronchoscopy to see if they can determine why I coughed up blood two weeks ago. I doubt they will fine any cause. Now that they have reassured me that it is not cancer, I am not very worried. Because I could not eat this morning, I decided to skip my morning routine. I just slept in and relaxed before heading to the hospital at 10 a.m.

The broncoscopy was uncomfortable but not painful. They advised me not to drive or make any important decisions for the rest of the day. I can see why. I felt kind of woosy (is that a word?) all afternoon and evening.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sangha Sunday

Sunday was another beautiful day.
I did my morning routine for the seventh day in a row, including running the Playhouse Loop. A bunch of us went down to the blueberry patch and picked four quarts of delicious blueberries. Then we had a big breakfast of blueberry waffles and maple syrup. Barbara made the waffles, and Janet and Perry made the maple syrup. It was all delicious. In the afternoon I led the sangha, and we had 16 people -- the largest gathering in months. That is very reassuring.
(Running: 3 miles)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Happy Saturday

Sixth day in a row of the good morning routine. This time my wife's cousin Janet rode a bike along with me when I did my three-mile run. Then, in the afternoon, she also rode along with me when I ran to Corporation Beach and back..

(Running: 8 miles)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wonderful News!

I do not have lung cancer.
Of course I knew the chances were slim, but still it was a tremendous relief to get the test results that prove that the little nodule in my lung is not cancer. I saw Dr. Slater at 9:30 a.m., and he told me the good news. I called my wife and then went to work at the college. IN the afternoon, lots of family members gathered for my mother-in-law's 87th birthday. Her son Steve and his wife and two daughters came down from Milford, and her niece Janet came down form New Hampshire. Her friend Sam walked up the street to join us for a big celebration dinner. We laughed and had a good time until late at night.
I was tired because I had gotten up and run for the 5th day in a row
(Running: 3 miles)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Takin' Care of Business

Fourth day in a row of my good morning routine!
This morning we sat down and went through all the bills and business and got caught up. It's not much fun, but it was satisfying to get it out of the way. Then I went into the office and worked on next semester's class plans. We had a delicious spaghetti dinner. Tomorrow lots of family members are arriving to help celebrate Vee's 87th birthday.
(Running: 3 miles)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Good friends

Today was a day to reconnect with some good friends.
I got up and did my good morning routine again for the third day in a row. I'm on a roll.
After my run I got a call from my running buddy Alison, who I haven't seen in a couple of weeks. We met for tea and a walk on the beach. It was great to see her again. Then I went into work, and chatted with our department chair, Lore, and secretary, Cindy. I did some work preparing for the new semester. Then I had lunch with Jane, who heads up the Suffolk University Communication program on Cape Cod. We ran into Jim, who directs the hospitality program, and I introduced Jane and Jim, who have a lot in common. We talked about starting a television program that could involve all three of our programs. On the way back to my office, my good friend Dan, who teaches philosophy, called to me form a second-story window. I went up and talked with him for a while, which was wonderful. Dan's book is coming out in a couple of weeks. I am so happy for him. On the way back I ran into Ann, who just dropped her son off at college. We talked about that for a while. After I got back to my office, I completed more work. Later John, another English professor and fellow Buddhist, stopped by and we caught up on what we had been doing all summer. It was wonderful to see so many dear friends all in one day. Best of all, I even got some work done.

(Running: 3 miles)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beautiful run

I got up at 6 again this morning and did my good morning routine.

The run was so much fun it was almost magical. The weather was perfect. It was probably 68 degrees out and clear and sunny. Some of my neighbors had their automatic sprinklers going, making their lawns look particularly green and healthy. But the whole neighborhood looked good, with lots of flowers and nice landscaping. When I got up to the corner by the playground I saw a man and woman on bicycles who had stopped to study the white directional signs advertising various local businesses. They looked puzzled. The man approached me, and in a thick accent, asked, "Ocean -- best road to ocean?" I think he might have been German.

"Yes, yes, I said, you want to go to the beach to see the ocean. Head right down this road," I said, gesturing with my whole arm. And where you see those cars up ahead, bear right." I indicated a right turn with my arm . "Follow Beach Street to the ocean."

"Beach Street. Thank you, Beach Street to ocean," He said, grinning. The took off on their bicycles.

