The Queen of Fair Elfland

American Elder

             True Thomas he took off his hat, And bowed him low down to his knee: “All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven! For your peer on earth I never did see.”“O no, O no, True Thomas,” she says, “That name does not belong to me; I am but the queen of fair Elfland, And I’m come here for to visit thee. A couple of weeks ago, I made some elder flower tincture. I have done this off … [Read more...]

Perspective in Place

Train cars and wildflowers along the Southern Crescent line

Last week, I took a train trip from Atlanta to New Orleans. You can read a little more about that here and here, plus I will probably write more about the experience of being in New Orleans, as it absolutely deserves its own post (or several).  Right now though I want to talk a little bit about traveling, the process of going from one place to another, and perspective...especially what I am going to call the "medium-sized picture."Our language exhibits a bias towards "the big picture."  We a … [Read more...]

From Here to There

On the train!

Today I am going to New Orleans, on the train.  I’m doing it just for the hell of it, really, and to write; a more detailed explanation of my “writing on the train” project can be found here.  I have actually never ridden a train other than steam engine excursion trains in the US before, even though I adore trains immoderately. I am writing this while riding, ensconced in queenly comfort (compared to an airplane seat) and having just fetched my breakfast from the dining car.  We left the Atlanta … [Read more...]

Amsterdam

Image of an Amsterdam canal From Wikipedia. Click for original.

This is my second trip to the Netherlands in just over a month. I sit outside smoking an American Spirit cigarette and contemplating the energy here. Water. Flow. Movement, but not necessarily to anywhere or from anywhere.Crossing the street is terrifying at times. I step away from the safety of the sidewalk into the bike zone, hoping that a fast moving cyclist doesn't appear out of no where to bowl me over. I reach the car zone and fast-walk across the lane before I reach the tram tracks. … [Read more...]

Infinity in the palm of your hand

Helix Nebula, from Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”  -  William BlakeWhat is a sense of place, anyway? What place?  I tend to focus on the human scale, most of the time, as most of us do.  But the universe is a place.  Your body is also a place.  To a mitochondrion, a cell is a world, and you are a vast, unimaginable universe.  (Thank you, Madeleine L'Engle.)  Less poetically, but still true, to the myriads of m … [Read more...]

Different And The Same

NetherlandsFlight3

Over the past week I have been in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; London, England; and now I am in Manchester, England. The rain has followed me everywhere. I can see by the news that each place has gotten sunny after I leave it, so the rain must be following me around like a lost puppy. But the rain isn't the only thing that seems to be following me around. Lately I've been dogged by wisps of deja vu every where I go.I'm not talking about the kind of deja vu where you sit … [Read more...]

Leaving Greensboro

LeavingGreensboro

It seems as if Greensboro, North Carolina did not want me to leave. Of course, it's all just coincidence. There is no meaning behind the force of nature. That's what our scientific knowledge tells us, anyway. The world just does what it does. The laws of physics and the chaotic nature of the global systems that interact with each other cause weather patterns. The Spirit of Place has no say in the snow fall or ice conditions that hindered my travel. That's just silly talk. But there it is.Not … [Read more...]


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