Land in the Sky: Following Directions

A fine summer morning in Upstate New York. I load the collie into the car. The two of us head off from our place in the Catskills to find the home of Robert M. Coates (1897-1973). It’s down the mountain and across the Hudson River in Columbia County. Few today remember Coates or his writing, but he’s one of my favorite authors. His novel Yesterday’s Burdens is a forgotten classic of 20th century American literature, and his marvelous short story “The Hour After Westerly” reads like an uncanny amalgam of “Rip Van Winkle” and Death of a Salesman.

To find Coates’s house, we follow directions provided by the man himself—in a typed letter, written in July of 1951, to his good friend and fellow author Malcolm Cowley. Coates purchased his place in the country the previous summer. In the letter, he directs Cowley—who is coming up from Connecticut—to turn west off Route 22 and head down Route 295 to East Chatham. The collie and I are coming from the south, not the East-Chathameast, so I’ll skip to the point in the letter where Coates explains how to find the way from East Chatham: “And there, at the town’s small center, you turn right, up a small grade and over a railway overpass.” There it is! We park in the town’s small center and get out to have a look around.

Late morning now, and it’s getting warm. Sunday tourist traffic buzzing through town. Nobody stops. Nearby is a wine store. Its door stands wide open, welcoming. I’m tempted to enter but for the collie. I don’t want any trouble. I try to take some pictures while he, tethered to me by a leash, tugs and barks and whines. I convince him it would be fun to walk over the railroad bridge. Alas, this is not a pedestrian-friendly walkway. We have to climb through thick weeds, some of which may be poison-ivy, just to get onto it. The collie has no idea why we’re doing this, but he’s happy to engage in anything other than standing around waiting for me to take pictures. (Even now, as I’m typing this, he is whining to go for a walk.)

Collie-and-I-in-MirrorWe cross the bridge. On the other side is a traffic mirror, secured at a peculiar angle. Our image appears in it. I find this disorienting. It’s like being in two places, or two times, at once. The collie doesn’t care about the mirror. He starts to tug and bark and whine some more. He just wants to go, go anywhere. That’s the way he is. Always. “Let’s go!” So we go. Back over the bridge to the car.

We continue our drive according to the directions and proceed back again over the bridge. “You’ll be [on] a dirt road then,” writes Coates, “with no turnoffs that I can think of to confuse you, and you follow it for about 3 miles to a sharp left at the end which puts you [on] the little main street of Old Chatham.” A sign indicates we’re traveling on the Albany Turnpike. Things have changed, somewhat, along this road since Coates wrote those words. For one thing, the surface is now paved, and has been for a long time. For another, the NY State Thruway’s “Berkshire Connector” was built in the mid-fifties and runs close by. The Albany Turnpike crosses it on an overpass but there is no exit here from the controlled-access highway. Thus Old Chatham—despite almost being pierced through the heart by a superhighway—remains to this day someplace off the beaten path, just as it was when Coates lived here. The collie and I haven’t passed another vehicle since leaving East Chatham, three miles back. Few come this way, and likely nobody has followed these particular directions to get here since Malcolm Cowley, seven years before I was born.

I look again Coates’s instructions and consider them. Remarkable how, for the most part, they still work. “Go down that street, past a small lake on your right. . . .” We do, and find the lake has vanished, but the space it once filled remains, now abundant with cattails and loosestrife. We park on the side of the road and get out.


Close by the defunct lake is a quaint Victorian cottage. In the yard, a woman of middle age, with graying hair, is working in her garden. I ask across a stone wall: “What happened to the lake?”

“It’s not there anymore,” she says.

“What happened?”

“The dam broke in 2009.”

“Why didn’t they fix the dam?”

“We talked to the town and to the DEC [the NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation] about fixing it, and they said no. So now it’s an official designated wetland.” She says this wistfully, and shrugs.

“Too bad,” I say. “I understand it was a nice lake.”

“Yes,” she says, “it was a nice lake.”

I expect her to compliment the collie. Everybody does. He’s so good looking. But she doesn’t. She’s suffering from a memory of lost water. I thank her for the information. She swats a mosquito. The collie resumes his whining. It’s time to move on. So we do.

