Monthly Archives: November 2013


Leaves reflected in wall mirror.

It was one of those Thanksgivings where you wonder if you’ll ever actually need to eat again. (And I have a refrigerator full of leftovers.)

Good company, a warm home in cold weather, the pleasure of being able to offer hospitality… these are the simple blessings I am lucky enough to enjoy daily.

They are the human birthright that so many aren’t able to claim.

A Year Ago: Layered Landscape

Folding hills, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NCThe land is folded, and the curves pile up until…
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Lissitzky Light

Transmitted and bounced light on the wall.

Things are a lot sunnier in the recent pictures than they have been in actuality. When it was sunny, over the weekend, it was still miserably chilly. Like a large swath of the country, we are having some no-fooling weather hereabouts. Fortunately, so far today it’s merely been torrential rain. But ice is promised overnight, and snow tomorrow.

I haven’t done my Thanksgiving dinner shopping yet. *sigh*

Two Years Ago: Key West Color

Two wood charis, brightly painted.There are certain colors, and combinations of colors…
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Kick The Tire

Painted barrier tire with fallen leaves.

Do it: KICK THE TIRE. Try before you buy. Don’t buy a pig in a poke. Take a taste test. Go for a spin. See if it suits.

Sometimes it can’t be done, and then you have to make a choice based on research or the word of a trusted advisor. But I say—whenever possible—live experimentally and experientially.

It’s easier to spit out a bite-sized chunk than choke down (or throw away) a plateful.

Eeeny-meeny-miney-moe, with your hand over your eyes, is no way to make decisions.

A Year Ago: Last of Autumn

Bass Pond, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NCIt got properly cold yesterday…
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Lit & Unlit

Candle lantern in windowsill.

If you can’t shine with your own light, it’s okay to let the sunlight lend you a glow. (This one really benefits by being seen larger. Please click on it for the Gallery version.)

A Year Ago: Moon Vine Wire Fence

Always aspire…
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Autumn Light

Cypress branch and knees in afternoon light, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

The days are still growing shorter, and there’s a deep melancholy settling in—not just for me, but for many of us. Compounded by recent losses and struggles, this darkest part of the year takes a toll. Challenges that feel manageable at other times become exhausting and profoundly disheartening.

I’m glad that Thanksgiving is on its way. I’m glad that I have an old friend visiting for the weekend. I’m glad I have a handsome kitten who more than tolerates me. I’m glad I have a loving partner as well as new and lifetime friends who know who I really am. These are things that keep the black dog from blocking out the sun altogether.

And you, dear readers, who continue to keep me company on this journey—you, too, remind me how beautiful life is.

A Year Ago: In Gratitude

Tree by the French Broad River, Asheville, NC
For the beauty of the earth…
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Imperial Eagle

Telephone pole grain.

A wooden rorschach test, or The Wonders of Pareidolia. What do you see?

A Year Ago: Winter Archetype

Graveyard Fields Trail, Blue Ridge, NCThe scene, all winter—…
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Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me: Number 4—Attention Must Be Paid

Loki vies for my attention over a book.

Cats are really good at asking for what they want. It’s really hard to ignore a cat that wants your attention.

Your cat will interpose his body between you and whatever it is that you think is more important than he is at that particular moment. And he will dial up his on-demand personal gravitational field to make it especially difficult to shift him, should you persist in believing that what you were trying to do still merits your full focus.

Whenever you and your cat are in proximity to one another, the cat is the pivot around which the universe rotates. And don’t you forget it—lest teeth and claws commence to supplement the furry body in your sightline.

As annoying as this can be on a practical level, cats know something important about relationships. Attention must be paid.

One cannot merely be in the same room all the time. One must listen. One must look and see. One must interact. One must nurture. (And, in case you’re wondering who “one” is in this scenario, it’s YOU.) One must pay attention to the needs of the other and tend to them.

After all, when it comes right down to it, think of all the things your cat does for you. He sits around looking cute/beautiful/handsome. He performs feats of athletic grace for your admiration and enjoyment. His fur is warm and soft to the touch. He purrs. He will cuddle up to you when you feel like crap. He gives meaning to your life by providing daily chores for you that are not excessively onerous. He makes you laugh every day by doing something goofy/delightful/unexpected. He brings you the trophies of his mighty hunting expeditions. He gives you the pleasure of a pure and uncomplicated love.

Even when you think your cat is ignoring you, he is paying attention. (Did you see the ear twitch?) He is merely using his best judgment about whether and how to respond. You would be wise to do the same.

[Update: This cat demonstrates how it is done.]

A Year Ago: Ornamental Geometry

Antler Hill Fountain, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NCBorders are interesting places…
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Sunset Tree

Tree against colorful sky.

Sometimes you just want a postcard. (Incidentally, same spot as the Biltmore Sketch.)

A Year Ago: Winter Walk

Graveyard Fields/Upper Falls Trail, Blue Ridge, NCThis is a level, non-rocky portion of the Graveyard Fields/Upper Falls trail…
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Bale of hay in park.

We couldn’t figure out what this neat pile of hay was doing sitting in the middle of a field at Carrier Park. There were no cows or horses nearby, and it seemed an unlikely spot to leave provisions for deer.

It was more like a work of modern art than anything practical.

A Year Ago: Looking Glass Rock

Photographed from the Blue Ridge ParkwaySure is pretty ’round these parts…
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Oak River

Bark of an old oak tree.

This grandfather oak had dynamic, swirling bark that flowed like a river delta. Powerful but subtle, firm, and serene. I put my hand on his trunk and asked him to lend me strength.