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Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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    David Evans

    David Evans
    I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one little and two big dogs and a diminishing pride of two cats and other critters who come along the path from time to time. I retired one morning years ago when I woke up and said, "This is the day." It was simply time to do something new with my life. I had done whatever I did long enough, and now it was time to do something else. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I believe I have found something to cherish that I never had before. Retirement may be dull and boring, but that's true only if you are dull and boring. But if you’re like I was, and am, I saw a lot of things as I went along the trail that I would have liked to linger over a lot longer if I had had the time to spare. Above all, I wanted to think about what they meant and have the chance to go back over them and figure them out. I'm not abashed to say that today I lead a life of real luxury. I also recognize that I'm a lucky boy. In the words of Katherine Anne Porter: "My life has been incredible, I don't believe a word of it." I am the author of the recently published collection of essays entitled Words To Woo Her By And Other Distractions Along the Way. Earlier I self-published Tunes of Glory: The Slow Ticking of the Heart, Cradle My Soul: Glimpses Into Other Lives, and Unscheduled Stops: Essays on Love, Loss and Other Roadside Attractions. All are available on either Amazon or Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon. Proceeds go to the Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Capon Bridge, West Virginia.
    Number of posts: 176
    Email address: email

    Posts by David Evans:


      we could do worse

      Gone To The Dogs

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 23, 2015
      Gone To The Dogs

      We’ve been down to two cats now, Sophie and Dolly, for over two years. The last two lads, Tucker and Sneezer, took their leave a couple of summers ago, one otherwise healthy gentleman on the operating table to have his teeth cleaned and the other a poor devil who had suffered far too long from a debilitating disease. Now we have two aging dowagers who think they’re still debutantes. They barely tolerate one another, however, and share a porch space during the day as though they’re on opposite sides negotiating a treaty with Iran. Feline peace is not easy to maintain.

      its love of life

      Joyce’s Dublin

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 14, 2015
      Statue of James Joyce near O'Connell St. in Dublin

      As I continue to read through James Joyce’s collection of short stories called “Dubliners,” I look at various old black and white photos of the city as it was published well over a century ago.  I’ve also been guided by Mark O’Connell who wrote an article for “Slate” magazine in May 2014 entitled, “Have I Ever Left It?” to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of its publication.

      I’ve never been to Dublin, but look forward one day soon to walking about, taking in the city that Joyce described. 

      face the music

      Beat the Drums Loudly

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 9, 2015
      Image: Solstice Drums by Jessica Lucia via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/theloushe/

      Joyce has the most luminous blue eyes imaginable. Betty smiles and is quiet. Annie cannot break eye contact. And Don excuses himself to go to the bathroom and never returns. They are all part of my friend Ed’s drum-therapy group that meets weekly for an hour in the lobby of their retirement and assisted living center. Ed, who is a professor emeritus of Graduate Psychology, learned to lead the drum circle from his younger sister…

      secret to great sax

      If Music Be The Food Of Love …

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 6, 2015
      Selmer Mark VI via the Wikimedia Commons

      I lost my self-confidence in singing and playing a musical instrument early in life. I can still hear Mrs Greeley in fifth grade telling my pal Byron and me that we would not be singing in the Christmas pageant that year, since neither of us could carry a tune worth a damn. A few years later I dropped out of High School Band because I continued to carry the Greeley curse and didn’t think I was worth a damn. It was a bleak beginning for anyone who fancied music.

      Many years later, though, my friend John coaxed me to join the New Horizons Band at James Madison University. I am forever indebted to Will, our band director, for welcoming me aboard in his enthusiastic and warm manner…

      male pattern blindness

      Quirks And Quiddities

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jul 3, 2015
      Quirks And Quiddities

      “In this intimate body of work, she uses mixed media, collage and painting to explore the demands of motherhood, preservation of memory, and repetitious patterns of thought and behavior.”

      Huh?

      I recently received this invitation and quickly decided it was probably something I don’t want to even be seen near, let alone attend.

      grief and fear

      Wellspring of Tears

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 24, 2015
      Charleston Massacre by Lee Stranahan via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

      The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote many years ago in The Second Coming that,

      Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      mystery of joy

      Eating Stones

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 18, 2015
      The Celestial Rose by Gustave Doré (engraving, c.1868)

      As the ruffian used force to carry her out of the convent because her family needed her for an arranged marriage that would increase their fortune, this thirteenth-century nun and member of (St.) Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano saved herself and preserved her vows by suddenly and miraculously growing heavier and heavier. In the end, her assailant had to put her down and abandon the abduction. As he said, it was as though she had been eating stones.

      in need of soothing words

      “The Soul has Bandaged moments”

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 6, 2015
      Walt Whitman Herman Melville Emily Dickinson

      The forsythia has grown so tall and thick with age that it almost obscures the roofline of the gazebo tucked behind it. The key word, of course, is “almost,” since you can still see the wooden shingles from the driveway. Despite the obscuring foliage, you know the gazebo is still in there. And that’s the way it is with my friend who’s still “in there,” although she’s deep into her own self with an illness that is relentless in taking her further and further into a silent and separate world.

