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Thursday, February 18, 2010



The temperature went above freezing today. The rhododendron leaves unfurled, the sun was out, icicles dripping, meaning they'll be a little bit longer after the freeze tonight. Water has a lot of interesting properties, one being that it makes icicles. I see patterns in the drifting snow exactly as in a desert of drifting sand. Snow crystals are another totally subjective entity in this world. They're like fingerprints, no 2 alike. That defies imagination when I consider that on what little bit of acreage I see out the window must be zillion zillion, whatever that is. It seems like an unlimited amount of snowflakes right here in what I can see. Then I think of the hundreds of square miles of the same snow and that many more snowflakes.

Even if no 2 are alike, I can't help but imagine that given the size there couldn't be more than a few million possibilities of snowflake individuality. Surely there is repetition of possible designs, like among humans, it happens there are people who look alike, like stand-ins for famous actors and actresses. Probably for about anybody on earth a close look-alike can be found. That's just the physical frame. Inside is a totally different matter with infinitely more individual possibilities. Frozen rain.

Late morning I was fussing about the house tying trashbags to put in the trunk for the dump. Dale Caveny, NC Wildlife, stopped by. I didn't even have a place for him to sit down. We stood and talked. It was ok with both of us because he was tired of sitting driving and I was tired of sitting with coffee reading. He might have been the first customer I came to know during the music store period. He liked old-time music, gave some energy to learning fiddle.

He has one of my paintings of Benton Flippen playing at the Jubilee. He wrote the article for Old Time Herald about my mountain musician paintings. He raised 2 kids now away in college. He's been putting photographs on facebook of pictures he take when he goes to some scenic place to walk all day or run til he drops. He's athletic. In high school gym class, on the day we had to climb a rope to the gym rafters and back down, where I struggled every inch of the way, both ways. He would have been one of the guys who did it without using his legs and feet, hand-over-hand, running up it like in a Jackie Chan movie.

He told me once of a time when he was a rookie, new to carrying a holster and gun, aware of needing to learn how to handle it well in a hurry. He was in the bathroom quick-drawing in front of the mirror, watching his movements like a dancer does in a mirror. He said that one time when he drew the gun and pointed it at the mirror he saw the bullet down the barrel. Said it gave him a chill. Dale is a thinker, too. He looks for ethical ways to conduct himself on his life-long journey to a better understanding of the nature of God and his own role in this world, a gun-totin' householder lover of God. He's not of the little boy being a big man with a gun and a badge syndrome.

I'd say the Dale Caveny I know is in his line of work foremost with such an appreciation of what we call the natural world, what's left of it, he wants to be in the line to defend it. He believes the North Carolina laws were not made idly that preserve our wildness, which is important. It's a Dickensian variety of arrests he's made, people he's talked with in a day's work. He likes to write and create a character with words and imagination. So he listens when people talk. He appreciates everyone's right to be regarded with respect. It makes him a good officer of the law.

We talked some of the immensity of importance a given moment is to one person that changes a life unalterably from that moment on, when no one around that person has any idea. In effect, it's a bolt out of the blue, and the person him/herself doesn't even have to know it at that moment. Isolated to one individual, changes nobody else, has no emotional power outside that one person. And the same is going on with everybody else. Then it gets like snowflakes in a hurry.

When he turned up at the door I had a schedule in my mind, was getting ready to put on clothes besides what I sleep in that I wear night and day when I don't have to go to town. I wanted to see if I could get up Fender Mountain to get the video to Dean Richardson he'd asked me to get for him from I could do that on the way back, giving me plenty of time to visit with Dale. I got a good look at what I slug I am when I can't even offer somebody a place to sit down. That's bad.

As it turned out, on the way to town, I saw Dean at Jr's shop where he was transferring from his front-wheel drive Cadillac with perfect center of gravity to John's 4wheel pickup with a roundbale in the back. That was my answer I could not make it up the mountain. Ice. The timing was perfect. When Dean in his polar outfit that made you look for the dog sled got himself strapped in, I handed him the video. Jerry Edwards had been there with the tractor to scrape the driveway to the house so Ross can get up there to keep the fire in the waterstove going so the pipes won't freeze. I went up to the house on the way back to fill half a dozen plastic jugs with good mountain water.

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