Thursday, October 05, 2006

Woolly Bears and Woolly Nights

The long weekly drive up interstate 91 to and from White River Junction and The Center for Cartoon Studies has been a pleasant one the past three weeks. The seven-day span between autumn shifts in climate and color has been a bookend to everything else the days offer, enhancing the quiet drama of the usually-subtle shifts visible from our home windows. The leaves have gone from green to brown-orange to this week's early phase of full-blown fall colors; they'll no doubt hit peak this weekend and week here in the southern end of the state. The highway has been peppered with the travels of the black-and-red tiger moth "woolly bear" caterpillers, with this week's sunny Tuesday morning drive crowded with more of the tarmac-hustling critters than I've ever seen.

There's all sorts of venerable Vermont winter predictions attached to the caterpillers, none of which have ever weighed out as true to my eyes. The woolly bear predictions sometimes hinge on quantity, most often on the comparative bandwidth of red-to-black fur ratio, but it's all hooey to me. I just love the little buggers, and look forward to the fall sightings.

Yesterday afternoon the CCS drawing workshop session was the now-annual pilgrimage of my class to the Montshire Science Museum in Norwich, VT, and we were blessed with welcoming weather all afternoon. Per usual, scatter/sketch was the modus operandi, and big fun was had by all -- there's all manner of "models," from the exhibits (live and mechanical, mobile and stuffed or pinned) to the other museum visitors -- and all outdoors, too.

The nature trails were inviting, and I spent some of my time there sketching the trees in view, including a view from the edge of one of the upper trails. As I drew the conifers jutting out from the far edge of a deck constructed at that trail's entryway, two Monarch butterflies sailed by, laboring south ahead of the cold front that settled in after midnight this morning. I dutifully added these orange wonders to my drawing, and then sought out a new perch to draw from.

My parents are up visiting this week and weekend, to be joined by my sister and her new hubby later today or early tomorrow. It's great to see my pa and ma, and Marge and I are planning to take 'em all on a little jaunt from here to midstate if the days stay cool and sunny enough. I'm lucky my parents are still with us, and savor whatever time we can steal amid all the hubbub we laughingly call our lives. If all goes well, we'll also be able to get the generations together for a meal or two -- my folks and my now-adult offspring Dan and Maia -- which should sweeten the weekend! Wish us luck...

I'll have more news to post on the upcoming October 20th weekend Lovecraft in Vermont event later this weekend, along with announcements on two other upcoming events some of you might be interested in. More soon --

Oh, what a relief!
  • Though the party claiming our collective security is their exclusive turf can't even keep the pages safe from their fellow Republican predators,
  • I can now relax and rest assured
  • the bipartisan Ethics Committee is on the case.
  • They've so rigorously protected all of us from government corruption that I'm sure they'll nip this nasty October Surprise in the bud and make ample room for whatever it might be Karl Rove has up his sleeve for this month instead.