Awash in the first warm breezes of spring, the spears of crocus rise in a Disney time-lapse of memory and mind, 24 frames a second, still pictures whose rapidity creates the illusion of movement. You’ve seen this before. The actual plant before your eyes appears not to be moving at all, but we know it is. The hour hand, too. Tomorrow, it will be that much taller and again tomorrow after. That much. In turn the stalwart spine stiffens; the bud and flower appear unbidden, but how welcome! You want wonder? Miracles? How about the energetic, liquidy work that goes on in a tree as it saps into bloom?

To breathe in that same air, in that same time, affirms a life that — seen in the right way, arms outstretched — runs in synch with the rest of new life springing from old, a transformation that tells us there wasn’t an “old” at all. Never was. Never is. Never will be. “Daily” becomes a synonym with “new,” and each day delivers an opportunity to enter into a novelty colored Celtic green, with white, the color of resurrection.

You cannot be “old” in this synchronicity of spring. Or put it this way: Old only if at night, when you’re alone looking into the bathroom mirror, you honestly realize your regrets outnumber your dreams. If that occurs, you are “old.” Your look to the past somehow became a camping ground where you tragically pitched tent to again occupy the mistakes that comprise “what was.” That, too, is a regeneration, but unlike spring, a dead one.

Forget it. There’s too much life to be lived. Don’t waste it on being “old.” Inhale the redolence of golden oil saturating the palm of an old baseball glove. Look upon the light, lux, streaming through the translucent handles of three screwdrivers (blue, red, yellorange, plus bonus wavelength-colors your eyes can’t detect). Walk on campus. See young lovers stroll hand in hand, like Least-Heat Moon’s moonflower vines, the flowers of which open only once.

Watch the birds come back. They take wing, flutter, build, accept, abide. They use their life as an instrument beyond thought but contained in the conception of awareness so deep, so “Holy,” not one of them has ever experienced the need to compose a prayer. Not one of them presumed to build a church or worry about a collection plate. Let the Abrahamic “Holy Weeks” come again and pretend “revelation” lies in the rituals of the dried twigs and broken branches of figurative winter. Splinters from the True Cross … A pebble that witnessed the glorification of Muhammed … A singed leaf from the Burning Bush. So they say of their deadwood relics. Let those mythic reminders of “guilt” and “sin” be rendered as musical notes for the books of the choir. We possess a different song for a different myth. And both are equally good.

Where is the “life” there that requires something called “faith” to be sensed? Does dogma produce anything not stillborn? Can you see religion’s product? Taste it? Touch it? Hear it? Smell it? Or only its “form?” Do you require faith to know a dandelion flower is yellow? The blue jay — do you need to profess to see it eating the seeds? Can you hear the morning doves without first absolution? Must you confess before smelling the coffee? That is spring, too.

White birches peel off old bark, an alabaster parchment, unparched and waiting for the tale of this unfolding year. A wooded path, melted and muddy with a floor of fall’s soupy leaves, leads to a stream. The flat stones oval the bed like fine tile, and water clear as grace washes away — what, exactly? Not sin, surely. That is a human concept. There are no people here. Just us. Human intrigues expire “like sparks in burnt-up paper.” We become so damaged, just in different ways. One treatment (no cure):





Sit for a few hours in the sun. Have your girl next to you. Watch the breeze give evidence of itself in the way her golden hair moves. Drift like the tune of a mellotron aping an oboe. Take in the clockwise movement of the players touching Chiclet bases from the upper deck, general admission, first-base side. After the game, see sorrel and dandelions rising from the earth in the forgotten stretch of grass that borders a municipal parking lot.

Not games. Not politics. Not deceits. Not insults. Not apologies. Not currency. Not means. Not ends.

Then what, exactly?

The dog-gazing love of anything innocent, anything not human.

Spring, maybe.


“Ab initio, we are pure.” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information, hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.



  1. Hoyt Clagwell
    April 21, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

    • Mr. Fritz
      April 22, 2019 at 2:59 am #

      Good one Hoyt!

  2. Johnny99
    April 21, 2019 at 6:18 pm #

    Very nice Dan and very well done. A nice, reflective, peaceful, awakening essay on the joy and wonder of spring.

  3. Ted
    April 21, 2019 at 6:31 pm #

    Nice one, Dan. A spring tonic for the mind.

