Sleeping In on Sunday Morning

It is springlike enough for the doors and windows to be open this morning, so my Sunday morning ritual of the watching the talking heads pontificate while I practice (or try at least) my meditative calm is being accompanied by the bird songs from outside. The chorus include the songs of the many mockingbirds in our yard as they announce their territories. There are a number of redbirds adding their song to the mix. Even the raucous call of a crow can be heard.

Yesterday was so nice I spent most of the day outside enjoying the weather. As I walked along the woods at the back of the yard the Texas Privet and Honeysuckle really perfumed the air. The Privet brought back such memories of my childhood and summers sleeping with the windows open and the privet just outside wafting it’s perfume through the house. I also noticed that the Dewberries were ready for a first picking…Another childhood memory.

I just ran the youngest to work at the local taco shack. Used the excuse to hit the What-A-Burger for breakfast tacos. Bacon, eggs, cheese and potatoes in a flour tortilla…What more could a Texan ask for to start their day.

Well I am planning another day like yesterday…Lots of sitting in the sun with a book (face down) in my lap as I stared off in the distance. It doesn’t do much justice to Annie Dillard, whose book I wasn’t reading any faster than a page every hour, but I’ll do it again today.


Lazy Weekend Thoughts

Blue Ridge Country Magazine

One of the things I look forward to in the snail mail realm is “Blue Ridge Country Magazine“. I discovered the magazine about the same time I discovered the real thing and I have had a subscription almost since the very first issue I read. Since I started reading this mag I have stumbled across Fred First’s images on occasion, but, what keeps me reading is the writing of…

Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth Hunter’s column “From The Farm” in each issue is always the first thing I look for. In the years since I first discovered the magazine and subscribed I have come to appreciate her insights on mountain living and nature. Her column in this issue is part travelogue and part science/ecology lesson with a touch of Earth Day conservationism thrown in. As she takes us through Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky she explains the “mixed mesophytic forest” ecology and it’s resemblance to the same type of forest in China. She talks of the research being done in China to try to find a way to stop the hemlock woolly adelgid, a problem facing the whole of the Appalachians.

Since her trip took her through much of Kentucky, she even gets in some thoughts on the problems of the coal companies and their mountain top removal methods of destroying a way of life and the living species that once resided there. If you haven’t had a chance to check either the magazine or Elizabeth Hunter’s writing do yourself a favor and take a look…

Some issues of the magazine contain a extra gift or two when Elizabeth has a feature article to go along with the column.

Ron Rash

I first started noticing Ron Rash whenever I run across him a few years back when Garrison featured one of his poems in his daily “Writer’s Almanac”. Since that day I have added a couple of Ron’s volumes to my library, one poetry and one novel so far. So it was with interest I read his closing comments in this months Blue Ridge Country Magazine. As a bit of autobiography it was an interesting read. The columns title, “The Mountains My Hopes“, leads directly to the closing paragraph…

My hope is that the mountains my family has called home for more than 250 years, and much more than that for the small portion of Cherokee in me, will not be destroyed by coal companies, lax environmental laws and overzealous developers, who too often seem intent on destroying the rural landscape and natural beauty that attracts people to the region in the first place. No one can expect the southern Appalachian region to remain in some changeless vacuum, but how much change and at what cost are questions the region must ask itself.

I find I share the hopes expressed by Ron Rash for the mountains he grew up in, the mountains I have come to love.

The Nation Magazine

My morning email brought me an announcement from “The Nation” magazine that they have a special Earth Day edition out. One of the feature articles is ” Adapt or Die” by Mark Hertsgaard. In it he compares the flooding in Bangladesh with what has happened in New Orleans. The comparisons are not good for this country. The final paragraph is what really hit me between the eyes…

At this point we must accept that the battle to prevent global warming is over; now, the race to survive it has begun. This race will continue for the rest of our lives, testing human ingenuity, institutions and values as never before. Losses are inevitable, but the situation is not hopeless. We know much of what needs to be done, and we have considerable resources at our disposal. There is rough weather ahead, but if we keep our heads and stick together, we may find ways of living through the storm.

