Category Archives: blog

Ernest Hemingway said …

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

I believe this to be true. 

I’ve been broken so many times that I’ve lost count.

A couple of times, the brokenness nearly won, but for the most part, I came up with my head above water.

What breaks us doesn’t define us, but  having the desire to put the shattered pieces back together does.

I was many times, in the broken places, at my strongest.

I can’t begin to explain the transformation; but there was one.

I’m still looking for lost pieces, but I have faith that if they are meant to be found, they will be.

I do believe Hemingway was spot on when he, a very broken man, said that string of words.

If one hasn’t been broken, they’ve yet to be born and can’t possibly understand the beautiful array of colors that a skewed, broken and pixillated life has to offer.

Until you break it, you can’t begin to know what is inside.

A bit like a Sand Dollar.

Once you’re broken, you can’t stop looking at all the intricate shapes, shards and pieces.

I’m not much on working puzzles, but the pieces and parts of life fascinate me.

I don’t start at the corners.

Instead, I start in the center and build outward because the corners will always be corners.

Those broken already know where the corners are; it is the center that perplexes us and makes us stronger than we would have been were we not broken.

I, as we all do, struggle sometimes.

It’s part of the journey.

If we don’t struggle, we lack understanding and in doing so, give up.

If we give up, the broken places win and the corners cease to matter.

I’m not a poor loser but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to win.

Romans chapter Twelve is my favorite place in the bible. Each verse speaks to me directly …

But this one, in particular, (Romans 12:12) speaks louder each time I read it …

It says “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instantly in prayer.”

There are times I’m certain God doesn’t hear me. I know, as any believer does, when these dark, silent times come.

The silence is deafening.

Unnerving.

Unwavering.

But at others, when the silence is broken and I know He hears me, I’m mesmerized.

Goosebumps threaten to overtake me and nearly make me forget what I was praying about to begin with.

Life is hard.

It’s hard for everyone.

None of us have the franchise of a life unriddled with trials and hardships.

But it’s also, if you pay attention, riddled with joy.

To give up or give in is a selfish act that says we weren’t willing to fight; to survive.

A coward’s way.

I was a coward for much of my life.

I refuse to be one through the rest of it.

I’ll look for those missing pieces, lost friends, severed relationships, missed opportunities.

I haven’t always, but I do now; but, if I don’t find them, so be it.

I’ll find them somewhere along the way or understand they weren’t for me to begin with.

I’m OK where, often alone, I find myself.

I always have been.

Whom shall I fear?

image

October is …

unrivalled, my favorite time of year.

It is a month of contrasts for me.

The joy of Autumn.

Leaf-strewn country roads, leaves falling as I drive with the top down, deep colors in the forests, tobacco hanging in aging barns, hay waiting in long fields and orchards full with ripe, red apples.

These are the joyous things that lift me high and make me feel as free as the raptors migrating along the spine of my beloved Clinch Mountains.

The sad parts have a say, but they are muted; dulled by the magnificence of Mother Nature as she concedes, under the watchful eye of Father Time, her reign to Old Man Winter.

Time, which has no regard for anyone, will pass without fail or regard to any of us.

The voice of things past becomes harder to hear as years go by.

That, in and of itself, is a good thing.

If I stumble and fall over what is in the past, then it’s not possible to say that I have moved on, adapted, regained my balance.

I could wallow in what can’t be undone, but to what purpose?

I could brood (I’ve been told that I brood in the fashion of my Irish and Scottish ancestors).

And sometimes, I do, simply because I feel like brooding.

During those times, I throw breakable things at breakable things and have completely awesome meltdowns that leave me purged, yet restless.

Most often, however, I just go with it.

Time doesn’t care about me, mine, you or yours.

It simply passes, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

I’m claiming this October for myself.

Not for what I’ve lost, but for what it is.

My favorite time of year.

A peaceful, easy feeling.

That, for the here and now, is how I intend to roll.

image

image

image

I can’t remember …

the sound of his voice.

Many nights, his stories of New York, Europe, anthropology, mathematics, design, engineering, and attending UNC at Chapel Hill, lulled me to sleep.

It didn’t matter, really, what he spoke of, only that he spoke.

His voice was so distinct.

Deep.

Mysterious.

Mesmerizing.

Intoxicating.