I ran through the beautiful new park the town created to replace an abandoned gas station on Route 6A. At the post office I passed a young woman on a Vespa motor scooter, putting mail in a mailbox. Then I passes another runner coming in the opposite direction. He was moving much faster than me. I think I was going about a 10-minute mile pace, and he was probably doing seven- or eight-minute miles. We smiled, waved and exchanged greetings. I turned into the beautiful grounds of the Cape Playhouse. The driveway was lines with beautiful flowering plants with gaudy red and pink and white flowers that were about six inches across. The signs said they are marsh mallows or swamp roses.

I ran past the beautiful playhouse building, which was converted to a theater in the 1920s from a church built in 1810, and the Cape Cinema, built in 1930 in Greek Revival Style, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, located in a historic structure that was moved to the site and renovated in the 1990s. Then I rounded the corner onto Whig Street and ran past the Josiah Dennis Manse, built in 1736. I said good morning to the caretaker, who was working on a garden that is maintained in 18th century style. This being a Tuesday, I noticed the Manse would be open for historic tours from 10 to noon today. I cruised on home, feeling lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

After a shower, I headed into work and helped a colleague figure out how to use the learning management system that enables us to put course materials on the Internet. In the afternoon I had an appointment to consult with a pulmonary specialist at 1:45 and to get my PET scan at 5. Big day.

The pulmonary specialist, Dr. Scott Slater, is terrific. He was very encouraging. He said that based on my CAT scan and X-ray, he would give me 10-to-1 odds that I don't have lung cancer. But after talking to me and examining me, he'd make that 100-to-1 odds. The fact that I looked perfectly healthy, felt fine and the fact that I ran three miles this morning with no ill effects make him practically sure I do not have cancer. However, the combination of the coughing up blood and the nodule on the CAT scan make it reasonable to investigate further. That's why the PET scan is a good idea and he will probably want to do a bronchioscopy too. If they come out positive then I should have a biopsy, which -- in view of the nodule's small size -- means removing it entirely. "And then you're cured!" he said. He was very upbeat and seemed much more interested in my motorcycle than my lung problems. We had a great talk. I'll see him again Friday , after the PET scan results are available.

(Running 3 miles)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday, Monday

I got up and did my good morning routine today. (meditate, stretch, breakfast, run) Good for me!
I rode my motorcycle into the office and worked on getting ready for the upcoming semester. At noon I had lunch with my old friend Alicia. We worked together for many years, and it was a delightful lunch. After more work at the office, I went home and grilled some salmon steaks on the gas grill. They were delicious. My wife's sister Jill is visiting from Toronto. It is always nice to see her.
(Running: three miles)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunny Sunday

I was awakened by people parking their cars to pick blueberries down the street this morning.
We didn't pick blueberries today. Instead I did some more weeding on our own strawberry and raspberry patch. I thought we had gotten all the weeds yesterday, but either we missed some, or a lot more peeked up overnight. After that, I got carried away with cleaning our 12-by-12 screened porch. I took everything off the porch and scrubbed the floor.

Our pet box turtle, Tom, really surprised us today. We have been keeping some firewood in a big black circular rack on the porch. Sometimes we would let Tom walk around the porch, and he would frequently crawl under the log rack and sleep. When we started cleaning the porch, we put Tom outside in the strawberry patch. I carried most of the firewood out by hand, piece by piece. But then Barbara suggested the two of us could carry the whole rack out with the remaining firewood on it, saving me several trips to the woodpile in the backyard. When we started carrying the rack outside, Tom looked up and charged after us. I mean he ran at top speed. I have never seen him move so fast. He was chasing us down the path in the backyard, as if he was saying, 'Stop, wait, don't take away my log rack. I sleep under that thing. Wait! Come back!" He ran a good 30 feet at top speed. What a turtle!

Sorry, Tom, the porch looks much better and cleaner without a rack full of decomposing firewood. There should be fewer bugs on the porch too. I did bring in a box with some moss in it, just for Tom, and he seemed to like it.

