Lake Chapman

Lake Chapman Dusk


Lake Chapman Mirror


Listen to four minutes and thirty three seconds on a March evening:




Or a March morning:


Full Moonrise and Strix varia

Full Moonrise

A resident Barred Owl announced the full moonrise last Thursday (ten minutes before the alarm went off). Listen to haunting hooting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes as “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Frost Heaving in Winterville 1

Needle ice occurs when the air temperature is below freezing, and the soil is above freezing. Water flows upward via capillary  motion as heat moves toward colder air above.


Chunks of soil, grass, and moss are lifted into the air.



These crystals were discovered in Winterville (naturally) during a run through an overgrown subdivision that never made it through The Great Recession. Click here for more photos of the area, and enjoy Ray Charles’ persuasion…

Listen Under the Overpass

overpass listen


Under glazed hazel, fibrous tissue tugs, fixing eyes to matching four inch screens. Father and son synchronize strides along the cement path. Colorless injection molded earbuds drown cardinal song, eddies whispering rivulet secrets, and eighteen wheelers thumping down the concrete and steel bypass twenty feet above. Stopping, the boy slaps dad on the shoulder, points, then shouts, “Listen!” The irony of exclamation from self-induced deafness is lost when curiosity focuses on two syllables yanking son and father from oblivion for a few minutes.


Rural Psychogeography


Random horned bovinae and a derelict timber mill are but two curiosities greeting the (intentionally) lost along Madison County’s rural backroads.


Madison County Cattle Farm

Listen to four minutes, thirty-three seconds:

Weyerhaeuser Mill

Closed Weyerhaeuser Mill

After the crash, Weyerhaeuser closed its Colbert facility. From the 2008 press release:

“Demand for engineered wood products continues to decline due to a slowdown in the housing market.  As a result of these challenging market conditions, the Colbert facility will close for an indefinite period of time while we continue to balance supply with demand.”

Madison County Creek

Let’s hear it for the trees!

Disintegration and Growth

Rusted rooftops like this one on Highway 15 evoke William Basinski’s melancholic tribute to September 11th. Listeners experience emotive decay as looping classical snippets on vintage magnetic tape deteriorate while ferrite disintegrates like oxidizing tin in the Georgia sun.

Dlp 2.2:

Dlp 3:

Camping and Surfing in Frisco

North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge spits drivers out onto a series of bridges along the final stretch of Highway 64.

Belle Orchestre’s complex and explosive cover of “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball” is the perfect accompaniment to highway driving in the sun…

If curious, here’s the frantic yet graceful original by Richard James:

After making a right on Highway 12 in Nags Head, encroaching dunes battle pernicious bulldozers along a series of awe-inspiring islands known collectively as the Outer Banks.  The photo above was taken in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

A kayaker’s dream, each island’s western edge hosts a tannic labyrinth of canals teeming with waterfowl and reptiles.

Tourists from around the world (and beyond) descend on the Outer Banks each summer.

Prometheus, are you getting this?

Frisco Campground rests among sand dunes and shrub thickets in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

In one of Janissse Ray’s memoirs (maybe Ecology of a Cracker Childhood?), she describes a friend who, within a given year, measures his quality of life by the number of nights outside, dreaming under the stars.  This character resonated in a way that wouldn’t take effect for seven years.

So this is a summer of firsts.  On a tiny ribbon of sand and scrub over 600 miles from home, I camped alone for the first time, and surfed waves above shifting sandbars closer to the edge of the continental shelf than any shore on the eastern seaboard.

What’s next?

White Dam and Eastern Bloc Blues

Remnants of incapacitated industry bring to mind contemporary interpretations of Eastern Bloc sounds.  This first sample, produced by the Polish nu jazz duo Skalpel, offers hip hop beats occupied by Polish jazz samples scrubbed from the archives.


Igor Boxx, 1/2 of Skalpel, recently went solo with the debut album Breslau.  Compared to the lush, polished sound of Skalpel, his tracks have a colder resonance.

“Russian Percussian”

“Fear of a Red Planet”

Aaron Funk is a Canadian electronic artist known as Venetian Snares.  During a 2005 trip to Hungary, he produced the album Rossz Csillag Alatt Született.

The concept of the album came when Aaron Funk imagined himself as a pigeon on Budapest’s Királyi Palota (Royal Palace).  Its third track, “Öngyilkos vasárnap” is a cover of the song “Szomorú vasárnap” (“Gloomy Sunday”) by Hungarian composer Rezső Seress, which has been referred to as the Hungarian suicide song. According to urban legend, Seress’s song has inspired the suicide of multiple persons, including his fiancée. The song was reportedly banned in Hungary. It has also been covered by many artists. Billie Holiday’s vocals are sampled in this track.


“Öngyilkos Vasárnap”

Flowers in the Hood

This afternoon I walked to school to check on our class vegetable bed and take some photos along the way.  During the school year, the morning walk takes between ten and fifteen minutes.  Avian neighbors’ songs become familiar, as do annual changes in foliage, and the comfortable smells of breakfast.   Continue the tour…

White Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica

Mr. calla lily lives in the shadow of a cemetery in Valparaiso, Chile.  His name comes from an Italian botanist, Giovanni Zantedeschia.

