"A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist." ~ Colleen Redman
1. You don’t need to rub two sticks together to start a fire at Floydfest. There were fired-up performances, fire dancers, fireworks and the ritual performance lighting of an 18 foot wooden phoenix at this year’s 14th festival, rightly named Fire on the Mountain. See some photos HERE.
2. You know it’s Floydfest weekend when you drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and pass a man in kilt walking with hiking poles and a miniature terrier.
3. Another weird scene was the below group of people who plopped down in the middle of the main festival walkway to eat. I call it “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?”
4. For someone like me, going to a festival and then discovering that your camera lens is messed up and causing all your pictures to be ruined is kind of like being geared up to make love but then finding out you have no condom or other protection.
5. Researchers have discovered kissing helps you choose the right mate and helps you live longer. We spend about two weeks of our lifetime doing it. But, according to new research, fewer than half the world’s cultures kiss in a romantic way and some actually think it is gross. – More on kissing HERE.
6. In other weird news: A Washington man involved in a two-hour standoff with police tried to hold them off with a banjo. See it HERE.
7. At first I was concerned that far right conservatives would view the self-identified socialist and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders the way the left feels about Donald Trump, but then I realized that most people from left to middle right and everything in between think Donald Trump as president is a farce.
8. In 1992, I was a delegate for presidential contender Jerry Brown, the progressive candidate at the time who started a citizen’s movement, We the People, after he lost the primary. I believe in everything Sanders stands for – ending corporations as people under Citizens United, single-payer health care insurance for all, making college affordable, equal pay for women, protecting the environment, creating policies to address climate change and more – but I’ve seen progressives surge and then fall more than once or twice. Remember Howard Dean? At least Sanders has said that he won’t run against the primary winner if he doesn’t win it, like Nadar did in what many believe was a move that cost Gore the election.
9. Times have changed: A further look at a library announcement for a celebration of Potter’s birthday revealed that the birthday was not for Peter Cottontail’s author Beatrice Potter, but for Harry.
10. I like to call my Asheville potter son a potter not named Harry.
11. My blogger friend Ron recently posted a list of 13 “Near Miss Desserts” that caused me to truly LOL and included banana spit, punk in pie, pee can pie, ala mold, Hot Sludge Sunday and more. See more HERE.
12. Last week while blogging about Floydfest, I typed the word Floydrest by mistake, which at that point, after four days of festing, was wishful thinking, I guess.
13. I’m trying to sleep but the moon has other plans / I follow its bouncing ball orbit / like reading subtitles in a foreign film / It says: Wake up and write this all down / before you lose such good reception / I’m a nightshift stenographer hired by the muse / to take down the moon’s business.
Grace Potter fired up the crowd singing Fire on the Mountain and Burning Down the House late Saturday night.
While she was doing that (and singing Rod Stewart’s Do You Think I’m Sexy disco style HERE), the giant wooden Phoenix in the main field was getting ready to be lit-up in a ritual performance of letting go of what is no longer needed.
The Phoenix and the stage lined up and were illuminated by the far reaching beams of Potter’s light show.
There were dancers from the fire troupe who were spinning and swallowing fire around the burning effigy.
At one point fireworks went off.
From there we went to hear Chris Robinson and the Brotherhood, a must see on my program list.
Billed as psychedelic rock, it could have been a ’60s or ’70s concert. Too bad for me that they went on so late (12:00 at Hill Holler) because I didn’t last the whole set but would have liked to. HERE’S a clip.
The next day I arrived in time to catch Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell playing their new songs under a wide open blue sky. I watched for myself and for my friend Bernie Coveney, who played with Emmylou in the past and who I kept expecting to show up.
There was some dancing involved, which was when I noticed that I was standing/dancing right next to my friend Katherine Devine, who I think I heard say that Emmylou was her hero. Dancing unexpectedly with Katherine was a sweet way to close out year 14 of the annual festival. I’ve been to every one and I always leave feeling blessed that it’s part of my life. Thanks Floydfest. See you next year.
