Archive for the ‘South Carolina’ Category

rain haiku

December 6, 2016

Never ending rain

Put out all the forest fires

Then leave us alone.

 

cfblack 12-05-2016

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Sunday morning

May 19, 2013

Sunday morning

A girl walks her bike around the pond,

She wears bright pink stockings,

a dress of key lime green,

and daydreams,

Our teenage neighbor

turns up the volume on the stereo,

his parents, baby sister, away at church.

Earlier, just outside our gate, a small boy asked him

how to catch a fish,

Sky darkens,

Clouds hang heavy and low,

Silence comes to the pond,

now the color of alligators.

so peaceful

May 14, 2013

So peaceful, another day goes by, bright sunshine all around but cool (about 70 degrees). Turtles in large numbers now congregate on the pond, telling each other about their day. They jump or “run” (slowly crawl) away from me as I walk by. One thing I love about this pond is the mistrust of all the animals on it, of humans. This means they are still “wild” life, untamed. They live as they live and do not interact with humans. The duck population has grown rapidly, as the Neighborhood Association decided it would be a good idea to place a floating “duck house” on the water…. I don’t mind a few ducks, but now one mamma has 10 ducklings that follow her. How many do we want?? There is one larger pair of snow white ducks, no babies yet. There is the one polygamist with his two females that swim around the pond, and I SUSPECT that he fathered the other 10. Shameful!

The exception to the above “wild” life is the pair of geese, who unfortunately are being fed by the idiot down the road– the same one with a trail of cats & dogs that follow her into her house and back out again. She throws pellets to the geese, who cover the walking path now with their excrement, and said lady doesn’t seem too inclined to clean it off, since she lured them there. The geese they could do away with and I wouldn’t complain a bit. They are disgusting. Besides that, they are likely to come up to you as you walk by, now expecting a hand out, and one of them actually bumped me in the leg! They scare me and I don’t enjoy walking past them. I’m sure if I were 3 years old, I would be completely terrified.

Got my 1 hour of sun and have been since sitting inside monitoring an online discussion and lazily watching the day pass by. Very peaceful. My left knee has decided to develop a problem, so I can’t walk. I manage to hobble around the pond once a day & go to the doctor next week.

It is relaxing to be out of class. I’m sure in 3 months I will be ready for it again, but right now relieved to not have to be up on all the latest depressing news, ready to lead discussion on the latest political arguments. Most of our politicians are showing their blatant greed and hatefulness and their absolute inability to come together to resolve any one issue. I believe change has to come from the people, from Ground Zero, from collective will. Nothing is coming down the pike from the folks at the top.

my solar eclipse photo

May 21, 2012

I took a 3-mi. walk shortly before the eclipse was to begin, which we would not be able to see here in South Carolina, because sundown happened at the same time the eclipse was to begin. Looking at the sun in the sky, I thought, “There you go sinking slowly before the moon reaches you,” and then I noticed a lovely little rainbow to the left of the sun, visible in the sky. What a lovely little gift for us who were not able to watch the eclipse!

 

canopy of stars

March 14, 2012

After teaching a night class at a neighboring university this semester, my husband and I drive back from Greenwood all the way to Chapin. This takes about an hour & 20. One of the perks is being outside at night, in a rural state, and looking out the car window. I can look because usually, my husband is driving. He is my companion and he accompanies me every week on this venture, usually driving to allow me to sleep or sometimes to catch up on reading something on the way TO that class. I appreciate his company. On the way back home after the class is over, I look out the window, to a canopy of stars. This canopy is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a city. It is unlike anything you’ve ever seen living CLOSE to a city. This is a myriad layer upon layer of glittering light.

I am fascinated with stars and the sky, and watch them all the time. I do not feel settled until I have found the Big Dipper to get my orientation to reality. There are 3 little stars that are always in a row, together, pointing out in the direction of northwest. On the road back from Greenwood, I find that these 3 stars in a row are SURROUNDED by layers and layers of sparkling diamonds! From my house in our neighborhood, where we have irritating bright security lamps placed by the Neighborhood Association, I cannot see these diamonds. The Neighborhood Association says the blaring beacons are for our “safety”. In reality, we know they are placed so the people on that committee can see through their secret cameras 24/7, because they have nothing better to do than to spy. After all, the beacons are not in their side or backyard — they’re in mine.