Old-Chatham-HouseCoates continues with his directions: “And just past the lake turn right, on a road leading out between a handsome old brick Colonial house and the Old Chatham Inn.” Both structures are still standing, and the inn—according to its Facebook page—is owned by the same family: “The restaurant/tavern has been in the Jackson Family for 70 years and the history is on the walls and in the dark wood beams that span the ceiling. There’s a hunting lodge aspect to Jackson’s, which is fitting since every October in front of the Old Chatham House a priest comes for a traditional blessing of the hounds. The scene looks little different than it would have on the same spot 150 years ago, hunting dogs barking beside mounted men and boys in tails and top hats.”

In front of the handsome redbrick house, the collie makes a deposit in the roadside weeds. He barks at a little dog barking at him. The collie tugs on his leash, wanting to go this way, then that way. He doesn’t care—any which way will do. I tell him to stop. He ignores me. He tugs and he tugs and he tugs. I try to take a picture of the center of Old Chatham. Enough! On we go.


We get back into the car and continue following the nearly timeless directions. We turn right on the road between the redbrick house and the Old Chatham House. Writes Coates: “That dirt road is ours, and we’re out about 3 miles on it.” The road is no longer dirt. It has been engineered, paved, and designated Columbia County Route 13. In 1951: “There are only three places where you might get confused.” In 2015, no confusion: it’s just smooth driving, a pretty ride in the country.

“At one point,” say the directions, “about 1 mile out, a road branches off to the Former-RRleft across a rail road track (you’ll see the white-painted warning sign a short way down it.). The road is still there, still dirt. “Ignore that,” says Coates, “and bear right, up a small grade.” But I can’t ignore that. It begs scrutiny. I pull off and drive down to where there’s some shade. I park the car and leave the collie. I don’t want any trouble. I just want to take a picture without being yanked around and whined at. I walk along the road. Gravel crunches underfoot. Gone is the railroad track and its warning sign. All that remains is a long straight green strip of recovering forest—a swath about the width of a railroad right-of-way—punctuated by teetering utility poles. In both directions the former train line is thick with the high weeds of summer. In the distance is a closed gate posted with a stop sign. Beyond that, the vanishing point. Ignore that.

I hear the collie barking. I head back to the car. He’s glad to see me. I take another look at the directions: “Again, about a mile beyond that [railroad turnoff that should be ignored], you’ll find yourself in a small community (Rayville), passing a cemetery on your left. . . .” So we drive back to the paved road and head north. The cemetery appears much sooner than expected. We stop.


Route 13 is quiet, little traffic passes this way. The collie is calmer here. We investigate the cemetery. A helpful information box by the cemetery gate provides this intelligence: “You are standing at the gate to the Friends Burial Ground at Rayville.” Some graves date back to 1782. If there’s any doubt about the presence of the past, ample official signage in this vicinity will serve to eliminate it—though other doubts, mainly metaphysical, may remain. The collie lies down in the ample shade of a venerable sugar maple. I pour water into his collapsible bowl. He takes a big drink. We return to the car and leave the cemetery behind.

Coates says to keep an eye out for “a large farmhouse.” There it is, right next to the cemetery, along with a big ole barn. From here, be on the lookoutOld-Barn,-Rayville for “an old Quaker meeting house, etc.”—on the opposite side from the cemetery. I’m not sure what is meant by that puzzling “etc.” Maybe it refers to all the idyllic elements that complete the pretty picture that is this landscape. Or maybe it’s Coates’s way of referring to what the ancient sages of China called the “ten thousand things.” I don’t know.

To resume: “Just past the meeting house, a road leads off to the right, with a group of mail boxes including our own at the corner.” This is Ford Road. The corner is still there, along with a colonial-era farmhouse that Coates neglected to mention. Gone, though, are the mailboxes, including his. All that stands on the corner now is a yield sign. “Keep left there past a house called ‘Landfall’.” How will we know this house? By a sign, of course. And there it is, the same one that Coates had in mind, that Cowley then saw, that I am now seeing. Either that or one just like it.


“And then—” says our trusty and abiding guide, “—one more intersection—about ¼ mile past ‘Landfall’, at the beginning of a rise, a road branches off to the left.” We come upon that road. It does indeed branch off to the left, and it’s called Riders Mill. To this day it remains unpaved. “Ignore that,” says Coates. We do. “And go straight on, up the rise, around a couple of quarter-turns, and a few dips and rises.” When this road, many decades ago, was brought up to uniform standards and designated an official county highway, the curves became far less pronounced, and the “dips and rises” all but erased. The capricious dirt road Coates once lived on now looks like any other paved road out here in the country.

