january 3, 2019

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“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.” ~ Bob Goff

 

still brook

 

I had such a restful break last week that I’m having trouble getting up before dawn again. For those who don’t know, I’m so not a morning person. I never have been and I never will be. I’m just not made that way. I’ve always been at my best in the late, late evenings, but the only time I can stay up that late is during the Christmas break. Otherwise, I’m so tired that I’m no good any time. That’s neither here nor there except to say my lack of sleep means I’ve already finished a novel this year and it’s only January 3. This morning, bleary eyed coffee in hand, I was thinking about how important reading is to me. Plus, I love it so much. So, I decided to write down the books I’d finished in 2018. I say finished because I’ll bounce between three or four books at once until I finish all of them, or until I fall in love with one that I can’t put down until it’s done. Knowing that I am currently reading as many titles as listed here, the books I actually finished in 2018 were (in no particular order):

    • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
    • Southernmost – Silas House
    • Lincoln In The Bardo – George Saunders
    • Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
    • Melmoth – Sarah Perry
    • From Here to Eternity – Caitlyn Doughty
    • Just Us Kids – Patti Smith
    • Country Dark – Chris Offutt
    • Birds of Opulence – Crystal Wilkinson
    • Night Garden – Carrie Mullins
    • Stardust – Neil Gaiman
    • Dodger – Terry Pratchett
    • Above The Waterfall – Ron Rash
    • One Foot In Eden – Ron Rash

     

    I’m disappointed in how few books are on this list, though I am hardly surprised. If you’re as busy as I was in the fall, watch too much TV as I do, and are generally a slow reader as I am, you’re not going to finish a lot of books, especially if you read four at a time (I don’t recommend it). Part of my goal in 2019 is less TV, less extracurricular work, and fewer posts. That should help make time for more reading. One of the reasons reading is important to me is because good writers read a lot. I’m a slow reader and an even slower writer, so it’s already an uphill battle for me. Add a billion other distractions and things churn like molasses. But what I really want from reading is to absorb the goodness of language; the poetry of a single sentence; the essence of thought; so that maybe one day I create my own beautiful sentence that inspires and provokes others. As far as this list, every one of the books was awesome in one way or another (or I wouldn’t have finished it) so I’ll just say this; All The Light We Cannot See is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, the characters from Birds of Opulence and Country Dark will stay with me forever, and Sarah Perry is an unexpected extraordinary storyteller. I’m looking forward to more characters and great stories in 2019.

november 30, 2015

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“Your attitude really does have an effect on how things work out. When you can’t change your life any other way, you can still change your attitude. When you do, your life changes.” ~ Bernie Siegel

 

dreary
dreary

 

Some of the trees high in the Pisgah Forest of North Carolina are weighed down in lichen and moss. It’s a moss that looks like the short, green cousin of Spanish Moss in the Southern states of the U.S. It’s easy to see in the fall when the leaves are off and the rain heavy clouds drape the mountain tops in mist. I tried to take a walk this morning to get a closer look, but those rain heavy clouds unloaded on me, and my excursion was short lived. I’ll say this though, if I ever have the chance to have a home in the mountains, I may never be heard from again. Beauty and peace beyond words in these high places.

 

water only flows this way once
water only flows this way once

july 14, 2015

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“People nowadays are just looking for a reason to be offended. Play with your kids. Walk your dog. Read a book. Take a hike in the woods. Work on being the best person you can be. Busy your mind with things that bring you joy and you will have no time for the things you can’t control or don’t understand.”
~ Brett Williams

 

within its banks
within its banks

 

We followed this beautiful little creek down a dirt road in Cherokee County. It was so peaceful. With enough rain, though, even the most calm of streams can turn into a raging torrent. Yesterday, the poor people of Flat Gap in Johnson County, not far from the homeland of Morgan County, were washed off the map. Really. As of this writing there are still seven people unaccounted for. Rains continued today, and for the first time in my lifetime, Long Branch, the stream that wraps around Aunt Janet’s house, spilled over the road. It didn’t get in the house (barely), but it washed out some of the ground beneath it. And, of course, more of the yard was washed downstream. It will be tomorrow before we know the full extent of the damage. Thank God we bought flood insurance, and thank God the water didn’t get in the house. I continue to say prayers for the poor folks in Johnson County, and I give thanks that Janet was spared once more.

july 7, 2015

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“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.” ~ Gandolf

 

rain at the ranch
rain at the ranch

 

We awoke to rain at the 2 Pony Ranch. Bucket loads. As of this writing there’s been three inches with more on the way. Despite the gully washer, I’ve gotten some of my favorite photos of the ranch to date.

 

running water
running water

 

This is the little stream that crosses the 2 Pony Ranch driveway. It’s dry most of the year, so it’s a real treat when there’s running water as there was today. The etherial quality leading up the hill in the photo is very indicative of reality because there really is a tunnel of sorts leading to a grand opening of the 2 Pony vista.

 

the Chief's mama
the Chief’s mama

Yesterday I met the Chief. Today, I met his mother. She regaled us with stories about teaching at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. She spoke lovingly of Eastern Kentucky, and our people. She was especially appreciative of the students. It was good to meet Isabelle Baker.

 

to Tahlequah
to Tahlequah

 

The road from the 2 Pony Ranch is lined for quite a way with wild tiger lilies. It’s just an exquisite site in summer months. I will always love this place and these people. It is my second home. I knew it the moment I stepped foot into Cherokee County all those decades ago. It’s a privilege to be able to come back. My only regret is that i can’t do it more often.