      his blunt directness

      Why We Still Read Whitman

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 28, 2015
      Why We Still Read Whitman

      After watching the evening news coverage of warfare in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, I turn to other wars to try to understand what is perhaps beyond one’s ability to make sense of conflict. The why and wherefore of all these years of perpetual war for perpetual peace, whatever that means, seems to be getting more vague to me as time goes by. An on-line class I’m currently enrolled in is examining the poetry that came out of our own Civil War. Although not a keen enthusiast of Walt Whitman, I have come to appreciate what he was trying to do when he chose to be “embedded” with Union forces marching into battle early on in the fighting.

      the here and now

      The Past Is Never Past

      by | 4, Add your Comment | May 19, 2015
      The Past Is Never Past

      “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner had a big-time influence on me as an adolescent as did my father who never met a funeral he didn’t like, especially if it took him back to the hill country of Appalachian Ohio where he had been raised. Even now I remember as a boy following a group of men carrying the casket of a man my father had known when he was a boy. The memory is still clear of them slipping and sliding along the dry creek bed en route to a spot in the woods…

      the case for god

      Turning The Pages

      by | 9, Add your Comment | May 4, 2015
      Turning The Pages

      Religious “faith” is not an idea I subscribe to. I was asked recently if I would describe myself as an atheist. My response was no, but not in the sense that we usually think of the word. Like the former nun and author Karen Armstrong, I am also conscious of the mystery that is life and that there are many questions beyond my comprehension. I am grateful for being alive and for being able to add my own little contribution toward making this a better world for all of us. But I don’t feel any need to wrap myself up in any organized religion or wind my way on any particular day of the week to a church to “worship.”

      pursuit of ambiguity

      Henry And A Slight Case Of ED

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 21, 2015
      Henry And A Slight Case Of ED

      No, no, not that kind of ED, which always seems to feature one of those slightly discomforting situations where you see the happy afterglow of couples strolling hand in hand and smiling lovingly, presumably after the little blue pill has worked its magic. The kind of ED I’m talking about is entirely different. This ED is the nineteenth-century Belle of Amherst, the reclusive poet in white named Emily, and her ties with a fellow writer named Henry.

      window washing

      Through A Glass Darkly

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Apr 9, 2015
      Tom Lehrer - Poisoning Pigeons In The Park

      The great satirist, song writer and pianist Tom Lehrer had me wondering about and laughing at his songs even as an adolescent just beginning to appreciate the sardonic view of life. Who could hear and ever forget his black humor in “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park”?

      Although separated by time, he and I both served in the Army as “enlisted scum” and both achieved the rank of “Specialist Four,” which he described as “a corporal without portfolio.” He held onto his identity as a sartorial dandy even draped in his wrinkled and ill-fitting uniform, describing his olive drab duds, “If it was good enough for Robin Hood, it’s good enough for me.”

      tooting my alto

      Making The Honor Roll

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Mar 30, 2015
      Jazz players by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

      When I first heard the music of Bob Marley years ago, the Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter, guitarist and philosopher, I found myself moving to the music. Somewhat to my surprise, I seemed to be responding automatically to his enlightened suggestion to “lively up yo’self.”

      Music has always been a challenge to me. I guess part of the difficulty has been my insistence on wanting to know how it works rather than just sitting back and letting it work on me. Too much left- and not enough right-brain dominance.

      most beautiful words

      Fun With The Dictionary

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Mar 16, 2015
      Fun With The Dictionary

      As a young boy doing my homework while staying over with a favorite aunt, I was puzzled by a word and asked her where her dictionary was. She looked at me with befuddlement and finally said she didn’t have one. I thought that odd, but continued to ponder away at the word “sundry” which I also thought odd, and just assumed in my youthful innocence that it was simply a misspelling for “Sunday.”

      I’ve always had lots of dictionaries lying about, even foreign ones since my late wife was a professional translator.

      friends

      Lunch With Floyd

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 10, 2015
      Lunch With Floyd

      He was not at all like, as Jane Kenyon would say, “a wine glass, weary of holding wine.” During our recent time together, he was at one point on his hands and knees retrieving his confounded new hearing aid that still let him down. As he sat ajar at the table so that his one good ear was pointed my way, he told me that Mildred had said, “Don’t tell anyone.” His dear wife was forgetting too many things and was frightened of what was to come, although she didn’t want to talk about it.

      listen to the words

      Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Mar 5, 2015
      Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

      “I was wearing an orange bathrobe. She was leaning over me in a white men’s T-shirt and tiny white panties, shaking me by the shoulder. Her slender body seemed fragile, secure, childlike, with no sign of last night’s Italian excesses. Outside was not yet dawn.”

