Tag Archives: Nature

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (If these were chickens edition)

img_20180911_113012925~27182257532260922563..jpg

These were seen near the hermitage on the last kind-of-day-off. (I haven’t been able to target practice for the last number of weeks, so any day-off isn’t really a day-off.)

If this is a dead red oak tree (hard to tell because the mushrooms are so thick) there’s a good chance that these are little baby Laetiporus sulphureus, otherwise known as Chicken of the Woods shelf mushrooms. “Chicken” because, just like rattle snakes, they taste like chicken. They can get big (from Wikipedia:).

chicken of the woods

Each shelf is like a chicken breast, prepared just the same way. Delicious. I used to fry these up on the wood stove in the hermitage.

O.K. These are not quite “flowers” if you have to be technical about it. But, if these were Chicken of the Woods and I was a kid with a chainsaw, I would cut the tree so that it wouldn’t quite fall all the way down. I’d get the bed of the truck near to one end and tie up the log with a chain to the back of the truck so that when the rest of it fell it wouldn’t hit the ground except for just the far end. Then I would drag it back to the house and prop it up on one end with some other logs, and then watch the proliferation of chickens, as bright as any flowers could ever be.

Then, when the chickens are all eaten up, the log is still great for firewood if you chop it up right away. Otherwise the roots of the mushrooms will rot the wood fast.

I don’t think Jesus’ good mom would object to such a monstrosity in her garden. It might even put a bit of a smile on her face. Sometimes a little imagination, a little thinking outside the box goes a long way.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flores, Nature

Of snakes and souvenirs

img_20180911_110300109~2-17900785531702803989..jpg

There is a couple of miles high up in the mountains in which it is as likely as not to see a Timber Rattler, alive or dead, on the curvy simple road that is made of loose gravel sprayed with oil.

Locals have a penchant for running over snakes and turtles and anything else they can steer into perhaps without wrecking their vehicles in order to do so. As often as not, if it is a snake, especially a rattler, they’ll cut the head off, and the rattle, for souvenirs.

Jesus has His own souvenirs after His own encounter with the snake mentioned in Genesis 3:15. Jesus’ souvenirs are in the form of five wounds in hands and feet and in His side, His Heart. But Jesus otherwise doesn’t parade around a snake head or tail.

What a strange lot we are. But God loved the world so much that…

Leave a comment

Filed under Jesus, Nature

Cicada calls caption call

img_20180820_160015018~25897872489399195087..jpg

A cicada just out of his cocoon, wings still unfolding, a first look at the world after been one and seventeen years (depending: I’m no entomologist), wondering what sort of creature is holding him up, trying to take in the scene with ultra super wide scope eye pods. What could he possibly be thinking? I guess that’s a caption call… I’m guessing he’s saying “Hello!” since he’s waving in a friendly manner with his right front… claw.

4 Comments

Filed under Nature

The fool says in his heart… [but then…]

img_20180814_155309789_burst000_cover~2189677769656041013..jpg

I was having a chat about the ways of God with the neighbor to the hermitage on the day off when of a sudden a critical incident unfolded before us with a battle falling from the tree down to our feet all in a wrestling agonizing roiling heap. “Crunch-crunch.” The jaws of the Great American Hornet could be heard snapping off wings and legs. One recalls the psalmist mocking the arrogant in the midst of times of continuous critical incidents:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.

God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Leave a comment

Filed under Day Off, Nature, Terrorism

Weird, the things you might see…

img_20180805_184524221~32279126540959052329..jpg

The cloud above would be over Andrews on the far side of the mountains. Below shows the very same spot with what’s happening below the clouds with a downpour right over Andrews. Yikes! I love nature.

img_20180809_154027806_hdr~23914923917043938324..jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Nature

Joyce Kilmer’s Trees Sheet Music 1922

img_20180804_154609721~27544759161266793962..jpg

img_20180804_154551517~27205992470800652285..jpg

Bonus: Joyce Kilmer Centennial Memorial 30 July 2018 at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest: Listen up, CIA! Dedicatio par aevum Heroic history: Joyce Kilmer Centennial