But to continue: “And about ½ mile farther on, you’ll come down a slight grade, [and] cross a brook.” This is Green Brook. Here, according to the only report of it I know, is where the author’s ashes were scattered. Most drivers who pass along this road today don’t even know they are crossing a brook, much less a funerary ground. The woods are thick with regeneration. The undergrowth along the brook appears, to the casual investigator, all but impenetrable. Any desire to explore those regions will have to be postponed, at least until after the leaves come down in fall. For now, we continue driving.

The journey is nearly finished. According to Coates, you just cross the brook and “you’ll be at our house—red barn on your right, the house above the brook on the left.” But that’s not the way it is today. The road was realigned to run behind the red barn, which now stands on the left side, between the road and the house. The house is still up on the hill above the creek, just as Coates says. I pull into the gravel drive and park the car. The collie looks like he might start barking.


The grounds surrounding Robert Coates’s old home look trim and well-kept. The barn is in good shape, obviously not used anymore for keeping livestock. The house is beautifully maintained. All signs indicate the place has become a property owned by “weekenders.” This is their haven from the city, their country getaway. It probably looks better now than it did in Coates’s day.

He had a rough go of it here during the last few years of his life. His health was steadily deteriorating. He was drinking too much. He had trouble finishing any piece of writing. Yet he always had a certain dread of endings. Decades earlier, in an unpublished passage from Yesterday’s Burdens, he wrote: “So should every poem, every picture be regarded—as a last will and testament, bequeathing to all who will have them the possessions of the artist’s mind. Every artistic utterance, rightly considered, is a voice from the tomb.” I know how he feels. I myself have several nearly-finished book manuscripts. I can see them from where I sit typing these words. Each one is a haunted house. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. To be honest, I’m having trouble finishing even this little account.

But anyways, I leave the collie in the car—again, I want no trouble—and walk up to the door of the house. On the front porch is a chair with a well-thumbed birding guide sitting on it. The book appears to have been left out in the weather—another sign of “weekenders.” Full-timers, at least in this country, have no time for either birds or flights of fancy.

I ring the doorbell. Nobody answers. I peer through the door window and see the kitchen and living room beyond. No books in sight. But the space is nicely appointed—lots of shiny “upgrades”, as they say in the real estate business. And no sense that the place is haunted. I don’t want to linger in front of this house too long—after all, I’m sort of trespassing. I’ll have to come back another day, another weekend, when the current owners are up from the city and I can introduce myself and maybe say a little about what brought me here. Until then, I will wonder if they know anything about the history of their house, how once upon a time it was the home of a writer named Robert M. Coates.

Or is he forgotten here as well.Coates-House-ii

Postcard: Haleakala Crater

Ever been to Maui? If you have, maybe you know that you can go from camping on a beach to camping inside a 10,000-foot volcano crater from one night to the next. This is precisely what my wife and I did during our first and only trip to Hawaii a few Mays back. We pitched our tent 100 yards from these horses in Haleakala Crater and marveled at the scene—prehistoric in a most provocative way—until it got dark.


Photo by Devon O’Neil

Land in the Sky: The Anointment

Early morning early summer walk along a wooded road with the collie. Black-eyed vireo—the “Preacher Bird”—finally shuts up. The only sound now, distant years. The collie stops to sniff something amid the roadside weeds. I spy a single garlic mustard plant in bloom, right next to his right back paw. How’d I miss it before this? I stoop to yank it from the ground. Just as I get my hand around it, the collie lifts his back right leg. The black-eyed vireo resumes his sermon.

In Focus: Breckenridge Photographer Liam Doran and the Art of Sport

How do you make it in a mountain town? For Liam Doran, the answer to that question has simply been to do what he loves and focus in.

The most difficult thing about moving to a mountain town? Figuring out how to stay and find work that fulfills you. While that road has not been easy for Breckenridge, Colorado-based photographer Liam Doran, he has certainly hit his stride. A commitment to the things he loves—skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, fly fishing, trail running—a keen eye and sense of how motion and landscape work together has entrenched him in a career as one of the top photographers in Summit County. For good reason, Doran’s images don’t just convey action, they express a love for the mountain life that only someone who is immersed in it can capture. His work has graced the cover of Powder and SKI magazines and he is a frequent contributor to Outside, Skiing, Trail Runner, Mountain, Elevation Outdoors and more. He took the time to share some of his favorite work and talk about what it takes to make it.