Source: Adapt or Die

Fragments From Floyd

Anyone who has read this blog knows I blame Fred First for the inspiration to follow his lead and try my hand at writing on a regular basis. I am still stumbling along looking for that voice I think I have and the words I want to say. A short while ago I had one of those stream of conscience moments where you just let the words flow. What came out was a “review” or as Tom Montag likes to say “an appreciation” of Fred’s “Slow Road Home”. The reason for the introduction here is Fred had a really good post up the other day for Earth Day and I wanted to link to it…

Earth Day 2007 – How many More

I’ll be bold and assume that thirty seven years of planet-watching earns me one stand in the bully pulpit. From this one citizen’s perspective, four things must happen. Making the rubber meet the road is quite another matter, and these are complex issues we must be talking about in Floyd’s meeting places, churches, and organizations.

  1. We must take individual responsibility for being carefully conscious of our family and community “environmental footprint” and reduce it.
  2. We must insist that efficiency and conservation by industry and commerce play a much stronger role than they have thus far in CO2 abatement.
  3. We must not become complacent by thinking that our individual conservation or lifestyle changes alone will fully solve the larger problem.
  4. We must find a just way to prevent those who produce the least greenhouse gases from suffering the most.

No matter what we do in the short run, climate change impacts on humanity are likely to be large in the coming century, even here in remote Floyd County. Coping with this unprecedented degree of change will require a whole new way of thinking about our relationship with the planet and each other. Let’s renew our commitment to these goals this Earth Day, and move quickly toward an Earth Decade.


You know it’s a funny thing about the sitemeter stats. I must be saying something here on occasion that touches at least a few people. I don’t have a lot of site visits, but it appears I have a few returning visitors. Some of the locations ring a bell from the comments that have been made over the past year. Some though I have yet to meet. So here’s a great big Texas Howdy to all with thanks for your stopping by. If you really want to make my day…Tell me what it is that brings you by…

Well, I’ve spent way to much time playing this morning and the wife is giving me dirty looks so I better run.
Y’all have a great weekend, get out enjoy spring…See you all on the other side.

End of a Week Muse

This week has been tragic on many fronts. From the middle east to middle America (give or take a few miles, geographically speaking), death has touched the lives of many people this week. Some have lived with the specter of death for many months and years, some had that specter appear unexpectedly and walk amongst them. It is the very randomness death’s touch in such a time that is the hardest to comprehend, and the hardest to forgive yourself for living through while those around you died.

To me, what was brought home this week was the utter futility of this war that George Bush has declared. The “War on Terror”, what a disaster of a name. Virginia Tech brings home the futility of our “War on Terror”, when a local college student can bring this much “Terror”, awe and destruction on a nation with a couple of hours of unplanned, non-conspirecy violence and touch the lives of a nation with the hand of fear, how do you “War” against terror? You don’t…And you can’t. By the very act of going to war with terrorist you legitimize their very existence.

Of every thing that has been said this week, the following words ring truest and most powerfully for me. I heard a recording of Ms. Giovanni’s address on Tuesday, I followed a link from a Sojourners email to the transcript. I am confident that the family of Virginia Tech will get through this with spiritual guides like Nikki to point the path.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Source: Transcript of Nikki Giovanni’s Convocation address | Virginia Tech

For me, one of the telling points of this whole tragedy is that the daily death toll in Iraq continues to climb and we seem to ignore the loss they must feel as we commensurate with each other over our own loss. What does it say about us as a nation?

My prayer to all is that no matter what God(s) you pray to, may your prayers of piece and understanding be granted foreach and everyone of our sakes…

Spring morning – At last…Will it last?

This morning is starting off with the look and feel of that rare but perfect spring day on the SE Texas coast. The air is damp and heavy with a low fog laying in the field behind the house. Te sky is clear from the front we had through yesterday. But best of all for a day or two at least we are waking up with the temperature in what a few years ago at least would be seasonable, 52 degrees. The back door is open and the birds are singing the sun up as I sit with my coffee and my emails. The train whistle is sounding as the morning freight moves through town. The sounds of cars moving on the highway bypass as folks make their way to work is already intruding on the birdsong.

It is funny how much of what we do in the morning becomes a routine. The same thing everyday, at the same time, you could almost do it in your sleep. That is the problem, for me at least. If I don’t stop and force my mind into what I am doing I lose that whole meditative state that comes with being mindful of even the little things in the morning routine. As I move from bed to bath to kitchen, it is so easy to just go with the flow and not think about what I am doing. In the kitchen though I usually must become more mindful as I put together the breakfast and lunch I take with me to work.

My drive home each day is down many back country roads. When we first moved south into the country these roads were all gravel. In the past 10 years they have all been paved. I tend to get off the highways and follow this winding, changing route hope most days. It really doesn’t take any longer though it adds a few miles to the drive. The time factor is probably due to the lack of traffic and stop lights on this route. The reason for this ramble is my first sighting of Scissortailed Flycatcher for the year. I spotted one way back in the farmland in my meander home yesterday evening. These are birds of the summer here and I always look forward to seeing them on the electric lines along the roads.

