Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just Passing Through

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."  --from The Life and Work of Martha Graham

It’s been some time since I crossed my own path here at wildturtle. Something is keeping me in my shell -- even as I pour words by the thousands into my day (and night and weekend ) job tending to my duties as editor and writer of an online monthly publication ( – if you care to take a peek). . . always working on a deadline, in a monthly cycle that keeps me anxious and ever-vigilant of the calendar, somehow I’ve left this space, my space – an empty space, waiting and wanting, like a lost cursor on an blank screen.
There is a vitality in the work that must be done everyday, and the prospect – and the inevitability - of ever stopping unnerves me. I dread to think about turning over a blank page, finally at a loss for words.
As night falls on this summer day, I think of so many days and nights I’ve spent at a keyboard – tap, tap, tapping on assignment, a school paper, a advertising campaign, a television script, an annual report, an article, an interview. So many words. . . and so many well composed, but not really my own.
And yet. . . and yet, put all those words together and between the lines you might find me there.
A turtle. In a shell. Crossing ever so slowly. Through my garden.

Words & Photos: Vivian Henoch
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Monday, January 6, 2014

The Roads (More or) Less Traveled

The storms had passed. Coming and going along our route of nearly 1800 miles, we managed to miss the worst of the weather over the holidays. 

Considering the snow and deep chill blowing across the country today, I’d say we fared extremely well on our Midwest to East Coast U-Turn to Chicago Odyssey, December 23 to January 3.

As empty-nesters in Detroit with married children and grandchildren in Cleveland and in Chicago, we now spend holidays in a gentle negotiation and navigation between families with in-laws located from coast to coast.  We must share. 

Though Christmas isn’t our holiday per se, we have taken to spending it lavishly, leisurely, deliciously: traveling.  A favorite spot the beach at Kiawah (Charleston, S.C.) Two years ago we spent our most venturesome and memorable Christmas ever with friends. . . in Delhi, India.

Where to this year? A last-minute, impromptu plan: We mapped out a two week trek – setting out for points of interest on a route we had driven many times before but never taken the time to stop and explore. 

Now with cameras in hand  (and no young children for whom to break for feeding and bathrooms) we were free to wander at will . . . and meander all day.   A rare luxury, indeed.

 Day One:  Northville MI. to Fallingwater, Mill Run, PA, approximately 350 miles.

A gentle rain along the way hardly deterred us, by 2:00 in the afternoon, the winter sky and light were perfect for pictures taken from the lookout points on public trails leading to Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece. Built between 1936-1939 for the Edgar Kaufmann family (of Kaufmann’s Department store in Pittsburgh), this mountain retreat is a wonder to behold with every changing season. Our timing couldn’t have been better. Closed January and February, Fallingwater will open again with the spring thaw.

Day Two: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, approximately 150 miles

A bit of history here: Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers,  is the site of John Brown’s Raid of 1859 - considered the precursor of the Civil War.  In 1785 Thomas Jefferson described the view, standing on “a very high point of land” (now known as Jefferson’s Rock) as “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” A haven for hikers today, this beautiful historic town is considered the psychological midpoint of the Appalachian Trail.  If you’ve never been to Harpers Ferry, go… visit, take a turn on the trail. 

Day Three and Four: Washington D.C.   about 70 miles

My husband’s hometown, with his alma mater nearby in Baltimore. There’s no family to visit in D.C. any longer, but we had the good fortune to reconnect with friends.  Choosing places we had never been, we particularly enjoyed the National Portrait Gallery and the Newseum.

Day Four Christmas Day and Day Five:  Chadds Ford,  PA,  120 miles

About 30 miles from Philadelphia, Chadds Ford is “Wyeth Country,” home to  the Brandywine River Museum which houses an extensive collection of the paintings of N.C. Wyeth, his son Andrew and grandson Jamie. The area is also DuPont Country, home to the vast estates of the once ΓΌber-rich of the 20th Century.  With the expectation of nothing open on Christmas Day, we were delighted to find Longwood Gardens in resplendent holiday display within its 4.5 acres of heated greenhouses.  The property once owned by industrialist Pierre S. DuPont  is open to the public 7 days a week year round.

 Day Six:  Cleveland, about 420 miles: 
Grocery shopping and dinner with our son and family— preparing to drive westward together for New Year’s in Chicago

Day Seven:  Northville, 180 miles
A quick “rest” to pick up steam,  heading for a family reunion in Chicago.

Day Eight through Day Twelve Chicago,  240 miles
2 nights in Evanston with my nephew’s family, New Year’s in Lincoln Park with the grandkids. . . worth every mile of the trip.




Day Thirteen : Return to Northville