How hard it is to make it as a mountain photographer?
Very difficult…but not impossible. There are tons of talented shooters out there—the trick is to find your niche and excel at it.  Then, other branches of outdoor photography will open up.

What brought you to Breckenridge?
The chicks of course… okay, thats a lie.  I grew up in Parker, Colorado, but moved east during high school and college.  I knew I always wanted to get back to the mountains and ended up in Breck after an apartment in Jackson did not pan out.
What keeps you there?
The community.  People here are great and after nearly 18 years here its hard to imagine leaving.
What still gets you jazzed up on assignment?
Meeting new people, traveling to new places and the challenge. I recently had an assignment to shoot Steamboat Springs.  The weather was poor and I dont know many people there but somehow we put it all together at a moments notice and came away with a great three-day shoot.
Let’s take a look at some of your favorite photographers from over the years and hear a little bit of story behind them:


Leland Turner on Orange Dot Trail Breckenridge, CO
Leland Turner on Orange Dot Trail Breckenridge, CO

“This shot took me a few years to get.  The undergrowth only stays that green for a few days every summer and it has to be overcast in order to get the even lighting. When conditions were finally right, I hauled a 20-foot step ladder into this spot.  I had a huge knee brace on from surgery earlier that spring and it was challenging to say the least…but I finally go the shot I wanted.”


Matt Powers on Black Gulch Trail
Matt Powers on Black Gulch Trail

“My challenge was to come up with a shot of my hometown trails that had not been seen before.  The Black Gulch trail provided me with just that opportunity.  Even today, people in town ask where this shot was taken.”




“Most of my shooting is done on assignment, so I really enjoy getting to shoot while just out on the road.  I am often drawn to the old broken-down places one comes across in rural America as they seem to hold a ghostly aura and a direct link to an idealized past.”



“I was headed home after a long trip through the desert and I knew that if I timed it right I could get to Fisher Towers just in time for sunrise. There are a lot of great images of the Titan but I had never seen one quite like this before.”


Sven Brunso on Coal Bank Pass Colorado
Sven Brunso on Coal Bank Pass Colorado

“Currently, the bulk of my work is ski photography and this image is typical of how I like to shoot. Great morning light with strong contrast and a perfect turn. We were rewarded with a photo annual cover in Mountain magazine for our efforts.”


Rich Banach finds the pocket of blue at Revelstoke
Rich Banach finds the pocket of blue at Revelstoke

“This image came from a very challenging shoot for me. Four of us headed to Revelstoke to shoot a ski/travel gallery for a big website piece. The conditions were dangerous and for whatever reason, I had placed a ton of artificial pressure on myself and by the end of the trip my nerves were fried and I had a total meltdown.”



“I love backpacking but I rarely get to shoot it. On this occasion three friends and I got permits to hike the Virgin River through Zion NP. The first day and a half were some of the most beautiful miles I have ever put under my feet.”


Mike "Quigs" Quigley at his cabin where he lives
Mike “Quigs” Quigley at his cabin where he lives

“When shooting for print editorial, you have to learn to shoot more than just action. Things like scenics, food, travel and portraits are all mandatory for a well rounded story. This portrait of Mike Quigley stands out as one of my favorites as it really encapsulates who he is in 1/100th of a second.”

You can peruse more of Doran’s work and purchase prints at

Postcard: Skiing Above the Clouds

Skiing, still. Some days I just want to move on with my year. Others, I cannot resist the frozen white beckoning. Of course, it helps that the water is melting out of the snowpack, finally, leaving us with a surface as smooth as marble to schuss down from the gusty alpine into the warm green world below. This photo was taken June 6 in Park County, Colorado, a mile south of the Continental Divide, where about 60 inches of snow fell during the month of May.

Photo by Devon O’Neil

Land in the Sky: Seeking the Trailhead

A friend suggested I climb a little mountain in Vermont called Haystack. So I did. But the trailhead was not easy to find. It lay along an unfrequented dirt road. Vermont is the second least populous of the fifty states. The one or two farmers I asked directions from gave me stony looks and little else. I finally found the trailhead, which–like most things in the course of my days–came by accident. I started walking. I passed a couple of cows. A hermit thrush called from high in a tree. The brook I crossed was nearly dry. The top of the mountain looked like a farmer’s face, but with more sky and clouds and vistas abounding.

