Last day of February – 2007

The last full month of winter is ending and here where I call home, its ending like spring. The morning temperature is already 65 degrees outside. Windows are thrown wide and doors are open in hopes of a breeze…None blows. The winter bird residents are talking outside my door this morning. Mockingbirds in the distance, robins up closer to the house. There is even a undertone of finch-i-ness in the morning air here under the leafing oaks. I really hope this isn’t a sign of things to come this summer…

I saw a report yesterday that El Nina is rearing her head in the Pacific. That usually means (so they said) that hurricanes are more prevalent on the Atlantic side (which I assume includes the Gulf) of America with a lessening of Pacific storms. Happy news to start the new Hurricane season.

The morning forecast email is foretelling a beautiful day in the mountains of the Blue Ridge. Wish I were there to enjoy it…Some day in the not to distant future. All ya’ll with the chance, get out and enjoy that sun today, it’s a sure cure for the mid-winter blahs.

The squirrels have joined the chorus outside. They must be scolding one of our cats…

History Lesson

It was on this day in 1854 that about 50 opponents of slavery gathered in Ripon, Wisconsin, to found the Republican Party. The group was made up of Northern Democrats, Whigs, and a small antislavery party called the Free Soil Party. And they were remarkably successful for a brand-new party. In 1856, after just two years in existence, they elected 92 representatives and 20 senators, and they came close to capturing the presidency with their candidate John C. Freemont. And just four years after that, they did win the presidency with their candidate Abraham Lincoln. No new political party since then has won the presidency of the United Sates.

You really have to wonder at the changes time has wrought in the party of Lincoln…

Source: The Writer’s Almanac

Looks like it’s time to move…catch you down the road…

Home Politics or Politics of Home

Susan Albert had a post yesterday that really spoke to me. I keep going back and re-reading what she had to say about Terry Tempest Williams and her book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place.

In an interview titled “The Politics of Place,” Williams talks about the importance of staying home–or at least, staying in one place long enough to learn its seasons, its inhabitants, the names of things. Here’s a paragraph (the longer interview is definitely worth reading)

I believe that to stay home, to learn the names of things, to realize who we live among… The notion that we can extend our sense of community, our idea of community, to include all life forms — plants, animals, rocks, rivers and human beings — then I believe a politics of place emerges where we are deeply accountable to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our home. Otherwise, who is there to chart the changes? If we are not home, if we are not rooted deeply in place, making that commitment to dig in and stay put … if we don’t know the names of things, if don’t know pronghorn antelope, if we don’t know blacktail jackrabbit, if we don’t know sage, pinyon, juniper, then I think we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation.

Staying at home, learning a place well enough so that we can chart the changes–that’s a significant, meaningful commitment. Among all the other things we must do to protect this earth and the places we love, that’s right at the top.

As I read the above I find myself saying yea, that’s obvious. Then I realize that until I read it, It wasn’t. Then it starts me to thinking about what it means to those of us who feel the pull of a different place than the one we were raised in and call home. I have spent 53 years figuring out that the Texas Gulf coast, no matter how long I stay, lacks something that my nature calls out for. I never realized what it was until a few years ago driving back from the San Antonio area I felt the growing depression as the land flattened out towards home.

Since I find I agree with Terry Williams on the central part of her thesis, and I have spent my lifetime doing what she says, what does it say about me that I now find the need to do it all over again in a new/old place. Is it, as I think, that ancestral pull to the even older home? Or, is it just looking for the new experiences to reawaken the old wonder of the new?

Source: Lifescapes

Enough introspection so early in the morning. Let’s see if there is anything in the mornings email…

I see that the Floyd area is still having some fun with the below freezing temperatures this morning, though it looks like Boone and Valle Crucis are in the above freezing side of the thermometer.

Reading the Washington Post this morning I see that Richard Cohen has some good things to say about Al Gore.

Gore — the son of a senator himself — was raised for the presidency. But for the moment at least, he is showing all the irritating signs of a man at peace with himself. He abandoned Washington for Nashville. He has made a bundle in his investments, and he has set out to show that there is life after a failed candidacy, a purposeful life in which a man can do some good. His movie and his speeches are — to paraphrase what Clausewitz said about war — a continuation of politics by other means. He cannot make war but he can still make a difference.

