Monday, June 16, 2008

An Obsessive Labor of Medieval Construction

Ah, Bishop's Castle. Dale and I went there one beautiful Colorado day last year. You can find many objective newspaper articles about the place, but I can tell you just about all you need to know about Jim Bishop. In the words of Barney Fife, he's a nut. He's been building a castle all by himself since 1969. When we talked to him, he seemed pretty sane other than the fact that he likened himself to John the Baptist.

It feels even less stable than it looks.

This was the second highest tower of the castle. I am not kidding when I say that it was terrifying. Plus, the metal grate that we were standing on was moving. MOVING. Noticeably.

That's Dale playin' it safe down there with the sissies.

This is the highest point of the castle. See 3 pictures down.

I am brave.
A wider angle...

Thar she is! The dude built this ALL BY HIMSELF. Do you see those two little bridges? I walked on those.

Don't be fooled by the smiles. Dale was terrified.

That's Sister Wursten, one of my favorite ladies in the whole wide world. This was all her idea, which leads me to believe that she may have been plotting our deaths.

Jim Bishop calls his castle "a monument to hardworking people." It's actually just a monument to nuts who think they're John the Baptist.

I was the only person brave enough to venture onto the bridge. Behind me you may see a ladder. That ladder connected my bridge to yon tower. If you fall off of that ladder, you die. That is, unless one of eagles from The Lord of the Rings comes and rescues you.


It's totally worth 10 minutes. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Parent Poetry

I love poetry and I'm a very sentimental sort of person, so in honor of Father's Day coming up and Mother's Day having passed, I decided to post two of my favorite poems about parenthood. Also, Mom asked me for them. Give 'em a looksee. I think the second one is particularly wonderful.

Meditation By The Stove

I have banked the fires
of my body
into a small but steady blaze
here in the kitchen
where the dough has a life of its own,
breathing under its damp cloth
like a sleeping child;
where the real child plays under the table,
pretending the tablecloth is a tent,
practicing departures; where a dim
brown bird dazzled by light
has flown into the windowpane
and lies stunned on the pavement--
it was never simple, even for birds,
this business of nests.
The innocent eye sees nothing, Auden says,
repeating what the snake told Eve,
what Eve told Adam, tired of gardens,
wanting the fully lived life.
But passion happens like an accident
I could let the dough spill over the rim
of the bowl, neglecting to punch it down,
neglecting the child who waits under the table,
the mild tears already smudging her eyes.
We grow in such haphazard ways.
Today I feel wiser than the bird.
I know the window shuts me in,
that when I open it
the garden smells will make me restless.
And I have banked the fires of my body
into a small domestic flame for others
to warm their hands on for a while.

-Linda Pastan

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

-Robert Hayden

That is good people.

My old roommate and good friend, Stephanie, has this family, see. And during the South Dakota Summer of 2007, Stephanie learned that the church is true. Almost the entire town tried to convince her not to join the church. They sent her to talk with priests, shunned her, and her family nearly disowned her. She got baptized, anyway. Then, while she was at school (with me) last semester, her entire family was converted. BAM!