Land in the Sky: On Craft

Friday in the Catskill Mountains. Late afternoon, late May. Sitting on the back deck. The collie and I. On the other side of the mountain, a lineup of bands is tuning up for the annual Mountain Jam. Soon enough, Robert Plant will take the stage. Over here on the quiet side, I’m reading the words of a philosopher. And sipping some wine. The collie lies near my feet, chewing indolently on a bone. Occasionally, he glances up at a yellow butterfly flittering over the grass.

Once in a while the collie will jump up, stick his head between the deck rails, and commence barking—his way of shouting at the woodchuck who lives downslope in a pile of castaway fieldstones. “Get off my lawn!” He barks and he barks and he barks. I look up from my book, tell him to quiet down. He ignores me. I return to my book and read these words by the philosopher: “When I ‘have done with the world’ I shall have created an amorphous (transparent) mass and the world in all its variety will be left on one side like an uninteresting lumberyard.”

That gets me thinking. Maybe tomorrow I’ll leave the philosopher (and collie) behind and head over to Vermont. I’ll do a little hiking. Or maybe I’ll stop and visit that house in Shaftsbury where Robert Frost once lived. I’ve never been there. Or maybe I’ll drop by his grave in Old Bennington. I always enjoy that. A good poet’s grave is almost as good as the poetry. Some philosopher said that. No doubt, as I’m driving along the backroads of Vermont I’ll pass a few brewpubs. These days it’s hard not to. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it, to sample some craft beer? I need to find my craft somewhere. And who knows, along the way there might even be an interesting lumberyard.

Mountain Passages: Insider Info on Travel to Cuba

Thinking of traveling to Cuba anytime soon? Here are some thoughts, possibly useful, that will help. By Alan Stark

When you arrive at the Havana airport there are no jetways, only mobile ramps the ground crews roll up to airplane doors. These ramps look like they were made on a bad day in Romania. The plastic canopy around them has nearly gone opaque with sun damage and age. But here is a warning: It’s always warm in Cuba and mostly downright hot and humid. Don’t get caught behind a slowpoke going through one of these things unless, of course, being slow-cooked is of interest.

Once you are inside the airport, you will encounter immigration positions with a door at the far end. The sense is odd, like walking into a closet with an unfriendly young adult to one side who will decide whether you get the lady (or man), or the tiger. The security door buzzes open to a hanger-like hall with metal detectors and security people wearing starched light-brown uniforms. They are mostly handsome twenty-somethings, and the women have added a twist to their normal uniform—black lace stockings. The incongruity is starting, like encountering one of our bloused-booted, Glock-toting, immigration officers with a three-inch smiley-face pin on his chest.

Cuban WomanThe black lace stockings are a tip-off about what is to happen in Cuba—no, not everyone is going to be wearing black lace stockings. But Cuba is rapidly changing from a drab communist state clone to a multifaceted socialist state. The change appears to be irreversible, if they do it right, and make carefully thought-out changes to avoid huge dislocations. This could be another Velvet Revolution that created the Czech Republic. But, if the party holds onto power and there is no revolution, Cuba will be like Viet Nam, a Socialist government and a highly entrepreneurial population. Call it a the Salsa Revolution—for the Cubans are about to dance their way into the 21st century.

There are hundreds of curiosities within the Cuban government, and many of these curiosities seem to have an antecedent of, “Lets throw this sugar cane at the wall and see if sticks.”

For example, there are two currencies in Cuba one is Cucs (kooks) that the government has set an exchange rate at 87 to US$100. Yup, there is a 13% commission charged by the government to trade dollars for Cucs. This is the currency used by tourists and should be acquired at the hotel on arrival. The second is the Peso that is used by the Cubans as well as Cucs. At this writing, there are no ATMs in Cuba, and credit cards are useless, everything a tourist buys in Cuba is with Cucs. The government doesn’t stop getting into your wallet on the way out of Cuba. When leaving, Cucs are exchanged for dollars at the airport again with a 13% charge. Give them 100 Cucs and they give you back US$87. However, there is a better deal to be had in the hotel lobby or on the street just before you leave. Cubans will pay $100 for 100 Cucs. Dollars come into Cuba as remittances that the Cubans need changed to Cucs and the only way they can do that is through money changers working free lance at and around the hotels.

