Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baby Steps

You thought I was gone... and, perhaps, I have been in some desert of my own making for the last "over a year", but I am back to tell you things are looking up for 2013. Plans and resolutions... dreams and hopes, which will be fulfilled and which ones will simply make God laugh?
Did you ever take a look at your life and realize that there are not just one or two areas that you want to make changes,,, but many... feel overwhelmed, and not do any of them?

Another tough one is changing the fabric of my life steps here on earth so that they more completely reflect my desired journey through the remaining days of my life. I'm just going to list them in randomness... and this is just a journal pouring out my thoughts into the blogasphere for the world to see... if you like them, let me know... and if you don't I'll be happy to go round with you about them too....I am just talking my way through the thought process so to lay the ground work for change.

Ready? OK!

And that's all for today. Baby steps

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daybook today...

Outside my window – a cool spring morning and a beautiful sunrise
I am thinking - about walking the dog in a few minutes

I am thankful - for every little blessing that comes my way unexpectedly...and for my sweet husband
I am wearing – jammies and warm sox
I am remembering – new beginnings and how exciting they can be
I am creating -reenactment dresses, a new quilt, a wool braided rug
I am going – to work soon
I am reading - Shelter II by Lloyd Kahn
I am hoping – for peace in my life
On my mind - sisters, sons, and grandchildren
Pondering these words – Joy is peace dancing, peace is joy at rest
From the kitchen – freshly ground and brewed coffee and later, some oatmeal
Around the house – reducing and removing, letting go of the extra stuff
Some of my favorite things – my cat, Fester and little dog, Peanut

A few plans for the rest of the week – two more days of work... then a birthday weekend for David
My picture posting: Fish River at Big Daddy's

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Memories of Fred

Now just because I named my bantam rooster after my dad doesn’t mean Fred was small and cocky…. On the contrary, he was a big man, with a huge presence… I always found his big, calloused hands a bit frightening, and his gruff nature put me off. We had a fractious relationship in my teen years and beyond, but I have been assured he loved me with all his heart. I believe that now…. There were times when I didn’t.

Fred was a lot like me, although I didn’t readily admit it. He was a tinkerer, a wanderer, and an inveterate scrounger. He cared not one whit about the latest fashion, and wore his grubby jeans low and baggy. His flannel shirts and striped railroad cap were a signature… pushed back on his head, a two day growth of beard stubble that he loved to rub on my cheek to hear me holler, and a pair of sturdy black leather laceup boots were his usual garb. He cleaned up nicely, and I have memories of him, clean shaven and smelling of Aqua Velva, heading out the door in the evenings. The most I could ever get from him when I relentlessly questioned him about where he was going was “Out”.

He had a growl to his voice that would scare a mean pirate, and could get volume from it that must have had something to do with all the years of voice lessons. I still have never heard anyone who could yell as loud as Dad… A favorite thrill was to request him to “Roar” at the dinner table. While my grandmother flinched in ladylike mortification, he would open his mouth and with a deep breath, let out the word with such projection and force that the rafters nearly shook. We shivered in delight, mouths agape,and when it was over and he was just Dad again, we giggled and tried to Roar ourselves, and of course requested it again and again. One roar could create a lot of chaos at the table!

Fred built things. He restored and painted and drove us around town in a 1922 Model T Ford with a crank start, tootling the “ooga” horn whenever he saw someone he knew or even when a stranger waved. He restored a Fokker biplane on the dining room table, sewing sleeves of airplane fabric over wooden strut wings and then painting and shrinking the finished wings in the backyard. He painted it bright yellow, got a pilot’s license, and flew it out of Hanover Airport, until one day, working with a welding torch, he burned it to ashes.

His garage was a mess… a greasy sort of piled -up place that always had some kind of project going on, and a big Collie mix yellow dog tied in front to guard the door. The dogs name was Tallywowser, and although he seemed to love me, I stayed my distance from him, since I was told he was a guard dog and mean. I don’t think he was mean, because I remember him getting loose, going to hang out with the kids at the bus stop, and then diving under the nearest car when the dog catcher came for him. He snarled and growled until Dad could come and snap his fingers and get him out and take him home. One man dog who loved kids, I suppose.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kin folks

My great-grandmother, Isabella Grace Pierson Jones
taken when she was about 21

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Packing Away My Pretties

I can’t easily count the number of times I have moved in my life. It is probably around 30. That is a lot of uprooting and packing and unpacking. Now some of these moves happened before I was grown, and are not always accompanied by a happy memory… which is why I write about them now.

