Thoughts About Place

October_09_0794pasture480It started out as an assignment, sort of, for Tommy Bailey’s book, Floyd Folks.

Which, btw, if purchased in town (say, at the Floyd Community Market) will send proceeds to support  the market.

The version of my little part of that effort uploaded this week to medium.com is a tweak of the chapter in Floyd Folks.

To Know Our Place @ medium.com

Good Will Toward Earth

I pulled out my trifold scrap paper scratch pad that is always with me. The Earth had just moved under my feet in the middle of a church service, and I had to take note.

What had happened is that, once again, I felt the deep sadness of being doomed to failure to see “Peace on Earth, good will toward men” since the last year’s advent service. And it came to me:

We can’t achieve peace on Earth or show true, meaningful and lasting good will toward men if we fail on such a massive and ongoing manner to show good will toward the planet from which those theoretical recipients of our peace take their lives and livelihoods.

After a long cathartic spleen-venting screed against what our collective greed has made of capitalism, I came back around to acknowledge that, if you squint just so,  there are some really hopeful things happening in our relationships with Earth and each other.

If you’d care to read more, I posted the full piece over at Medium–my 2014 end of year message cast out into the ethers.

And if you need more supporting documentation to begin the new year hopefully, read on….

The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history.

Here’s to a great 2015! | MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action
Robert Reich points to the way things ARE WORKING in late 2014

And on the grudgingly pessimistic side, an excerpt from poet W. H. Auden‘s post-Christmas lament: http://genius.com/W-h-auden-well-so-that-is-that-annotated

For Your Health: Take a Walk

IMG_3329Double670I find myself, once again, staring out the window by my desk, my eyes falling more often than not on the “New Road” that rises out of the pasture just past the barn.

We (and especially SHE) follow that path countless times in a week (and SHE in a single day) as a form of meditation, release and habit born of the pleasure it gives us to live IN and not just on this land.

And as fate would have it, I came across an essay I recorded in 2011. I don’t remember why I would have made a 5 minute essay, since the limit for NPR radio essays at WVTF was no more than three and a half.

The topic is not a surprise, however. The notion of the relationship between our health and the ways we relate (or fail to relate) to nature is a significant part of what I read and think about. And in this one case at least, speak about.

The image shows my first and second wife, walking more or less together, down the New Road, into mystery.

What Difference Does a Season Make?

I’m catching up with myself, from this time a few years back when I imagined keeping up all along through an entire year with a seasonal journal–part of my “Floyd County Almanac” that sits just exactly where it did when I abandoned it.

I remember as I wrote this thinking how smug of me to look out my window at leaves almost all fallen from the trees and all insect night noises silenced while I simply went upstairs and brought down the long sleeves when winter approached.

Not a one of the millions of other living things we share the northern hemisphere with have it so easy!

From autumn of 2012, here’s a first paragraph of a longer piece uploaded to Medium, should you care to read or bookmark.

Autumn a Change in Cadence and Key

Though a few poetic souls and tree-hugging types like me will make soft cooing noises about the magic of the coming of fall, many pay no mind to these aesthetics at all. And for most of my fellow humans, from a practical, survival point of view, autumn connotes no more inconvenience than the putting-on of a warmer pair of slippers of a morning. 

Flowing, Together

I’ve always liked the word “confluence” for the fact that, if I could see  and hear through the wall in front of me, I’d experience the joining music and rush of Goose Creek where it merges with Nameless Creek.

Both of “our” creeks are jump-across-able streams alone; together they gain breadth and depth, power and voice.

So I woke up this morning with a gentle rain on the metal roof overhead and have been spinning over and over this notion of flowing together.  It is uncertainties and ideas, fears and hopes of my neighbors that are coming together now in an exciting, bewildering, hopeful confluence.

So I’ll get these water/pipeline/convergence bits out of my head all at once, and you’ll see way too many versions of Goose Creek Mill Dam–a place that represents for me the coming together of human history and need that find its story along waterways, as is so very often the case.

Here’s a “this I believe” short statement about Floyd County water.

And here, at Medium, an essay that was published in the Floyd Press on Thursday and Roanoke Times yesterday, in the event that you might want to read it again, or for the first time. [It’s a BIG image, so scroll down to see the text.]

I’m done. Tomorrow, maybe mushrooms!