Silent Dawn

Even the birds were silent that St. Patrick's Day morning. I crunched my way down to the little creek below our campsite with the dogs just after the sun came up and got this shot on my way back up the trail to our campsite. It's so lovely and yet so deadly- you can marvel in the quiet cold and not really notice how quickly it seeps into your bones- until your fingers can't move they're so frozen.

Fall Creek Falls State Park is located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee and although the snowfall reached about three inches that morning, by the time we reached Nashville that day only two hours later, the sun was shining and it was 60 degrees.

Deer at Dusk

St Patty's Snowman

Charles threw snowballs at me until his bare fingers couldn't move anymore. This didn't take long. St Patty's Day was our last one at the campground and we finished packing up long before the others did, so Charles put this charming fellow together to cheer up Dad&Co. while they finished packing up.

Bridge over Troubled Waters

I was so proud of her bravery getting across this bridge. The entrance does not mention a load limit, so as we came off at the other end, we were a bit dismayed to read the sign on the opposite end that we had overloaded it by about six people. Ooops. I was utterly terrified of this bridge and they were all lucky I didn't scream the entire way across.

Cable Trail to Cane Creek Falls

I was convinced at first I would not be able to make the climb down to the bottom of Cane Creek Falls, but it was really exhilirating once I was convinced to give it a try.

Cane Creek - Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee

What's missing from this photo is the sound of the water rushing over the rocks on its way over the falls and the spray of chilly water in the air.

A steep climb

Taken from the bottom of the cable trail in Fall Creek Falls State Park. You have to hoist yourself along the cable along the rocks, which are almost but not quite a staircase.


Surviving the Waterfall

In some ways, Tennessee is heaven. Creeks full of burbling cold water and earth colored stones, pools of emerald green, earth muddy red and aromatic like no other earth, waterfalls that spray the air with white and green, reminding me of Ireland in winter. Deep green spaces that stir and calm the soul in a single breath. Awoke on St Patrick's day to almost three inches of snow- magical sparkling quiet, the birds even silent in reverence.

Other ways, disappointment, frustration and angst. All human-borne, like illness. I put my bare feet and hands to the bare earth, eyes to the sky and pray for redemption that will likely not come, but I pray anyway, just in case the universe decides to listen.

Returned to the swamps of Tampa, with pictures to post soon. Glad of the fierce sunlight, heat, humidity and that late afternoon promise of rain. Lizards in the window, mosquitos at my bare feet. The passion vine outside the office window is a riot of blooms.

This is just to let you know I'm back in Tampa and back in cyberspace, once again stitching my little hole in the space-time continuum. I promise more later when I'm caught up.

Peace Joy and Love to All.



Shot yesterday during lunch in the Publix parking lot. There's a retention pond near the parking lot, and these ducks are always looking for handouts.

I gotta thing for ducks. Daffy was my first toon love. I am particularly fond of the very early Daffy toons- in the ones previous to 1945 or so (before he started playing second fiddle to Bugs, and long before he degenerated into the greedy freak), he is the black guy, the gay guy, the crook, the geek- the subversive.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in NYC did a fantastic online exhibit called simply 'Duck'. The various interpretations of this word are wonderful.

An unlikely totem, the duck. But I think this humble little waterfowl might be mine. And they may have just led me to my true calling.

Recently, I was reading an article by Barbara Mertiz, a/k/a Elizabeth Peters, author of the novels of Egyptologist Ameila Peabody. She was discussing her life life as an Egyptologist and author, and just like *that*, I knew what my focus in archaeology should be. Duh. It's been in my face for years.

Back to the duck:

"Because of its connection to water, [the duck] is linked to the feminine energies, the astral plane, and to the emotional state of humans. Water is necessary for all life on earth. Nothing can live without it. Ducks can remind us to drink of the waters of life as well as to nurture our own emotional natures....

On land they do not move as well [as on water]. For those with a duck as a totem it may reflect an inability to feel comfortable with most people in your life. It may reflect a need to find comfort in your own element and with those of like mind and spirit. Ducks can remind us that we are going to have such an opportunity.... The Egyptians were the first to domesticate ducks."

- Ted Andrews,
Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small

The image of the duck is the Egyptian heiroglyph for the sound "sa". (Thanks to Joseph & Lenore Scott, authors of Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Everyone.) This doesn't really connect with my recent tiny epiphany. Just found it in the book and wanted to share.

I announced my intention of attempting to get my degree from University of Chicago back in February to C. Since then, Chicago has popped up all over the place. C went there recently for business trip, and was absolutely game for moving there. I then heard it mentioned on TV several times, seen it mentioned in the newspaper, NPR did a recent segment on Chicago jazz, watched The Sting tonight- takes place in Chicago. OKAY OKAY, I get it already. You ever feel like the universe is banging you over the head trying to get your attention?

If the Chicago thing weren't enough, I innocently began to post my duck picture, and was only going to mention the Daffy and the Duck exhibit by MoCCA. But NO, I had to pull out my shaman's book and discover that this humble little duckie led me right back to Egypt- again. And I get to Egypt through Chicago (the Oriental Institute at UofC being the logical choice for a masters in Egyptology).