When I was in my twenties, facing another move, a wise friend gave me a poster. It showed a kitten curled in a flower pot, sleeping blissfully, and proclaimed “Home is wherever your heart is”. It was a comfort to me, as I wrenched up my shallow roots yet again, and prepared to nest in another unfamiliar place.

Many times the moves I made were due to financial hardship, family problems, or perhaps a desire to start anew a life that was rocking like a ship in a rough ocean. Whatever the reasons, there were sweat and toil, loss of possessions, new house issues and new landlords and locations to deal with. I always thought, thanks to my Dad, who loved to wander, that I had a bit of the gypsy in me. I still think that, and I still do love to wander, but at 50 something, I find that moving is getting much harder.

I embrace the small house concept. I love the idea of just enough room for living, without a mortgage- paid- through –the- nose on the extra space for …what? Collections? Too many clothes? I had dreamed of a big Victorian or farmhouse style home, with many rooms, a library for my extensive book collection, a den to display my remembrances and momentos, a central hall and formal dining room. Now I find myself moving toward a tiny home… a home built lovingly by our own hands and one with, unfortunately, no room for extensive collections and souvenirs. So I pack away my pretties, pink depression glass candy dishes and creamer and sugar sets, antique plates and collections of teapots, and I remember packing them away years ago. They stayed packed for a long time, and travelled from New Jersey to Alabama with me. They lived in a storage locker, and when I broke a beautiful Limoges plate, I kept the pieces to one day use in a mosaic project. My craft room will require many boxes for the unfinished projects.

You see, I love to go to garage sales, and the thrift store, and come home with “treasures”. I indulge myself at a small cost this way, and pick up tiny flowered egg cups, pitchers for my collection, and a pretty bit of decorative lace for my overflowing fabric and sewing stash. My motto for years was “you can never have enough fabric”. Or maybe it was books. Um maybe it was … you get the idea.

It is enough. I have more than enough. I will store the pretties and the broken plates once again… and one day give them all away. I will then be truly free of the need to cart my life around in totes and boxes, newspaper and bubble wrap.

Now I know this might sound sort of sorry… but let me ask you this, reader… If you were to move to a drastically small, but basically free, home next week, how much would you sell, give away, or put in storage?

So I am writing about the process, and in this way, working my way through it as the pretties disappear into boxes and the walls clear of pictures and “Stuff”. And it feels good… cleansing… lightening… letting go of what is truly unimportant to make room for what is.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little Cucumber Miracles

After a totally frustrating day at work, it is one of the most pleasant things I can think of to come home and play in the dirt. So, I smiled while I scooped the dark, moist potting soil from a green plastic bag into the tiny green pots that are now holding rather leggy cucumber seedlings. What was I thinking? It is February!! Even on the Gulf Coast, this is too early for cukes, and they should just go right in the ground when the time IS right. But, I will tend them, nevertheless. They may be out of time with the rest of the cucumber/summer garden world, (sort of like me) but I’ll see what they can do. I won’t even angst over them if they don’t make it, and I will be happy with earlier- than-early cucumbers if I get a few.

Maybe this casual but caring attitude is what I need to take with me into the world, too. Loving lightly the things that are just small stuff… whether the neighbor’s cat walks on my car each night and leaves cat prints over the roof and down the hood… whether the people in front of me in line at the grocery store take too long to count out exact change, giving me an opportunity to peruse all the news that’s fit to read about Brangelina and Jen….whether the computers or phones or other technology work as I wish they would… somehow, all is well in my world. Frustration disappeared when I potted those tiny seedlings. Miracles in a dirt world… The small stuff that God smiles on makes me smile, too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January weather and stuff

