I’m a day late to the party, but I had a very nice 4th of July. Well a nice 3rd anyway. I went home to see my family, and we went hiking in Big South Fork to the Twin Arches. It’s a short hike, but very beautiful.
We helped a turtle cross the road on the way in, and we saw a rattlesnake on the trail. The arches themselves were amazing as always.
On the way home, we drove through this tiny town called Rugby. It was settled in the 1800’s by some British people as a utopian society. They have a sweet little library where they have an annual book cleaning to preserve the books and the history. The church is equally adorable. All of the houses there are well kept and still maintain the feel of the Victorian period. If you go, just be sure to keep your eyes peeled because Rugby is so small, you might miss it.
Later, we picked up my nephew from day care and got to hang out with him for a little bit before my sister came to get him. I constantly miss him when I’m in Chattanooga, so I love getting every chance to see him.
I came across this several years ago, and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read:
I was trying to describe you to someone a few days ago. You don’t look like any girl I’ve ever seen before.
I couldn’t say “Well she looks just like Jane Fonda, except that she’s got red hair, and her mouth is different and of course, she’s not a movie star…”
I couldn’t say that because you don’t look like Jane Fonda at all.
I finally ended up describing you as a movie I saw when I was a child in Tacoma Washington. I guess I saw it in 1941 or 42, somewhere in there. I think I was seven, or eight, or six.
It was a movie about rural electrification, a perfect 1930’s New Deal morality kind of movie to show kids. The movie was about farmers living in the country without electricity. They had to use lanterns to see by at night, for sewing and reading, and they didn’t have any appliances like toasters or washing machines, and they couldn’t listen to the radio. They built a dam with big electric generators and they put poles across the countryside and strung wire over fields and pastures.
There was an incredible heroic dimension that came from the simple putting up of poles for the wires to travel along. They looked ancient and modern at the same time.
Then the movie showed electricity like a young Greek god, coming to the farmer to take away forever the dark ways of his life. Suddenly, religiously, with the throwing of a switch, the farmer had electric lights to see by when he milked his cows in the early black winter mornings. The farmer’s family got to listen to the radio and have a toaster and lots of bright lights to sew dresses and read the newspaper by.
It was really a fantastic movie and excited me like listening to the Star Spangled Banner, or seeing photographs of President Roosevelt, or hearing him on the radio “… the President of the United States… “
I wanted electricity to go everywhere in the world. I wanted all the farmers in the world to be able to listen to President Roosevelt on the radio….
And that’s how you look to me.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
- Essays After Eighty – Donald Hall
- A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
- Frida’s Bed – Slavenka Drakulić
- Phantom Hitchhikers and Other Urban Legends – Albert Jack
- Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
- The View from the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman
Here’s a little bit of shameless self-promotion:
- Drinking Song – Haley Heynderickx
- Katie Queen of Tennessee – Apache Relay
- A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
- American Beauty – Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
- Lover – Devandra Banhart
- Wolf – Sylvan Esso
- Shooting Stars – Big Gigantic
- Planets – Joseph
- Somebody to Anybody – Margaret Glaspy
- Hummed Low – Odessa
The boyfriend came to visit last weekend, and since I was scheduled to work every single day, we had to squeeze in as much time together as possible. Which meant we had about five full days jam packed into three. But that was alright by us.
Friday began with blueberry pancakes and coffee. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to do much else besides watch a movie because I had to work in the early afternoon. So the boyfriend wandered around town while I worked the closing shift. He did manage to wander right into a Ludacris concert. Chattanooga is full of surprises.
On Saturday, we woke up extra early so we could go hiking. At 6:15 a.m., we managed to muster up enough awareness to get ready for the day, and we headed to the coffee shop at which I work. We were the first customers of the day, and we revived our tired brains with some coffee before we hit the road.
Our destination was Laurel Snow State Natural Area in Dayton, TN. But we never actually made it. The map on my phone led us to what looked like an abandoned road that was chained shut by a rusted gate. And then my phone lost service, so we couldn’t even look for an alternate route.
After much grumbling (on my part), we decided to head to the tried and true Blue Hole in Soddy Daisy.