  4. Canem Bonum
    April 22, 2019 at 3:37 am #

    Beautiful. Right up there with the piece you did on Shuffleton’s Barbershop. Thank you.

  5. Reignbow
    April 22, 2019 at 4:44 am #

    Sounds like the McCandless story of him watching some kid in the sunlight with the golden locks flowing in the breeze. That was droopy wei d Man. And the is still on the air and todays show on t b R show is another disaster. Can you say DULL.Bring back the Music!

  6. Gellow
    April 22, 2019 at 5:44 am #

    The City Council should not vote to us G E funding big for the fixer upper program,bad practice. The C P A funds are going to be used for a Pickle Ball? Please Show how pickle ball court s that are being no put in were ever on the ndangered species list. What is happening here is more progressive taxes.

  7. Theo
    April 22, 2019 at 6:58 am #

    I love this piece. Beautiful writing. I’ve sent it along to some friends. Thanks DV.

  8. Wilson
    April 22, 2019 at 7:46 am #

    Nice to read something here that lowers rather than raises the blood pressure

  9. The school committee
    April 22, 2019 at 8:49 am #

    Hoping that Trump can see himself as others see him.I wonder if at mass on Easter he saw it as his first photo or as a renewing of a Christian attitude of respect for the golden rule.That is all I want to see from this failed leader of America is a humbled man who has seen himself for the first time.
    I hope the candidates for Mayor dont run as Linda lite.The candidate who says taxes will go lower will get my vote.If Mellisa Mazzeo runs and says she is going to lower taxes she will be the leader.Are the 2 announced candidates there to split the Mazzeo vote?YES they are.Mazzeo for Mayor to lower you Tax Burden

  10. Spider
    April 22, 2019 at 9:32 am #

    With all the things the CPA money could be rightfully used for, pickleball courts are not the answer.

    Eight courts all in one location? Is there a spot in the city that has (8) tennis courts all in one place?

    I loved the letter in today’s BB about the courts. The writer was well versed on numbers.

    Most of the proponents of these courts reside in Florida or other southern states in the winter and perhaps they should stay there year round.

    Bottom line….that money could and should be spent on much more urgent things for the taxpayers. Perhaps ROADS!

  11. Chuck Garivaltis
    April 22, 2019 at 10:02 am #

    There is a cost of $150.00 per player for our teen age boys to play American Legion baseball. On the other side of age spectrum, probably octogenarians, Pittsfield is ready to support spending $350,000 for a paddle sport named pickleball. No mention of what had already been spent on consultants. So we have come to this: Pittsfield teenagers cannot play American Legion baseball unless they pony up $150.00 per player. Must be difficult for many parents. Then Pittsfield officials come up with a spending spree of close to half a million (what ‘s cost of consultants) to satisfy a handful of elderly so they can play pickleball. Something is wrong here.

    Thanks to city’s Park Commissioner Joe Durwin and Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon for their dissenting votes against this foolishness. Pittsfield is not so flush with cash that we can spend any amount of money for nonsense like pickleball.

    • Brody Hooper
      April 22, 2019 at 10:58 am #

      You have my vote Chuck

      • Two Cents
        April 22, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

        When all is lost…We will remember 6 thousand dollar trash cans and Pickleball….Could the citizens ever ask for more of an historic legacy. Praise the ignorance, it’s here to stay!

    • Kermit Frog
      April 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

      If there is a place to send donations for families for baseball let us know.

    • Thomas More
      April 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm #

      Chuck -glove cost’s $150.00 and spikes $79.00. You can still get a baseball wrapped in electricians tape for a quarter.

      • Chuck Garivaltis
        April 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

        Thomas, Loved it, Wonderful memories. Until you got into organized ball electricians tape was a kids must have. All you needed was a ball, bat, glove, electricians tape, and a cow pasture and you had a great game of baseball.

        • danvalenti
          April 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm #

          It’s not the only way to play ball, but it was the most fun. Sandlot ball, beat-up equipment, water-logged baseballs, and, as you and THOMAS note, the must-have electrician’s tape.