January --- a new year, a new start, a new attitude... for better or for worse, my constant companion blues are fading... I see a little more clearly... (except for weird eye issues which are physical and not the emotional and spiritual seeing I am referring to...) it has been time to let go, hold on, take a stand, back down, reverse motion, make changes, focus on the details, look at the big picture... life is such a dichotomy sometimes! I'm just walking through it... one foot, one foot, breathe in, breathe out... and have no time in my life for people who want to trip me as I go... I have learned to go around them... and to embrace the wonder-filled magic of the positive people in my life... the ones I can trust.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One Year Later

One year ago today, my sister Nancy went home to be with the Lord. I miss her EVERY day, and I am so thankful we had the time to spend together, all too short time... I know she is still with me in my heart and always will be, and even though the tears come still when I miss her, I can find joy at the thought of her dancing with the angels.

I will never forget images of her dressed in her ugg boots, tights, a tunic and a cape of some kind... a weird huge cowboy hat, and had a sword she made from something. She called it her Cancer Fighting Suit... Lord, she could make me laugh! Silly things remind me of butterflies, tunafish cans, Gypsy Vanner horses and mules of any kind.
 I have memories of riding in her dark green jacked-up, airbrushed, tricked-out, redneck truck with the windows rolled down, radio blasting- Wild Thing.... and a little happy Jack Russell who howled "I love you" to her...of caramel ice cream and her popping out of my laundry room to surprise me on my birthday... Sophie and Zelda and Big Momma Hoadah....arguments and hugs, laughter and tears... these are the best memories... ♥

She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon cancer almost one year to the day before she died, but she went down fighting. She travelled with her husband to Montana for a week,  courtesy of The Dream Foundation: and visited the bison, went horseback riding, and howled at the moon. She worked at the horse rescue facility up in Murphy, NC, and went down the Nantahala River on a raft trip... all this with a colostomy bag and between bouts of chemo... she was so strong!

She kept her sense of humor almost till the end... I lay in the bed with her and talked to her last Thanksgiving... she was ready to stop fighting almost then... and in so much pain...anyway, can ya tell I miss her! ?

Friday, July 16, 2010


True friendship exists simply for its own sake. It is cemented by two who equally value friendship simply out of a desire to do so and can exist across cultures, and genders, and time, and distance. It is the easiest of the three to form; it is the most rare to find. Indeed, the greatest thing I can do for my friend is to simply be their friend.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Daybook today...

Outside my window – a perfect spring night... peepers
I am thinking - of the time I have left in my life to make it my own... Carpe Diem

I am thankful - for every little blessing that comes my way unexpectedly... today's rain on the roof made work almost a pleasure.
I am wearing – black slacks, black and white print blouse with butterfly sleeves, and big fuzzy house slippers!
I am remembering – to keep fighting
I am creating -a huge genealogy database
I am going – to sleep soon
I am reading - just finished March by Geraldine Brooks
I am hoping – for good camping weather the next few weekends
On my mind - two sisters, two sons
Pondering these words – Acceptance and surrender ( but keep fighting)
From the kitchen – black beans and turkey and rice a la David
Around the house – spring cleaning is needed~
One of my favorite things – my snuggly cat, Fester
A few plans for the rest of the week – one more day of work... then a weekend to putter to my heart's content here at home...
My picture posting: Pine at Little River... straight overhead

Friday, February 05, 2010

For Not Learning

Tell the bison not to go

where they have always been,

instruct the elephants to read

and yield their ancient memories

of where the water is.

Force wolves and bears to learn

the boundaries that have never been-

the ink that lies unseeable

between this tree, that blade of grass.

Teach them all to read the maps

that are invisible. Make them know

what is not real, does not exist

to moon or stars, and stubborn as they are

kill them for not learning

what we will not share.

© February 3, 2010 Carol Snyder Halberstadt

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back from a long break...

Daybook today...