Another hero of mine, Egypt's keeper of antiquities Zahi Hawass, has said that he loves Egpytology because "There is always something new under the sand to be discovered."

It's a good thing, because that lowly little duck has confirmed my instincts that my path lies down Egypt way. Here's hoping I take to it like a duck to water, because everything else I've done, although I've been competent at it, hasn't really felt like the right fit.

Why do we sabotage ourselves? I'm still trying to unravel this one- a couple of years ago, when I decided to go back to school to get my degree in archaeology, I dismissed Egyptology out of hand- "a glutted field" I claimed to myself and anyone who would bother to listen to me prattle on about it. This was my reasoning for not pursuing Egyptology as a focus.

Mind you, I had no basis in fact for this assumption, and I hereby retract it. Wow, do I feel better.

Wangari Matthai ROCKS

Once again, sitting at home having a little lunch, listening to Democracy Now. To honor International Women's Day, Amy Goodman is interviewing Wangari Matthai, a Kenyan woman who has spent thirty years promoting environmental protection, sustainable development, women's equality and international democracy. In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize.

Thirty years ago, she started the Greenbelt Movement in her homestate of Kenya by planting nine trees to alleviate the deforestation of her country. She's been arrested, beaten and threatened with her life- all for planting trees and demanding equal rights for women and an elevation out of poverty for her people and all poor peoples.

Her genius, I think, is her making connections between seemingly disparate phenomena- women's rights, democracy and environmentalism.

Passionate, articulate and inspiring, this woman my hero.

Put her right up their with Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.


RocknRoll Weekend

Social Distortion in Orlando Friday night.
Bricktown 54 Saturday night.
Social Distortion in St Pete Sunday night.

PUNK ROCK! ROCKABILLY! pop pop music- 80's!
Ebbie is a band whore!
Ebbie loves to shake her bootay on the dance floor!
Ebbie still loves to make the big boys cry-
Though they try and try-
Poor dears just don't understand that she gotta man,
He don't let her walk out that door
Without cell phone, cash money, ID, keys, and orgasm.

(Koko Taylor growling "I love a lover like you...." come to mind.
Ebbie KNOWS which side her bread is buttered and honeyed on.


C & I left work early on Friday in order to beat the I4 traffic to Orlando. It was a good theory. Some f#$%wit dumped a load of drywall across the interstate and shut it down for an hour. It took almost three hours to get from Tampa to House of Blues at Downtown Disney- 60 miles. We didn't miss the show, however, so that was all good. I wore a black flirty knee length skirt with an enormous white crinoline underneath, black stockings, combat boots and the rockabilly tshirt I got free for being a band whore at the Rockabilly Ruckus back in February. A fantastic outfit for the show- but HOT as HELL in the House of Blues. Talk about crotch rot.

MOSH PIT broke out the second Social D began- a girl a little larger than me either got knocked out or passed out in the mosh pit and was carried overhead hand to hand by the crowd to the security guards. C & I stayed safely at the edges of the mosh pit, which surged towards us occasionally, but never on us. Much fun- brings out the rocker chick in me to be that close to ridiculously loud live music. The ringing in my ears and having plucked the first gray hair from my head on Friday aside (other grays have been discovered elsewhere that shall remain nameless), I felt like a 17 year old again.

Saturday night, I joined several friends to celebrate Kelly S's birthday at Bricktown 54, an 80's club, complete with Rubick's cube and disco balls hanging from the ceiling, garish colors, multilevel dance floor and all that bubblegum pop from the 80's. Black eyeliner, a sparkly top over jeans over high heeled sandals that by all rights I should not be wearing at my age was my outfit. I danced to Joan Jett in a dance club- something I don't actually ever remember doing, even when Joan was on the radio NOT on our generation's version of "Golden Oldies". I admit to having found that station on my radio dial, and have it preset.

Saturday night fever: C stayed home- his exact quote when I mentioned 80's pop music was "I'd rather nail my head to a table. Have fun." The poor Guidos who always seem to gravitate towards me and other dark headed, dark eyed women didn't understand how a man could stay home with his woman looking like THAT. It's flattering, but you know, at the same time, I just don't care about their feelings any more. I look back and wonder why I ever felt sorry for them in the first place. NOW, I understand that they were looking to dip into something luscious, they were not head over heels in love. I look back and wonder sometimes how I made it this far in one piece, to be perfectly honest. But I had a fabulous time nonetheless because the girls I was hanging with are just f$%^ing cool. We all had a wee bit too much to drink- Whiskey Sours, Buttery Nipples, Jello Shots- but we took a cab down and back, so we were smart and safe, and everyone arrived home in one piece.

Sunday I didn't wake up until 1 p.m. Something else I haven't done since, uh, I don't really remember. Sunday night, yet again- Punk Rock Rockabilly's finest, Social Distortion. Mike Ness, the band's lead singer and guitarist, although not a good looking man, has a charm all his own and they put on an even better show than they did Friday night. Charles bought me an SD tank- I'm racking up quite the collection of band tshirts these days. I'm far more of a groupie in my 30's than I ever was in my 20's. Go figure.