But now, as I come upon the fifth anniversary of his death, I am totally discombulated and completely out of rhythm because I can’t remember it.

His voice.

I can’t remember it.

I’ve cried and prayed and prayed and cried.

To no avail.

I’ve never, before him, found anyone who could rationalize my irrational behavior and be cool and composed with tantrums and flying debris.

One would think that, after all he endured, I would, at the very least,  remember the sound of his voice.

I remember other voices.

Ones of those who found me, after him and feigned tolerance only to, in the end, find me intolerable.

He truly was the only perfect man and it was my privilege to know him.

He remains, to this day, the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.

I still wonder why he picked me.

But he did and although perplexing, I’m a much better person for it.

How tortuous to hear other, less substantial voices in my head when I can’t remember his.

I’m sorry, my dear one. 

I truly do miss you terribly.

Especially in Autumn; most especially in October.

If you look down tonight, you will see our moon. 

I wept when I saw it … I couldn’t help it.

I will love and miss you until time ceases.

image

Even though …

my daughter followed her own path and is no longer affiliated with a marching band, I find I’m still hooked.

I find it a shame that, to my knowledge, anyway, college marching bands do not compete.

I’m forced, because of this limitation, to go to High School Marching Band competitions.

I’m still looking for one to rival Twin Spring’s “Superman” Season, which occurred in or around 2006-7.

My Taylor nailed the trumpet.

I could say that because I’m biased (which, of course I am), but I say it because she nailed it.

I didn’t mean to look forward to it this year.

Band competition season, that is.

I told myself I wasn’t going to make the circuit this time around, but I knew I was kidding myself when I said it.

It seems that unwittingly and without regret, I became a band geek.

I’m ok with that.

Some of the people I admire most call themselves by the same name and so I find myself in good company.

image

UVAWise Tubas. Love the reflections.

image

Very fond memories. UVAWise Marching Cavaliers.

Freaked myself out a bit …

by revisiting Twin Peaks on Netflix.
That Bob dude gives me some serious willies.

The last time I watched the series was years ago, and with a friend.

This time, it’s just me and I’m pretty sure Bob is hiding out in the extra bedroom.

It’s not really a bedroom at this point; more a glorified storage room/closet/abyss.

I have plans for that room, but now that I’m convinced Bob is in there, I have a legitimate reason to procrastinate.

Not that my previous procrastination reasons weren’t legit, but we’re talking Bob here.

If one has never seen Twin Peaks, then one has no clue what all the fuss is about.

Luckily, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Cooper (played by Kyle MacLaLachlan) makes closing my eyes at the “Bob parts” tolerable.

I say that even though I have never and will never be a fan of cherry pie.

And, since David Lynch is a bonified genius, I feel honored that I’ve been creeped out by the best.

(it would be embarrassing – though  sadly, it has happened – to be creeped out by a loser).

image

Above me …

a vast and beautiful sky spreads endlessly in varying shades of blue.

Trees dance as I pass, waving their leaves in rhythm to the erratic strings of Vivaldi.

The wind plays cheerfully with my hair as the afternoon sun warms my face.

My soul is free; my spirit soaring.

For this moment in time, my thoughts are my own.

I find myself giddy with the pure joy of it all.

image

My beloved …

much missed and cherished convertible is back.

She still makes noises and currently has no back seats, but she’s running.

I have missed my little car.

I mistreated her by making her pretend she was a Jeep, but she took it.

I will mistreat her again to get to the places I need to go and she, as she always has, will understand.

She knows me, my dreams and aspirations.

She understands my yearning to see and photograph.

I’m very happy to have her back and hope she knows how much I’ve missed her.

She’s mine; she was always meant to be mine.

I won’t trade her when I am finally able fulfill my lifelong dream and get a Jeep.

No, she’s safe here. She will always have a place in my heart (and in my driveway).

I’m pretty sure she knows that.

image

She took me to my falls many, many times.

image

She took me to the high places at Clingman’s Dome in the Smoky Mountains, where snow fell heavily in October.

image

She took me, in the pouring rain, to Hungry Mother Park in Marion, VA

image

She took me up and down Big Moccasin every day, stopping often so I could photograph my favorite trees.

image

She took me, more than once, to the Outer Banks of NC.

image

OBX again …

image

and again.

image

She took my girls with me many times …

image

      many times.

Yes, I’m very happy to have her back.

Very happy, indeed.