Outside my window – dark, cool and breezy...
I am thinking - about a lot of things.... my sister and how I miss her, my sons and my husband who is off tramping through the woods for a week
I am thankful - for a long conversation with an old friend
I am wearing – black cords, pink sweater, pink socks
I am remembering – Nancy
I am creating -a baby girl gift
I am going – to work today
I am reading - Sand Creek Massacre by Hoig
I am hoping – for mercy and healing
On my mind - my sister, my sons
Pondering these words – Letting go
From the kitchen – peanut butter sandwiches
Around the house – craft room is ALL organized, now I can enjoy it!
One of my favorite things – this coffee bucket filled with hazelnut
A few plans for the rest of the week – Work and relax
My picture posting: Yellow Hair, Sioux -- just love this picture

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Daybook today...

Outside my window – dark, cool and breezy... fall-like weather after the rain last night
I am thinking - about what I am thankful for... dear friends and family
I am thankful - for so many things... but today for my church and my God
I am wearing – black sweats, black socks, and white 3/4 sleeve pullover
I am remembering – Thanksgiving a year ago... we went to a Pow Wow~~ awesome
I am creating - haven't started the new creation yet... just finished the baby blanket
I am going – to finish this and go to sleep
I am reading - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I am hoping – for safe travel and lots of time with family
On my mind - my sister, my sons
Pondering these words – Christ, the King
From the kitchen – cranberry pecan bread and chicken soup
Around the house – oh we are so messy! Yarn is organized, though, so at least I know what I have....
One of my favorite things – my dog, Peanut, and my cat, Fester
A few plans for the rest of the week – Work one day, then back on the road to Florida
My picture posting: Newborn Mason and his Grammie who loves him SO much!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Daybook today...

Outside my window – dark, cool and breezy... fall-like weather and a full moon
I am thinking - about change and feeling stuck
I am thankful - for my sweet husband and for time with family when I can get it
I am wearing – work clothes… black slacks, olive green shirt
I am remembering – past World Series when the Yankees won
I am creating - a baby blanket for a new little boy coming to the world soon
I am going – to work on paperwork and organize my desk
I am reading - Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder
I am hoping – for doors to open and for healing miracles
On my mind - my sister, my sons
Pondering these words – Be still, and know that I Am.
From the kitchen – sausage and peppers
Around the house – books everywhere~!
One of my favorite things – this weather
A few plans for the rest of the week – tomorrow is Friday, oh the weekend hallelujah!!
My picture posting: Dancing with my Grandson, Mason

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything. We must simply hold out and win through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, since leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap. God does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with each other may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Letters from Prison

Daybook today...

For today - Monday, November 2, 2009

Outside my window - Sunny , cool and breezy... fall-like weather on the Gulf Coast.

I am thinking - about feeling better physically, mentally and spiritually...

I am thankful - for my sweet husband and for being aware of the small gifts each day

I am wearing - navy sweats and sage green tee shirt (home from work)

I am remembering - that my birthday is next week

I am creating - a baby blanket for a new little boy coming to the world soon

I am going - to the recliner to rest, maybe to the chair in the sunshine to pray and rest

I am reading - Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder

I am hoping - to get some letters in the mail

On my mind - my sister, my in-laws, and my sons

Pondering these words - For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good, and not for evil.

From the kitchen - cracking pecans, leftover turkey chili for supper tonight.

Around the house - messy~ I need to feel better so I can putter around and do what I do...

One of my favorite things - sunrise

A few plans for the rest of the week - getting back to work, doing the day by day, feeling better!!

From my picture journal---

Monday, November 02, 2009

Prove a point?

There comes a time when it is no longer important to prove one's point, but simply to live, to surrender to God and to love.

~Thomas Merton~

The Road to Joy

Monday, October 05, 2009

To Live by Faith

To Live by Faith

By Fr. Dominic Rover, O.P.

