Sustainability and Joy

3-10-2009 11th & E, NW Washington, DC A small pastel bouquet of balloons – green, pink, yellow, white – just floated toward the sky between the Hotel Harrington and the ESPN Building. I can’t tell where they came from, and now can no longer see where they’ve gone. Pastel balloons don’t really fit here. Compared with the communities I’ve visited across the South, more people here are wearing black and walking quickly…. Read More

Fire in the Hills

3-8-09 A fold in the Great Smoky Mountains HWY 23/441 I’ve pulled the car over to the side of the road again. Back to its adorable un-dented self, by the way, thanks to a week’s work on the part of the guys @ Gerber’s on Dekalb Industrial in Decatur, GA. Observing again the more conservative (not to mention, self preserving) practice of stopping the car in order to take a photo, I’m here… Read More

The Heart of Dixie

2-27-2009 Town Square Decatur, GA Here I am in the heart of Dixie. This is where my mother was born, as was her mother, and hers. I know the South. It helped raise me. All my young life we navigated the summer highways between TX and GA to visit relatives. The journey became second nature. Over time it went from a three day trip in the late 60’s to a one day… Read More

Two Things

2-24-2009 A Starbucks near Jamaica Drive, Jackson, MS In Atoka, OK unleaded plus is selling for $1.89 a gallon. A bit farther down the road in Savanna, OK there’s an exit off OK65 for the US Army Ammunition Plant, followed immediately by an exit for Indian Nation Turnpike. In Savanna, I pass the John Deer place. It’s on the same side of the road as Country Quilts. By the time I get to McAlester,… Read More

Coffee Klatch as Foretold by Mayme

2-22-2009 A hill in Searcy County, AR Over the past month, I have listened to people in pre-arranged interviews and impromptu conversations. Both ways of meeting and talking have revealed American insights and wisdom richer than I could have imagined. Of the second kind – the impromptu chats – a good number have taken place in coffee shops. [True confession: I’ve officially given up giving up coffee until I’m off the road… Read More

48 Hours

2-8-2009 Thousand Oaks, CA JUST OFF HWY 101 — ANOTHER COFFEE SHOPPE Wow, these hills. And then there’s the narrative running its marathon through my head. I’ve now pulled off the road because I can’t go another mile without some kind of brain dump – that crass-ish new-mil term that seems oddly consistent with the sound of the word blog. In the past 48 hours: I’ve spoken with a single mom –… Read More

Cattle Trail

2-18-2009 Kerrville, TX SCHREINER UNIVERSITY CFO’S OFFICE (MY LONG-TIME BROTHER-FRIEND, FRED THE VP) The interstate from Albuquerque, NM to Kerrville, TX is … well … long. On either side the land is vast and mostly empty. Exception springs from the brief chorus of rush hour and billboards in Las Cruces and El Paso – fraternal twins of Mexico and the Territory of New Mexico (what we’ve known as the state by the same… Read More

Trees, Minerals, Water and People

2-13-2009 Albuquerque, NM THE CORNER OF CENTRAL & TULANE   This morning I had the great privilege of spending time in interview and conversation with Margaret Randall.   Her thoughts on change rose and fell from the deep well of her 72 years of living the word. As a prolific writer, a passionate activist, an American and a woman of the world (having lived in Cuba for 25 years, and also in… Read More

Fresh Picked Oranges

2-11-2009 Tucson, AZ SWAN ROAD, TUCSON “The rise over there to the left – hazy in the distance,” Rudy Suwara pointed out the window. “Yes, I think I see them,” I said. “That’s Tijuana. That’s Mexico. And over there about midway up the horizon on the right; that’s where the original mission was. Oh, and right there behind the parking structure – see it over on the university campus? That’s where the plane… Read More

The Buzz of LA

2-9-2009 Irvine CA ON THE ROAD BETWEEN LA & SAN DIEGO The buzz of LA comes in part from its paradoxes. There’s the manic aggression of drivers on the roads that drape the curving hills – the drivers competing for time and space, the roadways dipping and gliding like strains of Strauss’s Blue Danube. There’s the local sheriff who is proposing gun control measures to resistant citizens of a county considering cutting… Read More