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Sunday: rain, retrospective, and poetry

by on 20 Jun 2011

First thing this morning, there was a stork outside my hotel window patrolling the soccer field for food. Storks are highly regarded here and you can often find nest platforms built for them in village centers. The presence of the huge bird somehow transformed the urban setting, shifting the context much as a single carefully sited human structure can transform an entire natural landscape. An auspicious portent for the day.

It’s a rainy Sunday in Sanok, the first serious precipitation since we arrived. There was a pretty fair cloudburst starting well after midnight last night, followed by off and on drizzle today. Welcome news to the farmers and foresters I suspect, as it was getting pretty dry in the fields and woods.

Today is our day off, so the weather is not a work issue, nor has it been so far apart from a couple of brief downpours. Indeed the Skansen apparently sits in some sort of rain shadow, as predicted wet weather often seems to skirt round us. One particularly malevolent thunderstorm bearing down directly on the site, suddenly turned away at the last second. Indeed, if I didn’t know better, I would say we are operating under some sort of special protection, or that there is perhaps a secret weatherworker among us.

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This being a day of rest, it’s an opportunity for a photo retrospective. Most of these images speak for themselves.  Thanks to contributors who helped out with some of these pictures.

Walled In


One good woman. . .

Dovetail with Cog

Snake Charmer

Axe Science: The handle is straight in the first picture, bent in the second. How much force and acceleration does it take to achieve this effect?

As above, so below

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Here’s a link to a blog created by Elijah Hammarlund, son of Guild Project Manager Alicia Spence, a perspective on Poland through the eyes of a savvy ten year old. Check it out at


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From the poetry corner:

Two Tramps in Mud Time

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard.
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake: and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
These two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip on earth of outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the woods two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right– agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

—Robert Frost


From → At Large

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