Monthly Archives: August 2011

wind and the rain and a south-bound train.

Heard the song, ‘Wagon Wheel,’ for the first time when I was in Biloxi, Mississippi over five years ago. Ever since and evermore will I think of it as part of my hypothetical Dixie mixtape. Saw Old Crow Medicine Show live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC not long after that and it sealed the band’s status as Grade A in my mind.

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[photos: www.crowmedicine.com]

See/hear the song here.

Wagon Wheel | Bob Dylan/Ketch Secor

Headed down south to the land of the pines
And I’m thumbin’ my way into North Caroline
Starin’ up the road
Pray to God I see headlights

I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Pickin’ me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I’m a hopin’ for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Runnin’ from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time stringband
My baby plays the guitar
I pick a banjo now

Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin’ me now
Lost my money playin’ poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain’t a turnin’ back
To livin’ that old life no more

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Walkin’ to the south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he’s a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee

And I gotta get a move on before the sun
I hear my baby callin’ my name
And I know that she’s the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

greta paints america.

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My friend, Greta Van Campen, came into my life with a reputation that long preceeded our official introduction. When we finally met, she was an even better version of herself than I could have imagined she’d be. And she is so talented! Sometimes I just look at her artwork and marvel at the way it evokes a place or a thing with such simplicity and precision.

Thanks to a Kickstarter spark, she’s on a quest to cover all 50 states this year and next and she’s blogging her travels. 

She’s already done a show in San Francisco and has another one at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine starting September 30 and running through October 28. Go go go. If I could find a way to teleport myself there, I’d do it.

She even came to Arkansas! Here’s a little intersection about a block or so from where I live:

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She is a star and I can’t wait for more of the world to meet her and her work. 

penchant for pennants.

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[pennant photo: Carole James/Etsy]

I come from a place that loves a good flag or two. Burgees are everywhere (it is the New England coast, after all), as are just about every interpretation of the American flag since its creation (we love our 13 original colonies). There’s something about flags like this that make me happy. And lucky for us, Etsy is awash in pennants!

I do not get the same warm feeling when I look at the Arkansas state flag:

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This website gives this definition of the flag:

A diamond on a red field represents the only place in North America where diamonds have been discovered and mined. The twenty-five white stars around the diamond mean that Arkansas was the twenty-fifth state to join the Union. The top of four stars in the center represents that Arkansas was a member of the Confederate States during the Civil War. The other three stars represent Spain, France and the United States, countries that had earlier ruled the land that includes Arkansas.

I will never understand why membership in the Confederacy is something to be celebrated, but that’s probably because my roots, my sensibilities and my heart are planted firmly north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Anyway, back to happier, salty things. Pennants like these below were part of my daily life for quite a while. I miss them.

Alpha | Bravo | Charlie | Delta | Echo | Foxtrot | Golf | Hotel | India | Juliet | Kilo | Lima | Mike | November | Oscar | Papa | Quebec | Romeo | Sierra | Tango | Uniform | Victor | Whiskey | X-Ray | Yankee | Zulu

Flags-a-z

People in these parts have no idea what images I see when I talk about things like this, the smell of low tide or the sound of a good foghorn sound on a pea soup night.

tulsa: second star to the right, straight on til morning.

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The great thing about living in a fairly rural area is that it’s pretty easy to hit the open road and feel that getting-out-of-Dodge thing. The catch, of course, is that you need a destination on the other end. Living in Boston or NYC, people are spoiled in that a 1-2 hour drive in any direction leads to so many different places — mountains, ocean, lakes, suburbs, farms, big towns, small towns, etc. Northwest Arkansas, like many other parts of the country, doesn’t accommodate in that way. To put things in perspective, these are the driving distances to some other cities in the region, none of which take you to mountains or salt water. Sigh.

Tulsa: 2 hours

Little Rock: 3 hours (this is a big state!)

St. Louis: 5-6 hours

Memphis: 5 hours

Dallas: 5-6 hours

Oklahoma City: 3 hours

Took an off-and-away road trip with few girl friends to our closest city, Tulsa, a few months ago. There are no corn fields on the way to O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a like the drive to KC. Instead, there’s a Westward Ho feeling going on where it becomes clear why the license plates sport the ‘Cherokee Nation’ tag. Oklahoma just feels a little more cowboy.

Hallelujiah, Tulsa is a real city! I was probably irrationally excited about finding it only two hours west of here, but there it was, tall buildings and all. Hung out at a couple of amazing bars: the Crystal Pistol Saloon (what a name) and The Sound Pony. One of them had a big concrete backyard that made for a rockin’ dance floor, especially given the MGMT-like music their DJ pulled together.

Tulsa = a-OK in my book. It’s no Portland, ME/OR or San Francisco — but hey, who am I to look a gift horse (or Sound Pony?) in the mouth.

we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow.

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This is a great beckoning to readers and makes me feel all warm inside. Who wouldn’t want to read on?

“Invitation” | Shel Silverstein | 1974

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

And I’ll never get sick of this one, either:

 

“Where the sidewalk ends” | Shel Silverstein | 1974

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

 

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

 

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

weekend edition: fayetteville, arkansas.

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The other day I gave an overview of the Northwest Arkansas region, but today I’m talking specifically about Fayetteville, home base to the University of Arkansas. It has some of the qualities of its broader surroundings, but on the whole is funkier and tinged with a laid back feeling that sets it apart from Bentonville and Rogers, just down the road.

Played around with Instagram and in the process, snapped a few shots downtown and at BHK Kafe, which shares space with Nightbird Books, an awesomely independent and wonderful book store on Dickson Street, the main drag.

Had a nice little Saturday morning that I’d be happy to have anywhere. Went up to the farmers’ market and wandered around the little town square, watching the mix of families, rescue dogs for adoption, college kids playing music and vendors selling their wares of produce and crafts. This store — The Mustache — recently opened and is a welcome addition and a good example of this town’s personality. I love imagining simultaneous scenes like this happening all over the country.

Over and out from Fay-town.

 

california stars.

 

I have been in love with this song for years, and will continue to be.

I saw Wilco perform at Red Rocks outside of Denver in 2005. For the natural surroundings alone, it was the best show I’ve ever been to, and the music made it even better.

California Stars | Woody Guthrie (words) | Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett (music) | 1998

I’d like to rest my heavy head tonight

On a bed of California stars

I’d like to lay my weary bones tonight

On a bed of California stars

I’d love to feel your hand touching mine

And tell me why I must keep working on

Yes, I’d give my life to lay my head tonight on a bed

Of California stars

 

I’d like to dream my troubles all away

On a bed of California stars

Jump up from my starbed and make another day

Underneath my California stars

They hang like grapes on vines that shine

And warm the lovers’ glass like friendly wine

So, I’d give this world just to dream a dream with you

On our bed of California stars