What a world we live in

What a world we live in

I went to grab some breakfast today from the Cup N Top on Main St. Florence before heading over to my studio space a little down the road. The usual breakfast burrito and “biggest latte you got.” I got to joking around with Craig and Tracy Jean about some somewhat serious things. Strangely, a backpack had been placed somewhere beside the side door of the building, so the entire road parallel to the Cup N Top was shut down for security. A half a dozen police cars and fire engines silently flicked their lights round and round. Their drivers were huddled outside of the Florence Hardware store.

“What a world we live in,” Tracy Jean says behind her big smile. She handed me my burrito and we made some more jokes about how to detain a bomb with a robot. Morbid, I know.

I went to sit down to wait for my big ol’ Latte to be finished up by Craig as he multi-tasked ringing someone up and frothing some whole milk ( also behind a lovely smile). I get comfortable at the bar to wait and hang out and resting beside me was the Pioneer, a Western Mass Valley publication. It has such smart design layout and is a beautiful insightful spread about the local people and their events and projects.

I flipped casually through the pages, and suddenly, I found one of my paintings, hogging a whole page all it’s own. I just felt a surge of surprise and glee.


Then I flipped through more of the pages. Here, Julia Handshuh and Andrew Huckins talk about their design dreams for the Railroad Salvage Annex, a 10,000 square foot building. There have been many complications along the way for them to actualize their determined efforts of creating a space of creative sustainable local economy. It has been quite a journey for them. However, their efforts, though they seem to be teetering, are not in vain. To me they confirm something about this place, the Valley, in which the individuals are creative, innovative, and inspiring.



A few more pages in I find my friends, Haley Morgan and Eric Hnatow spread out in subtle glass on the front porch of their home in Northampton. “Homebody Gets out of the House.” When I first met Haley we were working at the Green Bean on Downtown Main St. Noho. Today, she and Eric are touring the United States bumping their fun, fresh beats and tunes in different venues. They’ve transformed inspirations and ideas into a real live breathing band that rocks.


Homies at their Home, Story and Photos by Ellie Rulon-Miller

And still there’s more familiar people and their outstanding projects. Popcorn Noir, which just co-hosted with this amazing rad woman, Michelle Marchese, a lovely evening of short movies with people playing instruments to them. (One of mine was played as well...see here). Kamil Peters an artist who forges steel had a short story about his background and work. In an excerpt he states, ” Now that I have a kid, I feel that the best thing I can do is show him that I fought to live my dream and be that example to him rather than show him that I’m willing to settle and be afraid of what’s going on in the world.”


By Danielle Desjardins. Photos by Justin Surgent

I grab my latte from Craig, and wave goodbye. Sincerely, infused with something more than caffeine at this point. The police sirens are still trying to figure out the backpack. I step to the corner and head to my car, just smiling. Touched gently at the heart and smiling. I have found a place I belong. I feel like the creative spirit is alive. There is struggling, reassessing, and sadness when we have to be wary of violent outbursts that threaten our existence. But today, this morning, I could not ignore how precious this place I exist in is and the people that make it so. What a world we live in.


About scoutcuomo

Charcoal dust and eraser shavings, oil bars and sketch books, wood, gold pray paint, resin, overly soft blankets, and turpentine, feathers and coffee grinds.

One comment

  1. Thanks Scout, this made me feel great. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything going on in the world and we are so lucky to live in this fertile pocket of creativity and know such inspiring people. Love.

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