      As I wind down Haruki Murakami’s novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, I am deliberately slowing down my pace to savor the language and to listen to its tempo. The music is playing in the words.

      value of liberal arts

      Stay A Little

      by | 10, Add your Comment | Feb 19, 2015
      Stay A Little

      When I read Frank Bruni’s column recently in The New York Times about the value of a liberal arts education, I was pleased at how he had honored a professor at Chapel Hill whose Shakespeare classes had been the most transformative educational experiences of his life. She had read the column and had written him, the first contact they had had since the mid-1980s, to talk more about the state of higher education in this country today.

      As I squirmed over their exchange on how so many politicians want to value education according to what kind of high paying job it can bring, I can still hear the concerns over half a century ago of my father…

      the winter metaphor

      So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Feb 9, 2015
      So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh

      Brushing up on my Wordsworth recently during a particularly paralyzing cold spell, I found The Solitary Reaper and settled into trying to understand the brutality that we know make up the day’s news, the savagery that burns through the TV screen, the “old, unhappy, far-off things and battles long ago.” It’s hard to read about or listen to the news when there’s so much everyday gloom brought about by war, epidemics, violent deracination from family village to refugee camp, and train wrecks that take the lives of innocent commuters en route home.

      dreams

      Walter Mitty In The Woods

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jan 29, 2015
      Walter Mitty In The Woods

      I read recently that “serendipity” is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering the farmer’s daughter.

      It would truly be a lucky boy who would find such a treasure in a haystack when he was just looking for his car keys. That’s the way I felt this morning after awakening from a delightful dream in which I had finally been awarded my PhD in ancient languages. The rub was that I have never sought such a distinction…

      tracks in the snow

      Threnody

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 26, 2015
      our house in winter

      “Please hold my hand now. I am dying.” As this soul pulled me close to her, she looked up but just smiled. I had just finished reading “Walking Home From Oak Head” by Mary Oliver to her and she seemed to be pleased to hear some of the refrains again,

      There is something
      about the snow-laden sky
      in winter
      in the late afternoon
      that brings to the heart elation
      and the lovely meaninglessness
      of time.

      literally

      In A Word

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jan 20, 2015
      Fish jump 02-24-12 © mrazp via iStockPhoto.com and licensed by LikeTheDew.com;

      In her autobiography A Backward Glance (1934), Edith Wharton wrote: “In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

      I like that concept which I stumbled upon this morning in a delightful newsletter called Dr. Mardy’s Quotes of the Week — Jan 18-24, 2015.  Wharton was a great stylist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century whose books on the conflicts between societal mores and the pursuit of happiness are still read with great enjoyment after all these years…

      inexhaustible well

      What Did Godot Do?

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 1, 2015
      What Did Godot Do?

      I read recently that the American novelist, poet, and composer Paul Bowles once said, ”We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

      our friend floyd

      The Analects of Floyd

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Dec 27, 2014
      from Chilture.com (promotional image) http://www.chilture.com/chinese-calligraphy-art-confucius-quotes-c-22_36.html

      We took Christmas dinner to Floyd in southern Pennsylvania yesterday. Although he said he was continuing to feel “tired” most of the time and had a bit of trouble breathing (probably a lingering effect of the pneumonia he suffered before Thanksgiving), he seemed more alert and active than what he was at Thanksgiving. We’re never sure if he enjoys the meals that Jody prepares, but he always finishes everything and is pleased that she packages up the leftovers for him.

      children of the enlightenment

      A Winter’s Tale

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Dec 16, 2014
      Jesus crucifiction as enhanced interrogation

      When he gasped to take a breath and to stop swearing in his fractured English, he told her he had a “fucking shit life” and that she was a filthy whore who would die a horrid death. Spitting out more vitriol with each breath, he finished his rant by saying, “You will lose this war.” Perhaps time will, if it hasn’t already, prove him right. Certitude rang out from this Algerian jihadist who had been captured by Afghanistan’s tribal Northern Alliance shortly after the American onslaught following 9/11 . At this point, however, the “interview” was concluded when she said, “That may be, but your own war is over.”

      hear the crowing

      Sacrificing The Rooster

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Dec 7, 2014
      Rooster crowing at sunrise

      The word “frustraneous” grabbed me by the back of the neck a while ago and hasn’t let go since.  In case you don’t know (which I didn’t), it means “useless” or “unprofitable.”  Derived from the Latin “frustra” (in vain). I bring it up since I think it’s a description of something just the opposite of what I learned anew in an on-line class I recently completed on the importance of continuing to read and reread the classics, especially the Greeks from Homer to the tragedians Sophocles and Euripides to Plato.

      on the myriad paths

      It’s Here

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Nov 25, 2014
      It's Here

      It’s the broken slat on the chair that will keep our recent visit to Floyd focused in my mind. The soon-to-be ninety-nine year old husband of my late cousin Mildred lost his balance a few weeks back and misjudged the placement of the chair when he thought he was about to sit on it at the dining room table. He lives alone in his “cottage” at a retirement complex in southern Pennsylvania, so there was no one there to help him get up. Of course, he couldn’t get his cell phone to work so he lay there for a while before he could muster the strength to get back on his feet. While he lay on the floor, he “talked” to but not necessarily with Mildred.

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