Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Daily Snaps 2016

Click here to view the snaps full-screen: CLICK.

Friday, December 30, 2016

There is about December

an urge to travel slowly -- the light perhaps and the sudden oncoming of night, the chill, the waning year (this year, a good thing) -- by taking the long way no matter where I'm headed (through an extra gorge on the way to North Carolina or on a stroll around an unfamiliar town like Murphy or even Manchester, normally just blurs along by-pass or interstate), and then I am grateful for my parents' example.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Going Nowhere

when a lower back seizes into knots.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In the Middle of Nowhere

Murphy, NC: 
home to devoted evangelicals, 
beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures, 
a downtown made for wandering, 
and a deli serving delicious pastrami and corned beef.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Confession

I am a difficult guest.

I arrive with my own air bed (restless sleeping and a bad back).

I bring my own tea (British blend, black).

I carry a camera (and am wont to spend countless minutes snapping at the same thing over and over again).

You can't take me anywhere.

You probably shouldn't invite me.

Don't believe me?

Just ask my hostess.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

When I notice the cat fur

stuck to my awful popcorn ceilings
glued to the ceiling fan blades
stuffed under the hateful carpet edges
artistically lining a plate just taken out of the dishwasher
littering my favorite warm in-house pullover
in my sheets and my nose and my sink and . . .

then . . .

I need to look where
it should be
so I remember
I love cats

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Being helpful

isn't always helpful.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I See One Thing and Think of Another

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Accidental Capture

I didn't mean to, but I photographed one of my favorite thingswhen I tried to snap BigAssCat.

I didn't see them until I downloaded the picture, and then WHAM!

Like the first time I saw them, I was gobsmacked.

I am gobsmacked every time the light is just right and the air is just still.

Dust motes.

A reminder of the plentifulness of the world's stuff, taking me back to childhood when, lying on my bed, I saw for the first time that air was not empty but full -- with tiny bits of fluff and me and everything else I see, all aswirl all the time, all composed of specks of matter and energy -- and sometimes, I see them and feel cosmic connectedness, even if only for a moment.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Lord Love a Cat

Here’s What Happened When God Let Cats Loose Upon the World
The Washington Post

The following document was obtained from sources close to God. Translated from the original Aramaic, it is a transcript of the final exit interview before Cat was loosed upon the world.

Cat: I have some demands.

God: That is not how it worketh, Cat.

Cat: I shall scratch their bellies and draw blood.

God: Fine.

Cat: Really?

God: Yes.

Cat: I shall to do it a lot.

God: I sayeth, fine.

Cat: I shall use my claws to communicate “no,” “yes,” “thank you,” “I’m bored” and “I love you.”

God: Okay.

Cat: I shall be doing some indiscriminate biting of bare feet.

God: That is strictly prohibited.

Cat: Freelance biting, then. Also, I am a lion.

God: Thou art a cat. Thou art not much larger than a baked potato.

Cat: MEOW!!

God: [Laughter.] Was that supposed to be a roar? Oooh, oooh, I am so afraid!

Cat: I am immune to mockery.

God: Are we done here?

Cat: I will say “Let there be light,” and there will be light!

God: That is taken care of already, Cat. Instead, I shall give you the power to cure cancer in those who care for you. You may exercise this power with compassion and gratitude anytime you wish.

Cat: Nah. Too much of a hassle.

God: Fine.

Cat: I will neither “fetch” nor “sit.” Do I have a name?

God: You shall be given a name, yes. It might be Tommy or Sandra or a name that is dreadful like Fluffykins.

Cat: I shall never respond to it.

God: Fine.

Cat: I shall never have to go on “walks.”

God: Fine.

Cat: Fine?

God: Indeed. That leads us to a central issue, Cat. You shall poop in a box.

Cat: WHAT?

God: A little box. From the time you are a small suckling you will know that you must do this and you will never, ever, ever make a mistake about this.

Cat: No!

God: Your life depends on it. Trusteth me on this.

Cat: I cannot ...

God: You can and you will. You scratch bellies. You bite feet. You live as a saboteur. You are an unconscionable jerk. In return for this license you will poop in a little box.

Cat: I am a very good boy.

God: You are not.

Cat: The sand that I shall poop in? Is it expensive?

God: Yes, it is very expensive, indeed.

Cat: Fine.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Suspended Animation

waiting for what comes next

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On a day like this

I'll take color wherever I find it,

whether at the dump

or Green's View.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sometimes What December Brings Is





Thursday, December 15, 2016

It's Become an Addiction

Have to go to Winchester for pet supplies or prescriptions?

I make a stop on the way home to walk around and look at one of the most beautiful town squares.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Me-too Weather Report

The Trees Delete Themselves Inside a Fog-Sphere
by Francis Ponge
Translated by Karen Volkman

In the fog which surrounds the trees, the leaves are stripped—leaves defaced already by slow oxidation, deadened by the sap's out-seeping for flowers' and fruits' gain, since the harsh heats of August made of them a less.

In the bark, vertical furrows crease and slit where dampness drains to the earth's base, indifferent to the living citizens of the trunk.

Flowers scattered, fruit conferred. Since youth, this relinquishing of breathing attributes and body parts has become for the trees a standard practice.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Small Miracles

I needed to stretch my legs halfway between there and here, so when I saw the sign PUBLIX, I followed the arrow. 

I wandered up and down, much as I would in any foreign territory: curious, just seeing what there was to see.

Until this came into view!

I felt almost as elated as I had been the night before on watching two great-nieces dance in The Nutcracker.

It's the little things.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ghost Signs

I could hunt these down all my remaining days and never lose interest.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Thomas Wolfe Was Right

You can't go home again.

A new sign replaces an old one, torn down in my childhood. A walking trail from an interstate to the heart of downtown replaces the automobile underpass, the train station once above it torn down in my young adulthood.

Just as my mother's childhood home has recently been razed and my grandfather's 1920s Tudor too, both for grandiose houses, one a Disneyfied McMansion.

Home, but not.

Friday, December 9, 2016


cold -- of the kind that turns my fingers red, numb, white (though gloved and stuffed into wool-lined pockets) and fingernails purple, the kind that makes me fumble when I try to press any button on my camera and dries my eyes straining to see anything clearly, even my own shadow, reddens my nose and cheeks, whips up my jeans and down my socks -- may slow me down, but doesn't stop me from a brisk walk and a look, especially a slightly cheering one on seeing more water in Lake Cheston but still depressing given the appearance of segmented hardened earth -- like quilt patches -- of once-mud-then-packed-dry-blocks under that water; then the pronounced shadows, the long shadows that slash the reddened grasses standing up to the teens and the icy winds, teaching me to surrender to weather and still walk, still see, then recover with tea and warm water and cats, always doing the smart thing: hunkering in their round beds.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Headed for a Temperature Plummet Tonight

But, as Carolyn (the University Farm manager), assured me when I commented on the healthy greens in one of the hoophouses, "Everything will be fine." 

I believe her. I have watched her and her students make miracles out at Lake Cheston. Today was no exception. 

Even the sun cooperated.

16 degrees forecast for tonight. I hope my fingers make it tomorrow as I plan to visit again.

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.