When my sister sent me a blank sketchbook, with it came instructions. "Sketch one picture a day, of something that makes you joyful, grief, angry, or afraid." I took the first three days off. On the third day I sketched ten pictures of my cat. On the fourth day I sketched ten more pictures of my cat.

Cats intrigue me because their movement has abundant fluidity like ocean water.

Posted Sun Apr 1 13:30:23 2018

The figure drawing class was a great opportunity, but most of the time, my eyes were drawn to the artists themselves. So I sketched them too. Everyone produced brilliant unique pieces each so different from their neighbors.

Posted Wed Apr 4 13:53:36 2018

This is just one sketcher's attempt to honor the great activists speaking out against gun violence, many of them young and personally impacted. It is a horribly incomplete first edition of an attempt, leaves out many important figure heads. Really I just drew until I got tired one day.

These may be reused. Artist credit Maggie Hess.

Posted Mon Apr 9 13:49:01 2018

Posted Tue Apr 10 13:08:35 2018

Sand scuff spraying, board wax melting off in an Equator tide. "Surf" marred by internet, yet on Netflix I find The Endless Summer. Commas connecting sentence fragments, long stretches riding a cress. Hilarious documentary narrator making up facts. Cape St. Francis, South Africa worth long dune exploration. Somewhere in all these surf movies, Fish People, Resurface, I realize. I want to ride on top a wave! I always would hang out just past the crest. There I sang to the dolphins, and sometimes they returned. Swimming long hours in the ocean. But I looked disdainfully at boards, they impeded my style. Maybe I would have gone without the suit.
All the accessories bummed my bum. I finally am really getting the point of surfing. Even the crash has a purpose.
So I am hatching a dream to someday stand on a board and catch a perfect wave. This summer at Ocracoke I hope to start with body surfing. I've been building my own buoyancy, a flotation device of sorts. Won't you come?

Posted Sat Apr 14 23:31:22 2018

If I had known the photographs taken on this day would be overexposed, I would have taken more care at sketching. I usually don't say much about my ratty little sketches, but that one guy in the foreground is Joey working on the rose bush and that is his head poking up over the table on porch of the single wide, looking kind of like a skull cake.

Still I thought someone might like looking them over. Maybe someone can fix the darkness?

Getting outdoors so much today was vital therapy for me. It helped that I went into the mud pretty deep. The biological benefit of dirt exposure is well documented.

Anna and Mark are still selling their farm. If you act quick you could get a working organic strawberry crop in front of the weeds season.

Posted Sun Apr 15 00:01:59 2018


Under this mud

deep in the Earth

a core keeps some apple seed

and in me.

Mom says Ruth Sheriff wrote better at night with strange little snacks like these to keep her stoked. Our refrigerator harbors abundant cabbage, kale, and raddichio. I chose the raddichio feeling sorry for the head, left behind by time, almost forgotten. Peel off the outer layers until it stops being miserable, then I find some perky parts. Cut up the innards. Sizzle the olive oil. Drop in the red plant, add the salt. First time I cooked with raddichio, this same head, left something to be desired. A food best cooked, I left out that part. My slap dash cooking style reflects my inspiration. I am blessed when I find people who appreciate it, my art, my writing. Well, my writing is a bit more measured sometimes, not always. Everything is an exertion of exuberance. Let's say that is the currency of life. Cooking an evening mini meal might take 44 exuberance rupees. They can multiply and grow. They can come depleted. The exact same activity, cooking, can rob you or grow your exuberance rupees. The first time I prepared raddichio, I put it in a salad, then picked it out of the salad. Reading helps. Reading about ingredients that are new to us. So tonight, Mom was right, something in this chicory raddichio amplified my inspiration. These are the facts. As bitter as it tasted, it has the same effects as coffee. Some hippies don't know the difference, but it is this cabbage like Italian plant that has the spike, not the little blue late summer flowers.