In any case, these are the bounties of living in a rural state: Being aware of the canopy of stars, and layer upon layer of glittering diamonds, all available free in an enlightening and entertaining show. And we are a part of it. Looking out at the canopy, you realize just how vast is the universe, and how tiny is your own little star, your own little place within it.

December graduation

December 12, 2011

Wednesday this week is December graduation at my small college. When our oldest daughter graduated from Purdue, we were escorted to the third balcony, I believe it was, and when she walked across the stage, we couldn’t even tell which one she was. Their names were scrolling across a screen as they swarmed the stage, two lines, criss-crossing in the shape of an “X” and leaving the stage with their empty diploma folder! It was ridiculous. What was the point? Still, the entire auditorium was filled with proud parents, ourselves included, as we somehow pictured it being more like the high school graduation was, where at least we would hear our child’s name and know when they walked onto the graduation stage.

At my college on Wednesday, we will go into the chapel which will be filled with beautiful red poinsettas. Now I’m not a church attender, but I know beauty when I see it. And I love red. So it suits me just fine.

Faculty parade in, each in their own institution’s gown from when they graduated. Mine is the only gold & black hood for PU. Each graduate will not only have his or her name announced, but each one is personally hooded by the acting President, and then they will each have their picture taken WITH the acting President before leaving the stage. It is a happy day, a proud day, and we personally know each graduate very well by the time they get on that stage. That’s because we’ve seen them in numerous classes, as they go back and forth between myself and my colleague, the 2 sociology faculty at my school. They take other classes as well, but we’ve seen them in every sociology class they ever take. Additionally, we are their advisors, so we consult with them to sign them up for classes each semester. It is an intimate and caring relationship, one that often continues over 5 years’ time. By the time we see them walk across that stage, we feel nearly as proud as the parents!

After living the experience at a small college, I would not trade it for the world. There are pros and cons about each situation. Large universities have their own national reputations which help graduates land jobs after they leave. They have sports teams that are seen on national television, and nothing can beat the experience of a crowd of thousands at a football stadium the size of a small planet. At a place like that, you form your own groups and clubs, because you need those to feel connected. But there is a faculty of 20 or so professors within each discipline. Students can graduate in your own field without ever having taken one of your classes! No thanks, folks. I can think of each student and know their best skills and the things they do poorly. I know the ones who are usually late to class, who don’t do well taking one at 8am. I know the ones who play sports and how their team did their senior year. I know those who are always early to class, I know whose grandfather died in the last year. I know many who never made it to this stage, who dropped out for one reason or another along the way, the same as many of my student colleagues did alongside of me in graduate school. Not everyone makes it to the final runway. Not everyone should. Life has many paths. But for those who DO, we gonna get down and celebrate on Wednesday!! Picture time! Oh yeah. 

Wintry December

December 4, 2011

Dec. 3rd and winter has hit the Midlands. What does that mean? It is 45 degrees outside, and cloudy. I just took a 2 1/2 mile walk without gloves. The trees are nearly barren, the colors are gone, and brown oak leaves are strewn all around the pond. I don’t see turtles swimming, but an occasional large fish still jumps & splashes as I walk by. Our heat is on WAY too much, because our house is so poorly constructed, I can see 1/2 an inch of sunlight at the top of the back door. This is when it is “closed”. So we keep it set to 68, and lay in bed way too long in the mornings, because it is the warmest room in the house. It gets down into the 30s at night & hits 50 during the day. Winter in the Midlands.

late November in SC

November 20, 2011

Our heat is on. Nights have been in the 30s, which here means people stay home because “it’s too cold to go outside”. Cracks me up because up north, back home, this would be the time kids pray for, hoping it will snow! I’ve only in the last couple days taken my winter jacket out of the closet. Didn’t even wear it last night when we went out.