In my enthusiasm to repair the black studded belt I wanted to wear on Sunday night, I managed to staple my hand with an industrial stapler. Not so smart, you say- and you would be correct. I managed to fix the belt with industrial staples and duct tape- very punk rock of me, so C tells me. Apparently, so is stapling one's own hand before the show. The belt broke on the other side halfway through the Sunday night show. Oh well, easy come easy go. I prefer the easy come.

They put on a great show, although it was a little shorter this time because Jannus Landing has to adhere to a strict noise curfew- 11pm, or they get heavy fines from the city. Sister in law was there- a woman who has known me for fourteen years. Who KNOWS that I cannot stand to be tickled. And YET. I was, in my sheer joy at listening to great live rocknroll, standing on tip toes screaming at the top of my lungs, my tshirt free from my belt and belly bare, hands in the air. S-i-L reached over and began to tickle my belly. AARRRRGH. I have little impulse control these days when it comes to people putting unwelcome hands on me- related by marriage or not.

I grabbed her wrist and using a little remembered jui jitsu, dug my fingers into that soft flesh just inside the arm and looked her right in the eye and shook my head. I let go pretty quickly, only wanting to make a point, not hurt. It was too loud for words, but I think she may have finally gotten the idea. After over a decade of my telling her over and over and overagain that I didn't find tickling amusing- being held down as a child and tickled until you pee yourself by a cruel aunt will cure you of that right fast- I finally associated my emphasis with physical pain. Did I make my point? I certainly hope so. Perhaps the next time she thinks to reach over and poke my ribs or belly, she will remember the pinch I put on her at a punk show and stop before her hand goes any further. Because next time I'm leaving marks.


Keeping my promise

Great Egret- March 1, 2005: taken while driving on Barcelona Drive to my afternoon shift.
What with all the bad news spilling out on the airwaves, I promised in an earlier post to pay attention to the good stuff. I started bringing my camera with me to work for just that reason, and was rewarded the same day.
Another reason why I love living in south Florida: great egrets wander through people's yards and then pose when I stop the car to snap pictures of them. This lovely bird actually stopped his progress across the yard when I stopped my car to take this picture: he then turned his head obligingly - or maybe just to keep an eye on me as a potential threat. In any case (isn't he gorgeous?)---

Holy Blooming Tree Batman!

Orchid tree - along David Blvd, Davis Island, Tampa, Florida. March 2, 2005.
Reason to love living in south Florida: this tree has been in bloom for two weeks, spilling flowers all over the sidewalk. I took this shot on my way to morning shift just after the sun came over the tree line and lit this lovely tree up like cotton candy. I thought it was an orchid tree, but after googling flowering trees, I'm not so sure. In any case, it makes me smile every morning.



The latest news around my neck of the woods is that 4th grader Jessica Lunsford of Homosassa Springs Florida is missing since last Wednesday, with not a single lead as to her whereabouts. Just disappeared from her bed, no signs of struggle.

I talked to sister SAZB on Sunday. She had lots of questions about the missing girl. SAZB is 12, will be 13 in June. I could hear the worry in her voice. I could hear the awakening to the scary scary place this world can be, especially for girls, in her voice, although she put a brave face on it.

I was at a loss for words. What can I possibly say to her to assuage her worries? There is nothing. I want to teach her to be fierce, to be fearless, to be watchful. You cannot teach those things without acknowledging the existence of evil in the world, and teaching youth about its existence. How awful is that. How do you fight the monsters without becoming a monster? How do you teach the young about evil without scaring the bejesus out of them?

Here's an ironic twist for you: she loves scary movies. So did I- still do.

All those horror movies I watched were a defacto education in the evil that existed in the world. The lectures I received by my mother and father about kidnappers, rapists and murderers were academic and futile compared to the hack-n-slash horror flicks in teaching me about the relentlessness of evil in pursuit of its prey. Somewhere along the way, as I grew into womahood, the fear I felt watching those movies- mixed in with real-life news of rapes, murders, etc etc etc ad nauseum- morphed into rage. A rage which I knew- and still know- would enable me to disarm, disable and most likely maim whatever would try to damage me or mine.

Perhaps that is the value in those movies. I have pondered this for many years. These horror movies- not the ghost stories, mind you, only the hatchet/chainsaw/butcher-knife/torture-chamber-killer flicks- serve a purpose and fill a gap that loving parents or big sisters cannot.

In the horror movies, the girl-woman is rarely rescued by a shining knight on white steed. Those shining knights are either in league with monster, unbeknownst to the girl-woman, or they are turned to the monster's side, or they are killed in their ineffective attempts to kill the killer. The girl-woman then either dies at the hand of the attacker, or she uses her own wits and her fear-turned-rage against the monster to destroy him herself.

Shortly I will have a conversation with Dad about this. I will encourage him- strongly, not to be denied- to put sister SAZB in martial arts lessons. Now that she is becoming aware of evil, she MUST be given the tools to fight it.