December 30 & 31: Taking a Walk in the Woods

December 30, 2016

I’m going to take a walk although it’s cold. Have soothed my dry itching skin with Crisco and off I go. Can you see by the ripples on the pond where it isn’t frozen that the wind is visible?


South Mountain. The powerline looking both ways and the road to Walnut Springs. I have no idea about the quality of these photos because the sun is so bright I really can’t see.




A hillbilly’s cabin in the woods. Belonged to a man named Ed Cox who was born poor but on a lot of mountain property. How he and his brother Harry wound up with most of this property and not their other siblings is another story for another time and will depend on who tells you the story. Of all the Cox siblings I knew Ed and Harry the best. Ed was likable and Harry was not. They both could get mad as hell but when you approached Harry you could see in his eyes or hear in them the rattling of a snake not a rattlesnake because rattlers don’t live in the South Mountain but a copperhead will do because camouflaged in the fallen leaves of last year’s autumn the copperhead will twitch its tail that makes a sound in the dry leaves not unlike a rattle warning that it will strike at you because a poisonous snake doesn’t really want to bite us humans; we are too big and just a waste of venom. Copperheads are way more ornery than a rattler. Never trust them. That rattling was the eyes of Harry even when he smiled. “Stay away,” they said. Ed had a more honest earnest smile and he always seemed interested in what you had to say when you walked by his cabin. If it was summer and he was thawing out a steak on a log where some greenflies had settled enjoying the melting blood, Ed might offer you some of that steak when he tossed it on the grill sizzling and of course you’d say yes and take a beer as well. Greenflies on a steak are just a mountain man’s way of marinating. Times change. Ed and Harry are both long gone. If they were alive today Harry would have definitely voted for Trump and Ed would have leaned toward Clinton. They both married money and ended up rich men not just through their brides but through their endeavors, though both would remain in their humble cabins—No, that’s not true; Harry sold his cabin and moved to Boca Raton where I’m told he died unhappily. Ed and Harry operated a lumber mill together and bought bulldozers that not only uprooted trees but built roads for them and others. Ed bulldozed my father’s springs into my father’s pond free of charge. I think Ed and Harry’s wives were both named Kathryn. Ed’s wife, whose name I am not sure of, was very quiet; can’t remember a word she ever said and she became very quiet when she had Alzheimer’s; Ed, to his loving credit, tended her until the end. Harry’s Kathryn was a lot like Harry: suspicious, bigoted, racist. When a family moved into the South Mountain, “They’re Jewish,” Kathryn said in a way that wanted you to do something about it, “They’re Jewish,” she whispered as if saying it out loud might allow it to spread. Once when I was a kid flying with Harry and Kathryn in their plane—Harry and Kathryn would fly all over the States to Key West to fish to Montana to shoot mountain goats off a cliff—Harry verbally abused and belittled Kathryn is such a way I was both horrified and embarrassed. Up to that time I don’t think I’d ever been exposed to anything like it; my parents’ arguments were lovemaking compared to the hatred, the vulgar misogyny Harry expressed toward Kathryn. When Kathryn was bitten by a copperhead, she didn’t die from it—I’m not sure what happened to the snake. RIP Ed, RIP copperhead. I write this on an iPhone dictating and sometimes typing when it misinterprets what I say; it is more modern than a pencil and seems to make more mistakes, but pencil or phone my fingertips are freezing frozen cold and only will warm when I get up and move walking. Not matter what communicating will always stay communicating. Pencils and phones both do get cold. No idea about the quality of these photos. My eyes are watery cold.








December 31, 2016. Dawn through two windows. South Mountain.




Starting my morning walk. It still is cold but there is no wind like yesterday when it rippled up parts of the unfrozen pond. More of the pond is frozen now and I’ve just noticed that those markings in the ice look like the water spiders that glide across the surface in the summer when it’s water.


Leave a Reply