It’s this really amazing place. Blue Hole is an easy hike that follows a creek for a few miles, and all along the trail are places to swim in the water. Its name comes from the swimming holes found all through the creek where the water is a deep blue color. We had the whole place to ourselves for a while before the crowds hit, and it was absolutely perfect.
On Sunday, I worked the dreaded 10-6 shift, so the boyfriend spent the whole day by himself. And while I was at work, he filled the gas tank up in my car and tided up around my apartment. He even went to the local farmers market and bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, some farm fresh peaches, and some leafy green kale. It was such a nice surprise after a very long shift.
The boyfriend had to leave almost as soon as I was home, but we managed to have a full and wonderful weekend.
Whenever I have a day off, I usually spend it at home, catching up on some Netflix, reading a book, and taking lots of naps. But the other day, I decided to spend the day downtown.
I put on my new dress, got a cappuccino and a croissant, and walked around the park. I sat down by the river, enjoying the morning air, and it was so nice to take everything slowly for a change. I walked over the bridge across the river, into the main downtown area. I wandered down streets with beautiful new townhouses. I found some sweet little alleyways full of flowers and windows.
I love living in such a beautiful place.
There’s just something about antique shops and their piles of old toys. Ancient appliances that don’t make sense to us anymore. Bins full of rusted out farm tools. Stacks of dusty books. Boxes of damp-curled photographs. To me, these are the memories left behind by the generations before us. I find things that look like the things in my grandparents’ home, and things that predate even them.
I’m most particularly drawn to the photographs. They capture certain moments in time that meant something to someone at some point in time. My collection has grown tremendously since I started collecting, and one day I’ll put them all together in an album (or two).
On my latest excursion, I found a striking portrait of a woman (pictured above). Her face looks so kind, vastly different from a lot of photographs from the time period. The back of the photograph is labeled “Edna Lawrence, Ellington, NY ’98.”
So I took to Google to see if I could find out something about her:
Her full name was Edna Belle Lawrence, and she was born in 1879 to Francis Z. Lawrence and Elizabeth Wight Lawrence. She had one older brother named Wight Lawrence.
Edna went to school in Fredonia where she studied the classics, and then attended Ellington Free University from 1898-1899 and was doing post-graduate work there.
She became a teacher and taught at Frewsburg Union School in 1902.
By 1911, she had met her future husband, Thomas Dick Mack, and they married in 1913. They had two children, and eventually moved to Thomas’s hometown in the 1940’s. Their address was 1515 E. Concord Ave, Orlando, FL. (The house has unfortunately been torn down and turned into a parking lot, otherwise I would have included a picture of that.)
Edna died in 1963, and Thomas in 1970. They are buried together in Orlando.
And all of this from one little photograph that was very important to someone at some point in time.
This is long, but so worth reading through. From The Beatrice Letters by the one and only Lemony Snicket:
I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong. I will love you as a battlefield loves young men and as peppermints love your allergies, and I will love you as the banana peel loves the shoe of a man who was just struck by a shingle falling off a house. I will love you as a volunteer fire department loves rushing into burning buildings and as burning buildings love to chase them back out, and as a parachute loves to leave a blimp and as a blimp operator loves to chase after it.
I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person’s back, and as a certain person loves to wear dagger proof tunics, and as a dagger proof tunic loves to go to a certain dry cleaning facility, and how a certain employee of a dry cleaning facility loves to stay up late with a pair of binoculars, watching a dagger factory for hours in the hopes of catching a burglar, and as a burglar loves sneaking up behind people with binoculars, suddenly realizing that she has left her dagger at home. I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world. I will love you until all the codes and hearts have been broken and until every anagram and egg has been unscrambled.
I will love you until every fire is extinguised and until every home is rebuilt from the handsomest and most susceptible of woods, and until every criminal is handcuffed by the laziest of policemen. I will love until M. hates snakes and J. hates grammar, and I will love you until C. realizes S. is not worthy of his love and N. realizes he is not worthy of the V. I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area. I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.
I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog. I will love you no matter where you go and who you see, no matter where you avoid and who you don’t see, and no matter who sees you avoiding where you go. I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter how I discover what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover this, and now matter how I am discovered after what happens to me as I am discovering this.