Music Jam at People’s Place


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One way to survive the next four years is to “take a breath”, pick up an instrument and play a tune. I do this whenever I get the opportunity.

At our local music jams we all take turns picking out an tune and everyone joins in. Some classic tunes always get played including Red Wing a song which was written in 1907. We usually play it as an instrumental but it has lyrics which I’ve printed below. This was adapted by Woody Guthrie into the labor song Union Maid. Grab your instrument and play along with the recording (in the key of G).

Picking on the Mandolin
Richard Horonjeff picks out a tune on the mandolin at the monthly music jam.

There once was an Indian maid,
A shy little prairie maid,
Who sang a lay, a love song gay,
As on the plain she’d while away the day;

She loved a warrior bold,
This shy little maid of old,
But brave and gay, he rode one day
To battle far away.

Now, the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing
The breeze is sighing, the night bird’s crying,
For afar ‘neath his star her brave is sleeping,
While Red Wing’s weeping her heart away.

She watched for him day and night,
She kept all the campfires bright,
And under the sky, each night she would lie,
And dream about his coming by and by;

But when all the braves returned,
The heart of Red Wing yearned,
For far, far away, her warrior gay,
Fell bravely in the fray.

Now, the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing
The breeze is sighing, the night bird’s crying,
For afar ‘neath his star her brave is sleeping,
While Red Wing’s weeping her heart away.



Young Chinese girl in a temple

“I began to think of the soul as it were a castle made of a single diamond…”

St. Teresa of Avila

In 1985 I traveled to China to help install computer systems for Digital Equipment Corporation. These systems were to be used in the construction of the 3 Gorges Dam in Hubei Province. All “Foreign Guests” were assigned a political handler who would carefully watch how we interacted with the the engineers who would be using the systems. It was pretty clear that we wouldn’t be talking about anything other than computers. This was a very interesting visit.

There were several systems to install in different locations and one was located quite a distance from the hotel in Wuhan where I spent most of my time. We traveled in a van and my hosts supplied me with beer as we drove along muddy roads through the countryside. Chinese beer is very good and I learned to appreciate it at room temperature. I had asked to visit any temples that we might pass and they obliged. Most of these were just crowded with people milling around and smoking and it didn’t fit my image of what I expected to be a quiet and reflective place. China has freedom of religion as long as it practiced in places sanctioned by the government.

Yet in the midst of he hustle and bustle in the temples, I saw this.

Prayer by John Poltrack on


Incense by John Poltrack on


I’m Ready for Spring

Late Winter Blues

We are enjoying a relatively warm spell in late February 2017. Relatively warm for New Hampshire means mid 40s to 50s (F). We still have snow cover, but with daytime temperatures above freezing I expect that soon the sap will be running and maple sugaring season will start. That and the sighting  of Frost Heaves signs are a sure sign of warmer days to come.

Serious Snowfall by John Poltrack on
February 2015 was some year for snow
Stop by John Poltrack on
Late in winter I just want it to stop
Sap Collection by John Poltrack on
Freezing nights and thawing days equals  maple syrup

The Elm Dance

Elm Dance for the Chenobyl Disaster

I had the opportunity to dance this beautiful healing dance. The video explains how it came about. The song is Kā Man Klājas?  performed by the Latvian singer Ieva Akuratere and is available at We must protect our environment, we must protect each other.


Over the Waterfall

Poltracks on the Dam

I spent a good amount of my life with this gang and I can honestly say that family is what grounds you. It is such a curious photo and if they were still around,  I would ask whose idea it was to stage the photo in this manner. My dad is sitting next to my grandfather and is wearing a knit cap. He had three brothers and four sisters. Missing in the photo is my Uncle Henry and Uncle Fran.

The sub-theme of this blog is the text of a motivational poster produced by the British Government  to raise morale in the prelude to the Second World War – Stay Calm and Carry On. We are in need of a morale boost at this time in our collective history and a good family is an important part of that. More of this crowd will appear in later postings.

Over the Waterfall
Poltrack Family in the 1920s

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Crepuscular Rays

Snow shoeing on the first day of Spring 2013

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown –
Who ponders this tremendous scene –
This whole Experiment of Green –
As if it were his own!

It wasn’t very green on the first day of spring in 2013 when I took this photo. I donned some snow shoes and headed out into the woods in the early morning. This photo was taken in New Ipswich, NH and it is certainly not unusual to have snow in March and often into April.

Sunrays by John Poltrack on

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