Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A link to the Civil War

In light of the election last night, and how divided our country appears at this time in our history, I thought time travel was in order.  Einstein proposed that to travel to another time in space one simply had to cross over it, stepping across the bends it creates like a river rounding back on itself.  This letter written so many years ago makes that journey feel possible.  It was written during a time when the United States was at war with itself, in some cases brother against brother.  I read this and hear the voice of a man whose hopes for his country is to be unified and his home peaceful again.   Ira A. Rice penned this on January 23, 1864, from his camp with the Vermont Volunteers.  He was roughly 32 years old and had been enlisted for two years, on May 13 of the same year he was wounded at the battle of Spotsylvania and discharged.  Sophiah Aldrich was his sister who was married and living in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and is my husbands ancestor.  I reproduce his letter to her word for word.

Camp New Brandy Station
Saturday January the 23, 1864
Arm of the Potomac 1 Brigade 31 Division Army Corps.

Dear Sister and Brother,

I now seat myself in my humble tent to converse a few moments with loved ones far away those who are so near to me by the ties of nature  We Soldiers are quite oft to think of these loved ones so often  I know that I have and would write oftener if I could get time but we have numerous duties to attend to which occupies our time  We have to go out on picket and are gone 4 days from camp we go 8 miles and it makes quite a tramp for us and then you ought to see the place we have to sleep in after we get there  sometimes it is an old building sometimes a tent made of pine needles and sometimes we put up our fly tents which consists of one ? of cotton cloth made to button together to each man.  So you can quess what kind of quarters we have when we are on picket yet we Soldiers get along quite well where we as you would not think you could have your pigs lay such a place as your cows have to lay in nights we should call good quarters.  Well I hope we shall not have to stay here always dont you  how I would like to see those dear ones at home those sweet little ones who I love so well.  It does seem some times as if I could not stay here as long as I shal probably have to yet my time is most half out and it will soom pass away and another thing I am in hopes that this will close this next summer so that most of us can go home to our dear ones, those of us are alive after all.  I expect that we shall see some large battles the coming summer a number such as the battle of Getteysburgh where thousands will be slaine in a day.  I cannot describe to you the feeling it produces in one to see the dead and dieing all around when one is in a battle but it is no verry pleasant one I can assure you I have witnessed such a scene once and I do not care to see it again  I presume that I shall never see a worse one that will come under my immedieate observation I hope and pray that the time will come when man shall not war with his brother man when the cannon shall be beaten into plow shares and the sword into pruning hooks and nations learn war no more.  It may not come in my day but I think the time is not far distant  Oh may God hasten the day.  Oh Dear Sister you cant guess what I had sent to me the other day, I will tell you fathers folks sent me a nice box of stuff and it all came in good as ? they sent me some flour some ham one half of a cheese some butter and numerous other things and was verry thankful for it, it was all unexpected to so much the better it is such a luxury here to get such things from home, I shall have a good many meals out of that box Oh Sophiah I will tell you what you said about Harveys Death, you were speaking of your dear ones which had died (you said life?) how much better off is Harvey and Sheldon than they would have been in the Army you probably meant our little Harvey but as long as there was another one in the family by the same name you should have qualified the names.
Your Brother Ira A Rice

See, time travel.  He had seen the Battle at Gettysburgh, the Vermont Volunteers guarded the left flank and the rear of the main army, his words describing it seem so raw, a brother simply writing home trying perhaps to lessen the scars of what he saw with words.  He was living in a country truly fractured.  I think of what he would write now, what he would think about what his United States have become.  But he was hopeful, I feel I must be too.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Home Again

This morning was the perfect day to go home again, not the home I share with my family (sometimes), but the home where my best childhood memories come from.  My daughter came with, we started out by eating some of the best all vegetarian food from the Sunflower Cafe, this place has been in Fair Oaks forever, and you have to wait to get your food forever, because they make it order by order, amazing.  We made our choices and then walked, in the pursuit of chickens.  I love chickens, really, beyond reason,  maybe this is why.
They roam free here, everywhere, and the variety is astounding.
These two were hunting buddies.
An excellent poser, this rooster.
Do you see his feathers?  They were luminous.
Do you call the little one on the rock a banty rooster?
This one, well is not to be messed with, check out his spurs...
Why did this chicken cross the road?  Usually there are a lot of them in the park, but this little one was on his own.  We spent so much time here as kids, saw movies in the summer, walked to the little store just outside the picture frame to buy candy, loved the little bottles with the liquid inside.  I was always with my sister, and I am sure there were so many times she wished I wasn't. 
The anteaters used to stand outside of the library, no I don't know why, but really wish they were mine and not chicken man's.  Think we read every book in that place.  The saying, you can't go home again, has always been a tough one for me.  After living so many places, and some of them very quick turn arounds, I wake up sometimes not knowing where I am at all.  Just being able to go to a place that is so wrapped up in the best of what I choose to remember is comforting.  Its not my home anymore, and no one I love is still there, but spending a few hours there calms my soul down. After we came home, I made this,
Which started out looking like this,
 Which can also look like this,
Or this,
I had to, dreamt of it last night, and had to get it out of my brain.  I know, silly right?  Even sillier than a post about chickens......

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We've been living in a mullet...

Thought it was time for the annual post from Alaska, although I had no idea there would ever be a second post from here, during a second summer, but there you go...This is a pic from the front of our apartment, it houses the Bering Sea Fishermans Association, appropriate right?
This is a shot of the back, our place has the window open, its verra, verra tiny, the balcony is almost big enough for himself, and sofee and me to sit on, sorta.  See, all business up front, fun in the back, a mullet.
Heres the view from said mini balcony, I know, beautiful.  But, this was taken at past one in the morning.  This place can do weird things to your head, sometimes it seems like looking at things through purply hazy glasses.  Several things have happened that have that have just left me feeling gut-punched, but thats just life on earth.  The beauty here in beyond incredible, so you go until you cant any more.
Mushroom hunting anyone?  This is at the base of Byron Glacier, went wading to get some wonderful rocks, even in waterproof boots and wool socks my feet froze.
You know whoms inside a crack in the glacier, no were not very smart.
This had to be the coolest ever place to stay, you had to go into the round tower and walk down a spiral staircase to get to this room built into the hillside, everything inside was round and smooth and concrete, with heated floors, major love.
This is the view across the inlet in Homer, just incredible.  Because of sofee we met some really interesting people, one gentleman was the head of nuclear power of the UK, the other ran the center for infectious diseases of like the world, Doug had a great time talking with them, mostly just made me feel really under accomplished, cause mostly I just knit and doodle.
No cure for sickness, or for safer nuclear power, just what I do to keep sane.  The little sweater is for a little miss along way from here, just wish I could deliver it in person, a few things are going in for a little boy I'd like to squeeze.  This last pic is Gold Creek Lake and it stays frozen all year, its doesnt do any justice to how beautiful it really was, the water was aqua and so clear you could see all the way to the bottom of the lake, amazing.  We return home soon, am not sure if we will ever pass this way again, Alaska is not the place I would choose to live, but am so thankful that we got the chance to see how extreme life is here, and spend a little time wandering through it.