Another avian resident that I see occasionally all year round is the Kingfisher. They have a habit of sitting on the same lines as the Scissortail, if those lines are above a water filled ditch. I don’t recall them being as common in my youth as they appear to be now. But then again, I probably wasn’t very observant then…

Routine says (along with the clock on the shelf) that it’s time to move…Later.

Wednesday Coffee Muses

Forgive the sparsity of the posts those few of you who check this site regularly. It has been a busy few weeks at work. For the last week as I’ve gone through the morning email I haven’t felt the compulsion to comment on the world at large or my own little corner of it. Then the Monday evil that happened in Virgina left me with a lot to say but no need to add my voice to the general noise level that existed.

The Virginia Tech shootings hit home because of the connection it has with many of my virtual friends from Floyd and Boone. The first thought I had was of them and their friends and families. Then as the news stories filtered out I had a growing anger. My anger was not at the gunman, that sick man was beyond my anger, but with the reporters.

As they questioned the officials and witnesses they were able to corner, these reporters were being rude. They were acting like they had the right to have there questions answered even when the reasons they weren’t being answered made sense. And they became more demanding. At the time nobody involved had any clue of the magnitude of the disaster and yet these reporters wanted answers in internet time…Folks, for people who can’t seem to even ask a question about the way the country or the war or the world for that matter is being run, to rake the college police and the witnesses over the coals for what they did and didn’t do in a manner consistent with the reporters time sense was uncalled for at the very least.

Let me add my sympathies to those of all the others in this country for the families and friends of those that were slain. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all in this time of great sorrow.

A Sunday in Spring

I thought I’d just drop a picture here…Grandson at the Grandparents in Spring…

Yardwork mostly done…just enjoying the sun.

It's A Beautiful Sunday in Spring

After a wet and blustery start to the weekend, the clouds blew out yesterday evening and today has started bright, clear, and beautifully blue skied. It is also one of those always surprising days when we a cooler than Boone and Floyd. I will probably be out playing catch up on the yardwork after the last few wet weekends.

I saw in the paper that Alberto Gonzales is using an op-ed to try and explain away his responsibility for the mismanagement of his department. I can hardly wait for his testimony in Congress this week…I’ve just watched the Vice-President of the USA call me irresponsible for I don’t know how many times because I disagree with his opinion of how well the administration is doing in running their “War on Terrorism” in Iraq.

Let me get this straight, we are supposed to trust and agree with the people running this administration as they strip the constitutional guarantees we have that protect us against just these kind of people.

Sorry for the rant, I should know better by now than to listen to Cheney or read opinions by the man who approved torture and discounted the Geneva Conventions.

See ya’ll tomorrow…

Spring or Summer or Winter Still?

Sitting here looking at the current weather as I have my first cup of coffee I am trying to decide what the season might be. As I was pouring that cup, the weather station on the wall was telling me 68 with a 84% humidity. That comes close to meeting my definition of summertime weather. Then my morning email tells me the temperature right now in Boone, NC are 32 degrees. Floyd, Va is reporting 36 degrees. Now those temperatures scream winter to me (granted I am a southern boy by training and birth so what do I know about winter). All I can say to all my friends on the Blue Ridge is throw another log on the fire and pull the covers back up, it ain’t time to plant them gardens just yet even though the sun keeps teasing you with 70’s this year.

As I was out driving the John Deere around the backyard last evening I notice the Red Oak tree I planted when we first move out here is covered with little curled red leaves, just opening and starting to grow. That’s pretty much the last of the trees to leaf out this year. Even the Mimosas have been showing green for a while.

Here is an interesting tidbit from the middle of an article on the erosion of power in the White House…

A telling sign of America’s inability to solve chronic problems is the IMF’s discussion of our addiction to oil — something President Bush talks plenty about but lacks the political will or congressional support to change. The IMF has gathered some shocking statistics: U.S. gasoline consumption as a share of gross domestic product is nearly five times that in the other major industrialized countries; gasoline accounts for 43 percent of U.S. oil consumption vs. 15 percent in other countries; fuel efficiency in America is 25 percent lower than in the European Union and 50 percent lower than in Japan. No wonder the world doubts our seriousness on energy issues.

Source: David Ignatius – A Power Outage At the White House –

Interesting numbers, don’t you think?