The stupid next-door dog is barking once again incessantly while I write this. Someone is undoubtedly walking around the pond. He will bark until they go all the way around. The family is gone to church so what do they care, they don’t have to hear it. There is no thought, here, of needing to bring animals inside. Cats run wild and there are many of them. It’s an animal paradise, never getting cold enough to freeze the pond. It would be an easy fix: No animal ownership if you live ON the pond, or requiring muzzled dogs if they are outside. But no, the people in the neighborhood association love dogs, own many dogs, and so this abuse continues.

I got sidetracked. Fall leaves have been BEAUTIFUL this year, proving my prediction wrong. Yellows and oranges, even reds, were breath taking and bright. The trees are now turning somewhat brown and leaves may fall — by the first of December. It’s a different climate, the timing is “off”. I can remember Halloweens in the snow, in Indiana, though usually it wasn’t quite that cold. But by the end of November? You betcha.

The weather won’t stay this cold. It will fluctuate, some days going up to the 50s, possibly even 60s & then  back down. We may see snow in December or January — which will accumulate and bring all the children out to play wildly, build a snowman in their yards — and it all disappears by noon. Snowmen left standing will melt by next day. It is really bizarre.

Tulips are never planted here. The ground doesn’t freeze enough to have them do well and come up in Spring. Flowers grow year-round. Pansies remain in bloom at the Statehouse through the winter.

A group of 3 small children are now seen fishing across the pond, a mother standing with them. They wear long pants and a light jacket, open in the front. One just wears a long-sleeved shirt. They REALLY, truly, have no idea what cold is. When I think of cold winds whipping through your coat like you have nothing on……. being snowed in for days………. starting the car 10 mins. before you leave and spending that time scraping ICE off car windows……. no they have no idea.

 

late October on the pond

October 23, 2011

Sun sets sometime around 7 – 7:30. Just before dark, a few bats can be seen flitting high above, in quick, darting motions, almost like birds but way too fast and changing directions too many times, eating up any insects hovering in the air. The large heron swoops in, making a low squawking sound. It will be found stalking small fish on the edge, even after dark. The frogs have gone into hiding, they are no longer to be seen jumping across the sidewalk, moving from woods to water. I know that deer start their dusk movement, but they are not seen near our houses. We occasionally see them crossing the roads nearby. It seems to me I don’t hear song birds as much as last year. Perhaps the mockingbirds are mocking other types of bird calls, haven’t heard them singing much.

The trees have only now noticibly started turning. They won’t be as bright yellow, orange and red as up north. They turn a dingy-type red down here, then turn brown and fall in maybe November. We’ve had a couple nights where it hit into the 30s, days still in the mid-to-high 70s. 

October

October 3, 2011

Turned on our heat at home for the first time this morning. It was 66 in the house. Current temp outside at 9:38pm is 55 degrees! How did this happen? The football game Saturday got cold too, I wore 2 jackets, & they felt good. Trees are not orange or red yet at all though, down here. They will be soon now, & the colors won’t be as bright as they are up north. The dragonflies seem to be gone for the most part, we still see the herons on the pond. The campus pool just closed this week. Fall in the South.

Tons of stories in the news. Amanda Knox was FREED today, or that’s the decision. I am happy for her. The Italian police couldn’t have botched it much worse or treated her more unfairly.

 

700 protestors got arrested in NYC. I wonder at how you can arrest 700 protestors. Where did they put them? Did they have to stand in line to get processed, assessed a fee and then released? This is a goldmine for NYC! Maybe they want to keep it going awhile.

It seems to be a young movement, somewhat nieve and yet, it IS a movement. It’s about the most organized thing since the early 70s & it somehow feels really good to see some people blatantly calling it what it is, calling those with the riches in this country to fess up to what is really going on. They have the money, they’re still making big money and it’s on the backs of the rest of America. Do the protestors have a well-planned response, a system to put in place? Not really. No, but they’re still making a statement that somehow we all know is true but don’t want to believe. Those with the money & power in this country don’t want to give it up, & they really don’t care if the rest of us lose our homes, lose our jobs, and have to struggle with daily life. They’ve been playing this game for a long time & they’re not about to give it up. But their walls have become transparent. The Emperor has no clothes.