Archives for A Word In Edgewise

A Word in Edgewise 11/20/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

In Advance of a Down East Thanksgiving . . .

A Word in Edgewise 11/13/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Today’s show was not recorded. Here is a transcript:

11/13/2017 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise

Today is the 13th of November, the 317th day of 2017, with 48 remaining in this year.
A couple of hours ago, just before sunrise, a close pairing of our sky’s two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, occurred low on the eastern horizon. At their closest, they’ll be 0.3 degrees apart, less than the apparent diameter of the moon, which is 0.5 degrees —close enough to each other to fit inside the same binocular field.
Later this week, the waning crescent moon will swing by these two worlds.
One week ago marked the four hundred and forty-fifth anniversary of Tycho Brae discovering a supernova in the constellation Cassiopeia — this before the telescope had been invented.
By Friday morning, the Leonid meteor shower should be peaking in the constellation Leo the Lion . . .
Today thirty-five years ago, near the end of a week-long national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict that would cost nearly 58,000 Americans their lives.
Today is my sister’s birthday. Some folks call us Irish twins, as our birthdays are only ten months apart. Happy Birthday, Karyn!
Yesterday I moseyed through the garden that my girlfriend and I have harvested many a delicious vegetable from.
A few days back before the first of last week’s hard frosts hit, we brought in the sole remaining pumpkins, eggplants, and cherry tomatoes. Now only the carrots and red onions will be able to withstand what November brings to the scene.
Poet Thomas Hood didn’t seem to think much of November:
“No sun — no moon! / No morn — no noon — / No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day,” he writes.
But Hood was writing before the age of fleece and other lightweight insulation:
“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, / No comfortable feel in any member,” he continues, finishing with “No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, / No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds — / November!”
Hood’s hyperbole is easily hewn, however, as we wake to a low sunrise and then watch the day’s arc of our principle star not much above the treetops.
And we know, here in the northern hemisphere, that our daylight is on a constant wane for at least another month, when at the solstice we might again celebrate the daily increase of light . .
So that every bit of enduring life takes on considerable value, by its simple presence proclaiming its membership among the many miracles abounding up here on the tundra.
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From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a great day!
rwe edgeword @ 2017

A Word in Edgewise 11/6/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Please to Remember, the Sixth of November. . .

A Word in Edgewise 10/30/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Luther, All Hallows Eve, Arcturus, & the Perfect Storm . . .

A Word in Edgewise 10/23/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Note: Today’s episode of “A Word in Edgewise” was not recorded, so the producer has provided the following transcript.

10/23/2017 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise
[aired live ~730 EDT on WERU-FM 89.9 & 99.9
& streaming at]

Today is the 23rd of October, the 286th day of 2017, with 69 left in this year.

For the next couple of nights, the waxing crescent Moon in the southwest sky will have a star-like object as a companion, notably Saturn, the sixth planet out from the Sun.

As two celestial bodies appearing in a sort of proximity to one another, we might remember that while the Moon is our closest celestial neighbor at just a little over 251,000 miles from Earth, Saturn is the farthest world that humans with an unaided eye can see — and is nearly four thousand times the Moon’s distance from us.

Seventy years ago, Maine was in the midst of wildfires burning at a number of coastal locations.

Austin Wilkins, Maine’s Deputy Forest Commissioner at the time, was writing his official summary for the 1947-48 Biennial Report of the Commissioner and attempted to put into perspective the 205,678 acres of scorched Earth in Maine by comparing the burned area to “a strip of 286 miles long and 1 1/8 miles wide extending from Fort Kent to Kittery.”

On Mount Desert Island more than 10,000 acres in Acadia National Park would burn after a fire began in a peat bog near Dolliver’s Dump in Hull’s Cove.

Gale force winds sprang up from the north and fanned the flames toward Eagle Lake.

Then the wind changed direction and blew the fire toward Bar Harbor, where the wind changed direction again and blew the flames toward Otter Point and off the cliffs into a giant fireball that ran out of fuel over the lower reaches of Frenchman Bay.

All told, the subsequent smoldering lasted for another fortnight.

After at least one hundred days of drought, rain finally fell on the 29th of October, though the fires on Mount Desert Island would not be declared entirely under control until mid-November.