For a while my writing was zapped. I wondered why, but I figured it was depression. Probably true. Writing is just like cooking. A poem could take 31 exuberance rupees, but it can just make you more inclined to write. Or it can make you want to stick your head under a pillow and hide from words and letters. Sketching and painting, I guess that will be 41 and 53 rupees respectively. The thing about the money of inspiration, of life, it is so elastic. So few are maybe aware of the currency in the first place perhaps because when you think about the same thing having either negative or positive effects for no good reason explainable, none of it makes much sense. Ruth Sheriff was this incredible journalist friend of my mother's. Probably worth iconizing and I have this incredible belt she wore. So I can put it on when I write at night when my mind turns on with ideas spurred by some cabbage looking vegetable. My head has been doing little sketches for a long time. My head has a way of raining when it rains and droughts are available as anything, but more related to my mental wellness than anything else. I guess things are looking up. This is my breakthrough. Let it rain!

The way forward through darkness is often more darkness. The light doesn't turn on when you realize it would be nice to have a light. Sometimes that moment might be realizing gratitude is the key. But that realization is not enough. You must wake thinking this I am grateful for this life. You must think these thoughts even when there is just a flicker of truth in any of it. Or maybe it just hurts. You convince the pain away. You convince the truth to ignite in beauty. You bend and shift the truth. The truth becomes your friend. You hold its little hand and walk together up the sunny shore.

So this is what has been happening in more plot heavy terms. I officially decided no grad school this year. I am thinking I just will never go. The costs seem crazy for the fact I am not much of a work person. I mean my work lately has been relaxing as hard as I can. I really believe in relaxing. I am reading an Audio book to learn more about it as a science. My peers wear themselves thin with their work, but I have a real disability and I should have the right to enjoy its peace. So I attempt to live as essentially as possible and end up living over my means the beginning of each paycheck, like many. I think it would be nice to stretch the disability check a little more, a goal worthy, though I am not beating myself up because it really is not much.


Can someone fix the darkness?

I don't know.

You wait through it.

Then in the darkest moment, it dawns.

Posted Sun Apr 15 01:09:54 2018

Poor depression, moving in with someone else, someone else paying its utility bill. Yesterday left so many beautiful images in me. My inner imagery is generally sketchy and gray scales. But there is a more tactile part of me that carries a more colorful imagery. I still feel the mud as it splattered high on my leg and the cold water of the creek as I crossed it. And there are calls of birds that I recall keenly, one sound as we entered the cars at the very end, three "ya's" like a very emphatic blue heron.

By the way, I have migrated off of facebook. Maybe the world is changing in a terrific backpedal, where blogs are more important than that machine of intentional terror (see story on facebook's implications in Burma violence.)

I have decided that while the stream of thought is flowing freely in writing form, I should keep the spigot on, no matter if it seems meaningful or not.

I am feeling grateful this morning for the inquiry my family always placed on wild things. I hear birds out my window, and I know I hear a pileated woodpecker and a chicken. Before I heard geese certainly. There is a chattering of birds I am not familiar with but I would be delighted to learn their names. I wonder about people who just coexist with our bird friends, or try to ignore them, or curse their morning songs. I would hope those people get a chance to learn about them individually as I have started to.

So I am glad for Anna, the sibling with the farm who is a bird expert and knowledgeable on most wild things. She gave our family compost before most people understood why. And her farm, the one in Virginia that's still for sale, helped me to a better place yesterday. So I am grateful.

But really how it must be to hear a woodpecker laugh and not want to know the type. Of course, my brother Joey is inclined to call all green vegetation "plants" without any distinction. So maybe it is not a family thing.

Posted Sun Apr 15 11:19:55 2018

Joey integrated my art into his home. see picture

I would love to mail anyone else some art. Just comment and I'll get your postal address. While supplies last.

Posted Sun Apr 15 11:50:37 2018

https://d.tube/#!/v/mountainjewel/jsyjpkzn

This is a repost of a friend of mine, Wren, who I knew at the Mountain. I adore what she says here about painful emotions, so much, that I just had to put it down again.

