SNOW!! It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in snow. The last time was when Cynthia and I got snowed in at her Cabin in the Sonora Pass. So, here we are, driving in a blowing snowstorm! Sherman lets me know he needs to pee and a Rest Area sign appears. We pull off and take a walk in the blowing snow. It’s beautiful! And… cold! Here I realize were driving between two towns named Windsor. What are the odds of that?
From the Rest Area parking lot.
Sherman and I leave Windsor, RI in clear, cool weather and drive to Windsor, NY in deepening snow. The roads are plowed, salted and very passible. We arrive at the house before they return from being in Rochester. The snow is about 6 inches deep. Sherman LOVES it. He runs and jumps in circles. I love seeing him so happy. I recently read on a weather site that the largest snowstorm of the year so far was in the Binghamton, NY area. Between 18-24 inches in a weekend. WE WERE THERE!!

Their backyard pond. Early in the storm.
Down the road on a walk.
Their house coming back from a walk the next morning. After day 1 or a 2 day storm.
I hadn’t seen Betsy for about 30 years. The last time they lived in Oswego, NY. We visited in the winter right after a BIG lake effect storm. The roads ran between 15 foot high walls of snow where the truck sized snow blowers blew the snow. I’d seen pictures of deep snow and high snow piles along roads, but driving through it was very surreal. Nothing else in the world existed but walls of snow, the road, cars on the road and the ribbon on sky visible in this channel. No trees. No houses.
Betsy is Bob Compton’s (Bristol, VT) sister. We did numerous shows together. Linda and I had both of their work at Riverworks Craft Gallery in Savannah, GA.
Bob — brother — told me that Betsy hadn’t made pots in 20 or so years. That she was painting and recently sculpting. When I got there, I saw that she’s done a series of self-portraits that I really like. To look at oneself in a mirror or photo for the length of time it takes to paint oneself takes courage. I’ve done mirror work in seminars and other spontaneous moments, but nothing that approaches the days of looking that it’d take to do a painting.
Betsy’d gone to a couple of sculpture workshops. One with a woman who does large clay animals. Very ornate. Very subtly and spaciously colored. Very pretty… It was interesting to see that Betsy liked and worked with animal forms, but very abstract. Composed of exaggerated fundamental shapes. Strong. Gutsy. Raw. Not pretty.
Her husband, Bob, is an environmental scientist. He does environmental impact studies. We talked about a number of things currently going on: Flint, Dakota Pipeline, Fracking. He had opinions and historical information I don’t which gave him different conclusions on somethings that I have. I’m still a sceptic and believe we should live lightly, leaving as small a footprint as possible. He said that many of our environmental issues come from “unintended consequences”. For instance, Flint. The deteriorating water pipes were old, but the unintended consequence that caused the sped-up breakdown of the pipes was salt used on the roads in the winter. The road salt melts into the water, which drains into the rivers, which eats the old pipes.
This “Unintended Consequences” distinction really got me. I saw that were surrounded by them.
• Side effects of combining symptom specific medications.
• Superbugs from using life saving antibiotics.
• Smog and climate change from the Greenhouse Effect of the miracle of fossil fuels.
• Racism and social stratification from Slavery.
• The epidemics of the top 10 killing disease from factory farming and food processing to increase shelf life to decrease starvation and food scarcity diseases.
• Bacteria and disease from mono-culturing plants and animals.
• Information and news parsed into 10-30 second snips from Sesame Street turning learning in 10-30 second snips.
• The difficulty of planning and providing life-value for future generations from the primary purpose of a corporation being to make money for its share holders
• The impossibility of seven generation planning from focusing on short term profits.
• On and on…
We’re living in the sea of “Unintended Consequences.” The world has gotten so very complex. Our ability to manipulate using more and more granular technology is increasing on an exponential curve. And, who is watching out for, testing for, the “Unintended Consequences” of all of these vectors colliding? No one. Looks like a perfect roadmap to ongoing disaster.
Back to Windsor… Their grand-daughter, Clementine (age 5), and daughter’s dog Harvey (age 18 mo), were also there. Lots of fun. Harvey is a Golden Retriever. Harvey is a bit to bouncy and pushy for Sherman who stood his ground and claimed his space. Grrrr. Shoulder pushed into Harvey. “Stop trying to paw me. You’re feet are too big!” Grrrr…
First time Amelia has been covered by a blanked of snow.
It was great to reconnect with Betsy and Bob. I remembered them so fondly from decades past. And, the thread is still there.