          • Chuck Garivaltis
            April 23, 2019 at 6:28 am #

            Sandlot ball certainly was the most fun, and I have one more part to add. I think Thomas and you will agree with me. No umpires or referees. Disputes settled with fists and game went on. Bloody noses from these disputes were as much a part of synchronicity of spring as were blooming of daffodil’s. You remained friends and looked forward to tomorrow’s game, to be played wherever there was open space. A lot of Pittsfield and Berkshire boys went on to professional baseball after perfecting their skills using a baseball covered with electricians tape. Pittsfield was a must stop for baseball talent by bird dogs, also called baseball scouts.

          • danvalenti
            April 23, 2019 at 11:20 am #

            Yup. No umps. No parents. No adults. Kids played, and when they got into arguments, they settled it themselves. Given the short baseball season, the relatively sparse population, and other mitigating factors, it’s amazing the number of kids who came from the Berkshire back then who went on to pro ball, including yourself.

        • JACK KERWOOD
          April 23, 2019 at 8:10 am #

          Brings back great memories, Behind the tennis courts at Coolidge Park Was” Cracker Stadium, Home of the Crumbs” Lots of great times and exercise and fun, but watch for poison ivy looking for foul balls, Roman Nose

          • danvalenti
            April 23, 2019 at 11:22 am #

            I remember The Cracker. I played one pickup game there. I was a Deming guy, but I had a friend who lived near Coolidge. I stayed at his house one weekend, and Saturday featured a sandlot game there. Great fun.

  12. Reignbow
    April 22, 2019 at 10:33 am #

    It isn’t so much pickleball, but how can a preservation fund gve anything that isn’t even preserved, it doesn’t exist to begin with?tennis courts, maybe,wading pool,maybe,there were never any pbc’s at Doyle? I think the gobsig network is looking to send it all to Springside….Yawn and Tyred venues..

    • doomiedodger
      April 22, 2019 at 11:52 pm #

      This whole CPA tax is a scam. The original roll out of the vote was dubious at best but no one would have ever voted for it if it was explained to them that it would be used for something like Pickleball. The door is now open to use it for anything a special interest group wants to lay before the “handout mayor”

      When a city has a handout mayor combined with a following duckling council the taxpayers are up Shitts Creek.

      • Mr. Fritz
        April 23, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

        Amen, Doomie!
        I don’t see how an athletic/ recreational proposal is even being considered by the CPA committee.
        Gonna call City Hall & see what the procedure is to get an exemption from this ridiculous “tax.”

    • Spider
      April 23, 2019 at 5:40 am #

      Very good point, Reignbow. “Preservation” means just that. To preserve something that already exists.

      If that is the case, the CPA members should quickly disqualify any applicants who don’t meet that requirement.

      Let them start their own fund-raiser.

  13. Kermit Frog
    April 22, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    It sounds like Dan’s gotten into the Edibles.

    Peace out, buddy. It’s good to stop and smell the roses.

    • danvalenti
      April 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm #

      We have. Dandelions in meals last two nights, cooked like spinach. They get gourmet prices in specialty markets. Or, one can pick ’em for free. We do the latter. Sorrel, plantain, lily buds, and much more from nature’s edibles in our phewture. The daffodils are out, the tulips are on the way.

      • Kermit Frog
        April 23, 2019 at 6:00 am #

        I can appreciate that! My neighbors made dandelion wine.

        Easter was a beautiful day and this post nice reminder. Thank you.

      • Johnny2Shoes
        April 23, 2019 at 11:51 am #

        Fiddle heads are great! Get them before they unfurl.

        • danvalenti
          April 23, 2019 at 2:45 pm #

          Yup. We have a secret spot. True delicacy.

  14. D D Dew
    April 22, 2019 at 7:52 pm #

    Dan Dillion’s are good for constipation. And don’t forget, you can’t spell dandelions without spelling Dan first. So it must be good.

  15. Jonathan Melle
    April 22, 2019 at 8:15 pm #

    April 22, 2019

    Re: Pols don’t care about economic inequality

    I read Patrick Fennell’s email today entitled “Just say No” concerning his town’s municipal and school budgets that will be voted on during Great Barrington’s Town Meeting. He cites his town and the Berkshire region’s “HUGE gap between the Haves and Have-Nots” that negatively impacts the elderly, poor, and Veterans.

    The politicians don’t care about economic inequality! They see all the closed businesses, population and job loss, and financially constrained masses as a means to more control over the one-party domination system that ensures political hacks like Smitty Pignatelli serve decades in public office. They use “perverse incentives” that puts federal dollars over living wage jobs that would reduce the economic inequality. They promote regressive taxation schemes like the state lottery and casino gambling. They even blacklist those who don’t support their inequitable agenda.

