Country? Hardly.

Cranky and grumbling since last we visited. That last column left a bit of bile in my own mouth when I read it again, a little sour stomach that sometimes leaps bitter into the back of my throat.

See, I’m a country boy, pure and simple, even though I don’t play a fiddle, wear overalls or straw hats. I don’t know the difference of a hootenanny and a hoedown. I never pitched hay or milked a cow.

But dad-blame it, there ain’t enough country left no more. We’ve done gone and refined ourselves somehow, all in the interest of “progress.”

Listen. I don’t want a return to washboards and mule-drawn ploughs for the love of Pete (sorry, Pete!) But look at us. Just look at us!

We stick out our chests and lift our chins and proudly proclaim we’re country-folk. Well, let me break it to you gently, boys and girls, it ain’t so. Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves we’re country, or maybe that mysterious, shadowy entity known as “they” have convinced us we’re country…rural, as “they” say now…but I beg to differ. I don’t even beg. I insist.

We stack up our houses on…what? An acre, acre-and-a-half of land, . . . → Read More: Country? Hardly.

Splinter of Time

I’ve written here about solastalgia. It is a condition on the human psyche related to nostalgia, except rather than a sense of loss from being away from home, home has gone away from the afflicted.

It’s a feeling I have grown increasingly aware of: The diminishing of my native waters has left me bereft, emasculated by siltation and fading waters. After 8,000 years, I at last came to realize what none of my forefathers could have conceived: There are endings. There is finality.

So I found what became salve to my solastalgia, a surrogate home waters. It lies not black-green and still between trunks of cypress, but in the clefts of smooth-shouldered, hog-backed hills of red dirt pocked with sandstone and pines.

But the loss has crept up again.

No one understands it. I’m not even sure I do. Why I would far, far prefer to drive hours to this new solace rather than spend my days just out my back door, casting flies to reclusive pockets of fish where they might be found. It’s an odd thing, but I don’t want to be witness to its demise. I don’t want the reminders of its churning mud in my . . . → Read More: Splinter of Time