It’s a five day festival. You’d think that would be enough, but there’s so much happening, sometimes simultaneously, that I just have to trust that I’ll be in the right place at the right time. I like to be surprised, but I also check out the music ahead of time and pick a few bands and events that I make a point to see.
I felt very accomplished that I made it to the annual Children’s Universe Peace Parade this year (video clip HERE). I love the fanfare and color but rarely make it for the Saturday 12:30 celebration because it’s too early for me after being up late on Thursday and Friday.
The Oh Hellos was one of the bands I had circled in my program. I first heard their song Hello My Old Heart at the end of a movie (can’t remember which one). I loved it and googled it to find out who it was and then uploaded a copy to my iPhone.
I knew them as a brother and sister act from Austin, Texas and was surprised to see how big the band was when I caught them for their 2:00 Workshop Porch performance on Saturday. The band was even bigger at the 7:00 Hill Holler Stage show where there were a lot more enthusiastic dancing antics, but that’s another story.
I was the one that requested they do Hello My Old Heart. You can hear the lead singer say in the above video that he promised to do it. The tension had built because they sang it for their last number and sort of squeezed it in. Thank you to the band for doing it and to the young man that gave me his front row seat to enjoy and film it from. He sat on the ground and sang along.
Later, when I met the siblings back stage, they couldn’t remember the movie their song was in either! We talked about being Irish because the two began making music (which has an Irish influence) after a family visit there. During the performance, he told another story of how the band got its name. Something about a drunk Irish fella trying to pick up his sister, until her mother showed up and he said to her, “Oh, Hello.” He then tried to pick up the mother too!
After the Oh Hellos, I visited the Imagine Tent/ Teen Lounge that Joe runs. It was packed with festival artists for a three hour painting, stenciling and multi media workshop with 1st generation Floydfest artist and friend Katherine Devine. Watch a video clip HERE.
Katherine’s daughter Isha was doing art workshops at the Children’s Universe and helping kids make costumes for the parade.
I finally met Mim (blue hair) of Mim’s Ukes in Meadows of Dan after seeing her presence on Facebook for a couple of years. She and her helpers had two ukulele workshops going at once at in the Global Village the Imagine Tent. Joe was in the intermediate class. Watch a clip HERE.
Somewhere in the five-day mix I have to sleep, eat and take care of myself. I’m blessed that I live 10 miles away and so can break up my Floydfest experience into 5 or 6 hours installments, sometimes coming back and forth more than once in one day.
In between Saturday’s Floydfesting and taking care of our chickens back at home, I rested by watching the old Science Fiction movie 12 Monkeys. It was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, about time travel and a virus that killed billions of people, leaving the upper planet inhabitable only for animals. That was strange because when I went back to the site I went to a 1000 Mask theater performance about the corporate takeover of the world that included a funeral memorial for endangered and extinct animals. Watch a clip HERE.
It was heartbreaking so I was glad they ended the performance with prayerful song and then a dance party. See above.
I just typed Floydrest instead of Floydfest by mistake. That’s never going to happen. Things at Floydfest were just firing up for a grand Fire on the Mountain Saturday finale (blog post coming soon). That’s Joe and Wendy from the Kind (who is doing sound in the Global Village) dancing at the 1000 Mask Theater Dance party.
Read about Floydfest Friday HERE.
A “Where’s Waldo” sea of heads bobbed for Keller Williams, the one man jam band whose quirky lyrics sometimes reminds me of Prine.
Watch them bob here.
I learned to film a video clip with one hand while drinking a beer in the other while watching The Midatlantics play. They really worked hard for their On the Rise votes in the VIP Beer Tent stage Friday. Later, I saw a couple of them walking around cool and in shorts and t-shirts as if it never happened.
The crowd was impressed. I’m just sorry I didn’t get a photo or clip of the lead singer on mandolin jumping a foot or so off the ground during a song that he said once caused a bass neck to break, but I did manage to get THIS.
