Saturday, September 18, 2010


I went for a bike ride this morning. The kind of bike ride I used to go on as a kid. The kind that trails through the shady, damp woods. Breathe in dirt and moss. The kind that makes my heart race and my senses open wide. Makes my face bright, beet red. Up and down sandy, trails, crunching dead leaves under rubber tires. Over makeshift bridges, covered with carpet (someone really cares about this secret place ~~) My t-shirt sticks to my back, drenched. My breathing labored, like Darth Vadar. At first my muscles sleep, refusing to help me. But by the middle of the ride, they decide to wake up, to stretch, to fill. They remember.

I am reminded of that feeling of play. I remember the exhiliration of soaring, of abandon, of sweating. I feel my muscles move, my skin breathe, my bones creak. For the first time in years, my mind is quiet. It doesn't utter a sound, a rancid thought, a complaint.

My heart flew and now, of course, it wants to fly again and again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Last night, I attended the Centenary Book Bazaar just blocks from my house. I look forward to it all year long. It's my Christmas, my New Years, my very special day. Imagine a colossal dome filled with thousands of books. Imagine the smell of old paper filling the air. Imagine the prices are anywhere from .25 cents to 4.00. Imagine the chattering and camaraderie between fellow book lovers. Imagine the canvas bags, totes and strange storage devices.

Here's mine before the sale.
It's not my design. Crystal, my book fair partner, is responsible for designing the deepest, widest, easiest to maneuver shopping cart. This is a laundry basket, zip tied to a rolly thingy. I suppose it was handy before they started making luggage with wheels (the rolly thingy, not the laundry basket). We got quite a few comments on it. I could tell people were jealous. Maybe next year we can sell them.

I love the conversation. These are things overheard or spoken directly to me.

My wife and I got stuck at the grocery store on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving

I don't really need this copy of Wuthering Heights, but I can't resist.

What is this place anyway? Why are all these people here, oh my god, there's like so many books

You ran over my toe with the rolling laundry basket, lady

I drove up here from New Orleans just for this sale. I'm not sure yet if was worth it.

This last one was from a woman that was ahead of me in the checkout line. She had eight large bags filled with books. I bet she had at least 200 books. I felt like an amateur, a lightweight. She admired my laundry basket and I asked her how she managed to move around with eight bags of heavy books. All she said was, "it wasn't easy." I was intrigued but I could tell that she wasn't about to give up her secret. She was committed.

This is my loot, my booty, my haul and plunder.

I'm storing them up for winter.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

August Break is Over

It's been a long month but a good one. August was bursting, ripe. We had a lovely vacation in Townsend, Tennessee with the family. We fished, swam and played in the river. We played loud, silly card games and ate well. We explored nature and the touristy side of things, Gatlinburg. I came home rested and content.

I've never been to Gatlinburg before and after an hour or so in the busy, mountain town, realized this name was prevalent.

They even had signs advertising an Ogle Dog, a famous foot long corn dog. Later on in the day, we stumbled upon an old school house in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Next to the school house, was a graveyard. I walked through, reading the tombstones and saw quite a few graves marked with the same name.

Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, and her family, were the first settlers in 1807 in what is now known as Gatlinburg. She moved her entire family there because it was her dying husband's last wish. He had traveled there and fell in love with the area, calling it the "land of paradise." Upon his return home to gather his family for the move, he grew very sick with malaria and died before he could return.

The story fascinated me. I have been thinking about Mary Ogle for a while now. Can you imagine how strong she must have been? What must it have been like to move an entire clan of family from Georgia to Tennessee in 1807? My family complained on a 12 hour car trip to Tennessee in air conditioned cars filled with things to do and snacks. I can't imagine moving that same family in covered wagons with all of our belongings to the remote mountains of Tennessee. I would love to have the chance to talk to Mary Ogle. I bet she has some incredible stories to tell. I wonder how she would feel about having a foot-long corn dog named after her family.


And on another note, fall is in the air. It makes me want to climb into my bed and sleep. It's strange, when I was younger, I hated the summer and lived for fall and winter. Something has shifted. I feel as if I'm grieving the end of summer. I dread the coming months of cold and endless skies of gray.