To live by faith
is to live peacefully, prayerfully,
hopefully, hopelessly, outside myself.
At peace with myself
yet outside myself.
Not leaning on myself, old rubber-legs,
but leaning on God Who stands up straight
and begs us, almost, to lean on Him,
God with His daily gift
of hard rocks and white flowers.
To live by faith
is to live outside myself.
To live by faith is to be at home
and yet a stranger in my own house.
It is to be sure about God
yet unsure about everything that is not grounded in God
yet sure about everything
because everything can be grounded in God.
To live by faith
is to stop justifying myself
to stop frowning
to stop whimpering
like a cropped poodle on Pablum
To live by faith
is to stop wondering why things don’t turn out right.
To live by faith
is to stop talking –– when talk is fear or frenzy
or a giddy cover-up,
when talk is all about
setting things right, my way.
Dear God, to stop talking!
To live by faith is to be silent, to be dumb,
to be led dumb to the shearers,
to be at peace without the silk or the slime of words.
To live by faith
is to be content to be silent
so that He can speak
with the wordless words of the Word.
To live by faith
is to need to be obedient
which is to enter the world of another
as guest and quiet victim
and secret sharer.
To live by faith
is not to be sour about anything
because Jesus is sweet
and His plans for me honey to my mouth,
with bitter seeds in it, yes,
that explode each hour like Contac,
to become–– small beads of honey,
each of a different taste.
To live by faith
is to die to my own thoughts about myself,
to die to any plans
any plans
any plans
I might make for myself
(Lord Jesus, be Lord of me, and let your plans
for me come true before my dreams despoil them!)
To live by faith
is not so much to leap
as to fall,
not so much to hold fast
as to let go.
To live by faith
is a lovely awkward dive
from a 20-meter board
that always ends, blue splash and all,
in a daring clean-cut entry
into water,
an element not mine,
so cold at first,
but easier after awhile
when my warmth, poor little fish,
becomes one with the warmth of the water.
To live by faith is a gold-medal dive
that is all His doing
and yet my dive,
my fall,
my womb-like watery homecoming.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Look deeply... I got lost in his eyes today.

Friday, September 18, 2009

a farm that is no more a farm


by Robert Frost

Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you
Who only has at heart your getting lost,
May seem as if it should have been a quarry—
Great monolithic knees the former town
Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered.
And there’s a story in a book about it:
Besides the wear of iron wagon wheels
The ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest,
The chisel work of an enormous Glacier
That braced his feet against the Arctic Pole.
You must not mind a certain coolness from him
Still said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain.
Nor need you mind the serial ordeal
Of being watched from forty cellar holes
As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.
As for the woods’ excitement over you
That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves,
Charge that to upstart inexperience.
Where were they all not twenty years ago?
They think too much of having shaded out
A few old pecker-fretted apple trees.
Make yourself up a cheering song of how
Someone’s road home from work this once was,
Who may be just ahead of you on foot
Or creaking with a buggy load of grain.
The height of the adventure is the height
Of country where two village cultures faded
Into each other. Both of them are lost.
And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Then make yourself at home. The only field
Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall.
First there’s the children’s house of make-believe,
Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
The playthings in the playhouse of the children.
Weep for what little things could make them glad.
Then for the house that is no more a house,
But only a belilaced cellar hole,
Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.
Your destination and your destiny’s
A brook that was the water of the house,
Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,
Too lofty and original to rage.
(We know the valley streams that when aroused
Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
I have kept hidden in the instep arch
Of an old cedar at the waterside
A broken drinking goblet like the Grail
Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it,
So can’t get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn’t.
(I stole the goblet from the children’s playhouse.)
Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No one

Wandering through fall colors, crackling dry underfoot...and then it slows me... and I see right away that no one lives here.
My heart beats a little faster as my steps take me to stand at the base of the porch stair. I push the dried leaves with the side of my foot, and see that the wood is good, it will hold me. One foot, then another, and then I am close... close enough to peer through grimed windows.

Bones of old houses and leavings of sad lives... I spot an enameled cookstove, covered with newspaper, oilcloth, mouse droppings, a tipped mug. Immediate wonder at who left their life behind for strangers to find. What illness, crisis, or calling led to the last locking of the door and the resolute walk away? What knarled hand slid down the old banister for the last time, or watched as the trees waved farewell?
No one lives here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thought for the Day

A great deal of virtue and piety is simply the easy price we pay in order to justify a life that is essentially trifling. Nothing is so cheap as the evasion purchased by just enough good conduct to make one pass as a "serious person."

--Thomas Merton--
Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander: 195.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Choosing the truth...

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny. We are free beings and sons and daughters of God. This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. ...To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls "working out our salvation," is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation.

