I don’t speak french, but I know all about joie de vivre. We found it in Paris last summer, in the midst of a general strike, only hours after historic flooding, and just months after a devastating terrorist attack. We heard it in the animated chatter of proud Parisians, smelled it wafting from their sweet […]
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My favorite photos often happen randomly, a quick shot and the amateur hope that my camera will translate accurately all that my eye thinks it sees. A perfect example happened on a late summer afternoon in Machu Picchu. I glanced over and saw two of my kids sitting on a grassy edge of the Andes, […]
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all […]
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood several times this weekend, and, each time, we took the one less traveled by.
And that made all the difference.
The first accidental divergence happened during the beautiful Navarino Nature Center 5K Fall Color Run/Walk Saturday morning, when Vince unintentionally ran an extra 2 1/2 kilometers and still managed to score a second place medal.
The second accidental divergence happened during our post-game stop at Yoder’s, the Amish Bakery outside Cecil, when we stumbled into a farm auction and some of the best donuts we’ve ever tasted.
Knowing how way leads onto way, we made the less traveled path our theme for the weekend. With our friends Scott and Tami , we wandered happily around Shawano Lake, popping into the Sand Bar for lunch, and watching a few pivotal scenes from a vintage movie at the Berry Lake Club.
In leaves no step had trodden black, we took less travelled paths through woods just beginning to deck themselves out, strolled past quiet ponds and counted stars above an open corn field.
With Robert Frost on the mind, and Jack Frost on the toes, we enjoyed the first days of Wisconsin’s prettiest season.
I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two road diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that had made all the difference.
Evidence of Ernest Hemingway’s demons remains scratched into his bathroom walls and, for a moment, I had to look away.
A journalist, then novelist, whose honest exploration of the human psyche (most often his own) earned him both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize, Hemingway courted specific details for his characters.
I like details too, so I turned back and observed.
Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Cuban home, still looks as though its celebrated resident might lumber through its perfectly preserved rooms. His typewriter rests, waist high on a book shelf, with easy access to a pacing author.
Trophies from his big game hunts decorate the living room walls. American magazines from 1959 still fill the rack. Though empty now, his swimming pool looks as inviting as it did back in 1957 when Ava Gardner reportedly swam naked in it. Up and down the walls on either side of his bathroom scale, Hemingway’s meticulously recorded weight, scribbled there with various pens, still hints at a troubled mind.
Hemingway wrote both For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea while living at the house, before a crippling bout of writer’s block stole his words.
“Can you imagine a writer with his talent unable to write a single word?” asked the docent who gave us a tour.
Back-to-back plane crashes left both Hemingway and his fourth wife Mary Walsh Hemingway seriously injured though not, as had been widely reported in 1954, deceased. He spent some time at Finca Vigia locked in his bedroom, recovering from injuries, drinking Mojitos and reading his own obituaries.
Reconstructed with care, Finca Vigia offers a telling look into one of America’s most talented and troubled authors.
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A good Cuban cigar (is that redundant?) takes time. It begins in an oxen-plowed field, grows carefully in the Caribbean sun, and reaches harvest stage nine months after careful soil preparation. A good Cuban cigar requires curing, sorting, stripping, and fermentation. Hand-rolled, hand-cut and hand-packaged, a good Cuban cigar waits, fat and sassy, for a […]
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Like its famous cigars, Cuba remains elusive, richly layered and tightly rolled. Its economic, social and political dichotomies fascinated us on our recent trip. Against a lush, green backdrop, yoked oxen plow fertile fields of tobacco, sugar cane and corn, but, according to our local guide, the country imports an astounding 80% of its food. […]
Even more than the sunshine, our friends south of the Mason Dixon line seem to be hording the crayons this time of year.
With mango tango sunrises, mountain meadow water, cerulean skies and jungle green palm trees places like Florida wrap their mitts around the 120 count box, while up here in the Midwest, we’re stuck with a couple fat stubs — white, black and gray.
That’s why a quick trip to Florida can be such a feast for the eyes. We pale Midwesterners emerge from southbound planes and cars squinting like Cool Hand Luke after 30 days in the box.
“The light! The light!”
We stumble around a little, slap on a thick layer of sunscreen, and venture forth.
That’s what I did anyway.
Following a morning rain, I grabbed my camera on our last day in Florida and went for a walk, giddy with the opportunity to document all of that color reflected in warm rain puddles.
I couldn’t bring the crayons home, though it’s always miraculous when the colors slowly find their way back to Wisconsin.
But, I did score a picture or two and, on dull, gray afternoons, I’ll close my eyes, draw back the curtain, to see for certain what I thought I knew…Florida and its amazing technicolor dreamcoat.