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Nature

Lost in paradise

img_20180802_134429525~28832531143549513457..jpg

The directions I received to go do a house blessings were: “You know, we’re up 143, like, you know, Snow Bird.” I will find it. Meanwhile, on my first attempt, going the length of 143 and Snow Bird, I stopped at this waterfall to share with you some of the screamingly beautiful beauty of my parish. If you follow the water up the picture you’ll come almost to the top of the ridge. I don’t mind getting lost in paradise. It’s an occasion to sing:

O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem.

1 Comment

Filed under Nature

Crotalus Horridus Timber Rattler

img_20180703_220449647~21389859697563278028..jpg

“You brood of vipers!” – Saint John the Baptist

I came upon this guy near the hermitage on the “day-off” yesterday. Not quite four feet long [correction: 50.5 inches] but really quite hefty. He’s been eating very well. I’m guessing a few pounds. Quite the set of fangs. Quite the rattler, from which you can tell he’s only a youngster:

img_20180703_220226130~25460701739134100647..jpg

Timber Rattlers, everywhere in this area of the Blue Mountains, can also be almost totally black, but this guy had only a black tail. The rest was the usual spectacular golden color and black markings:

img_20180703_220244731~24038230726819167104..jpg

Meanwhile, getting back to the rectory late at night, another suspicious pattern, but actually just a baby black snake faking being a Timber Rattler. This is just a section of the body. He’s been ripped apart before I got back from the “day-off.” Poor thing.

img_20180704_073124422_burst001~38921081883548398752..jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature

Saving snakes from the birds

img_20180623_194956757_burst020~28639705926946970410..jpg

So, there I was, driving up to the bank Night Deposit just before nightfall after the Saturday Vigil Mass, and I saw a murder in progress, a huge raven was attacking a small and friendly Black-Snake, Rat-Snake, Bull-Snake, Eastern Racer, whatever name you have. These guys have no poison, no fangs, if they bite it doesn’t hurt. Super-friendly.

img_20180623_195041539~2704401659383858528..jpg

The raven didn’t want to give up. I almost had to physically remove him, but he finally flew away and then around, squawking and scolding at me the whole time. He was not happy with me at all. Meanwhile, I gently let the snake slither away into the parking lot bushes. I was happy for the snake. The ol’ raven can get another meal somewhere else. I want Rat-Snakes around as one of my neighbors has rats. The bank is in eye-shot of the rectory. Be as clever as a snake in making friends with unexpectedly helpful people. But be as innocent as a dove. Monsters might attack you. But you might get help from an unexpected source. Note the background picture of the blog and the header picture.

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Nature

Monsters, little kids, and God

img_20180609_060904719~21828090479..jpg

Monsters from the lagoon. Female above, methinks. I don’t know if these are poisonous or not, but I bet they can bite dog-tongue painfully. They’re in the water bowl. They’re always in the water bowl. So, they’ve been removed. Again. They had an egg sack. Poor things. Here’s the male:

img_20180609_060844309~2899419027..jpg

In other monster news, it’s just a guess, but was this one of those very long black beetles who’s now hatched into this flying machine? Looks like he could pinch a pencil in two:

img_20180607_083238513~2134795485..jpg

I think it’s good to be fascinated with nature (step one), and be in awe and wonder at the Creator of it all (step two). Only those who are childlike shall enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. Go ahead and take the first step. But do go on to the second step. This two-step is a very healing process.

4 Comments

Filed under Nature

Democrats: Abortionists, MS13, Cartels

So, I won’t put up comparative pictures of D&C abortions and MS13 butchering of their victims. They look exactly the same. Democrats love abortionists and MS13 activities.

Are they all animals? No. They are less than animals. So say the great saints of the Church. Animals do what they are meant to do by our good Creator. Abortionists and MS13 members do not act like human beings, making them less than everything in creation, making them less than animals.

