Hell of an Ice Dam

After a few weeks of snow, lots of snow, snow we really like, our dining room ceiling started to leak against the outside wall.

The wisdom of the internet said it might be an ice dam.

I climbed up on the roof this morning with a shovel and some ice melt.


Lyn slogged through the snow below the house and took a photo of me shoveling the north-facing roof over the dining room. 3-4 feet of snow. Some of it densely packed. Good upper-body workout.

3 hours later I found what I was looking for:


Icemelt helped me break the dam. Water flowed through the dam rather than back up under the shingles. And I took a hot bath with a beer and a good book.

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Paul Crow: Repetitions

The idea of repetition is a recurring one (pun intended). Kierkegaard wrote a book titled Repetition and Robbe-Grillet wrote a novel with that title. Peter Handke’s novel Repetition was a catalyst for the trip I took with Zarko Radakovic into the Austrian/Slovenian landscape of Handke’s novel. We called the book containing our two accounts of that trip Repetitions. In our Wild Rides & Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with BikesSam Rushforth and I wrote about our repetitive bike rides on the Great Western Trail in Provo Canyon , figuring that slight changes in the route due to weather and seasons and our own aging would develop a plot in a book without a plot.

In his exhibition that opened Friday night at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Paul Crow shows three works under the title “Here.” All three explore the idea of repetition.


Photographs taken from the frozen bed of Fish Lake in central Utah stretch along one long wall of the exhibition space. The line of photos gives an impression of movement along the lake shore. But as you walk from photo to photo, each one a striking juxtaposition of white, empty space and a busy tangle of evergreens and aspens, you realize that the photographer is moving toward the shore, not along it. The changes in perception are subtle. Your gaze moves back and forth between two photos, between three of them. What has changed? The changes you find delight you, slight as they are. You look more closely than you normally do. You focus again and again. You SEE. You are HERE.

My focus is usually fleeting. The first taste of a meal is noteworthy. The first sip of wine is exploratory. The first exposure to a sunset or to a starry sky or to a shift in the weather makes an impression. But the second taste? The fourth sip? The sky after a few minutes under it?

Paul Crow’s focus is repetitive and refreshing. Each new photo refocuses perception. Each re-presentation is a new work. Each click of the camera is intense. And I, seeing with Crow, through Crow’s lens, am renewed.


A second series moves from one end of a Wayne County airstrip to another.

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Washing the Morning Dishes

I looked out on this view (winter is dramatic!):


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Driveway Homage to Jackson Pollock


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Meditation on a poetic meditation: To Duration by Peter Handke

Source: Meditation on a poetic meditation: To Duration by Peter Handke

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Yesterday evening, during the storm, neighbors lit up their tennis court. Were they celebrating Djokovic’s coming victory in Australia?


This morning, after the storm.


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To Duration: A Second Poet Responds

“To Duration” by Peter Handke: translation by Scott Abbott, book design by Philip Baber. Sundry observations by Alex Caldiero


Mr. Handke somewhere said that language is the first casualty of war. Language is also the first causality of writing. Therefore, I have no other means of taking it in than by and thru what is given me. And what is given are words on the page: first by Mr. Handke and second by Mr. Abbott. And because I don’t know German, the translation is for me in a real sense the “original”.


What can a translator bring across the river Styx, that is, from that unknown country of another language? What contexts and images and words and sounds and meanings can reach the familiar shores of one’s own tongue?


Ultimately, translation is a matter of trust. Do I trust Mr. Abbott as a translator? I can only say that his “critiques” of my own work make me understand that very work all the more. (Note: for me, critique writing is a genre of translation). Also, there’s a litmus test for translation (this from ol’ Ez Pound): Don’t make a bad poem out of a good poem. No matter what, this translation of “To Duration” is a fine poem. Now, if Mr. Abbott has made a good poem out of a bad poem, all the better for Mr. Handke. But my assumption (yet to be substantiated) is that a fine German poem has been transmuted into a fine English one. If this is the case, then the better for poet, translator, and reader: everybody wins.


And what of the physical book? Everything about it bespeaks the hand: its size, the proximity of the text to the edges of pages, the font…you hold the book, it fits the hand; you read the book, your hands are full of words. You look up close at text, just you, the reader, and the words. This kind of intimacy is rare in the digital-information age, where you can do as you please with the materials you encounter. Here, you are put in a certain position where you have to pay attention to what you read and to what is given. So the design (by Mr. Philip Baber) is yet another translation of “To Duration”.


What a serendipitous and wonder-filled collaboration of transmitters: writer/transmuter/designer! They work together in this book, which is both the subject and object of their labors. And so, with book in hand, read. The poem will not be ignored. Go on reading. It is important to the form that you follow where the writer takes you, for he’s got something specific to say and it is vital that you bear with him on his track thru the terrain of the book. And as you walk along, the translation (from Handke’s German) acts as Virgil to his Dante, interpreting what we see and hear at every step of the way. As I said, I don’t know German. But this English text speaks my language in ways that are both plain and complex. This offers a clue to the difficulties of saying what the poet says without getting in the way, and at the same time staying in the way. The Italian pun: tradutore/traditore (translator/traitor) loses its sting. And Scott Abbott is now the guide thru Peter Handke’s “divine comedy”, thru Philip Barber’s dark wood.

Thank you Alex Caldiero. I love your own translations from Sicilian, especially those scandalous “Bawdy Riddles.”

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To Duration: A Poet Responds

My dear friend Steven Epperson read my translation of Peter Handke’s “To Duration” this morning while walking to work. Here his response:

To the reader of To Duration,

A recommendation: Read it out loud, on foot
under an overcast Monday morning sky
as you walk from home to work.

Be advised: you may find yourself weeping
In recognition of life fleeting, durable and deep.

He named it, wrote it, spoke it.
Thank you for bringing To Duration
To my tongue, my heart.

Go well, and thanks, Steven

Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson
Unitarian Church of Vancouver
溫哥華尋道會– Vancouver Xundaohui – “Seekers of the Way”

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Looking east and then north yesterday evening.



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Sea of Fog

Utah Valley this morning.


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