Posted Sun Apr 15 13:04:20 2018

I think one of the reasons my last post, a repost of Wren of MountainJewel steemit blog, means so much to me and my current condition is I have given her idea time for it to incubate. This idea Wren has, that we should love our difficult emotions came to me first when I lived with Wren in 2009. In 2009 Wren was spreading the same kind of philosophy, but it didn't penetrate entirely then. I was and maybe always will be thin skinned, vulnerable, volatile, and having a hard time living with Wren in a new environment of The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, North Carolina. So I took her ideas abrasively. They were too loud and in my face, her LOVE concept! It was all capital letters. I wish I could say I came back to her idea somehow, before watching it on a Dtube video from her blog but I cannot. It took between 2009 and 2017 for me to say that is a darned awesome spiritual path for you to take, Wren. Wren was the girl at the Mountain whose ice cream I ate, Hagan Dass. And boy did that propel a fight. We both were fierce and had big ideas - I have hardly ever met anyone with the kind of energy she has. In fact I would add she is one of these rare people who never had to take psychological medication for a rambunctious nature I would say excels my wild side. I guess she is fortunate not to have lived this life I know with the diagnosis and medicine. But I do think Wren has her emotional struggles like all of us do. Well I saw her just January on Homestead Rescue living in a mildew ridden yurt in the Ozarks. So I guess what I am getting at is if she doesn't have her breakdowns she would be a super hero. But what she was saying on the video is, love the anxiety. Love the fear. Love the sorrow. Love the sadness. Honor and welcome the negative emotions in to your heart with love. Sure it ironically means they tend to turn around more quickly, when you do that. Also you are accepting and acknowledging parts of yourself that are necessary indicators. Also, it is just who you are right then so you should not deny that. Unless if denial is what you are working on loving.

So I have been thinking of this all day and now it is noon and I am having a real awakening to the way to deal with moments when the words of others get under our skin. This is something that happens for me a lot, and why I self identify as thin skinned, though who knows, maybe this will be my turning point on that.

I love my Mother. She is probably my best friend. I love being around her. But I do get jealous of relationships of others with her. I don't want to be her one and only person in the world by any means. I want her to love and be around all kinds of people, but I get thin skinned with her because there is no avoiding hearing her talk on the phone and it often gets under my skin what she often says. Those are the facts. But just today I started loving my thin skin, and it started to heal. I started realizing in a bold way that a lot of my problem with Mom is that she retells shared experiences in ways that leave me out or talk about what I really was quite sure did not happen. Now I am just thinking everyone does this. I do this. We all see the world in our own way. And that is how we talk about the world. I used to worry that my Mom regrets me because when she talked about what happened, big highlights with a few people, including me, she frequently avoids mentioning me or brags about everyone else, neglecting me. But by gum, I am a big girl, and I am learning to love that worry. I am nurturing the worry and recognizing it as a real true thing that has bothered me. But then almost instantly, I realize also that I don't need to worry about it. We all see the world in our own special way, and Mom sees it through her lens. I could guess around the reason for her speech all day, but the real good idea is I wonder what I can be like if I get a little thicker skin, like a callous for playing an instrument.

I am looking forward to a new confidence.

Posted Sun Apr 15 16:13:26 2018
Art

My art is so unique. :)
lol

Posted Sun Apr 15 18:55:19 2018

https://www.patreon.com/posts/18212671

Evolution to a Deeper Meaning Apr 16 at 9:16am What is the source of all human suffering? Attachment maybe. What is the reason for life? Connection or beauty maybe.

In my latest effort, I am combining these deeply dug themes simply by sending art enclosed letters to whomever pays for basic postage (or more is acceptable.)

When you pay one dollar for instance, I will send you not only a meaning rich piece of writing. I will send you an original sketch such as this one above.

I know a lot about suffering, and the human condition, and I would love to receive return mail from anyone around the world.

I know a dollar is a lot for some Americans and 5 dollars is an incredible lot of postage for some international citizens. But I promise to make this worth your while.

If you know me, I am no longer using facebook, as so many of us have left there. Whether you know me or not, it is a worthwhile idea to evolve to deeper meaning through postal mail exchange. Isn't it? 1 Like

Posted Mon Apr 16 13:34:14 2018

This morning, after a period of waking "aspergers self diagnosis", I mentioned to my Mom that I wish I had a social group like her book group where there was a common interest whether or not we saw eye to eye on everything.

I apparently had drunk too much coffee, because I don't recall her response, and only remember my retort to it.

