Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Photo by David Longley

When I was young, I wanted to do a major thru-hike. Things just kept getting in the way of my life over the years. I will never live to do it now. My old knees ache fiercely after one day's up and down a mountain. The A.T. or the Pacific Crest are just too far for my reach and age. So have I failed to achieve my ambition? You could say so. 

But what I really wanted when I was young - I see it now - was to live my life among mountains. There are particular mountains, and people on them, whom I love, and on any given day, I am free and able to walk up and down to visit them. My house stands on a mountain, and every day I breathe, I see the morning rise and the evening fall to either side of it. I find my peace in that. To say that is enough is an understatement.

Still, I never got around to that thru-hike. It doesn't keep me awake at night, but I didn't. There are a lot of things I never did. I remain grateful for the ones accomplished.

Monday, February 20, 2017

...from the bones.

Yes, the Kingdom is at hand,
Winter yields to spring,
Bright promises unfurl,
Resurrection stirs the ground,
Life rises from the bones.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Up and down...

"How was your weekend?"
"Oh, up and down."

We remember the high points and the low points of our passage through this world, but most of our time is spent traversing the places in between. It would be a shame not to appreciate them while we are passing through.

Life is all about the living along the way. A destination is just a place with nothing left to do.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Some cold and snowy day in March, I'll remember that I saw this...

and some sweltering day in July, I'll remember that I was here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

High spirits...

Twenty years ago, in a former life, I designed a kitchen for some actress lady. She liked it, and gifted me this bottle of single-malt. I never opened it, and last weekend packed it up a mountain and left it with a friend up there. I thought he would have taste and time to appreciate it properly.

The bottle has been opened now. He says it is still right good. Spirits, I've discovered, are heavier than water.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

One cannot...

One cannot live by bread alone. We must have kale. So I began sowing Blue Scotch seed today for early transplants. They will sun on the porch and come indoors at nights until the weather moderates. About a month from now they will be in the Big Ground.

While I was digging in some old flower beds for potting soil, this turned up. One of the Three Little Girls who sometimes sing in our kitchen during the wee hours just before dawn, whispered. "Oh, thee found my robin's egg!"


So grateful to live in this old house who has sheltered love and children.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Up the creek...

My friend who lives a mile down the mountain has been complaining that Joel's Creek has been getting short shrift on this blog. I walked down there Monday and we gossiped a bit while shadows gathered over the little stream that flows just past his door. When the weather's warm, we sit out there and listen to her, trying to figure out what language she is speaking. Whatever it is sounds lovely.

This time, we just discussed the weather, political, literary and meteorological, and decided there is a lot of hot and empty air involved in all forms. When I was up on Mt. LeConte last weekend, J. P. Krol, who caretakes the lodge and mans the weather station up there, told me that the average winter snowfall on LeConte is about a hundred inches. This year, so far, there have been only eight.

After we'd dissected this and a number of other mysteries, amid our habitual sprinkling of boasts and complaints, I followed the sun back up the creek to Tsaludiyi. Almost home, I took a little detour along the abandoned rail tracks to get a view of the town as it must have looked to the summer folk riding the train up Saluda Grade ninety years ago. They likely wouldn't find the view much changed if they could ride the train up the mountain today.