Silence

This man is unable to speak, photo by author

Silence

Today,there is silence everywhere.

Silence

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The Bob Dylan Way

Bob Dylan Way in Duluth
The Bob Dylan Way in Duluth

“Go melt back into the night, babe
Everything inside is made of stone”     Bob Dylan from “It Ain’t Me Babe”

What Is the Bob Dylan Way

The Bob Dylan Way has nothing to do with troubadouring around the country, playing in smoky coffee houses or finding the right rock’n roll agent to market your songs. It is actually a street in downtown Duluth, named after one of its most famous citizens, who was born here in the year of 1941.  The avenue runs downtown not too far from the picturesque waterfront, which sits on the edge of Lake Superior. To the east is an aquarium, a lakeside boardwalk and some popular restaurants. Heading west, the landscape ascends sharply forming a high ridge along the northwest side of town. This city has an attractive mix of an industrial waterfront, set on the edge on one of the world’s great freshwater lakes.

Duluth Drawbridge in raised position
Duluth Drawbridge in raised position

Not Hibbing 

Duluth should not be confused with Hibbing, Minnesota, the small town in the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota, where Mr. Dylan spend his younger years eventually graduating from high school. Hibbing is located 50 or so miles west of Duluth in a region that supports many iron mines. Besides nurturing the poet-folksinger, Hibbing is the birthplace of Greyhound Busline and features a museum honoring the transportation giant. I have no idea whether there is a such a place dedicated to the life and times of Bob Dylan.

Duluth Today

Duluth is a hill town in a flat prairie state. In fact, some of the states several ski resorts are located here, despite a very short vertical drop. I was in town passing through on my way south to the cities. I was just ahead of the Duluth Blues Festival, an annual musical event that occurs every August on the waterfront. From what I could hear of the opening event from the downtown library, the quality of music is quite good. I would have liked to have stayed and caught the whole show, but ticket prices were high and all the the rooms were booked solid on account of the festival, so I had to move on – not to different from a line from a Dylan song.

Duluth Freighter
Duluth Freighter

Poor Poe

Statue of the Raven at the Poe House in Philadelphia, PA
Statue of the Raven at the Poe House in Philadelphia, PA

Twas A Hot and Humid Sunny Afternoon

Last Wednesday was a torridly hot day in Philly. The heat was oppressive and the humidity was just as bad. Somehow I negotiated the sizzling mid-afternoon walk from the Philadelphia Free Library to the historic literary site. Once I walked in the front door of the early 19th century brick rowhouse I was glad I did.  The main reason being the fully-functional air conditioning system and the ice-cold drinking water that came shooting out of the basement fountain. Oh, the joys of visiting a federally funded building. After attending the University of Virginia and West Point Military Academy (he had to withdraw from each due to lack of money), Poe set out on his own literary career as a writer, poet, editor and critic.

Modest Housing

Not only did Poe experience many tragedies during his lifetime( both his mother and wife died of tuberculosis), but  he also moved frequently. During his life time he dwelt in four cities, Boston, Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia, but during his six year stay in the City of Brotherly Love, he moved four times. One of these residences, located at the corners of 7th Street and Spring Garden Ave., is now a National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service. Poe moved to Philadelphia to take on a job of editor of a prominent literary magazine. The attractive brick house sits on a quiet tree-lined in a working-class neighborhood, just a few blocks from the downtown high rises. A walk through the house is a step back in time and according to the historians, a trudge down the stairs into the basement, is like a glimpse into the creative mind that penned “The Black Cat”. Much can be learned about how people lived before the Civil War by walking through the various rooms of the Poe house. Most noticeable is the small-size of the rooms and especially the stairways.

Obama Trumps Osama

The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble
The Cat’s Eye Nebula from Hubble Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The Story

Just the other day a man named Obama tracked down another man named Osama, who was quickly dispatched to the next world.  Actually, Obama only gave the orders, for the secret mission was carried out by a bunch of SEALs, as in Sea, Air & Land mission. In the few days since the great event occurred, news of the action has traveled many times around the world. Now that Osama is gone and our president (Obama) is currently enjoying a small surge in popularity, I thought It would be of interest to look into the origins of these terms words and take a look at what meaning each name confers.

Obama

According to answers.com the family name Obama is derived from the Dholuo, the name of the language of the Luo people of southwestern Kenya, a place where President Obama’s father was born. The family name actually comes from the base word bam, which can be translated as something that is crooked or bent. This word most likely refers to a crooked stick or leg rather than someone who is dishonest.

Osama

On the other hand, Osama comes directly from Arabic and when translated into English, means lion, as in king of the jungle. I guess it is fair to say that Osama was not very much a lion if he got done in by a bunch of seals.

