Saturday, February 26, 2011

Circle of Life, Circle of Dreams

Sometimes old dreams die. This is natural. But when they do, it becomes more important than ever to plant seeds for new dreams to grow. Our dreams, our hope, our faith; these are the things that truly keep us alive.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Mill: Failblog 1

 A few weekends ago, Curt, David (Curt's boss) and I went slogging through the swamp in Dillon looking for old overgrown mills. Our first search was a failboat, but we did find a lot of mud, stagnant water, reeds and briars.
 We started by walking around the rim of a neighboring field to find a decent place to enter the thicket of trees.

 The trees were very close together, and in some patches the briar bushes were as thick as tree trunks...only with spikes. trees and briars. David earned the nickname "Machete Dave" as he blazed a trail through the thicket. We followed, careful not to ship each other in the face with branches. Eventually, we cleared the left side of the thicket and found a patch of swamp.

 We made it through the trees to find a patch of swamp, but no mill. The stagnant swamp water started to get deep just beyond the edge, so we backtracked to check out the right side of the thicket.

  David also brought his trusty sidekick, Jim Bob, who was more than happy to run circles around all of us and get his doggy bits cold and wet.

 Apparently Jim Bob thought Curt's rubber boots smelled interesting.
 We emerged from the thicket on the right side to find sparse trees, lots of reeds, and shallow water. Pretty. Annoying to walk through, but really pretty.
 Dave and Jim Bob took a break after clearing the trees and briar bushes. Note the machete in the tree. If I had been a bear...well, I probably wouldn't have had a camera.
David White (aka. "Machete Dave") and Jim Bob.

 After the break, Machete Dave blazed a trail through the reeds, toward another treeline. Dave knew the truck was that way. By this time, I'd been turned around too much to know where we were. I need to work on that.

Boots, meet swamp water. The water never flowed over into my boots, which I was quite happy about.

Stalking Curtis like a lion. A slow, loud lion. Didn't work; he knew I was there.

 Frellin' briars...I was just clearing the mud and water here. I had lagged behind the others pretty badly once we got to the mud and water; I learned that slogging through high water and sticky mud with short little Hobbit-like legs is quite a best not done in an increasingly hot fatigue-style jacket. Especially when you can't take off the jacket and tie it around your waist due to the high water and the need of protection against clinging briar bushes.
 The briars were pretty awful here, but I could hear that Machete Dave had already cleared his way free of the trees and found our truck, so I was encouraged to keep walking.
 Free at last, free at get the point. We got through the trees and swamp and found our field again!
David's hands after the fact, due to briars.
So tired, muddy and a bit scarred up, we cleared the treeline and found the truck where we'd left it.
Curt, hamming for the camera.
We didn't find any ancient mills this time, but there are plenty of other places to look around here. David suggested higher ground next's hoping.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I am thankful that I have time to write. I am thankful that all of my physical needs are met. I am thankful for my children, the joy they bring me, and the joy that I bring them. I am thankful for my abilities. I am thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for a car that runs. I am thankful that I have finished one script, and am over halfway done with a second. I am thankful for my imagination. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for my life.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Adventure 1: Little Pee Dee State Park

So I was complaining the other day to a wise friend about some frustrations, and she advised me to go out and have a photo adventure. Basically, you go out to a place that you enjoy or somewhere you've been meaning to go, and take pictures of things that interest you.

I decided to go to Little Pee Dee State Park and do some trail walking,  since it's nearby and I've been meaning to go out there. Just when I thought that I might have missed the sign, I saw the left turn and took it, and then...cows.

Maybe it was the one white cow amongst the black cows...I don't know. She said take pictures of what caught my eye, right?

So I got to the park after a fairly long, winding stone driveway, and walked down to the water. There was a spillway to the right.

Just ahead of me was a gorgeous expanse of water and sky. There was one small canoe out; two fellows out fishing. I was more focused on the scenery, and the hint of a nice house situated out just past the treeline. It reminded me of one of my dreams; to have a nice home, set apart in the woods. Somewhere tranquil like this.