I decided to try to join a water aquatics class in the mornings at the YMCA here in town.

I am thinking if I can keep with it, and go at least once a week, but hopefully 5 times, it could be the open door and way into healthiness that I need.

So I am stoked to say I am giving it a try this morning! Wish me luck!

Posted Thu Apr 19 12:58:54 2018

In common waters we come, kicking and spitting through waves we will always share. I like the way the couple in the lane next to me swims. They pass through the pool with a quick grace. He leads in the start of their routine, she follows swiftly catching up measured lengths. My glasses off, I am wondering who she is, who he is, who they are. I probably don't know in the first place. I saw a lifeguard I have spoken to, but other than a few people, I pass inconspicuous so far. The intention was to do water aquatics but I arrived a half hour early wanting to escape conversation at home. Maybe today is not the day to socialize, I decide after lap 9, a turning point for my swim routine as it has been this year. As the guards change places, and my acquaintance goes to teach the next class, I part the waters with a clear commitment to swim 36 laps, my first consecutive mile this year.

I had chosen to do a shorter routine before. I had aimed at about 9 laps per swim, just enough to get some buoyancy, to pump a little blood, and have done something good for me. But now I realize I have been bored with that plan. It was a hope to get me to the pool but the joy of the swim was frankly falling asleep. My blood wasn't pumping much at all after 9 laps, which was why I wasn't swimming often enough either. My hope today becomes to push my limits and challenge myself with swimming again, that itself I hope to be the lure that calls me back to the pool, which happens to be my favorite place to be, so it shouldn't be so difficult.

A note on bathing suits. Some people might wonder, I am a heavy lady, is it the suiting up that keeps me from swimming. The answer has always been no. I am a heavy lady, and a bit of a naturist. I am glad to get my clothes off and put on the scant article that shows most of my flesh. It's just my nature. The issue is motivation and temperament. Sometimes I think about the pool a bit too much. Water goes in my nose and I think, ah yes, what a unique mix of semen, excrement, detritus, snot, and spit. You get the picture. But this pool is the hallowed place. This pool is where we all come together and become just human. This disabled woman swims beside the doctor and nobody knows or cares. Lapping along, nobody even thinks about the barriers that separate us. We all are trying to do something, our own goal, our own triumph, our mile or 9 laps, or hour - whatever.

I start thinking about my mile in terms of a familiar walk, the dog walk I like to do in the morning with Tobin and Brazen. I am swimming along, visualizing the walk I take through the cemetery and my back yard. I'll inform you, the swim is much slower than the walk. I can't speak for everyone, but it take me an hour at least to swim the mile. It's been a while, and I am slowing down as I imagine myself walking up the hill of the cemetery. I see the same birds in my mind's eye who circled this morning, near the two pine trees just past the catalpa tree. I rejoice all over again when Brazen pees and poops, as indoor dog parents like to let our animals do their thing. In my mind, I pass the time reading grave stones I recall from this morning. I know each passing leaf and the feel of the gravel under my feet. Then of course, I open my goggles, rinse out the scummy coating, and also feel the wonderful water, and see the world that actually surrounds me.

I will try the water aquatics class another day. Today I am pumped just to move my legs and arms, and do my own thing for an hour in this pool. In the dressing room, I talk to a woman who works with a disabled, mobility challenged woman in a wheelchair. She is glad to have a job that forces her into the pool each day. I don't work, I am disabled too. I should think of this time as something I need to do, as if it were my job, just as this woman does. Health is everything.

Posted Thu Apr 19 15:37:44 2018

Anna said she tries to walk until her brain goes still. She asked me a really good question about whether my mile swim was comparable to a 45 minute walk. I know there are all kinds of quantitative measurements that can be made from calories burned to heart beat per minute over time. But qualitatively, the land leaves something to be desired. In the water, the mind becomes another animal entirely. Maybe I become a fish brain, but that is all right with me. Yes, more stillness enters as the swim continues. But the slowing of thoughts comes immediately for me, because of variables like less oxygen and the fact I am surrounded by depth. Some argue that the thoughts are not slower but more clear. I think they are slow and clear too.