In the evening I conducted the Cape Sangha, our Buddhist meditation group. It was one of the best sittings ever. We had an unusually large group -- 11 people. Some were newcomers and some were old-timers, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. I know I did. The meditation was sweet and peaceful. I played a tape of chanting and we chanted along. That was wonderful.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Weed 'em and reap

Today we weeded the strawberry patch and raspberry patch in our backyard. We won't get any more strawberries this year, but maybe this will help for next year. It looks like we will have some nice raspberries in a week or so, and the weeding should help that.
I also went back to the hospital for another blood test to make sure I could resume taking diabetes medicine after the CAT scan. I am getting very familiar with Cape Cod Hospital.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back to work

Today I did my morning routine, albeit with a half-hour delay. I got up at 6:30 (instead of 6), but then I did my good routine of meditation, exercise, running, etc. I hope to do that every day. I did a short run, of about one and a quarter miles and had no problems at all. That was very reassuring.
I went into the office and accomplished quite a lot in the morning.
In the afternoon, my physician, Dr. Topolewski, called to report that yesterday's CAT scan did show a a small nodule (1.2 centimeters by 1.5 centimeters), which she want to examine more. One option is to do another CAT scan in six months, but she would prefer to do a PET scan as soon as possible. We arranged for the PET scan next Tuesday. All I have to do is not worry between now and then.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner of grilled salmon at the home of some good friends tonight.
(Running: 1.5 miles)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

CAT Scan

Today I drove back to Stonehill College to see if I could find the meditation cushion I left behind. That was not very mindful of me to leave it. Unfortunately I was not in the lost and found, so I returned empty-handed. I'll have to practice the Buddhist ideal of "letting go."

In the afternoon I went to the hospital for a CAT Scan to be sure there is nothing wrong with my lungs. I won't get the results for a few days, I guess.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Nothing to worry about

Today I saw my doctor and she said the X-ray indicated there is nothing to worry about. Just to be sure, she scheduled a CAT scan for tomorrow. That, of course, leaves me feeling a little uncertain, but I am not too worried. Yes I think I'll wait a few days before I resume running.
It is nice to be home, but I do feel very tired.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Closing chant

We started with walking meditation at 5:40, and then assembled at the meditation hall for Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. I was most interested to see Jeff take his. I found him at breakfast and presented him with four pebbles for doing pebble meditation. He seemed genuinely appreciative. Everyone was smiling all morning. I found Ruth Fishel and gave her the certificate with her dharma name, which had been misplaced. That felt good. There was a lot more bowing and hugging. We are 900 close friends now. It was a beautiful retreat. John Bell and I had a nice talk. He remarked at how animated Thay seems this time.

After breakfast, Thay gave his closing dharma talk, which focused on "no birth and no death." It made me feel peaceful and calm. Nothing can be created form nothing. Everything is just a continuation of something else.

At the end of the retreat he invited the members of the Order of Interbeing to join the monks and nuns on stage for the closing chant,.Reciting the name of Alavokiteshvara. With the monks chanting in my ears I was completely transported. It was an ecstatic experience, as if I were just part of some large musical instrument being played by something far greater than myself. The chant went on and on, and I watched he members of the greater sangha, the 800 people in the audience become transfixed and transported as well. It was magical and mystical. The whole retreat was beautiful. The best part is that Thich Nhat Hanh himself, looks younger and more energetic than he has in years. His historic return to Vietnam after 40 years in exile, gave him great joy and newfound energy.

I gave a ride to Falmouth to a fellow retreatant named Mary. Then I proceeded to Cape Cod Hospital and got my chest X-ray.It didn;t take too long, and then I was home. It was nice to be home and to see my wife and to sleep in my own bed again.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Monday, August 15, 2005:
I got up at 5:30 for a shower and I moved quickly to the meditation hall to take my place in the ceremony of transmission of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. The monks and nuns wore their saffron robes with gret formality. The members of the order line up in front of the stage in order of ordination. That put me somewhere near the middle. During the ceremony, which included a lot of chanting, recitation and prostrations, we welcomed 18 new members to the Order of Interbeing. Afterwards we had a brief reception with a lot of bowing and hugging. They also had an opportunity to buy their brown jackets right there. It used to be very complicated to get a brown jacket. I am glad they made it so easy for the new order members.

After breakfast Thay offered a question-and-answer session which was very interesting, but I was very tired. Jeff and I talked again after lunch. I like the opportunity to talk with people, but I also wish there were more periods of silence. Of course, I can always just walk away and practice silence alone.