This is Shovels and Rope playing on the main stage. Can you believe the woman had a big alligator design on the back of her dress? Just to confuse me, I saw another photo taken of them where she was playing guitar and he was on drums. I must have missed that part.
I love it when performers sing their hearts out. These two got close enough to kiss when they sang into one mic, and the energy they shared was very sensual. I looked it up later and found that they are a couple. HERE is a short clip of them doing “Wrecking Ball” (not the song by Miley Cyrus). Their hit song Birmingham won song of the year at the Americana Music Honors and Awards and was performed on David Letterman.
I ran into my friend Bob (aka as Bob the Builder) who was taking a picture at the 18 foot Phoenix that (in keeping with the festival theme of Fire on the Mountain) is going to be lit up Saturday night. He liked the part where someone had written Be John Lennon.
I learned that Bob built the thing (all but the head). He thought another line that read “Appreciate the Present” should have said “Appreciate the President.” So we got some chalk and wrote that together.
And then there is this.
Off to do Saturday … Read about Floydfest 2015 day 2 HERE.
It’s year 14 and the theme is Fire on the Mountain. One of the first things I noticed on my walk through the main field was this giant wooden phoenix. It’s scheduled to be set on fire after headliner Grace Potter plays Saturday night and after festival-goers write what they want to let go of on it. The Phoenix is also the name of the fest founders (Kris Hodges and Erika Johnson’s) new music venue in Roanoke, the site of the pre-festival Battle of the Bands in which one band won the chance to open for Emilylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, who will be the festival’s closing act Sunday at 5:00. I stopped and watched some kids making giant bubbles.
I took this picture in the spirit of “What’s New at Floydfest.” The tent was closed for the night but first time Floydfest tent owner said he has every instrument from auto-harp to zither that people can get hands on time with. I asked him if he had any Uileann pipes and he said, no, but that he had the U letter covered.
Floydfest is Old Home Week for many of us Floydians who have been going and working there since day one. It’s always good to meet up with friends.
The crowds were good sized but not overpowering. I think the founders have hit the right balance in promoting the limited capacity best in festivals experience. I like to take ‘Where’s Waldo?’ crowd pictures and find Floyd friends in them. Hey, there’s my friend Holly front and center at the main stage.
This (The Sam Bush band) is who Holly was dancing to.
There were several new attractions in the Performance Arts area including high wire acrobatics, fire eaters and more.
The sunset was beautiful and a good reminder of the ultimate Fire on the Mountain.
There so many music choices at Floydfest that I usually listen to band videos and pick out a few beforehand that I want to make a point to hear. This band from Charlottsville, Chamomile and Whiskey, got Joe and I up dancing at the Workshop Porch. They play a hard driving Americana/Irish fusion. The guy whose hair is flying is from Dublin. Listen HERE.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers were the night’s highlight for me. Nicki looks like Cher and sings like a Sarah Mclachlan meets Janis Joplin.
See what I mean.
1. Imagine if you had to measure your height against an amusement park ride chart to see if you were tall enough to read THIS poem.
2. A flea takes off from my runway desk / How do I know it’s not working for Delta / with little flea passengers buckled up inside / booked for vacation on some dog or cat paradise / and my hand isn’t inclement weather?
3. Sometimes a Sunday drive is a walk.
4. The moon is just going through a phase.
5. A single strand of moon / Loose curl of light / First silver hair / in a shock of dark night.
6. Watch my 7-year-old grandson Bryce give his Hopa “a cannonball piece of love” HERE.
7. The picture I wished I took last week but was too lazy to get up and snap was of a scene I saw at the pool. There was a group of little kids sitting on the pool’s edge during “adult swim” and shouting “splash us,” while the over 18 kids did cannonballs off the diving board next to them. It was almost as cool as another pool scene I saw years ago and regretted not taking of some women snapping beans poolside, under an umbrella.
8. Speaking of beans, I just picked the mother load of them and find myself asking to bean or not bean, to can or can not? Last year’s “Bean There Done That” HERE.