If he runs are not, my hats off to Al Gore. He is making a difference by making a difference and in the long run that’s what matters.

Just to show how spring is trying to push on in this year, here’s a photo of the leaves popping out on the oaks in my yard.

Here is another…

Monday Morning Reading

I see from the weather forecast that the Blue Ridge should get a reprieve from the ice box. SE Texas is feeling a lot like a early mountain summer. Foggy morning, low 70’s by afternoon.

Leon Hale had a pretty good column yesterday. A look back at the end of the world 70 or so years ago. On his blog this weekend they were discussing the “barred owl concert” at his country place.

Looking through my emails I found this story in the Washington Post. I am surprised that more in the President’s Party haven’t broken their necks trying to speak out of both sides of there mouths at the same time. E J Dionne makes some good points about the reasons for this administrations fall from “grace” with the American people. And as much as anything that has happened in the past decade this quote is about a succinct as it gets to summing up the disparity in what they say and what they do.

But it’s certainly amusing that so many who were eager to throw Clinton out of office for perjury and obstruction of justice when he lied about sex are now livid at Fitzgerald for bringing comparable charges in a controversy over the rationale for war. Do they think sex is more important than war?

Source: E. J. Dionne Jr. – Smearing Like It’s 2003 –

Time to start that morning commute…fogs a rising and so am I…later

Sunday Morning Muses

You have to love this time of year…Don’t you?

Last evening we were running the AC to dry out the house after a week of humidity and temperatures in the upper 70’s, something had to give. It did. Luckily, I checked the forecast before going to bed last night and switched the thermostat to the heater side.

Even with the AC side set higher than I like and the Heater side set lower than the wife likes we are eating up the Kwh this year already.

Even the flowers outside can’t quite figure this year out. Last week one of my Angel’s Trumpets was blooming all over. There must have been over a dozen big white blooms on the plant. Then came the freeze of the last week and all of the blooms shriveled up and hung limp and brown. Then came the week we just had. And the blooms on the plant that hadn’t been burned completely…They returned. And this last week, they were joined by the Azaleas around the house. All winter long, there have been a few honeysuckle blooms on the vine in the yard…Not many, but at least a few all winter long.

It seems like a long tradition of weather myths here in the Houston area, but like all myths, there is that kernel of fact that feeds the life of the myth…It rained on the Rodeo Parade. I haven’t looked at the records. I am sure they wouldn’t bear up to the weight of the myth, but, every time it rains on the Trail Riders it makes the news in Houston. Many years ago (many, many) I made the trip through the parade route in a covered wagon after making many of the overnight camps on the trail (I couldn’t ride for a couple of reasons: no horse and school). By best friend’s brother was on the ride and we would meet at their campsites each night for a few hours before heading home for school the next day. Then on the last night before the parade we joined the Riders at Memorial Park for the night. The next morning we pulled on our boots and hats and bummed a ride on one of the wagons for the ride through downtown Houston. For some reason, every year at this time, I relive those long gone days…I wonder just what pushes those memories to the surface?

Another of my shots from Friday.

Have a great day, and I’ll catch ya’ll down the way.

Only in Texas

So maybe they sleep in comfortable recreational vehicles these days instead of bunking under the stars and use propane tanks to cook their vittles.

That doesn’t mean the 300 or so members of the Sam Houston Trail Ride moseying along toward Houston aren’t real spur-jingling cowboys and cowgirls.

More than 6,000 riders, representing the Sam Houston outfit and a dozen other groups, are expected to begin pushing into the city limits today for the final leg of this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo trail ride.

By the time they cross into the grounds at Memorial Park on Friday, the trail riders will have covered a combined total of almost 1,800 miles.

Source: Trail riders back in the saddle and the city limits again – Houston Chronicle

Go Texan Day in Houston always brings a bunch of Trail Riders by the office on their way to Memorial Park and the Rodeo Parade downtown tomorrow. This group appears to be the Southwest Trail Ride established in 1993. They are in the last 10 miles of a 120-mile ride from Rosenberg, Texas.