I coughed up a little blood again, so I called my doctor and made an appointment to see her Wednesday at 1. Later she called my wife and left a message that I should stop by the hospital as soon as I get on Cape tomorrow and get a chest X-ray and blood test. She requested the hospital give her a “wet read” so she will have the results when she sees me on Wednesday. Interesting. I feel like I am in good hands with Dr. Topolewski. Of course I hope it is nothing serious, and yet I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some fear that it is something as serious as lung cancer.

But even with that hanging over my head, I feel ecstatically happy. The dharma discussion group this afternoon went extremely well – no unbelievably well. It was magical. We were all very happy and loving. We shared stories, songs, poems and a general feeling of lovingkindness. Sister True Faithfulness and I led it together, and she said it was like a duet that worked well. I was very pleased with the way it went. I wrote a poem just before the meeting, and it was very well received.


An army of Buddhists
practicing peace
takes over a place
called Stonehill.

There are stones in the road
and stones in the path,
little statues of stone
sitting still.

The teacher is peaceful
sitting still as a stone
teaching peace meditation
with pebbles.

Not a stone left unturned
they study the dharma
as old as the hills
made of stone.

The facility’s workers
they build a stone wall
and they stare at the army
of Buddhists.

Who walk in such silence
practicing mindfulness
each one as quiet
as a stone.

James W. Kershner, August 15, 2005,
Stonehill College, Easton, Mass.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Four Dharma Talks

I was up at 5:30 again for a quick shower and outdoor walking meditation. At one point I was walking with two of the Vong sisters, and I stepped between them and held their hands as we walked across a bridge. We all smiled about that. The early morning meditation was very good. Just when I thought I couldn’t sit without moving any longer, the bell sounded, so we could move. Then at breakfast I saw my old mentor Jack Lawlor. We had a silent breakfast together, smiling and nodding. But later we met at a gathering of dharma group facilitators and had a chance to exchange pleasantries.

Thay’s dharma talk – make that talks – were fantastic. First of all he did not walk up the stairs to the stage with great solemnity and dignity as he usually does. He was standing in front of the stage with the children. Then he backed up the stage, put his palms on the stage behind him and lifted himself up so that he was sitting on the lip of the stage. Then he swung his legs up and stood up. It looked like the kind of move a teen-ager would make; it was so casual and agile. It was so incongruous for an 80-year-old monk that everyone laughed.

Then he announced he had so much to say he would give four dharma talks today, but don’t worry, he said, “they will be short – you will still get to lunch.” He had us laughing again. Then – and I think this was really a spur-of –the-moment decision – he said he would ask two young monastics to give two of the talks. He said he would give the first and fourth talk and Brother Wayne and one of the sisters would give the second and third talks. He talked about the pebble meditation, and he did a wonderful job, injecting it with humor. He said he had one pebble and it represents a flower that is fresh. He talked about that for a while and then paused. “Oh, look,” he said, sounding surprised. “I have a second pebble!” That one represented a mountain that is solid. Then he feigned surprise at a third pebble that represents still water reflecting what is true. And finally, he discovered a fourth pebble that represents space and freedom. It was a useful and coherent talk. Then he asked Brother Wayne to talk. He is a young American monk. He first led us in a song and then told some of his story. For the benefit of the young children in the audience, he talked about how he used to like wizards. That got their attention. He said he always used to pretend he was a wizard, because they seemed to know everything. “Would you like to hear about how I found my wizard?” he asked the children. Of course the wizard was Thich Nhat Hanh. After that story, Brother Wayne saw that the children were getting restless, so he dismissed them to go outside and continue their practice with the brothers and sisters outdoors. For the benefit of the adults he told a second story about how he decided to become a monk, and it included stories about troubled teenagers using drugs and committing suicide. He also mentioned that his mother said she anted him to become a Buddha. That sounded very prophetic coming from a man with a shaved head in a brown robe sitting in the lotus position on a brown cushion. He looked like a Buddha.

Next it was the young sister’s turn to talk. She said she was completely surprised when Thay announced her name because she had not prepared a dharma talk. In fact, she said, she had never given a dharma talk in her life. She said she was extremely nervous and noted that her father was sitting in the hall. She asked him to come up and sit beside her. Then she gave a lovely and meaningful talk about the relationship between her spiritual family and her blood family. In part of it she mentioned that for her father’s 68th birthday she decided to make a list of 68 things for which she wanted to thank her father. It was very touching. Then she said, “Maybe my father would like to say something.” He was also an eloquent speaker and told a story about how much he admired his daughter. He said she asked permission to leave the monastery for a few months so she could make arrangements to care for her mother, who was deeply troubled. The proud father spoke in glowing terms of how kind, compassionate, loving and also practical his daughter was.

