Saturday, December 8, 2012

Trying to Be Relevant

 After getting the idea for the previous rant around noon, I decided I'd better take a walk and regain my perspective.  If at all possible, I wanted to finish the day on a positive note.  First, I saw this cute patch of fungi growing out of the end of an old 2x4 near my stacked firewood.  The smell of these fungi and the overall dampness of the area reminded me of the pleasure of digging my hands into fresh, moist soil, which I relished as a youthful gardener.  Then I remember that many of the farmers alluded to in my previous post may never have had this pleasure.  Today's industrialized soils hardly have the aroma, much less the health, of yesterday's soils.  Today's industrial farms are not the kind of children's storybooks.  The 'farmer in the dell' never saw gigantic monocultures supported by imported fertilizers, war surplus herbicides and pesticides, and amazing consumption of fossil fuels, in fact more calories of fuel energy than we get out of the food consumed!  But I'm going negative again.
 This lone fruiting body was just past the aforementioned 2x4 had a beautiful, lacy design. Click on the photo for a more detailed look.
 The deciduous trees have dropped nearly all their leaves, and typical of this oak, many of them sport attractive clusters of lichens and mosses.  Our beautiful blue sky is peeking through from behind.
 A month ago I photographed a rose bud near our county museum and posted here, remarking on its late appearance.  Well, since then it has bloomed.  Last year at this time we were having below-zero temperatures.  I like this better.
 People along Main Street still have hardy Asters blooming in their front yards.
 Finally, one from the archives that I forgot to include in the previous post.  A Twelve-spotted Skimmer (a dragonfly) that landed in my front yard in August.
I want to close with a 'warm fuzzy' story.  Just read a news item about a man in western North
Carolina who is part of a group trying to restore the American Chestnut tree which once was common from Maine to Georgia.  When I walked to school in first grade in Massachusetts, I used to pass a huge one (probably not as big as I remember it) at the side of the road.  When the nuts fell and came out of their greenish coverings, I loved to collect them.  My brother and I would hollow some out to make little pipes, although we never smoked with them.  We'd string them as necklaces, and do all kinds of things - throw them, think about eating them, etc.  I used to fill my pockets with  them on the way to school.  That became very inconvenient.  They'd fall out on the classroom floor and I'd be scolded.  It would have made more sense to wait until the walk home, but I couldn't resist.  The man mentioned above is Jim Hurst, and he's located near the French Broad River in western NC. I used to live near that river.  All sorts of nostalgia stirred here.  In California, the California Buckeye has a nut that looks similar to the Chestnut and the two Buckeye seeds on our dining room counter are a constant reminder of my love of chestnuts.  One other connection I love: I did a senior English project on Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith"  which begins 'Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands....."  I remember like it was yesterday copying the painting of the blacksmith under a chestnut tree that appears in my Longfellow collection which I've had ever since elementary school.  So, if you're a rural person, get out and walk a lot during the holiday season and help me reclaim our relevance. [See previous post if you don't know what I'm talking about.]

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