9. “It’s not about as many people as possible having the Floydfest experience – although it was like that for a couple of years because we wanted to share it with as many people as we could – it’s about people having the best possible Floydfest experience.” – Read about the latest changes for Floydfest (starting today!) from a story I wrote for the paper HERE.
10. Ever since I saw THESE fascinating pictures of the excavated bodies of the Easter Island Heads, I’ve been wondering what else exists just below the surface.
11. In my world a BF is a Butterfly.
12. Yes, I’m that person whose car is pulled off to the side of the road for wildflowers but who doesn’t need assistance. Thanks for asking. – More HERE.
13. THIS is how nanas do dramatic play.
“You’re not old enough to be in that poem”
I told my poet friend Ron
who wrote the self-appraised line
“52 year-old meat, hairy, leaning on my last leg”
Then I remembered the Turnpike Cars
under the Roller Coaster at Paragon Park
“You’re not big enough to go on that ride”
I was told the first time I saw them
But I wanted the freedom
of a blue finned sports car
riding with the top down
in a grown-up’s town
I spent my bus fare on a slice of pizza
walked home in pink flip flops that were broken
By the time I was tall enough to ride the Turnpike Cars
(renamed the Indy 500) I thought it was a baby ride
I moved on to the gravity-defying Rotor
being pinned to the wall and turning upside down
or riding with friends in the Kooky Castle
with threats of kissing in the dark
At first I used the height chart as an excuse
for not riding Paragon’s Roller Coaster
the Godzilla giant structure that defined our town
and had horror movie screams coming from it
Later, I was brave enough to tell the truth
I didn’t have the courage to ride it
By the time it was moved to Six Flags
and renamed The Wild One
I considered it a fool’s ride
But they’re really wild tiger lilies.
They’re the exotic-looking native species that Peter Pan’s Neverland princess was named after, a bloom that rarely, but occasionally, shows up in my yard like an alien, a trillium or a lady slipper.
These past couple of weeks, I’ve been following flowers like a groupie follows a rock star.
Like a busy bee, I’m interested in both the roadside attractions and the beautiful blooms in my own gardens.
My eye is trained to see flowers. These caught my eye at the Great Oaks pool yesterday.
And these were taken at the library.
Yes, I’m that person whose car is pulled off to the side of the road but who doesn’t need assistance. Thanks for asking.
The bee balm in my yard that I replanted from my friend Jayn’s garden many years ago has really taken off since we took down a couple of tulip poplars to bring more sun in the yard. I call this shot “Let it Bee Balm.”
Butterflies are like flowers in motion and are always included in my Louis and Clark botany expeditions. These Great Spangled Fritillaries are the same color as the tops of purple coneflowers.
At home, zinnias are the fireworks of my garden.
This is a lily of a more tamed variety.
This one’s from a series called “The Garden Croc Walk.”
And this one is called “The Balancing Act.”
-The following first appeared in The Floyd Press on July 16, 2015
Every Saturday night through the months of April and May regional bands competed at the Phoenix, a new music venue in Roanoke owned by Floydfest founders Kris Hodges and Erika Johnson. The fan-voted Battle of the Bands was designed to foster the regional music scene and to build momentum for this year’s 14th Floydfest, Fire on the Mountain. Bands competed for the chance to open for festival headliner Emmylou Harris at Floydfest, scheduled for July 22 to 26.
Following April’s band competitions, promoted as Fan the Fire, Johnson posted on Facebook and the Floydfest webpage, “It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to flush out FloydFest’s much-anticipated On the Rise (OTR) roster through the live audition process.” She was referring to Floydfest’s longstanding band competition that also produces an audience-voted winner who receives a package of prizes, including main stage performance time. This year, Floyd’s Deer Run Drifters is one of the OTR competing bands.
