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Friday, January 7, 2011


winter trees

The snow is coming in. Forecast said it would start at 4 today. It did, but very light at the beginning. It's almost dark and the snow is still light. Would like to go to Woodlawn tonight to hear some music, but don't want to drive an hour in snow going there and snow driving home 3 hours later. The snow is predicted to last all night and into tomorrow. Several days of snow are predicted. I've heard for tonight it will be all from an inch to a foot. We had a little ground cover last night that is still on the ground. We'll see what happens. If it snows for 24 hours, it's a good chance the amount will surely be between 1" and 12" confirming the forecasters credible, though not quite incredible.

I went to Selma's coffee shop this morning around 10:30, intending to stay until noon, then get home and do what needs doing here. Made it home at 5. As usual, about the time I'm ready to leave, somebody comes in I'm happy to see and joins the conversation. I stick around a little longer, then somebody else comes in I stay a little longer. Then an artist friend came in and we fell into fast and furious conversation, neither one of us taking time to draw a breath. It was a morning of the regulars, becoming a party of friends all glad to see each other. This is another wonderful aspect of Selma's, the regulars who are glad to see each other. When it happens like today, it's a party everyone who walks in the door joins. Leaving turns out not to be an option when a spontaneous party takes off.

Talked with Cynthia a little bit about a course she's teaching at WCCAlleghany on Appalachian history. I might have enjoyed taking the class. I looked at a book she had of essays on the subject of Appalachian culture. Looking through the pictures, I didn't get a very good feeling about it. It suggested to me that it wanted to make mountain culture look like something that would appeal to the middle class. I don't know what it was. I read a few pages in the religion chapter. It was the most meaningless gobbledy-gook I could tolerate reading. All of it high sounding abstractions, like somebody condensing 500 pages into 3. I'm not saying it very well. It was empty and dead. That's what I mean. It was written by somebody who had studied the subject, but not lived it, and didn't believe it either. It was a foreigner writing about it from the outside, maybe attempting to explain it to middle class readers in academic terms. I have to say it is good for that.

I was of two minds about the article. One, I wanted to read it all to see what the writer had to say in its entirety. Two, I didn't want to read any more than necessary to get what it was saying. What I read left me aghast that this was being told in Appalachian history courses as something with some validity. I felt sad for Cynthia having to make sense of this gobbledy-gook and talk about it like she understands it. Before she addresses that chapter with the class, I have invited her to go to a Primitive Baptist meeting, perhaps next weekend at Elk Creek. I'd like to introduce her to the real mountain religion.

When she has to talk about the book, she will have at least introductory experience with the real deal, live and in person. She will have some insight into the beauty of a meeting, the nature of the meeting house, the people, the singing, the preaching, the feeling, the understanding one carries home. She will notice they don't pass a collection plate. Nor do they support missionaries. I've already dispelled for her everything people from other places are predisposed to think the Primitive Baptist church is. First, it is not snake handling. It is not hell-fire, damnation. It is not holding a blowtorch to your head. It is not holy-rollers, nor is it speaking in tongues. It is not people trying to make you believe something you can't believe. Nor is it anyone dictating your own way of seeing what you see. Every man/woman has their own way of seeing, and it's their own, like every clawhammer banjo picker's style is his/her own. I tend to see the Primitive Baptist church the foundation of American pragmatism, or, perhaps, an expression of it.

The prediction the snow would start at 4 was correct. Parked in front of Selma's, I drove home in such light snow I only needed wipers a few times. Just now opened the door for Caterpillar to look outside to see what it's like. It looked like a half inch of very light powder snow, tiny flakes. People are saying the weather is coming up from the Gulf, meaning it will be wet. If this is the front edge of the snow cloud, it doesn't threaten much. All that is yet to be known. A car went by with headlights showing some serious snowfall.


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