Back in December, I was offered the opportunity to contribute a “500-700 word article on Southwest Virginia’s outdoors or nature” by the Crooked Road folks. It now appears (on page 23) in the program guide for next week’s Mountains of Music regional celebration. The topic I chose (because Jane Cundiff and I had been talking about Big Trees in Floyd County) was SWVA’s known and as-yet-unrecorded Big Trees–and the Stadium Woods issue on the Va Tech campus. You can read my article; see a …

Music, Mountains and Big Trees Read more »

Housekeeping the catacombs of my desk, I found a reflection from early on. It speaks to my hopes for myself, for my readers, for our world. Now, more than 15 years later, some hopes are realized, some will never be. If anything, the American masses seem even more untethered from their responsibilities and connections to “the environment” than they were when my writing life began in 2002. And so this reflection, in hindsight, is a kind of dream unrealized, but not entirely so. It …

The World: At the Beginning Read more »

A few years back, I was asked to write the introduction as the final work came together for the author and artist who crafted “Keepers of the Tradition.” The intro was granted 1400 words initially, and lives below; the final printing space allowed only 800 at a very late date, so what you read in the beautiful coffee-table hardcopy leaves out much of this. I just happened upon it in the dusty archives of digital keystrokes, and thought I’d share, or at least have …

Keepers: The Missing Intro Read more »

I awoke with a start. I had fallen asleep slumped against my favorite leaning poplar a ten-minute walk from the house. I was most certainly not exactly there now. I had nodded off on a warm summer afternoon, but now I was immersed in a cool but pleasant darkness, and more floating than lying against anything at all. The half-familiar smell of being in a cave – or the dank, moist, earthy and energizing smell of a rainstorm – was intense; it came from every side of me, …

BlueWater Dream of the Great Below Read more »

Not surprisingly, I came to discover that there is no one by that name with a PO box in that small Blue Ridge mountain town whose name and zipcode appeared on the envelope. The namesake of the purported sender was never seen again, nor the cool million he left the plane with, though some reports say some of it was found in an eroded riverbank decades later. So the crisp, uncirculated 20s in the envelope might have been part of that loot, I thought, …

Urban Legend Anonymous Patron of the Arts Read more »