Pedagogy of the Plants

Archive for the ‘Poems & Quotes’ Category

Wilson Lick Ranger Station

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On the way up to Wayah Bald, a stop at Wilson Lick offers hikers a glimpse into the world of Nantahala National Forest’s first rangers. Construction began in 1916.

“It’s a widely accepted principle . . . that you can claim a piece of land which has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, if only you will repeat this mantra endlessly: ‘We discovered it, we discovered it, we discovered it.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Written by Cameron Brooks

December 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Abide For A While

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Lake Hartwell Glass

“There are moments when I find myself so seduced by the life of a place, carrying on in the way it must, that all I want is to abide there for a while.”

-Trebbe Johnson

Clouds Over Coves

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Ian Marshall’s poems that accompany these photographs are from his book, Walden By Haiku.

Lake Jocassee 2

those clouds

     how they hang

          nothing like it in paintings

Lake Jocassee 3

dark now

     the wind still roars

          the waves still dash

Lake Jocassee 5

paddle strike

     the surrounding woods filled

          with circling sound

Lake Jocassee 6

a delicious evening

     the whole body

          one sense

Lake Jocassee 7

trembling circles seek the shore

     every disturbance

          smoothed away

Lake Jocassee 8

waves reflecting the sky

     a darker blue

          than the sky itself

Written by Cameron Brooks

November 8, 2014 at 10:28 am

On Spending Time Outdoors

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Wooden Sign

 

How do you fortify yourself?

 

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Absence

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Spokes on the Water

 

Thirty spokes gathered at each hub:

absence makes the cart work.

A storage jar fashioned out of clay:

Absence makes the jar work

Doors and windows cut in a house:

Absence makes the house work

Presence gives things their value,

but absence makes them work.

-Lao Tzu

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

From Here to Blue, Orange and Green

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Big Island, Lake Hartwell

 

The island above wasn’t the first destination. But during that first trip to Lake Hartwell back in early May, it was the most curious.

 

2012 Lake Hartwell Satellite Image

 

Before throwing the kayak on the car and driving to the Georgia/South Carolina border, this satellite image (later doctored somewhat) offered an aerial glimpse of endless nooks to navigate. The image was captured during the 2012 drought, which is why every verdant land mass sports a tan outline.

Most public access areas around Lake Hartwell were designed and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, including the upper and lower incisors of the Pac-Man shape to the west gobbling-up islands dotting South Carolina’s shore to the east. The plan was to paddle from Long Point Recreational Area (Pac-Man’s maxillary central incisors), to Elrod Ferry (mandibular central incisors).

After an hour’s drive through pastoral Madison County, I spoke to a man sitting on a log at the water’s edge between two arched fishing poles. Pointing across azure chop, I asked, “Is that Elrod Ferry?”

“Yeah, just across there.”

“And the South Carolina border?”

“See the dam? South Carolina’s on the left. Georgia’s on the right.”

It took around forty minutes to reach Elrod Ferry. Once across, I looked back at the man on the far shore and thought, “Why not paddle across state lines for the first time on water?”

 

South Carolina Shore On Lake Hartwell

 

To the naked eye (and novice paddler), the distance between Elrod Ferry and South Carolina was a bit misleading, but clear water and tangerine shore made the trip well worth the energy.

Buttonbush sentinels (sans buttons in early May) took root around the slippery bank. I hiked inland through a stand of pine, then up toward the dam.

 

Lake Hartwell Project Data

 

Couples and extended families with panting dogs walked along the dam under blue sky. A bearded man encased in a black leather vest like a sausage below a matching wide brimmed hat prosthelytized to a group of bikers seated on granite boulders repenting and sweating in the sun. Three red tailed hawks spiraled above the strangled Savannah River below. I walked back to shore.

 

Savannah River

 

Lake Hartwell Stone Stack

 

After stacking, the nearest island was next.

 

Abandoned Goose Nest, Big Island Lake Hartwell

 

Former downy residents’ homes proved spring renewal.

 

Goose Egg Pieces on Big Island, Lake Hartwell

 

Shotgun Shell on Big Island, Lake Hartwell

 

Violent fauna left manufactured remnants.

 

Little Island, Lake Hartwell

 

Three weeks after the paddle to South Carolina, I returned to the lake and put in at Hart State Park Outdoor Recreational Area (not the most creative name, given that the county, lake, town, dam and outdoor recreational area are all named after Nancy Hart, who assasinated seven men during the American Revolution – why not “Gallows Park,” or “Whig Dump Woodlands Boat Ramp?”).

A tiny chunk of land occupied by mica, sweet gum, buttonbush and five abandoned goose eggs rests a few hundred yards from the boat ramp.

 

Goose Eggs on Little Island, Lake Hartwell #2

 

Geese, hawks, great blue herons, striped bass, crappie and bream share Lake Hartwell with drunks on jet skis, pontoon and bass boats during spring and summer months.

Let’s hope the Canadian avian couple who produced these perfect orbs seek more privacy for their babies next year.

 

Goose Eggs on Little Island, Lake Hartwell

 

L’espoir…

Scull Shoals

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“There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.”

-Margaret Atwood

Read one story about smallpox, Georgia’s first paper mill, and a medical dynasty here.

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