    Politicians receive taxpayer-funded “Cadillac benefits”, and then after the “retire” they become highly paid lobbyists, consultants, lawyers, marijuana business owners, and the like. The collective net worth of our U.S. Congress is in the billions of dollars for 535 delegates to Capitol Hill. D.C.’s K Street is our government’s “Red Light district”. Nearly two dozen presidential candidates are all catering to Wall Street, while trying to appeal to the “Rust belt”, “Appalachia”, and the “Bible belt” to win the White House in 2020.

    It sounds nice when politicians talk about jobs and economic security for families, but the opposite is happening and they know it. Politicians need a growing underclass for economic growth for the Haves. Trump is limiting immigration, so guess who is going to work low-income jobs with substandard benefits? The answer is the urban poor, the people in the “Rust Belt”, the people is rural “Appalachia”, and the families with around one dozen children each in the “Bible belt”.

    My view of the underclass is that society pays for it one way or another. If a criminal is incarcerated, it cost taxpayers more than sending him or her to Harvard University. If a teenage young woman has a baby at 16, it cost taxpayers for generations. When communities like Pittsfield are so corrupted by the Good Old Boys club of interrelated families, a majority of residents don’t bother to vote or participate in their government because they fear retaliations such as losing their job, being blacklisted, and being the target of vicious rumors.

    It is not rocket science on how to reduce economic inequality! It is called “investing in people” instead of the vested interests that rule our political system. People need housing, healthcare, education, living wage jobs, safe streets, honest politicians, and financial security such as retirement pensions. Politicians could make those things into reality by supporting public policies that invest in people.

    – Jonathan Melle

    • Kermit Frog
      April 23, 2019 at 8:40 am #

      I couldn’t agree more. Have you seen the Working Cities website? This could be a valuable program but instead seems to blame all regional lack of economic opportunities on ‘racism.’ I believe racism is real and I wish all cops wore cameras but Pittsfield’s economic problems are not due to that.
      It’s an easy connect the dots to anyone in job creation and some political hack association. Both current ‘families’ of political parties are equally responsible for propping up incompetence.
      A welfare state is valuable as the government types get to spend that money and private industry money is only giving them taxes.

  16. The school committee
    April 23, 2019 at 2:48 am #

    We will now watch Don Trump twist and turn in the wind of corruption.He is the worst American President in my lifetime. Never thought MAGA was what it turned out to be.His appeal to men who call themselves Christion is the big surprise also his ego is enormous .He’s delusional and that might be what his appeal is.We do live in Pittsfield.

  17. The school committee
    April 23, 2019 at 2:56 am #

    I have decided that sweeping streets and painting safety lines on are roads should not happen so that the school department can continue its failure at a much higher budget ,3 million for more bs.Close Crosby the special education 2nd class school that should discust Yon,Taylor,Cameron.These people make the decisions not to put special ed in the good school buildings.PHS is a empty shell of itself with 685 students.

  18. Mr. Fritz
    April 23, 2019 at 4:14 am #

    Gerry Doyle is on the CPA Committee?? When did this happen?

    • Harrison
      April 23, 2019 at 5:53 am #

      Not according to the roster.

      • Mr. Fritz
        April 23, 2019 at 9:20 am #

        Gerry Doyle is pictured on the CPA committee cheering on the pickleball courts in the iberkshires online article. When did he get appointed to the committee, anyone know?

  19. Reignbow
    April 23, 2019 at 4:30 am #

    He was anointed…..I mean appointed…Another Tyered solution,where’s carm or even stooge The mother of all giveaways.

  20. Rudy
    April 23, 2019 at 4:51 am #

    Will someone get the morning boob off of TBR and bring music back. No one cares about his ridiculous rants and no one cares he’s been all over the world. No one listens to his show period, albeit fifteen people, and then they tune out?

  21. Reignbow
    April 23, 2019 at 6:01 am #

    Yeah, that’s the guy I want spending my tax dollars on where to build on land.

  22. Johnny Absurd
    April 23, 2019 at 7:29 am #

    Is the CPA just a slush fund for the connected? Are there administrative fees to manage it? Do the monies collect interest and where does that go?

    Could the money be used to hire a police officer to monitor the gangs at Springside Park?