By the end I was crying, and I know many others were too.

Then Thay got up again and said, “You see, I promised you four dharma talks, and I see that you have heard four dharma talks.” Everyone laughed. “And don’t say I only gave one, because I gave all four.”

Then there was lunch, and after lunch I had a long talk with my friend Jeff. Jeff has been deeply affected by the retreat in a very positive way. He is transformed. He not only wants to take the Five Mindfulness Trainings, but wants to be even more active in the order and eventually become a dharma teacher. We talked for a couple hours about that. I am so happy for him. He is feeling just the same kind of excitement I felt at my first retreat. I am also happy to have been a part of his transformation. It is also great to know I will have more help at the Sangha.

The afternoon program is a presentation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, and I decided to skip that to do some writing. In the evening, we had another dharma discussion group in which we discussed the Five Mindfulness Trainings. We are getting to be good friends in teh group.

Friday, August 12, 2005

“Peace is a practice and not a hope.”

Thich Nhat Hanh gave a beautiful and simple dharma talk this morning. He kept repeating themes from the Buddha. He referred to the Noble Eightfold Path and said right view is the foundation on which right action, right speech and right concentration are based. He said that right view includes the understanding that we "inter-are," He said our ancestors are in us, just as the seed is in the plant and the mother and father are in the babyThatat made me think of my new grandson Nathaniel. I can see myself in him. He said peace is not possible as long as we practice violence. Violence never produced peace, violence only creates more violence. Everyone wants safety and security. But safety and security is not possible if the other side does not also have safety and security. "Peace is a practice," he said, "and not a hope."

The day started early. I rose at 5:30 and had a great shower. Then. then we all met in front of the library for outdoor walking meditation to the meditation hall for group meditation. Then there was breakfast. I went into town after breakfast because my eye as irritated and I wanted to buy some eye wash at the drugstore. I used it and felt better. I must have gotten something in my eye last night. After that I attended the dharma talk by Thay. It is wonderful to see him again.

It is also wonderful to see so many old friends from past retreats. All four Vong sisters are here, along with their mother. What a treat! I also saw Lilian Chung and her mother. I briefly saw Frances Bagda-Payton, the psychologist from Lincoln . She and I had a wonderful talk at a retreat John Bell gave. Every time I pass John, he and I exchange broad grins. Several people who remember me form past retreats have greeted me, and all the OI members in brown jackets seems like brothers and sisters, even if we don't know each other well. It is a religious order, not a fraternity, but there are some elements of both, I suppose. All of us at this retreat know we have something in common with everyone else here.

After lunch I went over to the college library to use the on-line computers and check my e-mails. As I was leaving I saw two friends from the retreat obviously doing the same thing. So I whispered to both of them, "Aren't we supposed to be freeing ourselves from such things?" One gave me a thumbs up sign and the other said, "Oh, I am, I am writing that over and over again, right here!" How Zen!

The dharma discussion group was very large. There were about 30 of us, which made intimacy and sharing a little more difficult than usual, but we managed. I was the only OI member in the group, so the sister asked me to say a few words about that. Many people talked about being very tired. I said it was OK to take a nap. Dinner and the evening meditation were lovely. Joanne Friday helped read a sutra at the end of the evening. When the day was done, it was beautiful to see 900 people pouring out of the gym, slowly, silently and happily.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh

In the morning I finished packing for the retreat. I checked my college e-mail; there was yet another inappropriate rant from one adjunct instructor who has been abusing the e-mail system. I responded by a plea for restraint that pointed out that the e-mail system was certainly not a place for a personal attack against a colleague. Later I saw several of my colleagues thanked me for sending it.

I arrived at Stonehill College about 2 p.m. There were long lines for registration, but everyone was happy and friendly. It is good to be back on retreat. It feels like home. Among the first old friends I saw were John Bell and Joanne Friday, both order members. I also saw Alexis Baron from Cape Cod, Agnes Rona, who attended one of my retreats, and Ruth Fishel, a popular author of spiritual books.