May’s roster of bands battling it out at the Phoenix was billed as Band on Fire and featured local bands from Roanoke and one from Floyd, BigMama Joy. Morgan Wade, a Floyd native currently living in Roanoke, competed against Welcome to Hoonah. The lively band performances cumulated with an inaugural Showdown Throwdown that took place on the festival site (Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 170.5) on Summer Solstice, June 20th. Floyd’s Bigmama Joy was among the four performing acts that went on to compete. Also competing were Sharayah Spears, Relacksachian and Welcome to Hoonah.
Afternoon showers periodically threatened the Showdown, but the show went on with Bigmama Joy taking second place and Welcome to Hoonah winning first place. Presented by Floydfest, Across-The-Way Productions and the Roanoke Community Garden Association, The Showdown – set to be a regular part of the festival lead-up – included onsite camping, children’s activities, food trucks and regional brews, a Disc Golf Tournament and a Mountain Cross Bike Race.
Hodges introduced the bands, playing on the Streamline Hill Holler Stage, while Johnson cheered on the bicyclists coming in the from the three mile mountain course. She explained that her family recently moved from Floyd County to Roanoke (where Hodges grew up) because their two children go to North Cross School in Roanoke.
Johnson, who writes most of the content for Floydfest’s webpage and marketing, is studying for a Master’s Degree in Arts and Liberal Studies at Hollins University and has taken creative writing classes there. She described the Phoenix (located on 5th Street and closed until September) as a speakeasy and part of a neighborhood revitalization. The Showdown event was a grassroots effort and, in part, a fundraiser for one of the Phoenix’s neighbors, The Roanoke Community Garden Association, who Johnson said is “doing great things” in Roanoke.
Excited about the 14th annual Floydfest, Johnson spoke about some of the planned changes, which are a continuation of 2014’s renewed focus on logistics and honing of the festival’s limited occupancy, boutique style. “It’s not about as many people as possible having the Floydfest experience – although it was like that for a couple of years because we wanted to share it with as many people as we could – it’s about people having the best possible Floydfest experience,” she said.
Responding to patron feedback, Johnson and Hodges have done some redesigning to make more room for onsite parking, adding a HOV (high occupancy vehicle) EZ pass package, in which 4 adult tickets, 2 kid tickets, 2 tent tags and 1 onsite parking pass can be purchased in a savings package for vehicles with a minimum of four people in them. “We realized that one of the
things people wanted at Floydfest was the ability to park onsite. As we grew that was one of the things that was lost to make room for more people. We wanted to work out something that would also fit with our core values of greening, community and families,” Johnson said.
Changes in the Global Village have been made with onsite camping and patron comfort in mind. “We heard loud and clear that our campers don’t want to listen to a drum circle all night,” said Johnson, explaining that the drum circle has been relocated to the main field. The redesigned Global
Village will feature theater, puppetry, campfire s’mores, stargazing, storytelling and acoustic music. Three “glamcamping” providers, who provide or set up campsites, will be based in the Global Village, as well as the Teen Scene Lounge and a Village Café run by the Red Rooster Coffee Roaster crew.
Billed as “Old Skool,” and based on patron feedback, this year’s music line-up has a Bluegrass leaning and is heavy on songwriting, strings and stomp. Americana and Rock and Roll are also well represented. Some returning favorites include Grace Potter, Brandie Caryl, Drive by Truckers, The Sam Bush Band and Peter Rowan. New to Floydfest are Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, The Chris Robinson (formerly of the Black Crowes) Brotherhood playing psychedelic rock, and many more. With eight stages to perform on, the best OTR local/regional bands, many of which performed at the Phoenix’s Battle of the Bands, will also be featured.Festival Healing Arts, fire and circus performances, the Children’s Universe, Outdoor Adventure, spectacular views, eco-workshops, gourmet regional food and more than 100 unique artisans and craft vending booths continue to be some of Floydfest’s signature offerings.
