Tuseday Muse

It has been a few weeks now since I jumped back into this try at blogging. I don’t think I have quite gotta handle on what I am trying to say yet. I am not even sure why I feel the need to throw this out into the ether. If you are along for the ride, bear with me and mind the bumps.

I started a post the other day and haven’t finished it to my satisfaction, so this isn’t it, but in that meandering try at prose I mentioned a book I grew up with here in Texas. Since this is the day of the internet and Google, I did a search for the title I remembered. Found it almost immediately at Biblio.com, someone had it for sale…short story long, I ordered it and will be reliving my early years over the next couple of weeks reading “Texas Sketchbook, A Collection of Historical Stories From The Humble Way”.

Just to keep with the idea behind the title of this Blog, here’s a bit about Boone, NC I came across today:


‘Boone, the most elevated county seat east of the Rocky mountains, is 3,222 feet above the sea. Its population numbers 200, and lives along a street rising
and falling with the hills. No majestic mountains rise around it, consequently there is less of the attractive that distinguish most mountain county seats. Near the stream which flows on one side of the town, Daniel Boone, the famous hunter, is said to have camped while on a hunting tour. It is from this camping tradition that the village took its name.’ (1883, Zeigler, p. 267)

‘When we had ridden into its single street, which wanders over gentle hills, and landed at the most promising of the taverns, the Friend informed his comrade that Boone was 3,250 feet above Albemarle Sound, and believed by its inhabitants to be the highest village east of the Rocky Mountains. The Professor said that it might be so, but it was a God-forsaken place. Its inhabitants numbered perhaps 250, a few of them colored. It had a gaunt, shaky courthouse and jail, a store or two, and two taverns. The two taverns are needed to accommodate the judges and lawyers and their clients during the session of the court. The court is the only excitement, the only amusement…(continued to p.39)’ (1889, Warner, Charles D. p. 36)

The site isn’t all up but there is some great historical references…Western North Carolina Heritage. Go have some fun with history.

Ambivalence: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

It has long been a theory of mine that the myth of our lives is created in the reflection we see in the eyes of our loved ones and friends. It is through our trying to live up to the myth created around our lives by those who watch that we surpass the mundane.

Stowe Boyd (no relation that I know of) seems to feel it also:

Ambivalence: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu: “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

There is a common expression in Xhosa (Zulu), I have read, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu which means ‘a person is a person through other persons’. This is just as true for the nomad as it is for the villager, perhaps even more so, despite the distance and the time that holds us apart from others we know and love.”

“A person is a person through other persons”, you are forced to live up to the myth you create by living up to the myth that others create about you. It’s all so circular, you have to wonder…wander as a nomad, live as a villager…it’s still the reflection of your life that you see.

Just as it is the brightest lights that cast the darkest shadows, the strongest bonds are those linking travelers to the unmoving world, but they are loose ties, hardly felt, like the embrace of the Earth holding us, or the push of the wind at our backs as we move ahead in the night. We are defined by our circles, but for the traveler these are loose, flowing, light: not a box and a book, but instead a bedouin’s robe and a song or two, songs to be sung alone, or with others over the next rise. Travelers are never more themselves than then, sharing our innermost songs, singing the circles, telling our own tales. and then, moving on.

I can see I will need to keep track of what stories Stowe has to tell.

Thanks to Shelley Powers at Burningbird via The Magpie Nest

Joni Mitchell on the Computer

“Were captive on the carousel of time
We cant return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and roundIn the circle game”

“Take your time, it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down”

“Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through”

Circle Gamw by Joni Mitchell

As I sat at the computer today during lunch, I was reading Fragments From Floyd archives when I heard the Circle Game come on the computer. I first heard that song in a movie back around 1972 at the Lowe’s Delman Theatre on Main St. in Houston. The movie was Butterflies Are Free and the singer on the soundtrack was Buffy Sainte-Marie,

Every time I hear that song it pulls me back to an earlier time when it was all ahead of me, now after 34 years I find the words a little more prophetic.

Eat Local

This months issue of Mother Jones has an article on Polyface Farm and Joel Salatin. His comments on farming and politics really speak to me.

No Bar Code: ““We don’t have to beat them,” Joel patiently explained. “I’m not even sure we should try. We don’t need a law against McDonald’s or a law against slaughterhouse abuse—we ask for too much salvation by legislation. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.

“And make no mistake: it’s happening. The mainstream is splitting into smaller and smaller groups of like-minded people. It’s a little like Luther nailing his 95 theses up at Wittenberg. Back then it was the printing press that allowed the Protestants to break off and form their own communities; now it’s the Internet, splintering us into tribes that want to go their own way.””

One of the things we always do when we come to Boone is visit the Watauga County Farmers Market, which is pretty much what they are talking about here. Buy local, get to know the local producers it’s the best protection you have to insure the quality of your food.