At this point I realized (too late) that the batteries in my camera were dying out yet AGAIN. So I decided to get down to business, as I had no idea how many shots I would have left. I set out on one of the Beaver trails (yes, they are named that) and found this fallen tree on the path that reminded me a lot of an ent's leg. Maybe I've just watched Lord Of The Rings one too many times...

The trail took a little while to walk, but the surprise came at the end of the trail; when I found that I ended up farther back along the park's driveway than I had begun. So it was time to hoof it back to my car. I really have a greater appreciation for my car now, I can tell you that

I guess I could have turned around and walked the nature trail back the way I came, but something compelled me to walk the road with my jacket thrown over my shoulder like some Depression Era nomad.

Along the loose stone driveway, I came upon a really cool flat open space. I pictured tons of small football and frisbee games being played here. Kids running with dogs, etc. A few picnic tables were spread out among the edges. It had a really positive, good feel to it. The sky was a bright, clear baby blue.

It was really gorgeous, and I felt grateful that I had stopped to there. I determined then and there that I need to do this more often.   

Needless to say, I made it back to my car and back home without further incident. It was a beautiful day spent in a beautiful place. I'm really glad I went, and I am very grateful to my friend for prescribing this for my selfish little woes.  I definitely plan to be doing it again soon; next time with fully charged batteries.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heart shaped box

"Tell me where is fancy bred? In the heart, or in the head?"
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

At times like this, I look back a long way - all of it in fact - and I realize that I have a long way to go.

I look at a little black-haired, pale baby boy hooked up to tubes. I see his parents praying to God to save this infant son. They ask more to pray. The numbers build. God hears them, and the boy is saved.

Time passes. I see the boy, now with reddish-brown hair, making swords out of wooden fence posts and duct tape. With those swords, he conquers every land he enters, whether they be his own sheltered neighborhood, or the wilds behind his Nana's house. Fields of thick weeds become armies of goblins. They all fall beneath his imagined blade. Here, he is a fierce prince.  

Time passes. The boy grows to the age where hair on males becomes more abundant than we'd like. One day, he sees a certain girl in a bikini. A friend. Only now, after only months, she's different. He talks to her, and starts feeling a whole mad carnival of new and frightening things. He becomes a young man.

With these new feelings, a firm belief is forged in the young man's mind; the belief that one day he will find The One; the perfect woman for him.

Years later, the young man finds love, and then finds, many years later, that love does not always endure. However, he is introduced to a new love that overshadows anything he has ever felt; the love of his children. He now understands the parents who prayed so fervently for his continued life. The young man becomes a man. After the end of this long relationship, the internal knowledge of finding his heart's one true love becomes a holy grail quest.

Time passes, and more relationships fail or never truly start. The man is very specific in what he is looking for. He never regrets this, as he is not alone, and he knows that when he meets Her, he will know.

More time passes. She doesn't come. After many trials and many attempts with a heart that was zealous, exuberant and impetuous, one day he finds that his heart has grown very tired indeed. At times like this, the heart becomes as a vacation home; the doors locked, the blinds closed. To all appearances, dead to the outsider.

My heart is currently in this condition. I fear that I have badly misused it, and I'm sure other hearts as well, in my past; a fact that I greatly regret. But I cannot fix other hearts, only my own. So for now, it is locked away as deeply as it needs to be, and my days of leaping to action to woo ladies who take my fancy are quite irreversibly dead. I'm afraid that I'm finally done with a game that I never really began to comprehend.

My current plan, then, is to stop grasping at straws and jumping at gestures. To conduct myself with a semblance of dignity and just allow the chips to fall. To protect my heart, and the heart of that boy, as I should have for years. To crow and howl with the other lost boys forever.

Do I still believe in my true love? Absolutely. I just wish she'd hurry the hell up.