A lot of people are not fish people. When I went to Berea, I realized that many people don't even know how to swim, because it was a requirement to swim the length of the pool there before graduating, and many people were intimidated by it. Swimming is a privilege to know how to do yet it seems the most natural activity a person can possibly achieve. I hope today's enthusiasm carries over into many upcoming miles.

Posted Fri Apr 20 00:51:48 2018

I wrote one of the best things I have ever written in my head while swimming a mile this morning. When I emerged, I got to put it down on paper, though it always comes out in varied form from "the original". It will hopefully be my 3rd part in the Hoodwinked Vignettes series to come out in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. The second airs in September and the first is here: http://www.deadmule.com/maggie-hess-hoodwinked-vignettes-fiction/ I love that my fiction is coming out in chapter series, like Charles Dickens did in the publication of some of his works. And it is one of the most fun things I have ever written. Actually, writing it is making me want to read fiction, which I used to do a lot more than I do now. Writing can be a gateway drug to "high"er literacy. (How's that for some 420 punnery?)

Anyway, in the water I began a strange realization. I have spent a long time studying the impermanence of one country dirt road near a waterfall, and in those reflections, I see my own changing person, the individual evolution of who I am. But strangely, I had not done much thinking around the idea that others are changing every second too. I knew it was true, naturally, but I never really delved into it as a concept.

I am not going to be able to put all of my thoughts on this in this entry, but as I lapped, I saw not only the lanes change in terms of who was swimming, but I think I saw a young boy sitting on a bench grow a half an inch while a large man in the center lap lane lost four pounds! Then in an instant, it wasn't me who saw it, it was a part of us, we were all unified in our fleeting nature. The voice of one laughed itself into oblivion. There was no more "I" just the collective "we".

Posted Fri Apr 20 17:12:51 2018

Wren suggested a website for me: https://taramandala.org/about-kapala-training/the-process/

I am eating The Process website piece by piece like the beginning of a candy addiction for a young child who has never before had sugar or chocolate, but gets them both together this Easter season.

So I am savoring it very slowly and have just read the first bit, but I am coming back to often, to read another sentence or section. Amazing!

The most interesting thing I ever read was also about demons. I think it was in a book by Tara Brach but I never relocated it.

I once had this vivid dream that there was a demon standing over my head, a gnarly little black man. I screamed and my Mom actually came in, turned on the light and woke me up, and the man was not there.

I then eventually would read this thing about how in some other ethnic tradition we all have four demons who watch over us and protect us. I loved the turn in that, thinking that my little black man might have been fending off enemies.

I love incorporating The Process in these thoughts I have on demons.

Posted Sat Apr 21 11:39:04 2018

Wren was the one who put the bee in my bonnet to love that which hurts me, even if it is a component of my own mind that seems to rest in hardness, find sanctuary in suffering.

Thing is, that brings something up for me. I tend to be specific and want definitions of terms. Well what is it to love? I ask.

I mean how do you love? I suppose we do what comes natural to us. For me, children and babies are the easiest people to love in the world. So cradle the self hatred in your arms as you would a child and you will be loving the hatred. True. But what are other ways to love?

Thinking can be loving. Like my mother is notorious for caring about suffering of others in terms of national and international news. It drives me crazy, because I am in a nonjudgement phase. I am in a phase that doesn't want to see black or white, and to instead just see gray shades.

Love can be looking out for others, their emotions, and in turn, looking in for yourself.

It is an interesting question that I am just beginning to think over.

I swam my third mile this week, well three consecutive days. I swam the third one moments ago, hair still wet.

I would love comments from authorities on love, people who don't know how to love, or professional trainers, or any combination of those.

Posted Sat Apr 21 14:27:56 2018

Lately I have been rekindling and cultivating an enthusiasm for couchsurfing.com My experience with couchsurfing is that it is the antithesis of airbnb. I had an amazingly bad experience at my one airbnb site. Well, it wasn't that bad. It could have been much worse. I was in Costa Rica so it really was a worthwhile bad experience. The host depended on tourists for his whole income and seemed super burnt out on us. I reviewed him highly though I found him horrible because I felt sorry for him and because I had sat on a flimsy chair in my room and it had broken and I hadn't tried anything to mend the situation. So I was in the wrong. But he responded with a terrible one star review siting the chair, which really should have been sturdier! It was the only chair and I didn't feel comfortable using the main part of his house, though it was on limits, because he was irate and rude the whole time!!! (This is not you average Tico or Costa Rican native. They mostly are incredibly kind, polite, and friendly!) I feel bad that he was spread so thin and I did break the chair and not offer to repair or refund for it. And I feel sorry for that.