In recent years, off-site parking and shuttles have been miles from the festival site. Johnson was happy to report another new development for 2015: the original Alpha shuttle parking lot at Chateau Morrisette Winery (practically next door to the festival) has been re-secured. “It’s a throwback year!” she said. – Colleen Redman
Photos: 1. Floydfest co-founder Erika Johnson (right) with her mother (left), Sharon Morley of Blue Ridge Yurts, her daughter Chole (in blue) and Chole’s friend. 2. Sharayah Spears of Roanoke was the first of four competing acts. 3. Dancer grooving to Welcome to Hoonah, the band that took first place. 4. Enjoying the show.
5. Bigmama Joy, who took second place in the Showdown finale competition, was accompanied by Tree Gigante, Emily Williamson and FM Turner. Her set also included some solo songs and song with guitarist John Wilson. 6. A line of Floyd Countians showed their support for Bigmama Joy. 7. An afternoon scene of the Showdown viewed from the crest of the main field. 8. Floyd Countian Kim O’Donnell (in pink shirt) strikes a pose with family members who were visiting from California. 9. Cheering on the mountain bike racers. 10. This is the start of something,” said Paul Sullivan of Floyd Outdoors, an upcoming “hike, bike and run” retailer. Sullivan heads up the Moonstomper bike club that sponsored the Showdown Throwdown’s mountain cross bike race. Twenty bikers had one hour to do as many as laps on the 3-mile course as they could, with some making it around three times. Winners took home valuable prizes that included Floydfest tickets, an Eno hammock and an Osprey backpack. Plus, a couple more scenes from the day.
1. Who ever thought at my age that I’d be researching the Top Ten Mortal Kombat fighters (with my grandson)?
2. My son Josh had a birthday last week, which made me think of this nursery rhyme that I wrote for him when he was little boy: Joshua Johnny loved him mommy more than apricots and honey. He gave her a hug and he gave her a kiss. He loved her more than licorice.
3. The funniest thing I heard at the Floyd Replenish Festival, a new faith-based festival I covered for the local paper over the weekend was when musician JJ Weeks asked the crowd, “Are you hot, or is it just me because I’m fat?” The music at the festival was excellent, by the way. The setting was replenishing and the founders (who my son Josh went to school with) were welcoming. I wish them all the best success. Story and photos coming soon.
4. In spite of my Yankee bluntness and my Irish gift of the gab, I’m a shy person. But I believe the universe sets us up to heal weakness that keep us from being whole, which is what makes a shy person like me take up the open mic, interview people (aka ask nosy questions) for a stories, or stand out when no one else is to snap pictures of strangers, or maybe of produce in the grocery store. More from “Public Speaking Phobia to Open Mic Town Crier” HERE.
5. I’m not religious in a traditional way, but I’d much rather hear people sing about their devotion to Jesus than sing about wanting someone’s booty.
6. But as someone who was raised Catholic in the north, I found myself asking, when did Jesus become more popular than God?”
7. Quantum Physics suggests that we are collectively co-creating reality. Now, another experiment has just shown that “reality doesn’t exist if you are not looking at it.” – More HERE.
8. Along the Parkway in flip flops, lured to pull over by wildflowers, I hope I didn’t get any ticks on me, trudging through the grass to capture these beauties. More HERE.
9. Found on an old scrap of paper that was buried on my desk: The bad news is the clear cut. The good news is that now I have a view of sunset.
10. I was thinking this same thing: “The event of the Emanuel Nine, for some reason, is focused on the symbol of the Confederate battle flag. It’s an important symbol, it is a very strong symbol, but the fact still remains that though this young man worshiped that symbol, he carried out his dastardly act with a gun.” – Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina
11. From my Dharmacratic friend Will: “I think we should embrace our true heritage and our gray and blue checkered past by erecting a monument to the unknown civil war deserter. This would honor all of the men of all regions who found that their sympathies lay with their wives, and so they continued to lie there along with those sympathies, get the hay crop in, put up wood for winter, fix the roof and any other manly doings that needed doing around the homestead instead of going off to fight some rich man’s lost cause, and maybe never coming back to the wife and kids at all. Perhaps we could make this something of a theme and tourist attraction. It would bring attention to the fact that all of the south did not favor succession, with Floyd voting against breaking away from the Union by a 60-40 majority, and then gaining a regional reputation as a refuge for deserters of all sorts.” – Read the Curious Case of Floyd County HERE.