The Rest of the Story

To complete the discussion of names, it should be noted that Barrack, Obama’s first name is derived from Swahili, which is very similar to Arabic, and simply means “blessed”. And then there is bin Laden, which is a family name that is passed down to the son.


Oglethorpe’s Savannah

Telfair Museum In Savannah, Georgia
Telfair Museum In Savannah, Georgia

This past Saturday I had the privilege of visiting the charming Southern city of Savannah, Georgia. The occasion was the 4th Annual Savannah Book Festival, which was held at Telfair Square in the old historic district. Here in the historic district of the city, organizers had arranged literary speakers to give talks not only at the above pictured Telfair Museum, but also at the Trinity Methodist Church, Jepson Museum and a tent that was set up on the public square. Also on the square were a couple of book tents, where visitors could purchase both fiction and non-fiction titles.

Besides from the gathering of readers and writers, there was also the walk through the old city from my streetside  parking spot to the festival site. This stroll was most informative, for it took me right through one of the largest historical districts in the country. Savannah has a most interesting history for it was built in the early years of  the 18th century to give British debtors, a second chance in life.

To understand Savannah, it is necessary to take a look at the city’s founder, James Oglethorpe, a British citizen, who was born in 1696. James Oglethorpe served in Queen’s Anne War, returned home and was incarcerated in a British prison for killing a man in a brawl. After five months of confinement, Oglethorpe was released from jail and immediately elected to Parliament. His prison experience became paramount it the man’s successful attempt to recommend changes for the system. Of utmost concern was the British custom of imprisoning those who went bankrupt.

Savannah, which was begun as a British settlement in 1733, was created to give those imprisoned for debt a second chance in life. From this unusual beginning arose a prosperous city, which has survived the tests of time, and remains an important place of commerce today.

Savannah Today
Savannah Today

Bike Ride To The Coast

Sign for Wells Beach, Maine
Wells Beach Maine

Wells Beach is in Maine and it has a beautiful shoreline really. This is the just the sign you’ll find when you disembark from the Amtrak Downeaster that runs between Boston and Portland. The train depot is in the middle of the Maine woods, but I guess they had to put the sign there anyway, so that passengers would know when to get off the train.

Head east for a few miles and you will come across Highway 1 that endless ribbon of blacktop that runs from Maine all the way to Key West. On the other side of the highway is the real Wells Beach, complete with the rollicking surf of the Atlantic Ocean.

This week on a glorious autumn day, I boarded the train in Portland along with my trusty 10 speed and headed for the little depot at Wells.

Upon my arrival at my train stop, I exited the train along with my bicycle and headed for the town of

fall colors
The colors of fall

Wells. At route !, I turned right and went south with my final destination being the Ogunquit Art Museum in the town of Ogunquit.

It was an enjoyable ride down the highway to get to the small Maine tourist town. I did not encounter any wild animals except maybe this wooden sculpture of a bear by Bernard Langlois, a wonderful Maine sculptor, who lived and worked in Maine through much of the latter half of the 20th century.

This bear guarded the premisesof the Ogunquit Museum along with several other of Langlois’ sculptures. For those of you wishing to visit a wonderful, small, American art museum that sits right by the sea, you might appreciate this museum. The collection as well as the location are hard to beat. Be aware that like the Whitney in New York City, this institution deals exclusively with American art and artists. It’s a real jewel of a museum, especially on a colorful autumn day.

Wooden sculpture
Wooden sculpture of a bear

The view of rocky coastline and the ocean at Ogunquit is quite beautiful, as you can see here in the picture. It is a wild and windy landscape dotted with expensive homes, like the ones that are visible across the little cove. Nearby is Perkins Cove a picturesque Harbor where tourists flock to look at the boats and the shoreline or perhaps visit one of the several seafood restaurants to enjoy clam chowder and boiled lobsters.

Even though the day was overcast the woods were very colorful. In fact, the cloudy conditions only added to the intensity of the fall colors. Contrasted with the steel gray skies the colors just seemed to jump right out of the leaves.

Since the season was late the number of visitors and travelers were quite low, but the coast of Maine at Ogunquit everyone seemed content to ride around and visit the few shops and restaurants that were still left open. It was a good day for people who enjoy the peaceful view.

Maine Coastline
rocky coast at Ogunquit, Maine

The coast of southern Maine is noted for its rocky shores but actually in Southern Maine there are many places with wide stretches of sandy beaches. Obviously this is not one of them, but nearby at Wells one can find a wide sandy beach to stroll along.

All in all it was a very nice day to spend along the coast of Maine and it was a real pleasure to ride my bike through the small towns of York County, that small piece of real estate, located at the southern tip of Maine.

red autumn leaves
the fall colors

 

surface of a pond

pond surface in autumn
Line of small boats
boats on a grey day