may 14, 2018

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“There is a profound peace found only in non-reactivity.” ~ Brian Thompson


invasive species (snapseed)


Even though it was a balmy 90 degrees, the evening breeze was calling my name. Chores complete(ish), book in hand, out I went to read and soak up the evening. I was two pages in when I caught a strong whiff of honeysuckle. Chainsaw Charlie’s yard is full of the invasive woody bush, but for all the mess he and his yard are, this is the one time of the year when I can stand it. I more than stand it, I inhale it from the very bottom of me feet. Instantly, I was transported to the old baseball field in West Liberty. Some people only know it as the football field – the piss-marked dugouts long gone – and pretty soon they won’t even remember that what with a new Herdman field now in use at Index. But there was a time in West Liberty when baseball and softball ruled the day. Both mom and dad played in leagues (I did, too, as a teenager). Dad played the most, or at least it’s his games I remember best. They played on the only field the town had back in the 1960’s and that was the field shared with the football field behind the WPA High School. The field was fenced in, and over time, the fence had become encased in a wall of honeysuckle so thick there was a tunnel walkway inside. And if you wanted a little smoke or a little drink during the games, this was the place to do it (don’t ask me how I know). But for a child, it was the smell of the honeysuckle during the spring games that made the biggest impression. There was so much honeysuckle you could pull the stem from the blooms and suck the sweet nectar until you were nearly sick. Those were glorious days for me, and tonight I took a little trip back to that time. The nectar is still sweet.


manna from heaven (snapseed)


may 7, 2014

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“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” ~ Unknown


honeysuckle (instagram)


I’m convinced heaven smells like Kentucky in spring, and right now, Kentucky smells like heaven thanks in part to honeysuckle. Native Kentucky honeysuckle is a beautiful and delicate vine. These days we mostly have a non-native woody beast that’s invasive as all get out. Conversely, the native vine is very hard to find. Nevertheless, honeysuckle’s aroma reminds me of my childhood. One whiff and I’m transported back to the mountains. I’m eight years old swinging from thick tree vines, letting go, and sliding down a muddy hill with Mark Collinsworth and Patty Vance. We suck sweet nectar out of a thousand honeysuckle blossoms when we reach the bottom, then climb up the hill, and do it again. Poison oak and ivy has no effect on us. Broken bones? Not a chance. I had a great childhood. Thank you, honeysuckle.

march 22, 2014

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It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly
than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.

~ Bhagavad Gita

friends to the rescue
friends to the rescue

I was supposed to be in West Liberty today for the placing of the WWI Doughboy statute that was destroyed during the tornado and repaired by artist Steve Tirone. My parents, as members of the Morgan County DAV chapter, were a big part of the ceremony. I was disappointed that I couldn’t be there for the same reason I’ve been unable to dig out the last of those honeysuckle stumps: dadburn bronchitis. Plus, the city decided they wouldn’t pick up last week’s debris until they were “tied in small bundles.” Mind you, no one on this street ropes their yard waste, including me, and they always pick up the debris, to which I say, “silly arbitrary rule use, naughty Lexington.” But I digress…

see us
see us use string

Anyway, Annie and Stacy found it in their hearts to help their sick pal by digging out the last of the stumps and bundling debris. Taking their pictures helped remind me that, while I was missing an important moment for my hometown, I was nevertheless present for an equally important moment in my own yard. Service is measured in many ways: to one’s God, one’s country, one’s community, one’s neighbors, one’s friends, and to one’s self. All equal in value to one’s spirit and the greater good. For this day, for these friends, and for Photoshop, I am truly thankful.

dancing queens
dancing queens

march 15, 2014

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Who the hell knows what’s gonna happen to them? Nobody! Isn’t that comforting?
~ Elaine Stritch

clean sweep
clean sweep

My neighbor had a hedge of honeysuckle that stretched from our houses to the sidewalk. He never trimmed it. By last summer it had reached 13-15 feet high. I couldn’t see anything to the East when the leaves were full. I got no morning sun, limiting growth in the front yard. The overflowing pollen turned my blue porch green for weeks in spring. For seven years it had been this way. Last fall I finally came up with an idea. I offered to remove the honeysuckle and replace it with a real hedge of burning bushes, which I would also keep trimmed. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. Annie Bassoni lent a hand, and today we removed the hedge. “My, my, my,” he said, after most of the stumps were gone. “What do you think? Doesn’t it look great?” I asked. “My, my,” he replied. He didn’t really say much more. Meanwhile, the neighbors across the street were thrilled. It was totally worth the work. It helped me and my neighbor, and I got to spend time with friends. I call that a win.

before, after, in-between
after, before, in-between