May Peace and Love Fill
Your Holidays with Joy
For those of you who are interested, this is a link to my annual holiday letter.
For those of you who are interested, this is a link to my annual holiday letter.
April 12, 2007 – October 7, 2021
I’m beginning this memoriam in Angus’ last hours. He’s lying at my feet and seems to be at peace. Six months ago, he had a series of small strokes and his kidneys started to fail and so his passing has long been on my mind. As he lost weight and mobility, I was keenly aware of the contract we make with the animals we bring into our lives: that we will know when their suffering is too much and act accordingly. With Angus, it was a simple test, wagging tail and smiling eyes. And he has passed that test every day until today.
He was endowed with such joy and peace! Even as his kidneys failed and he was getting up many times a night to pee, he always took the opportunity to patrol the place at least once. I might miss one of the guests coming into the cabin but Angus, despite being almost totally deaf, would greet them. Even yesterday when we were at Veigh’s for lunch, he had to sniff around the yard and sniff his pal Izzy’s butt before I lifted him back into the car.
They say the best we can hope for is a good life with compressed morbidity. He certainly has had a good life and brought joy to all he encountered. The pains of old age didn’t stop him from feeling joy. He would hobble around the place, eyes smiling and tail wagging. Until today. I hoped he would go gently into that good night on his own. He was better in the morning—a brief wag of the tail—but it was clear he wasn’t the same. “Never too soon and only a minute too late,” is what an old friend told me. I think I can say I found that balance. Huge thanks to Dr. Eric Putman who took time out from his surgery day to console us both before sedating Angus and giving us some last time together.
My life is divided into my four dogs. All have lived to be 14 and all have been fine teachers. Angus came into my life 14 years ago as a gift from my dear friends, Sandy and Louis Maine. Angus’ full name is “Angus, Retriever of Love” and was born of “Daisy Loves a Lot.” He has lived up to his name and lineage. Despite not being neutered, he was an incredibly gentle dog and was never in a serious fight. He seemed to be able to approach people and know quickly whether his advances were welcome.
He loved to play and would get down as low as he could go to encourage smaller dogs to not be intimidated so they would be comfortable playing with him.
He always reminded me, by example, that the true joy in life is giving…although that did not extend to sharing his dinner.
He arrived in my life just as I was moving into the new house. Having had dogs that have been wanderers, I installed an invisible fence around 10 acres of the place and a dog door. It was, if I don’t say so myself, a perfect place for dogs! And Angus had many friends to came to visit for the day, the night or the week. His sister, Mieta, and later his niece, Penny, were often here (and he at their place, too); Juneau, his best friend; Ely and Gogol; Toby, Sophie, Thomas, a cat who thought he was a dog, and Frank, a cat who was very much a cat; Chip, Isla, and Snow; Sidka; Obie; and lots of others who came with their people or just on their own. It was very much a doggy day camp.
A new chapter in my life will begin. I won’t have to worry about whether he’ll be too hot or too cold in the car. I will be able to travel and spend a night away from home, something I haven’t done this year. I will take advantage of the freedom but it will always be bittersweet.
A light has gone out of the world but his presence and the lessons he brought will remain. I will smile while I cry for his loss, but I will cry rivers. Here’s to you, fine friend, may the light you brought to world remain in memory and inspire good in all creatures.
At The Hermitage
(Robin McClellan’s home)
I’m not sure you’ve heard, you may have been in solitary confinement or on retreat in a silent monastery, but the impeachment hearings have given a public voice to some amazing people, many who are immigrants, who have dedicated their lives to the service of the United States. While I see their testimony as confirming that the President tried to use public money to influence the upcoming election some see it as business as usual, and the divide between Red and Blue still appears insurmountable.
But you may have noticed that the hearings have catalyzed a little change in the race. Suddenly there’s money coming into Tedra’s campaign from all over the country and that’s great!
What doesn’t get talked about, though, is that Tedra has raised twice as much money from within New York State as her opponent has and over 5 times as much as she has in the district! This is extraordinary and I think that this will mean a lot to the voters in the district. (If you want to see more about the fundraising of the two candidates, go to https://www.opensecrets.org/races/geography?cycle=2020&id=NY21&spec=N.)
Mary Ann, Mark, and I want to help you help her increase her donations from inside the district and experience some great music at the same time, so please join us on December 8 for beautiful music for a noble cause.
If you aren’t able to attend and want to donate to her incredible grassroots campaign, click here!
Mark draws from folk, blues, country, and bluegrass and is guided by nature and ethereal influences. He teaches guitar privately. Mary Ann says, “He is a very very very VERY good guitar player. He is very engaging with the audience and his easy way is something that you don’t find too often. He plays to play, not to perform.”
He is also interested in the use of music in the healing arts. “It is my goal to make people feel when they listen to my music,” said Mark. In addition to playing, he built his own guitar in local luthier, Tracy Cox’s shop. Mark has been performing as lead guitar player in “The Gathering” and playing duo gigs with singer/songwriter David Wells.
Mary Ann has had a busy year, performing nationally and working on Tas Cru’s next album Drive On both in arranging and adding backing vocals. After a full summer of performances both locally, nationally, and in Canada, she’s currently writing for two new projects. She continues to do small concert venues locally and on the national blues festival circuit and is booking into 2020.
The Ugandan Water Project Partners
Legal and Charitable Aid Uganda
The members of Bee Children are involved in a number of organizations that work for the benefit of society and they have generously donated their time, thought, organizational skills, and their music to support them. Their last performance here was in benefit of two local organizations: Renewal House and the Potsdam Food Pantry. This time they are performing in support a cause farther afield: The Ugandan Water Project Partners and Legal and Charitable Aid Uganda
Bee Children channel the do-it-yourself attitude of the 1960s and the indie spirit of the 1980s into original music that is impassioned, cerebral, and atmospheric. Created as an acoustic folk-pop project, the band’s sound has evolved over the past half-decade into a more ambitious, electric mix that showcases their post-punk, new wave, synth-pop and college radio influences. Words of hope, melancholia, and empowerment combine with complex soundscapes that alternate between light and dark, past and present. The band released its debut album, Veranophonic, in 2015, and followed it up with 2018’s Gather the Exiles, a collection of nine songs headlined by the propulsive, inspiring “Get Free.” The video for the song was filmed live at the legendary Java Barn. The band has played in a range of venues from intimate acoustic spaces and local bars to music hot spots and regional concert series and festivals.
*Bee Children* are John Collins (guitar, vocals), Shane Rogers (keyboards, vocals), Terry DuBray (bass, guitar, vocals), and Sarah Gates (guitar, vocals).
This concert is open to the public. Admission is free but monetary donations will be accepted and will go to the Ugandan Water Project Partners and Legal and Charitable Aid Uganda. Come on out to help us celebrate and support these great causes!
For directions, go to https://robinmcclellan.com/ where you’ll find a link.