Anyway, go back in time even more. My first and only time I ever stayed on a formally couchsurfing hook up was entirely different. It was my first time visiting Berea College where I got my degree. I thought it would be a neat thing to stay there the first time as a couchsurfer, and noticed that Erin Finsel happened to have the SENS (sustainability) house up for possible couchsurfers. I was treated with so much love and respect on that trip, welcomed into her group of friends almost at once, and that same strand of friends ended up being my own friends in school. It was incredible.

Those are memories though. In reality I was like a deer in the headlights looking at all these new things and people with bewilderment and over-stimulation. By then I knew that is how I respond to new circumstances. But it was a challenge.

I have always thought of robins as a totem animal and on that trip, I saw a dead one in the SENS parking lot. Robin is also a middle name, one of my two names in the middle. It penetrated my heart so deeply to see the dead robin, but I was glad to be in the company of people who seemed to "get" the deep kinship with the Earth. They probably got it more than I do to be honest.

So having the comfort of a good night's sleep allowed me the ability to have a good stay in Berea, Kentucky, and that visit ultimately transformed my life because graduating college was the best thing I have done so far.

I remember eating breakfast at BCand T. My favorite biscuit with egg and cheese and sausage. I am positive it was Paul Scott who served me that biscuit. Probably one of my first other Berea friendships.

The people I find on couchsurfing are more of a niche of people that I am likely to like. They open their homes with generosity wanting nothing but comrades, even knowing chairs might break. It is the generosity in the interaction that makes me write this plug for couchsurfing. Plus I really love the niche of people it draws. If you haven't looked into it, I hope you will consider adding an account there. It can be a great way to travel or to feel the life of the big world from the safeness of your home.

Posted Sat Apr 21 16:05:57 2018

Sullivan County, Tennessee

“Think Global, Act Local.” It is much more than a bumper sticker, it is a methodology for making the world better, much like Gandhi's “Be the change.” These little axioms exist for a reason. It is beneficial that they lodge so easily in the minds of idealistic youths as they are ideas worth having and thinking and mulling over.

Lately I have been increasingly opposed to seeing the world through a black and white lens. Most things and people have something good and something bad about them. I used to be more extremely focused on doing the right thing until the Puritanism approach about killed me with guilt for things that really don’t matter. I still vote though. I think sometimes the most powerful act can be just to vote local, and very few people vote in local elections, so you have more impact than you might think.

This time around, I am voting for a list of Republicans. Most people who know me know I loved Bernie Sanders when he ran, though not many know me intimately enough to know I harbor no self hatred for the fact Trump got in. Anyway, I mention Bernie, so you will know I am pro-environment, pro-working person, in favor of local policies that help poor people with property tax relief, and will always vote against gun toting kinds.

So here is the ballot I have decided on. There are no Democrats in contention this time, so why should Democrats kill their own votes? Democrats need to vote Republican in certain situations, as do people who identify as Green and Libertarian.

Don’t lose your local vote! Vote Venable, Whitaker, Ramsey, Austin, Forgety, Jacobs, Bilgari, Hutton, Akard.

