Friday, October 30, 2009

Hanging Rock, North Carolina

Well, my afternoon (OK it was about one hour) in Hanging Rock State Park produced some interesting stuff. It was overcast so the light wasn't great, but I had fun experimenting with various flash settings and a small waterfall. While I do not feel overly ecstatic about what I came away with, it was nonetheless fruitful. I am going to produce one of the water shots on aluminum - that should be very interesting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Front Porch Sittin'

Yesterday was really a beautiful day here in NC once the monsoon passed. I was in Bethania for the better part of the afternoon at the Black Walnut Festival. Great folk music, Brunswick stew cooked in an iron pot suspended over an open fire, honey crisp apples, lots of wonderful art work and people who define the vision of community. Most of the houses are between 100 and 200 years old most with front porches adorned with our flag and rocking chairs. With the trees on fire with fall and a warm breeze blowing, all I needed was an invitation to sit on this porch with a glass of lemonade and watch the passers by.

Link to photo album from the afternoon.

After Apple Picking

by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Prayer for North Carolina

From the National Cathedral Book of Prayer For All The States

A Prayer for North Carolina

Preserve unto us, good Lord, the precious treasure bequeathed to us by those silent eons when Thou wast preparing earth for our inheritance. May we cherish, and not despoil the cup of loveliness entrusted to our hands for a space.

So may the green land be blessed, whose smokey highlands yield their mineral riches to the soil below, and whose surf-bound coast is protected by necklaces of sand. Guard the peaceful Sounds; protect the forest mantle, the pliant ploughlands; and let Thy grace abound among Thy Carolina people whose lives are rooted in this place of promise.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mountain Hide Out

Some days I'd really like to have a place like this to hide out in. Reading the paper (or paperback) on the porch with a hot cup of coffee, maybe a porch swing sitting silently holding hands with Karen or lazily wandering down to the river with a fly rod in search of the ever elusive small mouth bass. It's just over the Va line and overlooks the New River. You are required to take a few miles of single lane gravel road and the driveway actually has a shallow stream running across it. I love all the things that make up my life, but sometimes I wish I could just turn it all off for a while. Sometimes a "full" life can be a bit taxing.

Happiness - Carl Sandburg

I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall harvest: Tobacco

It could have been 1950 in that warehouse, the only thing painfully missing was a fast talking auctioneer. There are still a group of men who inspect the tobacco brought in from the various farms around NC who, once they accept the leaf, place it on a conveyor that passes under an impressive machine that determines the weight and moisture content and then spits out a price per pound to be paid. As advanced as some systems have become, this is one area where one still needs to see, touch and smell before they buy. The smell is like no other. When I was a kid, it was on the breeze constantly. Today, I still can catch a whiff from time to time if the wind/humidity/time of year all come into alignment perfectly. This part of the industry is steeped in tradition and ritual. So far removed from the decisions made in rooms high above street level that placed the industry in the cross hairs. Good, bad or ugly, this remains an integral part of the economy on which no less than 37 states (yes, they all issued debt to be repaid from payments from the MSA to balance their budgets - including California) and our federal government depend. Oh the tangled webs they weave.