  23. Spagirl
    April 23, 2019 at 8:50 am #

    The public opinion and pushback regarding pickleball courts at Springside Park is loud and clear. Yet the Council moves it forward. This is completely inappropriate spending, when the City of Pittsfield needs so many things this money could help with. Yes, get the thugs out of the toddler playground. The Police will not do anything because they are juviniles. Juviniles harrassing mothers and toddlers. The Police should grab them by the collar,and drive them to their house and hand them over with a do not trespass order to the guardian. Go to the park with a baseball bat. If they come near you hit them over the head.

    • Reignbow
      April 23, 2019 at 10:09 am #

      The creamsicle truck ain’t working spa? What a joke.

      • Spagirl
        April 23, 2019 at 2:55 pm #

        Yes sir. What a joke.

    • danvalenti
      April 23, 2019 at 11:26 am #

      Agree, SPAGIRL. If all Pittfield’s other, more press needs were in great shape, maybe pickleball. But with the enormous problems in the city, especially with infrastructure, to spend hundreds of thousands on pickleball is beyond stupid. How about “benumbed, obtuse, inane, clueless, and ignorant.” Benobinclig. That’s the new word I have invented to describe this. Benobinclig. Let’s make this part of Pittsfield’s vocabulary. No doubt there will be plenty of use for it this election season.

      • doomiedodger
        April 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm #

        Pickleball may very well be a way to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to the grabby hands. Build and tax mayor. Wether we need it or not building sends money to friendly outstretched hands. Who are the key players in this farce anyway? Who’s idea was it and who are the consultants and who are the contractors? Are they the same people who wanted to tear down Waconah park and build a new stadium?

        Certainly no common sense help from the lap dog councilors but none was expected based on their ass sniffing history.

        • Spagirl
          April 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

          These City Officials are irresponsible as hell.

      • Spagirl
        April 23, 2019 at 4:18 pm #

        Mindboggling!! dan valenti

  24. Kermit Frog
    April 23, 2019 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m not sure what the 503 laws are for conflicts of interest but Jacobs Pillow and Methsuleah should consider reviewing their takeover with their conflicts of interest policy. This is the sort of stuff that got the museum in the only trouble it got in. Apart from that it seems like a lovely event.

  25. Pat
    April 23, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    We are practically in May now and SO MANY holes in roads across the city. Truly disgusting!!!! The city looks bombed out and we aren’t even near the ridiculous illegal displays of fireworks in the city yet. Is this being done intentionally? Just like certain crimes are being ignored? Is the idea to spread misery and lawlessness across the country and hope that everyone blames it on President Trump in 2020.

    Far left District Attorneys are springing up across the country, the latest being in Texas. This one wants thefts for under $700.00 to be ignored if the person stealing really needs the item. Forget the fact that so many people end up being killed if they fight back during so called petty crimes like theft of under $700.00. The fact is that somebody is breaking into your house to take something. I truly fear for my country.

    • Debbie Dewel
      April 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

      So, wait till an item goes on sale for 699, then pounce on it?

  26. Kermit Frog
    April 23, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    My other post didn’t go through – re the 503 event between Kacobs Pillow and Methiselah. 1) Pribably a conflict of interest 2) probably age discrimination by a charity 3) get a better lawyer JP although you should have really tweaked that this was problematic, no?

  27. Thu Donn
    April 23, 2019 at 4:28 pm #

    Of course g e eco funds are wanted for at homers. G E Eco funds are not for that entity and should be challenged in a court of law as well as pickle ball. All concerning CP A funds. No Preservation there, maybe collusion.

  28. 12 Gauge
    April 23, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

    Anyone hearing anything?

    Posted Sunday, April 21, 2019 6:21 pm
    By Amanda Drane, Berkshire Eagle
    The mayoral campaign field is growing as retired Pittsfield police officer Karen Kalinowsky joins the race, squaring off against Mayor Linda Tyer, Craig Gaetani and Scott Graves.

    Former city councilor Joseph C. Nichols is also positioning himself for a run in Ward 6 after sitting Councilor John Krol announced his plans to step down. In that race, he joins Ed Carmel and Gaetani.

    Still no word from Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo about her plans for November.

    Race seems to be taking shape.

  29. Reignbow
    April 23, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

    Maybe Moran can State in his paper that giving money from the G E Fund to improve housing might be a little illegal.