Posted Mon Apr 23 20:54:22 2018

Not sure if you know that my Mom was in the strike at Columbia 50 years ago? Democracy Now recently did some interesting coverage of that momentous civil disobedience. I was so proud to watch it with my Mom, who kept thinking she might recognize people in the crowd of protesting students. She didn't know Mark Rudd too personally but was very close with other resisters. It occurred to me that I wanted to talk about this with you, when I watched the piece on Democracy Now. Also, Juan Gonzalez, Amy Goodman's co-anchor, began his career in justice there at Columbia, and there was footage of that. I am fascinated by that time that my Mom lived through. She was a pretty privileged white woman in it, and a graduate student, which meant that she was not locked in the building. But she was on the sidewalk during the protest. She says she came home the first day to Mary Larsen and Ruth Sheriff - other graduate students who she was living with - and remembers saying what she saw, and Ruth goes "It's the Revolution!" I think that is intriguing because on Democracy they talked about the white black issues on campus and how much of the protest was for the black and brown students who did not think of it as a revolution at all, very specifically they said. Of course if your life depends on a protest, you don't have the privilege to think of it so casually. But this time did also change Mom's life. She didn't complete her degree at Columbia, and rather moved South with another striker, Geoff Green, and a few other people with the back to the land movement. She moved to Mendota Virginia, of all places, in pursuit of real people in their natural habitat, or something like that.

My life has had some similar nearness to civil disobedience, and some of the people in parts of my life were like my versions of Mom's friends. Specifically, when I was involved in early meetings of Mountain Justice, I did one thing that might have made a ripple effect and convinced some of its people to keep that movement nonviolent. Both Mom and I were marginal cast outs in our social groups and that interests me too, as I read social scientists say all people feel cast out in the early parts of socializations.

Posted Thu Apr 26 11:39:53 2018

This morning I noticed that some new cracks appeared in the basketball court in back of my mother's house. The court is just off of State Street, McDowell St is parallel, and our home and yard and a dog yard are in the bottom land between the higher up State Street and the elevated McDowell St. Many times I have looked at our back yard and thought, well we are very low down, I wonder if a sink hole could be possible? Now on the Virginia side, nearby, there is a rock wall that has fallen to pieces rather suddenly and is actually blockading a small alley near the East Hill Cemetery. Our house is cinder brick and has some cracks in the brick. But I am not worried about cosmetic cracks, just major issues like sinkhole potential.

Do you think there is reason for concern?

Posted Sun Apr 29 13:05:03 2018

A sinkhole is quite possible. There are many hundreds in the Bristol area. Let me note that some sinkholes are stable for centuries and no threat to the buildings in and around them, because water is no longer significantly dissolving the rocks below. A sinkhole can therefore be lived with. One part of a sinkhole May be active, in fact, while another is stable, in the time scale we humans have to work with. But other sinkholes are a serious problem, and weter than average weather over a period of years can make the surface unstable at a rapid rate. Also, I should ask you to broaden your view about the changing surface. There is much limestone in Bristol, and some of it is dissolving in ways fast enough that you can see as an observant resident, so that causes some walls to fall in some places. But it does not necessarily mean there is a sinkhole there. It still might damage your house! So you don’t need a sinkhole to have a geological problem. I would bring in an expert, if you know one or know someone who knows one. I am afraid I am not an expert, and I do not know any. I do hope this helps some! Ed

Posted Sun Apr 29 14:56:00 2018


Don't stop for the freight train parked,

where tourists take pictures on the state line,

instead turn right.


Let yourself be surprised by the flight

of a great blue heron, gliding beside us

or following the track to another stream.


Crossing the bridge,

bump on uneven pavement,

embody leaving the city.


Meander out into the country,

make an unplanned visit to an old neighbor

couple's grave, pink flower and cross.


Pass through unknown wild flowers

on road rutted on either side

some island.


Feel the flowers.

Smell them, a green scent -

soft. Proclaim it.


Let your dog run where there

used to be a trestle bridge.

Pick remarkable flat rock treasures. Buckeye sapling.


Now the road will have forks many.

Park at the old store and let your dog find water

in the creek by the wedding catalpa.


Here is a fork.

Go towards the nearest stray barn cat.

Hope she has a home.


Black kitty disappears into grasses.

Realize perspective.

Realizing you too disappear, around bends.


Pass a woman walking two black dogs

and imagine who she is. Guess.

Park by the river, Holston.


Walk and tune in to what you hear, flowing water.

There is a field of buttercups.

What is that a reishi mushroom?


Err on the side of caution, but smell that?

If a scent could be a miracle, it is.

A mixture of fresh air, humus, and something deeper.


Now let your dog know

you are going home

where your memory holds on to a phlox perfume.

Posted Sun Apr 29 20:14:40 2018