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions Press, 1961): 32.

Thought for the Day

We do not know clearly beforehand what the result of this work will be. The secret of my full identity is hidden in Him. He alone can make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to be.

New Seeds of Contemplation: 33.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good morning~!!

In a couple days, I will head off to Florida. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel and visit with my family.
More posting soon.... I promise!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Updated picture and Hello~~

It has been a Lonnnnnnnnngggg time since I posted anything... bizzy bizzy in a tizzy all the time. Work, play, clean, run on the treadmill... work, play, clean, run... you get the picture.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


There is no better friend than a sister. And there is no better sister than you.

Lance Armstrong said, “If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell.”

What Cancer Cannot Do
Author: Unknown

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

This is what happens

To lawn equipment during hunting season...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

We picked a road

 was a road in Blakeley State Park, Spanish Fort, Alabama. We have hiked at the park on three separate days in the last week.

The first day, we hiked about a mile. It was the 70's and humid. We ate a leisurely picnic lunch at the gazebo under monstrous, twisted live oaks dripping with spanish moss. A breeze stirred the treetops, but only occasionally reached us on the ground with enough force to stir the dried leaves.
After lunch, we drove up to a parking area, and walked down a slight hill to the Blakely River. The Explorer, a covered excursion boat, rested sleepily at her moorings. No tours today.

We walked along the river, high enough above the cypress knees and palmetto fans and dark mud patterned with raccoon tracks. Spiky sycamore seedpods crunched underfoot, and bicyclists passed us, accompanied by their bandanna-wearing dogs wet from a cooling dip. Near the shoreline, the breeze was steady.
The path turned left, away from the river, and climbed back toward the picnic area, and we crossed the gazebo grounds again. This was the site of the village of Blakeley, bustling metropolis of the 1800's and county seat of Baldwin County, until yellow fever wiped it out completely.

Crossing the road, we headed down toward a swampy creek through scrubby trees and pines, always pines. The smell is intoxicating, fresh, clean.
On first glance it was an easy stroll, but we soon were clambering over timbers being built above the old bridge. Halfway across, the treated lumber of the new bridge abruptly stopped, and a 2 foot drop to the old bridge (with no handrails) was negotiated. We jounced along a swaying footbridge that crossed a black and barely moving slough, and then up a small, steep hill. A fallen tree, held up by the root system now tilted crazily skyward, bounced like a porch swing when I sat on it to rest.

One more hill to negotiate...up and over, and we crossed another swampy creek with a brand new bridge, bearing a sign boasting of being built of some exotic South American wood, supposedly safer for the environment than arsenic-laden treated lumber (but most likely a part of the huge de-forestation of the rain forests).

We passed one of the most amazing live oaks I have ever seen, full of pockets and burls and animal dens in the gigantic roots above the ground. Next trip, I will get a picture of that one.

On our next visit, we hiked a different trail, meandering over a wide, flat path between pine, magnolia and hardwood trees, all sharing a uniform gray color in the warm December air. Temps in the 70's again.
This trail led eventually down a hill, past a huge washout, eroded by the torrential sudden downpours typical of the South Alabama climate. Deeply cut, with overhanging sides of red clay, it did not prevent us from creeping carefully toward the edge to peer into the tangle of privet and yaupon about 30 feet below. We gave the washout a wide berth, and dug in down the steep and sandy trail to a short footbridge at the bottom. This was Shay Creek, and it burbled over a small waterfull in the deep shade of this little draw. Clear water flowed merrily over small pebbles and dark fallen leaves, and I splashed my hot face gratefully with the cool water.

Refreshed, we trekked up the steep hill on the other side to the primitive campground, where just one or two tents showed signs of visitors. A flock of goldfinches pattered away from us, one after another, like skittering raindrops on the branches, and we ate lunch under more towering pines, which whispered to us of the silence and peace to be found in this cathedral of the woods.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pick a road

Pick a road, any road, and follow it.

Follow it to the rest of your life.

No expectations.

Just possibilities.

When ya' leavin'?

Charlie Knight, Ute

Friday, November 28, 2008