Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mystery Plant

Who knows what this is? I found one singular specimen near my house. It is very strange. I stem with no leaves at the bottom. Whorled leaves? (Or perhaps what I think are leaves are part of the flowers, which are tiny and a chartreuse green. Stem is smooth and has some purplish tint to the slight vertically striped effect. It appears to be somewhat hollowish. The entire plant is about knee high. Growing in the woods in a fairly moist but not soppy spot- in the company of wood nettles, mixed deciduous and coniferous trees, rue anemone, bloodroot, various ferns, grapevine and morels.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Follow Up

It has been a week since I wrote the post entitled "Random Until Proven Otherwise." The morning I wrote that essay, it was raining. I was scheduled to work at my place with my temporary helper in the garden. It was too wet to do the things I had planned, so early that morning I lay in bed thinking to myself, 'How can I make this day into a productive day here?' I thought of the next big poplar tree I wanted to take down and how it was leaning one way, but how I wanted it to fall the other way and how there were blueberry bushes nearby so it needed to fall just right and how that was out of my skill zone. I lay in bed wondering if there was an experienced tree cutter I could call for some help because it was the perfect day to do something like that. I didn't come up with any answers in my mind, so I went to writing that Random essay.

After I finished the essay, I got to making biscuits and I heard a "rap rap rap." I went to the door, and no one was there. I went back to biscuit making and heard it again. I happened to catch a glimpse of the bathroom window through the open bathroom door and saw a man standing there. It was "P," a man who I had met a couple of times, but who I didn't know well. He certainly had never come to my house before. I invited him in for biscuits, and he apologized for interrupting my morning but just wanted to know if I had any trees that needed cutting down. Well.

P is a professional tree climber and cutter. He hails from the Amazonian jungle and is one of a kind. He can climb a tree like a monkey and have that tree land precisely where he wants it to land in no time flat. Typically if some dude showed up and wanted to cut down trees here I would give him a biscuit to go with a side of "hell no." But in light of my early morning thoughts and essay, I just couldn't resist. I let P cut that poplar, which he did with about the speed of lightening or a tornado, one. I tried to take a picture of him climbing, but my camera literally didn't function quickly enough to keep up with the brother. It was mind-blowing. He landed that tree perfectly, and after I fed him lunch and paid him with herbs and a little stump vice, he was gone. As I set off to begin cleaning up the limbs and carnage of the tree with MS ( the awesome helper), I laughed and marveled at how it was so random, but not really, that P showed up. I guess my good mood got me singing because before too long I was pulling one out of the archives and singing Bitchin Camaro (by The Dead Milkmen). The last time I heard that song was probably in high school. Don't know where it came from, but it popped out as we began sorting through the grapevine and poplar mess. Random.

But of course not really. Not 10 minutes later, I heard a car coming. "That's strange," I thought- "Who could it be this time?" I looked up in time to see a shiney black, tricked out Camaro, COMPLETE WITH A VANITY DESIGN ON THE SIDE pull up the driveway. I shit you not.

If you are reading this and have never been to my house, I will tell you right now, it is not a place you just happen on. It is excrutiatingly out of the way to the flow of traffic, even in these remote parts.The bitchin Camaro transported two fellers from East Tennesse who were slightly lost, looking for the neighborhood cemetery to find some Civil War era ancestors. Of course. That's not random.

I directed them to the cemetery in question, whilest giggling to myself, and they were off in a splash of mud and randomness.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Random Until Proven Otherwise

Have you ever thought about how random some things seem until they become familiar? I remember the first time I rode out into Laurel, years ago. I hopped in the truck with Dad in Hot Springs and he drove me out to get locust posts from some guy out here. After we loaded the posts in the muggy summer heat he proposed that we take the long way home and see Laurel a little bit. As we drove around 212 and possibly even up Cutshalltown, I remember gazing out the window at the sparsely situated houses and barns, cow pastures tucked between mountains, tobaccos bottoms, lots of land, and thinking "Who on earth lives out here, so tucked back from everything else? And what on earth do they do?" It baffled me to think how people in the modern world could make their lives work all the way out there. How did they earn a living? From farming alone? Did they have to drive all the way to some other established town or city for paid work? How about groceries? These valleys we were driving through just seemed so far removed from every other thing I had ever experienced in my life. It was like coming upon a place truly random.
Ha ha ha. Joke's on me.
What did I know? It was years before I learned the stark relevance of Laurel. During those years, all I caught was tidbits of stories old and no so old about the wild nature of Laurel and the fiesty independent nature of its people, its animals, its rivers. Then one day I had my first trip over Lonesome Mountain and the grandness and seperateness of Laurel really hit me again, but this time it struck a more enticing chord. Randomly, shortly after that experience, I began visiting friends out here on a regular basis, and hints of familiarity began to creep into my psyche as a travelled over the Walnut Mountains and into Sodom or Chapel Hill. The cool smell of the air, the twists of the road, the quieting in my mind.

Was it random the night Susie stopped by to see me those years ago? That same night that I decided that, for reasons beyond the scope of this essay, I could no longer stay in the place I was living. Was it random that she invited me to come stay with her and T for a while? Was it random that during the year I stayed with them they acquired some gorgeous adjacent land that needed to be bought and that I randomly had the means to buy it? The place was becoming familiar.

I am a believer in straight forward evidence and gods of all things tangible. I don't believe that things are meant to be any certain way. What I am saying here is that I don't know a damn thing. What I thought was truly random proved to be my home and the culmination of my dreams thus far in life.

I have no choice but to assume that possibility exists in pretty much everything that seems random, foreign or highly irrelevant. Isn't that something.