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Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

My family roots are one or two levels up from what would be the Italian equivalent of hillbillies.

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Mountain people. Peasants, as it were. Honest, good, godly people who were… at least until they left for the New World… always screwed by those above them.

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A few months ago, I ran into a song entitled “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” It has stuck with me ever since.

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The people of this song… the coal miners of eastern Kentucky and their families… have almost no connection to me or my family. And yet, this song gripped me.

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Like a lot of people whose roots are in the hills, my family knows what it’s like to live somewhere where the sun comes up at 10 in the morning.

(“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” – Music & Lyrics by Darrell Scott)

Poverty crosses all kinds of lines. So does a feeling of helplessness. Of being stuck and not being able to find a way out.

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Knowing in the pit of your stomach that you are doomed and that your future is all laid out for you, no matter what.

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Thank goodness, my family was able to get away to a new place where they could build a new life.

May the Almighty bless and protect those who have not or cannot do the same.

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Most women are pretty darned sure that most men are crazy.

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But do we have to prove it to them so darned often?

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I mean really.

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Come on, guys!

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We’re making it far to easy for them!

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We could at least let’s try to make it challenging.

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But noooooo!!

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Get a grip, men.

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Let’s not hand it to them on a silver platter.

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Please?

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Into The Wild Wood

Words & Images by Duncan George

(Duncan George Photography)

If you close your eyes and imagine a wood in a dark fairy tale, what do you see, smell and hear?

wistmans-wood-1(Image credit: Duncan George)

In your minds eye do twisted and sinister trees thick with moss and lichens form anthropomorphic shapes in billowing fog? Underfoot do you struggle for grip on treacherous granite boulders? Perhaps a far off stream provides an aural accompaniment with the the odd and inexplicable crack of a twig sounding ominously close. Does a dank earthy smell pervade the air?

wistmans-wood-2(Image credit: Duncan George)

Just to bring you back to reality, such woods do actually exist and not (just) in Transylvania or some far flung part of Asia but in the UK. On Dartmoor there are three remote high moorland copses of stunted oaks. I think there may be more in Cumbria. The one I have visited on Dartmoor many times is the best known, Wistman’s Wood. The name Wistman’s is thought to derive from wisht-man meaning haunted or pixie-led. The site is believed to have a human involvement dating back to Druid times. When seen in thick fog, in the half light of dawn or dusk it’s easy to see why much folklore and tales of the supernatural surrounds the place.

wistmans-wood-3(Image credit: Duncan George)

It is a fantastic location for art and photography. One of the aspects I like about it is, off-season when I tend to visit, it feels so remote. All the shots in this blog post were taken on Friday morning last week (Nov 2012) and the only other person I saw there (which is unusual in itself, normally I don’t see anyone) was an artist taking photographs to act as as a sketchbook.

wistmans-wood-5(Image credit: Duncan George)

Although Wistman’s isn’t hard to get to in the way that remote Scottish mountains are for example it’s still a challenging drive and hike on Dartmoor in thick fog. Twice out on the moor with visibility down to 2 metres or so I’ve lost my bearings completely and had to use a compass to reorient myself (not something I ever had to do in my previous career in media!). Normally one could rely on the sound of the West Dart River as a guide but fog deadens sound. It’s easy to understand how people can get into trouble in an environment which can quickly switch from benign to malevolent.

wistmans-wood-4(Image credit: Duncan George)

What draws me to the wood is the magical feel of the place. The trees whilst quite small in comparison to normal oaks are fantastically contorted with a myriad of branches, each one being completely unique. Of course every tree is unique but here whilst they share the same genealogy each looks as though penned by a different artist . Furthermore they don’t resemble those in ‘normal’ and more uniform woods and forests.  Wistman’s is located on a hillside strewn with boulders and both trees and granite are coated in a carpet of moss. Some of the trees are draped in lichens as though dressed for Christmas. I’ve never seen lichens so resplendent in any other location. It used to be said that it was alive with adders although thankfully I haven’t seen any. It would be unfortunate to say the least if I set my camera down on a nest.

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All text and photos copyright Duncan George.

To see more of this gentleman’s amazing photography, I urge you to go check out his website. You will not be disappointed!

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Wake up and smell the bacon!

You know it was just a matter of time before Oscar Meyer would come up with an app for this!

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As we say down in Arkansas, “Yew just cain’t make this stuff up!

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Daytime Moon Meets Morning Star

The NASA site ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day‘ continues to blow me away.

This is the photo for this morning, February 27, 2014.

venus-moon-occultation(Image Credit & Copyright: Cui Yongjiang and Shi Zexing)

Here is NASA’s blurb…

Explanation: Venus now appears as planet Earth’s brilliant morning star standing above the eastern horizon before dawn. For most, the silvery celestial beacon rose in a close pairing with an old crescent Moon on February 26. But seen from locations in western Africa before sunrise, the lunar crescent actually occulted or passed in front of Venus, also in a crescent phase. Farther to the east, the occultation occurred during daylight hours. In fact, this telescopic snapshot of the dueling crescents was captured just before the occultation began under an afternoon’s crystal clear skies from Yunnan Province, China. The unforgettable scene was easily visible to the naked eye in broad daylight.

If you don’t already do so, please consider making NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day part of your daily online routine.

You won’t regret it.

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Nothing says love like a bouquet of roses…

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From Daryl Dixon!

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Why I Miss the South: Dixie Envy

blue-ridge-mountains-sunset-from-southern-blue-ridge-parkway-dave-allen(Blue Ridge Mountains Sunset – Image credit: Dave  Allen)

In my Twitter novel, The Great Dead North, two characters (the Narrator “Me” and his wife, “Callie-Ann” [aka Cally] from Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina) have the following exchange one morning…

Me: I take it with that bat-like hearing of yours, you heard me & Shara talking. Cally: I did. Me: And? Cally: I married the best Dad ever!

Me: Thenk yew. Cally: Oh, please. Me: Not even close? Cally: Honey? When you try to talk Southern… it only makes you sound more Northern.

Me: If a couple moved to The South & had kids, would the kids be Southern? Cally: If a cat had kittens in the oven, would they be biscuits?

I sigh heavily. Callie-Ann grins. Cally: You got Dixie Envy, that’s what you got. Me: Dixie Envy? Cally: The clearest case I have ever seen.

Me: Any cure? Cally: Well, marrying me & putting a bun in my oven is definitely a step in the right direction, I can tell you that right now

It’s kinda like a similarly-phrased concept in Freudian psychoanalysis which, in contemporary culture, sometimes refers inexactly or metaphorically to women who are presumed to wish they were men (or at least have their equipment).

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I’ve gone on at some length as to why I love The South and I think it is fair to say that what spurs that love on is, in part, Dixie Envy.

It’s been a good many years since I was way down yonder in the land of cotton.

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I wish I was in Dixie.

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I miss it.

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I love it.

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I envy it.

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