My room at the retreat is a typical dorm room, Spartan, but comfortable enough. I am glad I brought a fan because it is very hot. It is conveniently located between the dining hall and meditation hall (gym). I took my zafu and zabuton (sitting cushions) over to the meditation hall before dinner. Then I ran into more old friends, Judith Speyer form Rhode Island and Pat Tun from Orleans. Pat brought her son again. I also talked with Bill Menza, an order member who is in the room across the hall from me.

After dinner, the evening orientation was lovely. When Thich Nhat Hanh arrived, we all stood and bowed. There were more than 900 of us in the gym. He looks very young and healthy. His smile was broad and clear. He asked the monks and nuns and all the order members to come up on stage for the opening stage, so I joined my brothers on stage and chanted a tribute to Avalokiteshvara. That was very moving for me. His talk was very simple. Peace is available only in the present moment. If we simply enjoy our in breath and out breath in the present moment we can water the seeds of peace in us and all around us. If we can take one mindful step in the present moment, we can find peace, the pure land of the Buddha and the Kingdom of God right here in the present moment. After his talk we all walked back to our dorm rooms very slowly and mindfully.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Good friends

This morning I got up early and rode my motorcycle 30 miles to Sagamore to meet my dear old friend Rob for breakfast. We had a wonderful talk about our families, our friendship and spirituality. Religion was a big part of the conversation, since Rob just finished writing an essay that is part of his application for ordination as a Lutheran minister. He hopes to receive ordination in September. It would be great if I could go to the ceremony, but it will be in Gettysburg, Pa., which is a long way away.

In the afternoon, I had lunch with Ann, and we talked about the sangha. She agreed to lead the sangha in my absence next Sunday. I later met with Robin, who is teaching a class at the college. I reassured her that she would do fine. We also talked about changes at the Cape Cod Times, where she still works.

In the evening I packed for the six-day retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. I am really looking forward to that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Book conference

Today I had a wonderful book conference with a photographer. He has asked me to write some poetry to go with his photographs. I rode my motorcycle to Mashpee Commons to meet him at a little cafe he suggested about midway between our homes. They had some tables out on the sidewalk, and we had a delicious lunch there as we talked about poetry, photography, journalism, philosophy and life. I felt like I was on the West Bank of Paris with Hemingway and Sartre. We agreed on how to proceed, and I am optimistic a book will emerge from this. His photographs are fantastic and my poetry will be adequate.
On the way home, I stopped by the Cahoon Museum of Art and visited my old friend Cindy Nickerson, who is the director there. They have a beautiful exhibit of watercolors by Karol Wykoff. Cindy and I worked together at the Cape Cod Times years ago. Later I stopped by the Cape Cod Mall to buy a pair of slacks. on the way out of Sears I ran into Sean Gonsalves, another old friend form the Times. While he and I were talking, our mutual friend and colleague Ron Sikora happened to be passing by and stopped to chat. It was wonderful seeing so many old friends in one day.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Back to the office

I went into my office today to get organized. I got off to a late start, but finally got some work accomplished. One thing was to arrange catering for the next meeting of the newspaper advisers. It looks like our "hospitality institute" will be able to handle it. I also had a delightful lunch with my good friend Steve, who is a minister in the Unity Church.

In the afternoon I was hot and tired, so I decided to do another beach run. I ran to Corporation beach, went for a swim and ran back again. It was a ball, as usual.

(Running: Five miles)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blueberry pickers

Our street was lined this morning with the cars of blueberry pickers. The town blueberry patch is just down the street, and it is open on Wednesday and Sunday mornings in August, or whenever the berries are ripe. So we joined them. Barbara, Mom and I each took a bucket and picked for about an hour. We enjoyed listening to the other pickers, including some young children, who were having a ball. They called to each other to report finding a particularly good bush. One little girl kept calling to her big sister to help with the high berries on the taller bushes. We got about three quarts this morning. They are delicious.

In the afternoon, Alison and I had a great run. We started at Johnny Kelley Park. We ran around the loop trail in the park. Then we headed south on Old Bass River Road to the Town Hall and went down some old trails through the woods. There is a beautiful stretch that overlooks the river. We ended up at a railroad bridge across Bass River, where we stopped and rested. Then we returned the same way. I think it was about five miles altogether. The trial running made it especially challenging and interesting. When I got home I ate a quarter of a large watermelon. Yum!