This group of riders has been coming by our offices each year. Their passing is the highlight of everyones “Go Texan Day”.

These are some of the first few wagons that passed. It was a pretty large group this year.
I’ve posted some more shots on my Flickr site…Trail Riders.

revised 2/24/2007 8:30am
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TGIF – 2767

And another week has passed. Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies as you get older. As Einstein might say, “It’s all relative my friend”. Yesterday was 1/19375 of my life, no wonder the days seem shorter. Oh well, the coffees hot, the morning email calls and…Time Passes.

Sorry for the short post this morning. I ended up going off on a bit of an anti-(Bush, War, Rightwing) Screed over at Blues From the Red Side of Life Blog. Feel free to jump over or not…

Today is “Go Texan” day in Houston. The kick off to the Houston Rodeo season. Everyone is supposed to dress up like “cowboys” which means the John Trivolta “Urban Cowboy” look. What we all called the goat roper look back in the suburban side of Houston I grew up on. Of course everyone I hung out with were surfers translating into hippies as the culture changed. So I’ll send a big “Howdy” out to all ya’ll and say…”Ya’ll come back now, ya’ear”

Foggy, drippy morning

As I wandered out with the garbage this morning I could feel the fog in the air. The sound of the water dripping off the trees was everywhere. I will admit though, the temperature in the upper 50’s was nice. Yesterday we were pushing 80 by the afternoon and it made you appreciate being in the shade. After a very wet and cloudy start, the sky cleared of by mid-morning and it was a beautiful day as seen from behind the monitors on my desk (as in not). It’s days like yesterday that bring on that dreaded disease called “Spring Fever”, and I know I was beginning to feel the symptoms. If I am not careful I am sure the disease will become full blown and I’ll have to self- prescribe an afternoon on the grass with a kite…or a camera.

I see from the mornings run to Floyd County that Fred has expanded his borders a bit in his “writings of place”. With the addition of the new blog he is going to have more white space to fill. I look forward to tagging along on his exploration of discovery about the place he calls home and the people who have lived along that slow road and called it home also.

Well, I am running a bit late this morning and it’s about that time. I gotta run but I’ll try to add to this post later if I get the chance. Take care and have a great day.

This is a shot from the drive in this morning…

Photoshoped a bit to suit my eye.

Tuesday Coffee Muses

When I woke up this morning the weather outside would fit the Blue Ridge Mountains in the summertime. This morning it is 62 degrees to start the day. The weather prognosticators are promising mid 70’s by the afternoon. The sky will stay mostly cloudy with just a slight chance of rain today. As I sit here now in the Kitchen with my coffee and my laptop, the back door is open and the birds are doing their morning thing.

I have had a spike in traffic this week according to Seems I did what a lot of other people did when I read Mary Mackey’s poetry last week. I immediately Googled Mary to find out more and then I did my blog post. That managed to get me on the search page just below the listing for the Writer’s Almanac itself and that alone has driven more traffic to my site than any other post I have ever had. Granted the numbers are nowhere near the daily reads for a lot of the blogs out there, but they sure show up as a spike in the charts. Since that day I have read more of Mary’s work and I really like what I’ve read.

Time to hit the road…

Now at work…We have set the date for this years trip to the Blue Ridge. We are planning for the last two weeks in July. Sherry wants to finally do the Biltmore bit on our way up to the Valle Crucis/Boone area. So that’ll call for a couple of days in the Asheville area.

I would like to make my way up to Floyd and meet the folks up that away. And Marie, we really need to try for that soda on the porch at the Mast or play some checkers by the stove…Or maybe just go wading in the river by the park and take some photos.

Well, it’s the companies time now so I better get to earning my keep…Gotta pay for the trip somehow…

Saturday at the Office

This is the kind of day I am missing by being in the office right now. The shot above is from my Birthday Road Trip of a couple of weeks ago. The drive in today was just as clear and just as bright.

This morning brought the news that the power has returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA with the return of David and Fred to the blogging fold.

Oh well it’s time to get busy and take care of the things I came in to get done. Catch ya down the infoway.
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