Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Commitment of Trees

Watercolorish rendition of tree twigs.

Yesterday I planted 15 tree saplings on my property: 3 redbud, 3 persimmon, 3 black cherry, and 6 crape myrtles. It was the hardest physical work I’ve done in years, and every muscle in body aches today, especially in my hands and forearms from breaking up the heavy, clayey soil. And I still have 6 flowering dogwoods in a plastic bag in my basement awaiting another day with nice weather (Sunday, maybe?) to be put in the ground.

I expect the redbuds and the crape myrtles to grow pretty quickly (if, indeed, any of them survive at all). But the black cherry probably won’t even set flowers until a decade from now, and they’re unlikely to produce a full harvest of fruit until twice that time, or longer. If they thrive, and if the land remains intact, those cherry trees may one day grow to be 80 meters tall. I won’t live long enough to see it.

So I’d like to propose a new collective noun for multiple trees planted as saplings: a commitment of trees. For the cost of about $20 to Buncombe County, and a couple of bags of soil ameliorating mulch, I’m hoping to leave a legacy of beauty in my neighborhood for generations to come.

All fine and good: last night I was so grateful that I’d insisted on installing a soaking tub in my master bath.

A Year Ago: The One of My Dreams

One-shaped pipe in grassy area.Do you know what you really want?…
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Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me—Number 8: The Catfather

Cat highlighted on rug.

Here’s what you need to know: Loki will make me an offer I can’t refuse.

Look at this animal and tell me that—short of brute force implementation (I am bigger than he is, although my claws are nowhere near as sharp, nor my teeth as pointy)—this cat ever does something that he doesn’t acquiesce to.

This is an animal who knows who he is and what he wants. He is relentlessly persistent in pursuit of his goals. He has gravitas. Mess with him at your peril. A bribe only works if he would be doing that other thing anyway, and so nyah-nyah you’ve just given up a bribe for nothing. He is master of his domain (which, by the way, is also your domain, except you just live in it; he owns it). His charisma and purity of intent ensure that he will remain on the throne.

Welcome to the family: you work for the godfather now. Don’t you forget it.

A Year Ago: More Than One Step

Cement steps with zigzag shadow.It’s been quite awhile since I’ve felt like I had so many irons in the fire simultaneously…
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Window silhouettes.

Caught in the fog.
Caught in the branches.
Caught unawares.
Caught out.

There’s always a catch.

A Year Ago: Veranda

Biltmore Inn, Asheville, NCNo amount of googling thus far has enabled me to determine…
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Loki in the Snow

Watercolor-effect image of cat in snow with footprints.

By a trick of the eye and software, you can’t clearly see Loki’s leash in this rendition of the photograph. Never mind that sleight-of-hand: what’s astonishing is that instead of standing on the porch expressing his utter disdain and WTF?itude, Loki is seen actually picking his way through an admittedly much-attenuated snowfield.

The air was warmer, there were tufts of grass sticking through here and there, and His Furriness did indeed deign to venture forth and get his royal paws cold and wet. It must be said, however, that he didn’t put up his usual struggle when it was time to go inside again.

Two Years Ago: Winter Arrangement

Dried flowers, vase, windowsill.Here’s another iPhone picture. This one required some significant post-processing…
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Pewter Sky

Monochrome appearing sky with mackerel clouds.

It’s not uncommon for writers to reach into the cliché bag and pull out a phrase like “leaden sky” when they wish to convey an atmospherically gloomy day’s weather.

But that was not this day. This day had a pewter sky that darkled and gleamed like the surface of a repoussé-adorned drinking vessel. I stopped in my tracks as I was carrying a particularly odious load of garbage to the bin, and risked the escape of a kitty to retrieve a camera and take this photograph. I want to emphasize that this image is NOT in black-and-white, despite its monochrome appearance; it’s a full-color image of a landscape that appeared to have all the color leached from it. Eerie.

It’s another kind of mackerel sky—one appropriate to this stage of winter. The mountains around Asheville give us some pretty spectacular skyscapes.

A Year Ago: My Neighbor John

John Guciardo, Mountain Metal Arts of AshevilleThere was a loud knocking on my door. I wasn’t expecting a visitor…
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Heart of the Calla

Close-up of calla lily.

Something of a tradition, flowers on Valentine’s Day. Bob gave me these calla lillies for our anniversary.

Snowy Letterbox

Metal mailbox with snow cap.

There was a break in the weather, the sun came out, and I put on my boots to take a walk. (I offered Loki a chance to go outside, but he took two steps onto the porch and thought better of it. Lemme back in neeeeeeooooowwwww.)

The snow was wetter than last night, since it’s been warming up all day, but still pristine off the road. I started photographing mailboxes, beginning with my own.

Number 701 with snow toppings.

It was good to get outside and stretch my legs, as I’ve become a bit stir-crazy here. Tomorrow’s likely to be a mess too—will see whether my floor duty will still happen. If it does, I may opt to walk there rather than trying to drive on the extremely messy roads.

A Year Ago: Penitence

Black and white image of magnolia blossom and foliage after rain.Today’s Ash Wednesday service at All Souls was beautiful and heartbreaking…
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Snowfall in Asheville

Watercolor style image of snowy intersection with pedestrian and dog.

The big snow is underway. If it keeps up as advertised, we’ll have a foot of snow by the end of the day tomorrow.

It’s pretty. Neighborhood children and youngsters are sledding down the steep road on the north side of my yard, even after dark. I’m enjoying being indoors where it’s warm and bright.

On the downside, I’m dealing with a kitty who’s developing serious cabin fever. I must be perpetually vigilant of my bedroom shade, which for some reason he has marked for destruction. (BTW, save your money on Martha Stewart’s “natural” cat deterrent spray. It simply: Does. Not. Work.)

Five Years On

Bob holding kitten Loki.

A year ago today, Bob moved to Asheville.
Four years before that, we met for the first time in the poker room at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas.

Half a decade. Lucky me!
Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

A Year Ago: Hearts & Flowers

Roses and heart-shaped cake.Valentines Day came early for me this year…
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Rustic Reflections

[Do not adjust your audio, the movie is silent.]

Several inches of picturesque snow today, with the promise of a whole bunch more tomorrow and Wednesday. Thank goodness that Sonali and Micah and I went to the Biltmore Estate yesterday and took a rapid .001 mph stroll partway around Bass Pond, most of which involved sitting on a bench soaking up the bright afternoon sun.

Two Years Ago: No Passage

Space between buildings, Annapolis, MDHere’s another iPhone picture from my Maryland jaunt…
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