If a silver lining might be at all imagined from the 1947 fire, the upshot would be the change of the forest — from principally the characteristic boreal species of pines and spruce, to some substantial thinning of those dense stands of evergreens, enough to allow hardwoods a chance — so that the general pallet of colors this time of year is substantially different on the eastern half of Mount Desert Island than it was seventy years ago.

The Maine Department of Agriculture’s Maine Fall Foliage Weekly Report says that we are currently seeing peak colors in Down East Maine, with northern Maine approaching past peak.

This past Friday I had the pleasure of riding down to New Hampshire on an unexpected errand and spent from dawn until dusk enjoying the near-peak colors of southern Maine and New Hampshire.

As I slowly made my way home on the Triumph Friday evening, trying not do outrun the high beams — and at 55 to 60 mph having everyone pass me as they were doing 75-85 mph into the darkness — I felt somewhat comforted that the annual Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies would be happening around the world over the weekend.

“We pray that we all see cars, and that the cars see us,” one biker at the Murraysville Alliance Church commented on Barry Reeger’s video of the event for YouTube.

And a photo by Charles Platiau for Reuters of a Saint-Baudile Church service in Neuilly-sur-Marne near Paris, France, yesterday was featured in the Bangor Daily News this morning.

About a dozen and a half helmets are pictured at the altar of the church, and the priest is blessing them — tantum, sacramentum, ergo . . .

* * * * *
From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a great day!

rwe edgeword @ 2017

A Word in Edgewise 10/16/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Wind, Water, and Fire . . .

A Word in Edgewise 10/9/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

(Note: This episode was not recorded for the archives so the producer has provided this transcript)

Indigenous Leif Columbus Day . .

Today is the 9th of October, the 282nd day of 2017, with 83 left in this year. Today is a Battle of the Days, of sorts, depending upon where your sympathies lie—or perhaps your nationalistic tendencies, or even your sense of accurate history . . .For many of us who trust the science of archaeology at Newfoundland’s L’Anse aux Meadows backing up the Norse Vinland Sagas, today is Leif Eriksson Day, which made its debut as a national day of observance in the United States in 1964. For others among us who side instead with Italian-Americans in 1892 initially celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas and eventually lobbying the U.S. Congress sufficiently to in 1971 make Columbus Day a federal holiday, today is the 2017 version of that moveable commemoration. And then for still others among us, today is the lately emerging Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to which former President Barack Obama brought considerable political support just a few years ago. In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, for example, I will be providing a few moments of expansion tomorrow, having invited a close friend who is a Penobscot along to one of our local restaurants, in an effort to do my part during Take an Indian Out to Breakfast Week. Robert Fuson, who translated The Log of Christopher Columbus, which came out in a paperback version in 1992, just in time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first American voyage, tends to color the New World ventures of Cristobal Colon, as he was known to Ferdinand and Isabella, with grand complimentary strokes. When Columbus writes that the naked natives he meets in San Salvador “ought to make good and skilled servants,” Fuson’s translation does not provide a footnote of apology. The reader also does not see any qualifying remarks when presented with Columbus brazenly “taking possession of this island” as soon as he sets foot on it. Steve Meyers’ View, a regular political cartoon feature of the Maine Sunday Telegram, yesterday depicted a young-to-middle-aged couple sitting on a sofa and watching a big-screen TV on which a commercial was appearing. A car salesman, replete with Indian war paint and head dress, is gesturing with his hands to a car in the dealer parking lot and proclaiming INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’DAY SALE, to which the viewing wife comments to the viewing husband regarding the salesman, “IT FELT LESS LIKE EXPLOITATION WHEN HE WAS DRESSED LIKE COLUMBUS.” Fifty-two years ago, when Yale University announced a new find (which has since been brought into some doubt)concerning a map attributed to the Vikings and dubbed The Vinland Map, members of the Italian-American community stepped forward in outrage, pledging never to ever have any of their children attend Yale, for doing something as audacious as to insinuate that Christopher Columbus—or Cristoforo Colombo, as he was known in his native Genoa—was not the first European to set foot in the New World. L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and its 1,000 AD Viking artifacts had, however, already been discovered somewhat earlier—in 1960. But we are really good at not letting ourselves get confused by facts, no matter the holiday.

From Orono, Maine, Happy Indigenous Leif Columbus Day! rwe edgeword @ 2017

A Word in Edgewise 10/2/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Sixty Years from _Sputnik_ . . .