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Tuesday, August 30, 2011



This evening as light was turning to dark I went with Justin to put out corn and apples at two sites where he keeps some high-tech infra-red cameras attached to trees, triggered by motion. He saw a new buck today he'd not seen before. No bears today. Evidently the bears are rambling. He gets the same bucks and does every time he checks, except for today's new buck, a 5-pointer with a black tip on its tail. I have to confess to some ill ease assisting a hunter on my land I've allowed no hunting on the whole way along, until Justin became a hunter. By now I have learned it's silly not to allow hunting. Personally, I don't like killing. That's my own thing for myself. Justin is not somebody who will kill a buck, cut off its head and leave the rest to the dogs and other night critters to feast on for awhile. He goes all the way, butchers and fills the freezer with good deer meat. He likes deer jerkey.

We sat in his truck, smoked a cigarette talking, I got out and he drove on. Walking to the house both sides of the stone walkway are thick with waist-high jewelweed (touch-me-nots the old-time name) in flower, little orange orchids made for hummingbirds. When I walk through there after a rain, the legs of my pants get soaked. I don't care. It's summer. Wet dries fast. This evening walking to the house through this great bed of jewelweed, I said out loud, "My Blue Ridge Mountain home." When I step into the grove of trees around the house, the first step beyond where the car parks, I see my trees, feel the peace I love inside my little forest beside the road. It lightens my heart to make that walk toward the house coming home from somewhere. Sometimes I speak to the green things all around me. This is my own little personal preserve. I'm the guardian for this plot of ground. It belongs to the Creator, and I let it be what it wants to be.

It always feels good walking to the house along the stone pathway to my Blue Ridge Mountain home. Not long after I came here, I found an album of Dolly Parton with her song My Blue Ridge Mountain Home. Quite a beautiful song. It was true and full of meaning. That was my beginning. By now I have evolved to the Carter Family, the source, and Ralph Stanley whose new gospel album should be in the mail this week, A Mother's Prayer. He is the voice of the soul of the Southern mountains. The collection of the Carter Family songs is the songbook of the mountains; their gospel songs are in the hymn books. AP Carter was a songcatcher; he drove all over the central Blue Ridge looking for songs, an early folklorist in that way. They sound as contemporary as you might hear at a music place in the mountains. And they are from another world. They were from the time only a few people had radios. Neighbors would gather at the house of someone with a battery-run radio and listen to the Carter Family live.

I am happy to find the mountain religion, the old-time religion that goes all the way back, that the others broke off from. I am happy I found the music of these mountains, the people of these mountains, the roads of these mountains that hold your attention, the relationships in community where everybody knows people of all ages. When you get a divorce and your X was related to half the people in the county, you go about imagining half the people in the county know all your weaknesses and hate your guts. I don't have a problem with gossip. It's a community's way of keeping up with each other. It triggers imagination that the people around you know more about your life than you do. A lot of people leave because they don't like everybody knowing their business. Everybody has their own way of living in a world of gossip. Some, like me, never hear any and therefore never pass any on. Exceptions occur (shit happens) from time to time, but not in a passing judgment kind of way. I'm always the last to hear anything, so it wouldn't do for me to pass anything along, because everybody already knows it.

This morning I woke late and missed an appointment. When I woke, Caterpillar was on the floor looking at me like to say I've been in the bed long enough. I looked at the clock and I was already late. Sigh. I made a call and explained, arranged for another time. I'd already planned in my mind that I was having morning coffee at Selma's, so I drove to town and had some French-press Kenyan. It's the same as honey to my palate without the sweet. That kind of smoothness. It's not as thick as honey, but it has the same fullness. If that has any meaning. I must go to the coffee shop at least a couple times a week, to see Selma and whoever is in there at the moment. Today it was Joe Allen Delp, one of the regulars I like quite a lot. He has health issues around cancer that keep him rather debilitated much of the time. He likes to tell stories from his drinking days. They're always funny and he's always lit up in good spirit telling them. He's a regular at the Jubilee too. Seeing Selma adds a certain light to the day for everyone. Again, I thank you, Fidel, for running Selma out of Cuba. I'm happy her parachute landed her here. Sparta is fading all around her, but her place has people in and out all day every day.

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