Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Traveling Misanthrope

I do a lot of driving. It always brings out the misanthrope in me.

I go on a lot of recreational drives, like into the mountains of north Georgia or up U.S. 441 toward the Great Smokey Mountains National Park (one of my favorite drives in the world) or on various backroads that seem like they might be interesting. The roads on these drives tend to be twisty and turny and I don't always know them that well, plus I'm trying to enjoy the scenery, and I'm on the lookout for any thing or place worth stopping at to visit or to take a picture of.

So I don't drive especially fast.

Oh, most of the time I'm driving the speed limit, sometimes a tiny bit faster – I may go 50 in a 45 MPH zone, but that's usually as fast as I'm willing to go. But that never seems fast enough for most of the cars that end up behind me. When I'm out there driving, trying to enjoy the scenery while also keeping my eyes both on the road and on the car's mirrors, it seems like all the other cars want me to drive faster than I am, and they sure as heck don't like it when I slow down to look at something that I might find interesting enough to take a picture of. I get passed or tailgated by just about everybody. The only scenery the other drivers care about, it seems, is the trees and mountains whizzing by in a blur as they speed off towards…wherever it is exactly those other drivers are going.

And it makes me hate them, every one of them. Stupid tailgating cars! I drive like I have a sense of self preservation. The other drivers seem to think they're immortal. They drive as though when they're around, all laws, including those of driving, the road, and physics, are suspended. My driving is informed by the knowledge, like Mr. Flood's gentle handling of the whisky jug in that Edwin Arlington Robinson poem, that "most things break." And that includes people who drive like idiots, or who drive too fast on twisty, turny roads they aren't familiar with.

It's pretty much the same on the roads I travel regularly, the roads I am familiar with. Even when I'm just heading to work, I still drive like someone who knows you should exercise caution when piloting a ton of metal down the road -- which is to say, I don't drive fast enough for everyone else.

I don't really know what the people in the cars behind me are thinking. Probably I spend a lot more time thinking about them than they spend thinking about me. There's probably nothing personal when they zip by me at 100 miles an hour. I doubt they really think, "Oh no! It's that Chris Burdett guy who always drives so slow," when they see the hind end of my Hyundai Elantra on the road ahead of them.

I doubt they enjoy passing me.

Do they?

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Feeding the Ducks at Meridian Park

Quacking and waddling
hurriedly in our direction,
the ducks seem to intuit
that the containers we cradle
contain cat food meant for them –
though cats they are not.

They don't care what the food is called,
or what animal is depicted
eating it on the bag,
or about the therapeutic value
we find in feeding them.
They gobble down
the food we toss out
and waddle away when it is clear
the containers are empty.

I doubt they think about us
at all when we are not there.
But I – I have pictures
and this poem.





Monday, September 4, 2023

Dog Songs

I may not be a dog person, as I wrote back in July in "Pardon My Musing" post about the dogs I had growing up, but I do like to hear people sing about their dogs.

In something I wrote for Instagram a couple of months ago as a commentary on a Peanuts cartoon, I referred to Grandpa Jones and "The Banjo Am the Instrument." Ever since then I've been listening, nearly but not quite completely exclusively, to a Spotify playlist of songs by Grandpa Jones. Among my favorites are those about dogs.


The dogs in these songs have names like Towser, Rattler, and Old Blue (maybe more of a description than a name, or a name that came from a description; who knows?), they all are dearly loved, and they are all used in hunting (mostly of racoons and opossums). I didn't even know there was a tradition in country music, or folk music, or wherever it came from, of songs celebrating dogs, but there seems to be, and Grandpa Jones carried on the tradition, singing about "good old Towser," and "Old Blue, you rascal you," and the rest.

So, while I myself don't have a dog and am not remotely interested in hunting, I love to hear Grandpa Jones sing about both.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Pollen Tanka


At this time of year
Pollen collects in our lakes
– and on our cars, and
on our sidewalks, and even
on us if we remain still!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Indian Springs State Park

Today, Anna, the kids, and I went to Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, Ga., which includes many beautiful stone buildings built nearly a century ago by the CCC (Creedence Clearw--no, that can't be right--Civilian Conservation Corps), and which was named for the spring water which can be accessed (and which there was a long line of people with empty containers waiting to get) at one point.

These are some of the pictures I took while we were there.










This building--an interpretive center or museum of some sort, I think--was closed, but I took this picture through the glass of the door. Looks very castle-like, doesn't it?

Friday, February 17, 2023

A Morning Lantern Poem

A morning lantern poem:

         Mug:
        Coffee,
     Not too hot,
Cream and sugar–
       Mmmm!

(With thanks – or maybe blame; I'm not sure yet – to Brian P. Cleary, whose book If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems inspired me to write a short poem of my own. I apologize in advance if others follow.)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Scenes From a Morning Walk Around the Lake at Tribble Mill Park

Today I went for an early-morning walk at Tribble Mill Park. These are some of the pictures I took while I was there.