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Water and Stone: Meditations

My soul finds rest by the river. The soft purling of water over smooth stone soothes my mind, lifts my spirits, and gives me a sense of my place in the Creation. Rivers represent for me life, death, and the passing of time. The constant flow of water washes away my sorrows, and carries my prayers down the river that I must cross over in the end.
When I gaze into the cold, turbid water, I am reminded of my own birth and my rebirth. Contained in every molecule of river water is a memory, the resonance, of the formation of the Earth.
In the depths of a shadowy pool of clear water, I watch a trout steady itself against the powerful current. Its colors are a remnant of primordial times, proof of the handiwork of God. The trout reveals to me the purity of the river that is its home.
When my mind is troubled, I go to the river. I step out into the cold, clear waters to cleanse my soul.
Recent posts

Darkness

The effects of the shortened length of daylight on my psyche is compounded by the raw, wet, cloudy weather this afternoon. Seasonal Affective Disorder-- add that to the list of issues I deal with on a daily basis. What I wouldn't give for a little sunshine today. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. When I leave home in the morning, its pitch dark, and by the time I arrive home, the light is fading. No wonder so many of us suffer with depression more in the winter months.
I know that I have so many things to be thankful for, but I tend to forget that when I am down. My wife and kids are so good to me, even when I am withdrawn, stuck inside my own head. I lash out at them sometimes for no reason, then have to deal with the shame afterwards. If you're anything like me, you know how that feels. 
My oldest daughter found out she has some major issues with her intestines last week. At first, the fear was cancer, but thank God, it wasn't. Her condition is still serious…

Through the Seasons

As a child, I would sit at the base of an ancient oak tree, the woods my only refuge from a world in which I didn't fit.

In summer, the green canopy sheltered me from gathering storms, from both the sky above and the soul within.
On autumn evenings, I would watch the squirrels play on the branches above, and my spirits were lifted.
Winter's cold breath did not keep me away, and I didn't fear the ghosts that the trees had become.
When the first leaves appeared in spring, I would be there to witness life renewed, in both the woods and myself.

Passing On the Hunting Tradition

At ten years old, it was nearly impossible to sit still on the cold, hard ground beneath a huge pine tree, beside my dad as he scanned an old hayfield in search of deer. I was bundled up in his old camouflage coveralls—which were big enough to swallow me whole—and the boredom had started to set in by 9 am. I busied myself, playing with sticks and pinecones as I watched the occasional squirrel or songbird that would come to check us out from a safe distance. It was a cold December morning in Greenwood County, South Carolina, and despite the extra layer of clothing and my thermal underwear, I was shivering, hoping that soon my dad would give up and we would retreat to the comfort of the heated cab of his pick-up truck. I sat back against the tree and pulled my blaze orange stocking hat down over my ears, and drew my head inside of the coveralls to warm up. In just a moment, I was jolted by the thundering blast from my dad’s .58 caliber muzzleloader, and I popped my head out just in time…

Her First One

There was a certain air of anticipation that morning as our guide, Captain Charles King, plied the waters beneath us for signs of schooling striped bass. We came to Santee Cooper Country to immerse ourselves in the sportsman's paradise, and explore all the area had to offer. As our boat cut across beautiful Lake Moultrie, the sun was breaking the eastern horizon with a warm, red glow, casting a soft, picturesque light on one of the most beautiful lakes in the South.

The South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPe) and members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers (GOA) had converged on the Santee Cooper lakes, as they held their annual fall conference at Black's Camp. As part of the group of  writers and photographers that were on the lake that particular morning. My wife, Melissa and I, along with Georgia outdoor writer, Polly Dean, were matched with an experienced guide, a man whose business is to know these waters and the popular game fish that thrive in great numbers there. Ch…

Elderberry Syrup as a Remedy for Cold and Flu

(Originally published in the Backwoodsman, July/August 2018)
In the U.S., the flu season usually runs from October to May, normally peaking sometime in February. Outside of taking an annual flu shot and costly over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, most remedies for the symptoms are, at best, minimally effective.
There is a home remedy, however, proven to work time and time again.


Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have long been used in Europe and North America as a medicinal plant, useful for ailments ranging from a diuretic and laxative to a diaphoretic (promotes sweating). Elderberries contain antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as vitamin A, B, and C. The antiviral compounds in elderberries can be effective fighting not only the common cold, but both influenza A and B.

Flu treatment

Research has proven that the compounds found in the black elderberry can lessen the symptoms of the flu virus, and shorten the duration of the sickness. In a double- blind study, it was found that 93% of thos…

Beaver Dam

My craft drifts on the waterlike a birch leaf, downstreamwith the slowed current.This swamp was once a mere trickle, rushing waterthat undercut high banks.As high as I could reach from the creek bed, wasthe leaf litter and tree roots.Now the water is over thebanks, and standing kneedeep, fifty yards each way.As I drift on, the causeof this flooding, the beaverdam, comes into view.Perhaps the largest I haveever seen in these parts, hundred yards or more across.From base of the slopeon either side of the bottomland, this dam stretches.The architects worked tirelessly,spring, summer and fall,to build this great structure.And every time the soundof running water is heard, the call of duty is answered.A builder comes forthfrom the depths of its lair,and repairs the breach.Weaving in more saplingsand packing sticks and mudin the holes, the dam holds.I survey this engineering feat