Sure, our Lord redeemed us. He would love to save us. But we should not praise sin nor the sinner. Our Lord wants us to repent, agreeing to be turned by Him to Him, away from sin, away from the way we were, so that we become one with God.

2 Comments

Filed under Nature, Politics, Pro-Life

Seeing goodness in all, even in…

img_20180517_171001012~21726124031..jpg

Hanging from a spider web, very much alive, jaws ready to clamp down on anything or anyone who comes near. Some people would say, “Eeeeww!”, and have to deploy a parachute, you know, the kind drag racers use to slow down after a race. Some people, like me, would say, “COOL!” and examine whatever it is all the more closely, provoking this monster in particular to get its jaws moving. “COOL!”

I see goodness in all things, even in Satan. Does that make me bad and evil? Well, not in and of itself. One can appreciate how God created this once good angel with extreme intelligence, with infused knowledge. He hasn’t lost that, just the wisdom that should go along with it. That changes everything for him. But I can still praise God for Satan’s awesome attributes which Satan did not acquire, but were given to him, like, say, determination, like, say, well, it’s difficult to think of anything more than that!

This goes back to the clarity of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who insisted that evil was not something, but a lack of goodness that ought to be there, so that the good that remains, though out of context and bound to be unappreciated by that sinful subject, is still nevertheless good in itself. And in regard to Satan being in hell forever and ever (where he himself wants to be, with all the damned), we will praise God because of that, that is, for God’s justice and power and majesty.

Indeed, God’s love is everywhere. There are those who don’t like God’s love, those who suffer because of God’s love for them, such as those in hell, who perceive that love as incrimination and therefore their damnation, but it is only God’s love all the time, just like in heaven, but those in hell don’t see this. They lack the foundation of the wisdom they ought to have. But I can still appreciate whatever good it is that they have left in order for them to exist. That goodness comes from God.

Just to be clear, let me say this: Satan truly is very bad, and, so to speak, evil. Get it?

Saint Michael Department of Homeland Security

3 Comments

Filed under heaven, Hell, Nature

Lake Wobegon in the fountains of Saint Peter’s

4 Comments

Filed under Nature

Just inches tall: not a donkey, but cool

img_20180323_124230218~2423367376..jpg

My neighbor next to the rectory has a ultra-super-miniature-pony in his back yard, just a hand-full of hands high. What’s cool is that Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog are totally cool with that: no barking. I guess this grass eating machine, so tiny, is not a rival or threat, though I’m sure it packs a pretty powerful kick. The neighbor, a firefighter, has a kid who is small enough though just old enough to ride this “horse” (by species). Breed horses like that all you want. But, please, don’t do that to donkeydom. Then I would object.

Do the analogy. We’re all born a little bit – how to say it? – off the mark, not because God made a mistake but because of original sin. We get socked with all sorts of things. Too tall, too short, blind, crippled… or challenged in a thousand different ways… But, given that we’re all smacked down in this world. Given that we all have something, can we not just use these things in service of the Lord. The little guy in the picture above gives joy to the likes of a little kid which he otherwise couldn’t do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature

The ol’ fruit fly: nuclear 2nd thoughts

img_20180321_180312263~21664278455..jpg

So, I guess the fruit fly worms fall by gravity? Anyway, they look really cool!

fruit fly

I wonder if nuking food is really so bad.

4 Comments

Filed under Nature

Tornado? It’s been a while…

img_20180318_160413167~2240977424..jpg

Tree downed near Peach Tree. It was right across the road. Imagine: night, bucketing rain, hail, blowing rubbish hitting your windshield, you know the road, but then… a tree across the road. This one was obviously cut by some guy who lives on the road just to get by. I myself have done the chainsaw thing like seven times on the backroads, at one point not going anywhere without my trusty chainsaw. This tree continues on the other side of the road.