A group of artists tend this garden on the southwestern  side of the cemetery.  Beyond the lily grows an avocado, or “palta” plant.  A sculpture dries in the sun.

Valparaiso, Chile

Mentor and Apprentice

Much of the work here involves restoration of marble headstones and statues.

After exploring the graves, we discovered a stairway leading under the cemetery.

A Friendly Host

The cavernous, open-air studio consists of subsections for a variety of creative trades, from sculpture restoration, to mosaics.

Random curiosities like this mummified cat greet visitors.

Mummified Cat Biting a Dwarf

Valparaiso’s labyrinthian escaleras are an endless canvas for local artists.

Dogs and Cat

Graffiti Porteño, Valparaiso

Rickety funiculars cut the time it takes to scale Valparaiso’s steep hills.

The old funiculars are loud and rickety, yet strangely comfortable and familiar.  Listen to audio within a Valparaiso funicular on its way down:

Red Bougainvillea, Bougainvillea glabra

St Marys, Georgia

Elqui Valley, Chile

This bougainvillea adorned balcony in Santiago’s Barrio Bellavista rests around the corner from “La Chascona,” Pablo Neruda’s home named for his lover and third wife, Matilde Urrutia.  The name means “the uncombed.”

Street art surrounds the curious homes in one of Santiago’s most bohemian enclaves.


In the center of Santiago, some college kids spent an afternoon of their winter break giving away free hugs, or “abrazos gratis.”  In stark contrast to the youthful positivity, the man standing next to his bike was prosthelytizing about brimstone and hellfire, and the second coming of Jesus.

At times it was safer to pull out a handheld recorder, than a bulky camera that could easily get snatched.  Listen to a stroll through the heart of Santiago:


Later, we came across a blind couple and their young daughter singing for change.  The girl sat on the ground between her mother’s legs.  Listen below:

Pink Wood Sorrel, Oxalis crassipes

Until now, I never associated shamrocks with flowers.

While enjoying a bowl of spicy vegan chili, I unexpectedly caught some live Irish music this afternoon at The Globe.  Around four o’clock, a group of grey haired men lugging instruments began filing in and shuffling furniture, while forming a circle of chairs around a central microphone attached to a small black monitor.  Initially there were seven: two guitars, one accordion, two violins, a mandolin, and a slight woman with a small harp. Luckily, I had my recorder with me, so I sampled their set.  I chose not to edit background noise/conversation, as it was part of the experience.  Listen to the first two songs below.

In the middle of the third song, a woman in a purple hoodie walked in carrying a soft, violet dulcimer case.  A man with a mustache and a violin followed.  Closest to the musicians sat a group of five children under three feet tall.  One fellow in Superman pajamas struggled to get situated in a rocking chair, and as the musicians played, he rocked back and forth to the rhythm. To listen to a couple songs including the dulcimer, click below.


Red Maple, Acer rubrum

I ran into a former student and his family Friday evening while rounding a sharp curve along the Greenway.  The oldest of four under ten was riding a blue mountain bike.  I challenged him to a race, so we peddled furiously down a straightaway for a hundred yards or so, then slowed in the forest under a shower of maple helicopters.

I remember throwing handfuls of twirling maple wings into the air as a child, imagining a dizzying ride aboard a miniature single-seater.

Flanked by maples, the Dillingham Street bridge spans the Chattahoochee River, connecting Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.  Each November, thousands converge in solidarity at the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus in an effort to shut down The School of the Americas, now called the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.”

Below is a recording taken while leaving the solemn procession which ended in approximately 20 indiscriminate arrests, including journalists, a 90-year old Jesuit priest, and a local barber who stepped out of his shop to watch the march.

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

SOA Watch

Each year the Puppetistas testify for memory and creative resistance.

On March 7th, 2011, WikiLeaks released two cables from the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica “that offer insight into the U.S. pressure tactics to keep the SOA/ WHINSEC in business” (SOA Watch).

Read the cables here:
Cable 1:

Cable 2:

All The People Who Are Now Red Trees

By Martín Espada


When I see the red maple,

I think of a shoemaker

and a fish peddler

red as the leaves,

electrocuted by the state

of Massachusetts.



When I see the red maple,

I think of flamboyan’s red flower,

two poets like flamboyan

chained at the wrist

for visions of San Juan Bay

without Navy gunboats.



When I see the flamboyan,

I think of my grandmother

and her name, Catalan for red,

a war in Spain

and nameless laborers

marching with broken rifles.



When I see my grandmother

and her name, Catalan for red,

I think of union organizers

in graves without headstones,

feeding the roots

of red trees.



When I stand on a mountain,

I can see the red trees of a century,

I think red leaves are the hands

of condemned anarchists, red flowers

the eyes and mouths of poets in chains,

red wreaths in the treetops to remember,



I see them raising branches

like broken rifles, all the people

who are now red trees.