“The back page of an October issue of San Francisco magazine displays a vivid photograph of a small boy, eyes wide with excitement and joy, leaping and running on a great expanse of California beach, storm clouds and towering waves behind him. A short article explains that the boy was hyperactive, he had been kicked out of his school, and his parents had not known what to do with him–but they had observed how nature engaged and soothed him. So for years they took …

Picture This Read more »

For three hours, the wind scoured my skin, abraded my eyeballs, pushed, shoved and bullied me. But then, what did I expect on the Parkway in March. But was it worth it? Depends on your yardstick. I’d offered to try to get some pictures for the editor of Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway High Vistas newsletter. The cover article in the upcoming issue will be on the sorry financial plight of the national parks, the Parkway in particular, of course. Did I have …

Windswept Read more »

To have one’s bones picked clean by vultures and live on, with wings. While this reincarnational idea is more poetic than a statement of my personal future expectations, it is just one among many pondering points in an essay by Radford English prof Rick Van Noy. There were so many out-takes from the piece I am helpless to do justice in summarizing it. Find the essay in the archives of Appalachian Voices here. For those like me–this includes perhaps a few Fragments readers–who have …

Enskyment Read more »

Well, not quite. Ann left to spend yet another night at the workplace so she’d be sure and be able to open up the pharmacy at 6:00 this morning. We’ve had just enough accumulating snow showers and strong winds to make driving–especially in the dark–something to be avoided. But this week’s weather promises the possibilities of a return, perhaps briefly, to some low 50’s temps, which will fell positively balmy. And how happy I am that I took the time to stop for these …

Out of the Cold Read more »

You know it’s cold when the rhododendron leaves go tubular. As one of the few broadleaved plants still in leaf over winter, extra precautions are needed. On the plus side, this evergreen mountain shrub can remain metabolically active all winter long. But that involves water needs (from frozen ground) and water production in photosynthesis (with the risk of cells burst by freezing.) So rolling the leaves reduces surface area, creating a higher humidity field around the leaf’s lower surface; the top surface is lacquered …

How Cold Was It? Read more »