Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nothing better than

afternoon coffee with a friend I've not seen in a long time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Made Things

Indoor days mean mind wandering and wondering. Not about ideas or literature or art, topics about which I might know something -- sometimes a little or a lot; not about politics or current affairs -- topics about which I read little or much; and not about memories or emotions or family. But about ordinary objects, most of which I don't understand even one tiny bit

Like this: a rectangular metal cover on a utility pole up the hill and across the street. Just above eye level, it covers something electric (I think), but I don't know what. Clamped closed, locked, tagged, and rusting. What its purpose is -- that's one wonder. Another is its manufacture.

Once, several years ago, in Chattanooga, I had something copied as gifts for my brothers -- a wooden profile of Robin Hood that my father had created decades earlier. A sculptor friend sent me to a stamping and fabrication plant in Chattanooga, and the then-owner, a woman, toured me through the plant. At various stations, I watched men control loud machines precision-cutting metal, stamping out tiny bits and large pieces, plain and complicated. The machines ground and whined and clattered; the pieces spat out into large holding bins. I also met a fellow sitting at the controls of a computerized laser cutting machine on the other side of what I assumed was a shatter-proof window. He would trace my archer, program the machine, and make my copies to order.

I suppose this metal cover, with its beautiful circular design (serving no purpose or some hidden one; I don't know which) must have come from one such shop. So many objects, machine-and-man-made, practical and beautiful, populate the made landscape. I am determined to seek them out.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Make of This What You Will




Sunday, December 4, 2016

I will not write "after drought"

"rain has come" because, although some rain has fallen (for two nights and two days, off and then on), it has not been anywhere enough to make a dent in ending the drought which doubtless has resulted in the demise of plant and animal, some inconvenience for humans in water and fire limits, even, perhaps, the signal of something larger than any of us or even of this place, but I will celebrate the rain, however intermittent, and the fog, the humidity lingering in the air, reminding me of fecundity even in its absence.

Welcome, stranger, may you make a home here again.

According to the United States Drought Monitor, my community is categorized as D4 (Exceptional Drought), the most severe rating.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The University Farm: Seasonal Charnel House

After parking, I watched two men get out of a truck and, while a third stayed behind the wheel, walk to the farm building's center back door, where they unlocked it and disappeared inside.

I minded my own business, wandered into the new hoophouse, ambled through, headed up the side of the larger hoophouse, then around it, all the time taking photos. 

When I noticed the dessicated butterflies, beetles, flies, bees stacked inside the interior folds of plastic, and, taken aback, thought of northern European still lifes of dead rabbits and birds and stacked fish on groaning boards, awaiting preparation and consumption, those reminders of fleeting time and death awaiting us all -- at that very moment, I heard a voice.

Looking to my right, I saw two of the men dragging a whitetail deer carcass (field-dressed and knife-slit-belly facing me) toward that very same door, swing it up the steps, go inside briefly, then come out, lock the door, and get in the truck. The third pocketed his smart phone, joined them, and they drove away.

Culling season in Sewanee, the season of darkness.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Favorite Pair of Words

Leaf Litter
by Heather McHugh

Things are not
unmoving (or else what

is ing there for?)
The things once-living

fall on the never-living
all the more movingly for the eye

that passes over them.
The wind wells up

to spill a trail
of onces off the nevers,

take opaque from eye
to mind, or near it —

every rocking takes some leaving

to a stonish spirit.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bill Paying

I paid the bill.

I drove away.

I shopped.

I visited.

I drove by again.

I went up a side street.

I came down a gravel road.

I parked.

I snapped.

I backed out the wrong way.

And headed home.