Cigar aficionados be warned, Cuban cigars are as advertised, they are wonderfully fragrant, mild, and smooth smoking. A trip to tobacco growing region Valle de Vinales and a tobacco farm is a couple hours of pure addiction gratification.

The farmer greets you in a curing barn hung with rack of sweet-smelling tobacco.

cigar seller “How many of you smoke?” the farmer will ask sarcastically, knowing that most Americans, wishing to live forever, have given up smoking but relish a puff or two on a Cuban cigar.  He then talks about how the tobacco is grown and cured, and then he goes to work to skillfully make a cigar, holding some leaves in one hand, cleaning and smoothing the leaves into a tent-like form that he then rolls on a smooth surface. Next, he carefully selects fine wrapper leaves and rolls a perfect cigar. Then he cuts both ends and light up for a couple puffs, and then carefully puts the hot end of the cigar in his mouth and blows smoke out of the cigar. Taking the cigar out of his mouth, he passes it to the nearest now-slavering non-smoker and says, “A good cigar, it draws well.”

After the demonstration he invites you to his house for coffee and/or rum or both while a family member sells cigars at one Cuc each from a cardboard box. In a matter of an hour or so, you can indulge in nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, a socially acceptable addicts paradise, not to be missed on a visit to Cuba.

Something that also can’t be missed in Cuba are all the antique cars and trucks smoking along the streets interspersed with Eastern Block POS, (remember the Yugo?), a few Japanese and Korean sedans, and the occasional, out of place, fat-cat, thuggish BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. These antiques are the cars from before the 1959 revolution that have been rebuilt many times over, usually retrofitted with diesel engines, and appear to be held together by superb jury-rigging mechanics, imagination, wishful thinking, and wire.

They are a metaphor for how Cubans deal with their situation; don’t go without— make it work—keep it going. Throughout the day and most of the night in Havana, these cars, many of which are for hire (agree on a price with the driver before you get in), smoke and honk their way through the pot-holed streets. They provide a colorful on-going parade of mid-century American engineering, Cuban ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit. One note of caution, pedestrians in Cuba are pretty much ignored by drivers. It’s not that Cuban drivers are murderous, but they are a little crazy and crossing a street is an adventure.

Los Cubanos
But the best adventure to be found in Cuba is with the people: Their great love of family and friends, the warmth with which they greet and engage with strangers, and their love of life under a repressive government and a ridiculous embargo perpetrated by morons in our government.

When talking about the future, Cubans recognize that change is coming but say, “it’s complicated, we need to be careful. We need to go slowly.” In the past two hundred years, there have been a number of revolutions in Cuban, some fairly violent.

Cuban WorkerIn spite of Cuban circumspection, change is going to come quickly in Cuba. In the last month, Raul Castro and President Obama met and held a joint press conference. The Cubans are thrilled with the thaw in Cuban American relations, as are American corporations thinking about how they are going to exploit a new opportunity in Cuba. But in past revolutions, American corporations, one of them being the mafia, have taken a good deal more out of Cuba than they have put in. The Cubans are right, they need to be careful. On the business side, they should form their own national corporations that are production and profit oriented on the Chinese model. Or if outright freedom comes, they should limit international corporations to 49% ownership in Cuban corporations along the lines of the Canadian model.

The worst that can happen here is another blood-bath of a revolution. But Raul Cuban turkeyCastro appears to be a smart guy who is probably not going to give up power, and will eventually groom another fat cat to take his place. Cubans now get to vote in municipal elections. The hope is that this vote will eventually carry over to provincial elections, and then national elections and perhaps a formation of a congress or parliament that truly represents the Cuban people. We will all see.

There is much that is in flux in Cuba. In spite of this, still thinking about going to Cuba? Do it for two reasons: (1) Cuban tourism is the financial starting point for a much more entrepreneurial and free Cuba. (2) The Cubans have built a society and culture under difficult circumstance. They are happy and wonderful neighbors who deserve our support.

The fourth of a three-part series on Cuba. Alan Stark is a free-lance based in Boulder who lives with a blue-eyed person and her dog. He can be reached at