SAFARI seems to no longer work
for comments...use another browser?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gone to Carolina

Where? I've been away in the North Carolina mountains for more than a month: hiking on private (Dan Pitillo's flower trails are wondrous) and public lands; hunting for Oconee bells and spring beauty and trout lilies, etc.; helping my mother with various needs; celebrating my mother's 90th birthday (along with more family in Cullowhee for a week); thrifting; eating at Slabtown (best pizza in Cashiers), Café Rel (the oddly placed restaurant at The Hot Spot in Franklin), Frogtown, Kilwin's, Sweet Treats Highlands, and oodles of other places; exploring cabins and paths, and enjoying mountaintop views.

On the books front, I also had a lovely lunch with writer friend Nathan Ballingrud at Chai Pani in Asheville. (You can read about his new book and a movie here.) And I wrote a few poems in between adventures. I had great fun hanging out with my mother's friends from WCU's Hunter Library and remembering my high school days when I had the run of the place every day between school's end and five o'clock. Back then, the librarians talked to me about books, encouraged my wanderings in the shelves, and let me rummage wildly in the Horace Kephart archives. Hours rooting in the stacks helped make me what I am.

That picture (by Cullowhee photographer Etheree Chancellor) is me-in-many-layers on the chilly path to the 500-foot spill of Rufus Morgan Falls, with my mother in the background. Not many flowers were out there--just the halberd-leaved yellow violet and some hepatica. If you want to see a few more pictures from the trip, including the upper part of the falls, hop here.


  1. Great update ... oh, to be 90 and meandering in the mountains .... beautiful! Best wishes from the Gulf shores where blooms abound ....

    1. R. T., yes she is still able and blessed with the desire to do it.

      I have tried to post at your page but not been able for some reason (have not tried since I returned) but will make an attempt again.

    2. Still cannot post. Perhaps you need more options than "Google Account"? Even though I have one, I can't post.

    3. Hmmm ... I just tweaked things .... perhaps the door is now open but with moderation gateway ....

  2. When I found work in the USA back in 1965 I quickly discovered I was in a foreign country, more foreign in some respects than France or Germany. Not least in the matter of language which Britain and the USA are supposed to share. This short post reminds me of that discovery. Straight away there are the people names (Pitillo, Nathan Ballingrud, Etheree Chancellor, Horace Kephart). Then the places (Cullowhee, Frogtown, Chai Pani). Then the entities (Oconee bells, trout lilies, Café Rel). Hepatica sounds like a liver disease though that may be due to my ignorance of floriculture.

    My novel, Out of Arizona, is set in south-west France close to the Pyrenees. But one long chapter concentrates on the central character's love affair in and around Tucson. I worked hard at making the location sound authentic and I did insert some evocative proper names - Flagstaff was a gift as was the Mogoller Rim. But not enough. Linguistically I realise now I held back, a failing said to be a national characteristic of Brits. Too late now. Besides it was a long time ago and now the wench is dead.

    Must do better.

    1. "Etheree" really sounds deep South! And she is from Alabama originally. Yes, names are colorful--I still love poring over maps.

      Horace Kephart is a very interesting, curious character. You can look him up on Wikipedia etc. if you are interested. He moved to western North Carolina and lived among the Scots-Irish mountain people and wrote "Our Southern Highlanders" and also "Camping and Woodcraft." Anyway, Western Carolina University holds his archives, and I'm sure that I shouldn't have been allowed to play with his scrapbooks, etc.!

      Perhaps not using as many names was appropriate to that book! Restraint on particularizing place (and time) often has the effect of making events more dreamlike or more like an oral story or fairy tale. I need to read a novel of yours when I catch up on promises elsewhere. Just announced No More Blurbing because I was such a failure on such things last year.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.