“Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you – the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.
“You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.”
– Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks
If there is anything that might characterize our 2018, it would have to be wet. Epic wet. Near biblical wet. Here in the central Atlantic states, over the course of the winter into early fall, we have had record shattering rainfall, with something like 4 out of 5 weekends wet. Baltimore in June had something like an astonishing 19 inches of rain, their normal is more like 3 and a half. The wettest season in the region in 97 years, as far back as we have reliable records, or in living memory. Downtown Berkley Springs is the valley that US 522 runs along, has been flooded three times this season. Our June flood was rather destructive, tearing up local roads, washing out bridges, and nearly breached Cacapon Dam. We were feeling sorry for ourselves till we saw videos of Elliot City, MD nearly getting wiped out by flash floods.
We’ve otherwise held up well. The house is sound up on our hill. Kurt’s hand has largely healed, tho’ it gets stiff and cold quicker than he likes. He just turned 60 and is still bemused at the notion of eldership. But aches and pains are becoming Kurt and Heather’s “normal.”
Heather is still busily knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving. She’s stayed active with the local knitting community, and the Hagerstown Weavers Roundtable, and occasionally astounds them both with her outside-the-usual-box creativity.
Kurt is still doing his art and design thing at Fantastic Realities Studio. It has been a somewhat quieter year than last, but his clients are pretty happy with his work. At the end of the summer he scored on Craigslist a used medium-small Taiko drum, in near pristine condition in Norfolk, VA. The prior owners were hoping to find it a home where it would be played. NOT a problem. Still singing with the One Heart One Mind tiospaye, still drumming with Shangö Percussion and doing some teaching. He was also drafted as a seated Board Member at Four Quarters Interfaith, a role he finds a bit uncomfortable. He much prefers facilitating Sweat Lodge ceremonies for their events, and has a good-hearted, amazing crew. From time to time he performs at the New Earth Granary, and works for and volunteers with the Morgan Arts Council, providing art, graphic and web design. It was also a year for equipment retirements, both a laptop and a printer passing over. We acquired a new (used) MacBook Pro and took the plunge with an Epson Eco-tank printer having gotten tired of buying endless ink cartridges. The jury is still out on the device, but hasn’t run out of ink since he brought it
Alexander is still with us here in Berkeley Springs. If things go according to plan, will be getting his drivers license and can shuttle his parents about (and get sent on errands). He also got his own smartphone this fall. Another milestone of the adult world. He has also taken a real interest in Fire Spinning, and has been practicing and gathering the necessary kit.
Nicholas moved on from catering into a new gig at a Benjamin Moore dealership in Buffalo. He’s now surprisingly expert in paints and surfaces. We got to visit his co-workers when we visited Buffalo for a startlingly chilly Thanksgiving, and they like him a lot. Sharp eyed folk might have noticed that his name is not on the card. We have to own up that he’s a grown young man with his own household and making his way. Rather proud actually.
Nagí, is still a cat. Very much part of the family, in her aloof, neurotic cat way.
A safe, healthy, happy and prosperous new year to each and every one of you.
Photography, Digital Art, Web and Print Card design by Kurt Griffith, ©2018 KG/FRS
Winter scenes, Havermale Hill, Berkley Springs, WV, November, April, Febuary, & January 2018.
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