12. Some shadows are bigger than life like truth is stranger than fiction.
13. I read books slowly, either because I don’t like them or because I like them too much and don’t want them to end.
The following is a selection from a spread of photos that first appeared in The Floyd Press on July 9, 2015. — Tara Hollandsworth sang the National Anthem after an Opening Prayer and Flag Presentation at Floyd’s 2015 July 4th Celebration.
The Lady Buffs Allstar softball team (The Ponytails) got some help selling baked goods to raise money to go to the State Tournament. The team also had a baked goods booth at the 2015 Fourth of July Celebration.
Face Painting artist Susan Saunders holds up a mirror so that EMT April Keith can see the freshly painted Rescue Squad symbol. Proceeds from the day’s face painting will benefit the Rescue Squad, Saunders said.
Jason Shuman is about to get dunked in a popular target ball game that raised money for the Rescue Squad.
Ernie Mahala called out the numbers to those playing Bingo for prizes.
Popcorn and cotton candy were popular 4th of July snacks. Kerry Underwood (standing on the left) , who is running for Supervisor in the Burks Fork district of the County, talked to community members.
During a brief shower, some took cover under the sand jar art tent. The tent was staffed by members of the Floyd Community Wellness Center, who were helping to raise money for the cost of fireworks.
Alva Philips helped her grandson Matthew Connolly (5) try on a fireman’s helmet. Matthew and his family, Tim and Nicole (originally from Floyd) Connolly were visiting from California.
An inflatable boxing game, featuring oversized gloves, was a popular attraction for children.
The crowd grew in anticipation of the Fireworks display.
They were not disappointing and drew oohs and ahhs from attendees. Watch a video clip HERE.
Along the parkway in flip flops, lured to pull over by wildflowers, I hope I didn’t get any ticks while trudging through the grass to capture these beauties.
I tried to zero in on a bee and not think about the Lyme Disease story I was working on back at home.
I thought about the butterflies that were on their way and how much they would add to the artistry of the swathes of open grasses along the Parkway’s scenic route.
I had escaped from the chair at the computer desk! Now I was just another wild thing in flight, transported by the most exquisite birdsong I had ever heard and the honeyed light of the coming sunset.
Black cohosh is white. The orange butterfly bush (aka pleurisy root) is a milkweed. I was surprised to learn that flaming stars, like the ones I have in my garden at home, are wildflowers. There was wild bee balm in the mix, and the purple crown vetch made me smile. I used to eat it when I was girl growing up in Massachusetts.
It will never be quite the same again, no matter how many times I return. I still drive by the spot on Robinson’s Mill road where I came upon 100s of monarchs feeding on milkweed. I look but have never seen even a single one since then.
I know there will be new flowers, new butterflies to follow. They’ll be new slants of light and scenes that bring happiness. I just have to be ready to recognize and appreciate them whenever and wherever they come.
_____Our World Tuesday
The first time I visited Charleston, SC, was about 12 years ago when Joe and I were on our way to camp on the beach of St. Augustine, Florida. It was raining pretty hard and we only stayed about an hour. We visited Battery Park and the historic City Market and vowed to come back.
That happened on the way home from Folly Beach Island, where Joe and I were on vacation with our sons, Josh and Dylan, and our grandsons, Bryce and Liam. We stopped on our way to a barn raising at Josh’s place near Asheville, NC. This time, we also didn’t stay long, not because it was raining but because it was hot and President Obama was in town (for the funeral of the innocent victims of the Charleston church shootings). We had hoped to take a horse buggy tour of the city but most of the buggy tours weren’t running and many of the streets were closed down.
That’s okay. There was lots to do at Battery Park.
