Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Few More Random Tidbits Regarding My Trip to West Virginia

Our beautiful Bonnie!

What a change in weather! Last weekend, when I was visiting Lori in WV, temps were in the 70's (I think they were similar back here in Kalamazoo). Today they've been in the 50's, and so windy - it looks and feels like fall.

Bonnie & I went for a walk on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail this afternoon - we started at 10th street, and walked east, toward town, for a mile or so. The sun filtering through the trees was beautiful.

Lori & I walked a good bit last weekend as well, around her neighborhood and downtown Morgantown and at Cooper's Rock. Here's a house in her neighborhood that I got a kick out of:

The Cow House!


Actually, I should share a photo of Lori's house. She's had a lot of work done on it over the past few years - new windows, a new furnace, various repairs, a new front door. There used to be two large trees in front of the house; she removed those, and replaced them with two redbud trees. It really looks nice:

Lori's house

It's comfy inside, too, and we enjoyed some quality Scrabble time. Saturday night I lost, but I attributed that to my being really tired. Lori clobbered me again on Sunday night, so I guess I have to accept that she really does play much better than I do! (Both scores were 300+ to 190 or so...)

The Scrabble Wiz

Saturday morning (yes, I know, this is in totally random order), we drove to California State University, in Pennsylvania. Lori taught a poetry workshop that morning. The students were teachers (from Pennsylvania and West Virginia), and the goal was for them to learn poetry writing exercises that they could subsequently use in their classes.

Participants each received a copy of "The Working Poet," which contains such writing exercises, along with an anthology of poems (for discussion, and to serve as models). But we didn't even crack the text during class. Lori began with a quote by Dean Young, about writing poems.
Let us suppose that everyone in the world wakes up today and tries to write a poem. It is impossible to know what will happen next but certainly we may be assured that the world will not be made worse.
She then presented several exercises, and we all worked with them, putting ideas (if not poems) on paper. I was so impressed with her teaching - well paced, interesting, involving the students, encouraging them to share what they'd written. It also was a good bit of fun, trying to follow the exercises and create the beginnings of poems. Afterwards, I observed most of the students wanting to chat with Lori, thanking her for her ideas, and in one case proposing that Lori visit and teach at her school.

She was a hit!

We read a number of poems during the workshop; this was my favorite:
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
By James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,  
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.  
Down the ravine behind the empty house,  
The cowbells follow one another  
Into the distances of the afternoon.  
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,  
The droppings of last year’s horses  
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.  
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life. 
Afterwards, as we headed to our car, we noticed this interesting sculpture:

The Ascent of Humanity,
by Allan Cottril of Washington, PA
We detoured to take a closer look. Apparently this sculpture was originally installed on the side of a building. When that building was later demolished, they kept intact the walls with the sculpture.

The descriptive plaque explained
The sculpture consists of fifteen human figures in bonded bronze, each one eight to ten feet tall, ascending two adjoining walls of the Duda World Culture Building at California University of Pennsylvania. The sculpture begins with Cro-Magnon man at the bottom and ends with a female astronaut at the top; in between are figures representing various races and cultures of the world.
This sculpture is an inspiration to humanity's quest for excellence and the ascent to knowledge, wisdom, caring, responsibility, and humanity.
One night - I guess it was Saturday - we had dinner at Chaang Thai Restaurant in downtown Morgantown. The restaurant was very pleasant. We sat at a high table, against the wall, so we could chat easily, and still have a commanding view of two very cute babies, at nearby tables.

The food was delicious. Here is just one photo, of the Chaang Fresh Rolls we shared (it is possible that I could have enjoyed an entire meal of those rolls).

We followed that up with ice cream, across the street at Cold Stone Creamery. That was probably a mistake - it was delicious, but probably more food than we needed. And, come to think of it, probably the reason I struggled to stay awake during that first Scrabble game! But we made up for it the next day, with lots of walking at Cooper's Rock.

As always, a fun visit with Lori. Can't wait til next time!


  1. That walk with Bonnie must have been beautiful. Reading this post of visiting Aunt Lori made me wonder when the next time will be that we can visit West Virginia.

  2. Wow! What a great post. Thanks for the pics. Molly would love the cow house -- she'd fit right in!

  3. Why would Molly fit in with a cow house?

    She is a dog, right?

  4. There's a picture of our girl, taken by my girl!