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Saturday, August 7, 2010


jeanette williams

This picture of Jeanette Williams I had to put here because I'm partial to it as a portrait. I was looking for ways to get a portrait of Jeanette that pictures her grace. The music last night has stayed with me all day today.

A Saturday of rest. Up very late last night, up early this morning, late morning nap into early afternoon, watched a good movie called The Local. It was written, directed and the lead role by Dan Eberle. It was quite a film. The dirty side of New York City was all that was seen, the New York I see when I'm there that makes me wonder how people can live in such an ugly place. But people have always lived in ugly places, so it's nothing new. New York has its beautiful side too. It has an energy that is invigorating. All that mental and psychic energy of however many million people packed onto a small island makes me want to be a part of that energy, to find a way to live in New York for that energy. It's not my karma. The mountains are my karma. I like having trees around. Yeah, I'm a tree hugger. I like having them around. They make good shade, reducing summer temperature. The big winds tend to flow over the tops of trees, and trees break up a direct wind. Tree roots hold the ground together so it doesn't wash away during rain storms.

There is something that rides in the back of my mind as something I want to do. I think I'd like to take a day and go to the Joyce Kilmer forest. It's in SW NC is all I know. It might do to google it and see about visiting it, taking a walk through it. It's my understanding that it's all original forest as it was when the Indians lived here before the invasion of massive mindlessness. Here where I live and everywhere in the mountains now, paved roads, manicured lawns where once was forest. The forest takes care of itself. Lawns sure don't. I'd like to see some really old trees. I'd like most to see what these forests were like before the logging corporations stripped these mountains of trees, and autumn hurricanes came through washing the topsoil into the rivers. These mountains have been through it. I saw a b&w photograph of Tobe Pruitt with hills in the background all meadow that are now full of trees. Lenora Joyce had old photographs of Air Bellows nary a tree in sight. All meadow, oats and corn, everything the farmers needed to feed livestock as well as a house full of kids. They needed every bit of land they owned.

The trees of Air Bellows are the new growth since the farms folded. I found some old poplars in a place loggers couldn't get to. At the top of the waterfalls stood an old spruce pine the loggers missed. Hurricane Hugo blew the top half of the tree off and what was left died. An oak in front of Harris's on Air Bellows Gap Road has seen many a century go by. A white oak across the road from my house was missed by the loggers. Hugo blew out half of its crown. Old trees fall over. When a cucumber tree goes down, it will have 5 or more trees growing from one spot that fall one at a time. Big tree trunks to climb over, but in a few years they're gone and new ones sprouting. Jr told me that cucumber wood makes good siding for a house. I like the old skeletons of tree trunks with grain that makes a spiral up the length the tree's remains. I read in a book about water years ago it's called the cosmic twist. Everything that grows has a course of water flow in its structure. Our bones have the spiral twist too. Water flows in spirals, so it follows that anything growing would have the twist of water flow.

I can't number the trees I've cut down for firewood over 20 years of heating with wood, and 7 years of cutting wood for two houses at the Stern farm, Tom Pruitt's wood, and then my own. By the time I got to mine I was so done with wood cutting and splitting, I'd cut enough to last until the warm middle of winter in February. Then I'd cut the rest of what's needed to get through the winter. Mostly I cut dead trees. Working with the chainsaw through a tank of gas, I'd have to stop to fill the chainsaw up and start again. The leaves in the trees all around, light brown paper leaves twisting on their stems sounded like all the leaves in the trees were wind chimes. The saw noise had my ears hearing funny and I enjoyed the tinkling sound of thousands of paper-like leaves twisting in the winds passing through. It was a beautiful sound that couldn't be heard any other way. The katydids and tree frogs are going at it outside now. These sounds are so much more pleasant to live with than being in traffic with a Harley thundering beside my side window. It's an interesting sound in itself, even kind of beautiful if listened to with attention. At the same time, it's loud, and I've always associated loud with juvenile delinquency, boys calling attention to themselves, wanting to be heard, but nothing to say. Just noise. There's so much of it. Car and truck tires are loud. Drive beside an 18wheeler on the interstate a ways and you won't be able to hear yourself think. But in my Blue Ridge Mountain home the sounds of night in the mountains I cannot call noise. They're music.

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