The canons were real, but the openings were cemented shut because tourists used to shove stuff inside them, I heard a tour guide say. Here’s what one online site wrote about it: A lovely spot on the waterfront that features southern mansions, cannons, cannon balls, oak trees, palmettos, statues, a gazebo, and incredible views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse.
There was a cool tree canopy and some strange birds that Liam took a liking to.
Speaking of Liam, I love this shot of him because he asked me to take it of him (which I believe was a first) and he posed so sweetly.
Besides the strange birds, we also met a tiny pony, a service animal its owner said.
We also visited the City Market. It stretches four city blocks. I bought a hand fan, Bryce browsed a Lego display. We got some lunch somewhere up in a balcony room where Liam spilled his water and the waitress frantically wiped it up because she said if she wasn’t quick it would drip down on customers below.
So that’s all she wrote. Once again, we just skimmed the surface of Charleston. Another trip is in order, soon.
_________Shadow Shot Sunday
1. I like to name the fireworks. In years past, I’ve named them Bling Bling, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Electric Koolaid Acid Blot Test, Mary Poppin’s Umbrella and Tinkerbell’s Migraine. This year’s series included Short Circuit Circus, Christmas on Mars, An Octopus’s Garden, Ferris Bueller’s Ferris Wheel, New Year’s Eve Fairy Party and more HERE.
2. I wanted to name my first son Luke but with the last name Copus saying both together sounded too much like Lou Copus.
3. I spent Monday morning looking at the online art of Nona Faustine, an African American woman who posed naked in places like Wall Street, where a Colonial slave market was active for two centuries. She named that one – which asks the question, “What does a Black body look like today in the place where they sold human beings 250 years ago?” – From Her Body Sprang the Greatest Wealth.
4. What’s it like to pose naked in the middle of the street, the steps of City Hall and other public places? – “My eyes are wide open, and still I’m there and not there. My body is pumping with adrenaline. My anxiety is extremely high. During all that, you filter out as much abstractions as possible so that you can maintain some sort of composure for the camera as people, cars and buses go by. My senses are elevated. Sounds in particular I hone into. I have this feeling of being watched, by something or someone not actually there at times. I’m extremely aware of my presence in these places.” – Nona Faustine
5. I once started a collage series of self-portrait photographs where I cut out a space between the top of my head and a hat, maybe as a way to put image to my fragile brain chemistry.
6. Never is ever not.
7. Years ago I thought about starting a business giving name readings based on the properties of letter sounds and helping people name their babies, something I’ve done informally in the past. More HERE.
8. Baseball athletes’ arms get tired from pitching. Mine gets tired from clicking.
9. These days, I spend the bulk of my time on photography, taking pictures, deleting them, Adobe Shop cropping them, labeling them, moving and storing them, looking for them, ordering prints of some of them and putting them in albums.
10. Barbara Kingsolver on the Confederate flag: “Who gets to draw the line between tradition and callous intransigence? Where does sensitivity become censorship? Tarring whole communities with the brush of racism doesn’t bring us grace. I could have whisked my daughter from the home of the Rebels to a private school where she wouldn’t have to play Dixie. But this is our home, and I believe public schools function best when we all support our kids together. I think they’re better citizens for having grown up with many kinds of people, to be judged by the contents of their characters, not their tattoos (note: a Confederate flag).”
11. On the other hand, she says: “The flag’s presence has grown steadily more menacing. It turned up wherever white mobs opposed civil rights marchers. It showed up at Klan rallies. I’m sure it still does. Swastika was the ancient Sanskrit word for good fortune, its symbol representing the movement of the sun across the sky. But it was appropriated by vile people, and now virtually everyone sees racial hatred in that one too. Regardless of intent or origin, a symbol achieves its meaning in the eye of the beholder.”
12. My Dharmacratic friend Will on the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage: “Somewhere between the closet and the parade there is a place where homosexuality is simply and actually accepted as no big deal.”
13. I’m so sensitive that just putting on sunglasses can sometimes make me feel altered, like I’m stoned on a foreign substance. – The Road to Destiny, from my memoir The Jim and Dan Stories.