(Running: five miles)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Lobster dinner

Today was my wife's birthday, and Barbara wanted a lobster dinner, so we went to the Riverway Lobster house in South Yarmouth and had a delicious lobster dinner. Earlier, we had birthday cake and then spent some time looking over some Japanese prints we have in storage. We talked about which we want to save mount and frame and which we would just as soon sell. We made a few decisions and enjoyed looking at them all.

After dinner, we stopped by Corporation Beach and watched a beautiful sunset. We also watched all the people at the beach watching the sunset. I am not sure which was more interesting.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Times reunion

This evening I enjoyed a small gathering in Hyannis of old friends all of whom are former employees of the Cape Cod Times. Some of them I have not seen for five or six years. We had a great time talking over old times.
Earlier in the evening I ran to Corporation Beach and went for a swim. The air was hot, and the water was cold.
In the morning I had a regular check-up with my doctor, and everything is fine. That is always good to hear.
(Running: three miles)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


A few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to meet other student newspaper advisers at community colleges in Massachusetts. I even thought it would make a great acronym -- SNACCIM! It never really got off the ground then. I tried contacting others but the response was underwhelming. Then, last October, I met Amy from Northern Essex at a convention in Nashville. The next month, she and I met for lunch. Last spring, we collected two others -- Sue and Rose, and we all had lunch in Acton. Today the four of us met for a second time, and each meeting is better then the one before. We all have so much in common that it helps tremendously to share experiences and solutions to common problems. We are planning another lunch here on Cape Cod Sept. 23. I have to get to work organizing that.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Back to work

This morning I got up at 6. I did not, however, meditate or run because I was in a hurry to get breakfast and get into my office. I wanted to clear out my e-mail and get organized before my 9:30 a.m. meeting with the internship candidate and coordinator. It was great having a long, hot shower in my own, familiar shower at home.

The internship meeting went well, and I also had lunch with two friends, both of whom are deans at the college. After that I returned home and finished unpacking from the trip and getting organized at home. In the evening I headed for the regular Wednesday night running group at the high school.

The running group was a lot of fun. It was the last run of the summer, so we were all in a festive mood. At one point, when our coach, Kevin, said it was time for the last run of the last piece of speed work on the track, everyone clapped, cheered and whooped and hollered. That made us all laugh. Then we ran as fast as we could for the last two minutes. It was a lot of god-natured, healthy, sweaty fun.

(Running: six miles)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Long, hard drive

We drove from Carlisle, Pa., to Dennis, Mass., today. It is a 500-mile drive, and, with lots of rest stops, it took us about 10 hours. We left about 7:30 a.m. and got home about 5:30 p.m. I am not fond of long drives like that, and the scenery was not much, contrasted with the lovely mountains we had been visiting.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The bunnies of Thornwald Park

Once Upon a Time... about 25 years ago in 1980, we lived in Carlisle, Pa., where I worked for the Evening Sentinel newspaper. During the time we lived there, the Borough of Carlisle acquired a lovely estate that included about 20 acres of forest not far from the middle of town, and just a block from the apartment where we lived on Walnut Bottom Road. Our little boy Ben was about five years old then, and when this estate became a public park, he loved to walk with us around the lovely paths in Thornwald Park.(http://www.dickinson.edu/carlisle/thornwald.html)

There were nice old trees in the park, some rolling fields and a family of bunny rabbits. The rabbits were very friendly and seemed to greet Ben when we went for our walks in Thornwald Park. They delighted him.

I was in my 30s and beginning to feel old. The "running boom" was spreading across the nation, and I was a convert. I started by jogging a little and walking a little, but before long I could run around the nature and exercise trail through the woods of Thornwald Park. It was a loop of about a mile.

Today -- 25 years later -- I am still running. We drove from Ashville, N.C., to Carliele, Pa., which is halfway home to Cape Cod. We checked into a Days Inn just off of Walnut Bottom Road. I changed into my running shorts and ran a mile down the road to Thornwald Park. Then I ran around the same old trail where I first learned to love running. And, best of all, the latest generation of rabbits were still there and just as friendly. They seemed to stop and greet me. I even imagined they asked what happened to my little boy. So I told the rabbits that my little boy now has a little boy of his own. I hope someday I can take him for a walk -- or maybe a run -- in Thornwald Park in Carlisle, Pa.

After the run in the park, I ran back to the motel and took off my shirt and shoes and jumped into the motel's outdoor pool. That felt great.

(Running: four miles)