such an honor to hear Sarah Lee Guthrie & Hoping Machine sing my song at the Climate March in DC!


new CD available on band camp click on cover image below to download tracks

new CD available on band camp          click on cover image below to download tracks

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gary Snyder on "Reinhabitation"

Thanks to Martin at the Zen Peacemakers Symposium for telling me about Gary Snyder's use of the term "reinhabitation." I found Snyder's 1976 essay online and though I couldn't link it up to this blog, I hope you can read his illuminating thoughts about the merits of staying in one place and how economically we are penalized for doing so.

It was a privilege to hear panelists who are pioneers in their fields and practitioners of kindness at the Zen Peacemakers Symposium.
I want to jot down notes for further exploration while they are fresh in my mind.
~ how does the land lead us to reconciliation?
As I've been leading people on walks to Mohican sites, I see it brings up their feelings of sorrow and desire for forgiveness or reconciliation. Will the simple mindfulness of 'one step at a time' for peace as Thich Nhat Hahn suggests help facilitate this process? I see that the land shares its own history with us when our group walks with a simple awareness of place. My goal for the walks is also to encourage people's connection to the land through the gifts we've been given for conversation with it: rhythm and sound.

I understand melody as a way to remember the power and shape of the sounds we made when first in conversation with the elements.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Each line in the song 'Celebrate' comes from thoughts shared with me by elders I visit in CATA workshops in Alzheimer's units, assisted living and elder care facilities.The performance took place at Shakespeare & Company's Founder's Theatre in Lenox, MA as part of CATA's annual gala in early May.

(screen lightens up @ 20 sec.)
Thanks to Mati Kiin of Kiin Media for the video.

Here's the "Red, Red Robin" video I directed for CATA's show last year:
:Hank Williams singing unvarnished and true

 Irish singing

"where is the watershed?"

This song was written for a Marmalade Productions show called "Watershed Waltz" that tours schools to teach kids how to protect the watershed.
Everywhere we stand is one watershed or another.
Vicki Richards on violin.

Quick Bioregional Quiz!
1.Where is the place that urbanites, suburbanites, and rural residents inhabit together?
2.Where is the place to learn and practice sustainable ways that satisfy basic human needs?
3.Where is the place nearest at hand to restore & maintain ecosystems & wildlife?
4.Where is the place to re-localize & decentralize political, social and economic features?
5.Where is the place to remanufacture products from recycled material?
6.Where is the place for students to learn about ecology?
7.Where is the place to begin both reducing climate change & planning suitable adaptations?
Answer: The watershed in the bioregion where you live.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dalai Lama Barack Obama

This song was written after seeing the photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama meeting each other with big smiles. The original title was 'Dalai Lama Barack Obama, Smile' and it merged with 'May we all know we're the buddha.'
Vicki Richards improvising on violin.

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 26 at Micro Theatre in Pittsfield

gregory crewdson photo looking up north street

I'll be in the second annual WordxWord Festival on Thursday, August 26 at the Micro Theatre on North Street in Pittsfield, MA.
Also on the bill: Sanjiban Sellew and Philip Levine

Micro Theatre
311 North Street
Pittsfield, MA
(413) 442-2223



I'm performing at a terrific FODfest fundraiser in Litchfield Hills, CT. Hope you can come!

August 28


watershed people

by j. spies

Have you read "Understanding Comics"?
Written by Scott McCloud, this page-turner is written in comic book style and re-frames the way you view comics, art, words and pictures.