I really liked the term Joel used in the following quote to equate the production of food to the ecology of the area the farm is located in:

“No, I don’t think you understand. I don’t believe it’s sustainable—‘organic,’ if you will—to FedEx meat all around the country,” Joel told me. “I’m afraid if you want to try one of our chickens, you’re going to have to drive down here to pick it up.”

This man was serious. He went on to explain that Polyface does not ship long distance, does not sell to supermarkets, and does not wholesale its food. All of the meat and eggs that Polyface produces is eaten within a few dozen miles or, at the most, half a day’s drive of the farm—within the farm’s “foodshed.”

I think I really like that term “foodshed”, pretty much says every thing you need to say…If you are in the “foodshed” of Polyface Farm you might want to check’em out. This is the kind of grassroots action that could just take-off (after half a century of trying).

Home again

Just for fun I pulled up this old Landsat Photo and marked my home on it. Do you see me waving? This may give you an idea of why I watch the weather so closely this time of year. Most of what is between me and the Gulf of Mexico stands under at least a little water at some part of the year.

I guess it is a part of the Boy Scout training I received growing up, but maps and satellite photos are some of my favorite things. And Google Earth is way up on that list… Posted by Picasa

Blue Ridge blog

Blue Ridge blog: “Hugh Morton passed away yesterday. Mr. Morton is a famous North Carolinian who championed the preservation of the Tarheel State’s scenic beauty through his photography . It helped that he owned a mountain as grand as Grandfather. “

I never had the privilege of meeting Mr. Morton, but, he was one of the people in North Carolina that first inspired my interest in the Valle Crucis ~ Linville area. When I first started planning our first family trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains there were two areas I was looking at. Northwestern North Carolina I had visited alone in 2000, the other was the Ashville area. As I started investigating areas for the trip I stumbled onto the website of the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. The story behind the store intrigued me and led me to do more research on the area. That led me to Grandfather Mountain, and the story of the Mountain, the family and the man inspired me. One of the primary sites on our agenda that year was going to be Grandfather Mountain, unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and it took three tries to get a chance to visit Mr. Morton’s Mountain. From then on one or more of Hugh Morton’s photos graced the desktop of my computer, and for the longest time the Grandfather Mountain Screensaver ran on my computers…

Our plans for this year are centered around the Highland Games. We planned the trip to be in Valle Crucis on the weekend after the 4th just to be able to attend. And for this, again my thanks go to Mr. Morton for his allowing this event to be held on “his mountain”. I intend to spend some time in silence, thanking the man himself for what he has held in trust for all of us.

And sometime in the future, I hope to attend the photographers weekend myself and learn from the spirit of the mountain…

Hugh Morton
Rest peacefully on the mountain.

Ron Rash, Iris Press

Ron Rash, Iris Press: “

It was last week that David St Lawrence posted about a reading given by Ron Rash in Floyd. I first stumbled onto Ron Rash last year on Garrison Keillor’s email newsletter, The Writer’s Almanac, hear it here. The poem being presented was “The Exchange” from Among the Believers (2000, Iris Press,). Something in the poem really grabbed me ‘cause truth to tell, I don’t normally read poetry…Since then every time I have seen a reference to Mr. Rash and his work, I have paid attention. I am glad I did, and I really wish I could have been in Floyd that night to have heard the words in the voice of the man who wrote them…I am going to post a piece of “The Exchange” here, please go read the whole thing and then try a book or two…

The Exchange Between Wytheville, Virginiaand the North Carolina line,he meets a wagon headedwhere he’s been, seated besideher parents a dark-eyed girlwho grips the reins in her fist,no more than sixteen, he’d guessas they come closer and shedoesn’t look away or blushbut allows his eyes to holdhers that moment their lives pass.He rides into Boone at dusk,stops at an inn where he buyshis supper, a sleepless nightthinking of fallow fields stillmiles away, the girl he mightnot find the like of again.

A bit of family myth and the voice of a poet, with that combination, all of us would have a chance to write the epic of our own mythology.

From the Iris Press website:

Ron Rash’s family has lived in the southern Appalachian mountains since the mid-1700’s, and it is this region that is the primary focus of his writing. Rash grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and graduated from Gardner-Webb College and Clemson University. He is currently the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University. He is the author to three books of poetry: Eureka Mill, Among the Believers (2000, Iris Press,) and Raising the Dead (2002, Iris Press); and two collections of short stories: The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth (1994), and Casualties (2000.) . He is also author or two acclaimed novels: One Foot in Eden (2002,) and Saints at the River (2004,) and one book for children: The Shark’s Tooth.

His poetry and fiction have been published in over 80 journals and magazines including Yale Review, Georgia Review, Oxford American, New England Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah and DoubleTake. Ron Rash has received frequent awards and recognition for his writing, including The Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award for 2003 and Forward Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Literary Novel of 2002, both for his debut novel, One Foot in Eden.”