Posts Tagged ‘Sunapee NH’

Quebec vs. American Anxiety

26/02/2010

By D. R. Richards

Telltale signs of "joie de vive"

What is it, that makes Quebec, Canada a breath of fresh air for those of us who often escape there from the northeastern U.S.? It’s interesting to experience this question through the eyes of my wife, who’s from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. She’s new to the U.S, and to New England, and is not afraid to share her observations. I always felt more comfortable when I lived in Europe, South America and New Zealand,  but, honestly, still struggle to put into words exactly why an ex-pat life could still be my destiny. I had my “Euro-epiphany” at 21, after having a chance meeting with Erga Rehns in Portugal. It took two years to sink in, and I almost didn’t return stateside. I still have that ex-pat perspective. I still look at the U.S. with the eyes of an foreigner.
My wife just got her Green Card a few days ago, on the 22nd, and the next day we were outa here, off to Magog, Canada. Partly because my birthday was on the 23rd, and partly because she was on the wait list for a Vipassana course for which she was accepted and started the following day.

Mt. Orford with "Visitor's Center"*

As we walked the streets of the little Quebec towns, and went for a walk at Mt. Orford Provincial Park, we discussed what exactly is it that makes us feel more relaxed away from the U.S.? Here’s what our conversation yielded: For one, the people take care, and pay attention of their food and time. They are not as stressed. Immediately it’s obvious that there isn’t an anxiety in the air –  in fact, there’s a calmness. Kids are smiling, people are quietly enjoying their week-day afternoon. We also concluded it takes a lot more effort in the U.S. to relax because of the nervousness of the collective consciousness. Today’s Health Care Summit in Washington illustrates the deep crisis Americans are experiencing about such basics as going to the doctor. In other countries, people are incredulous that there’s even a debate in the U.S. about profit over people. The idea that someone could lose their house should they become sick is a foriegn concept.  It would simply not happen in France or New Zealand, or in Canada. (See the movie Sicko)

Meditation: The Ripple Effect

As I write this, my wife is sitting peacefully in the mountains of Quebec at a Vipassna retreat center. I feel the ripple effect, and I hope you do as well. Janice Vien, in her Iyengar yoga classes always closes with the phrase, “May the benefits of this practice be extended to others”. It’s clear Americans face difficult roads ahead because of the greed of the “corporatracy”. And yes, of course, one can keep their center no matter where one is, as put forth by Eckhart Tolle. But for those that are sensitive, the difference in  energy between the U.S. and Quebec is striking.

Maison Verte's B&B = Quality and Care

*The reason I put quotes around the Mt. Orford Visitor’s Center is the sense of scale in Quebec, and other countries is more realistic than in the U.S.  When one thinks of  “Visitor’s Centers”  in the U.S., usually the image of the Denali National Park, Arches National Park, or the Smithsonian most likely comes to mine. The Center is Quebec however, is a small lodge, (with fireplace, bathrooms and picnic tables), despite it being a popular national park.

International Day of Climate Action

07/11/2009

The 350 and 2030 Challenges
*By Harry Seidel, Owner
Alae Design

350org

Going Places: 350.org

Last Saturday, Oct. 24th was the International Day of Climate Action, the single most widespread day of political action about any issue, our planet has ever seen. To attract global attention to the “350 Challenge” over 4,000 events took place simultaneously in more than 175 nations. Rather than describe the multitude of events here I would encourage you to visit www.350.org and see for yourself how very big this event was. Most of the events were digitally recorded and collected electronically into a massive compilation. So, what’s the fuss all about? What is the 350 Challenge? And why should we care?

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Reflections on Ice on Water

16/05/2009

From New Zealand to Utah, From Alaska to New Hampshire – Ice bergs to Honeycombs
It’s called calving, when a glacier’s edge dramatically breaks off. Many cruise ships take the tour along Alaska’s shores. From Seward and other harbors along the coast, one can sign on for a daily round-trip  to get up close views.

Perito Mereno Glacier, Argentina

Perito Mereno Glacier, Argentina

The dramatic Perito Mereno Glacier in Argentina’s Southern windswept Los Glaciares National Park has many visitors.and is possibly the most famous rivers of ice in the world because. It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981.  Amanda and I stopped at Tasman Lake in New Zealand’s Mt. Cook National Park to see the floating ice bergs in the grey-green water thick with rock flower. We hiked up to the top of an old terminal moraine and saw the bergs as the sun was setting.

White Pine Lake, Utah

White Pine Lake, Utah

More than a few times,  I’ve jumped into such frigid waters, after a run or back country mountain sleep, just to wake me up.  While at University of Utah,  when I was still learning about the mountains, I did an overnight up White Pine Canyon in the late fall and jumped into White Pine Lake near Snowbird. A few minutes later, it had a skim of ice on it. That’s chilly, but there were no icebergs or calving going on, just shivering.

Lake Tasman, Mt. Cook

Lake Tasman, Mt. Cook

The Tasman Glacier regularly claves ice bergs but the evening we were there it was calm and each iceberg gave us a show of *“petreflections” of various sizes and patterns.

When the ice goes out in Lake Sunapee, NH, the reader may be curious to know that there usually aren’t big ice bergs.  Then again, I didn’t grow up on the  west side of the lake, where the whole lot piles up on a windy afternoon leaving dramatic piles of ice, as if the town dump truck and just deposited its backlog for the winter.  On the east side of the lake, we observe the ice gradually thinning from the spring melt, and as it thins, darkens to almost a black. It turn into “honeycomb ice” we call it, where its transformed from the meter-thick solid sheet that runs the whole lake, to fragile, loosely held together elongated splinters that fall apart when scooped up in your hand.  Those of us that grew us as kids along the shore of a lake will know what I mean. Daily we watch the progression.

Petroflections Galore

*Petreflections Galore

Official Ice Out day is declared when Artie Osborne can take his boat from the north tip at George’s Mills to Newbury, some 10-13 miles distant without obstruction.  To my knowledge, he still makes the trip, and in the process, closes the informal town bets for the season.  Go swim in an ice-berg filled lake sometime. It’s the right thing to do.
Author’s Note: Also see my earlier entry on largest iceberg breaks off of Tasman Glacier in 100 years.
*Petreflections: A term coined by Kathy Lowe. See her link above.