Where I was, there was also lightning, thunder, a bit of rain and hail. But no wind where I was. Stupid me. I didn’t think: “tornado.” I should have known, having been in plenty of tornadoes as a kid, that these are all the signs of a tornado, for which you don’t at all need wind if the funnel hasn’t yet dropped down. The second it does, it’s all full speed out of control train on the run. I and the ones I was with should have taken cover. But, come to think of it, there was no place to go. Except. Heh! To heaven! At least hopefully on the way. As one reader said recently: Go to confession!

When I was in the hermitage there was a level 5 tornado that when right overhead, slamming the hermitage as a number 3, but skipping over the mountains until it landed harder in eastern North Carolina, Virginia and D.C. How quickly I forget.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Road danger

Be the turtle: patience x 3

img_20180227_142037475~21654938008..jpg

I’m guessing this is a mama box turtle, or maybe a snapper, out near the hermitage. She’s looking to lay a few eggs in the unusually warm late Winter weather. She’s taking her time, wanting to get the placement of the eggs in the ground just right. I’m told the eggs can last two years, waiting for just the right conditions. Turtledom survives, slow but sure, getting it right.

I got a bit of practice with all this while doing the thesis on Genesis 2:4a–3:24, four years of slogging through every letter of every word with brutal historical philology, right back into the cuneiform, correcting revered technical dictionaries, certain that I was doing the right thing but not seeing where any of it was going until the end: patience, patience, patience. I think it goes along with Pope Francis’ humility, humility, humility and Father John Neuhaus’ fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.

These are just some basic foundational aspects of our lives. Just to say: just because I got a bit of practice with some of this doesn’t mean that I’m any good at it. It just means I’m starting to see the supporting scaffolding and thought I’d use a turtle to write about it. Saint Teresa of Avila says that it’s good to make analogies of the spiritual life with the things we see in our daily lives. Yes. I like that. I like it a lot. Nature is very cool altogether. Do you see analogies with stuff in your daily life?

2 Comments

Filed under Nature

Elevation of the parish: in heaven

img_20180222_151914812~3725841029..jpg

The Appalachian Trail crosses the road just here. Just 3,165 feet. The peaks in the parish go up 5000 feet plus. Not far from the hermitage the peaks can get well beyond 6000 feet. On the other side of Asheville, the next big city over the way, some peaks edge on 7000 feet. These are the tallest mountains in the Eastern United States. Mount Washington up in New Hampshire comes in below Mount Mitchell here. Of course, there is nothing as high as the Himalayas or the Rockies or Alps or Andes or Atlas Mountains, nothing like that. No, no. Just humble mountains here. Heck, the tallest of the megatall buildings like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai seem to be about to get in the competition if there is one.

But, in Jesus, you can touch heaven from the deepest valley as well, right? Right?

1 Comment

Filed under Nature

1 in 4 washed away without a trace

img_20180212_181835183_burst000_cover_top~21822882696..jpg

It’s been raining and raining and raining. The stream next to the rectory rose up and grabbed one of our new Holly trees and threw it into the river on the other side of town. And then the water went down again, like it never happened. But the tree remains gone.

And so I think of so many who have gone on their way to the next life in such a way, in waves of violence, waves of sickness, waves of war, waves of accidents, waves and waves. We can look to what would have been, what could have been. Or we can look to what might be, what may be, what we hope will be in heaven. Life is changed, not ended.

We are in exile here. Exile, I say. Far from home. So very far. And yet, God is with us, right with us, the indwelling it’s called, of the Most Holy Trinity, so that we are tabernacles of the Most High, the one thing that is important, and it cannot be ripped away from us by anything, by anyone. Jesus loves us.

2 Comments

Filed under Death, Nature

Ever ancient, ever new, we are in exile

img_20180208_131922397~21584216023..jpg

Peter Strzok would call this a hillbilly house. This is one of the extremely few stick-built houses in the northern region of my parish that I past by at the tops of the ridges of these mountains on Communion Calls. Dwellings are mostly mobile homes of the extremely tiny variety, although there are longer ones that fit the description if not the reality of single-wide and double-wide.

Just in the 4 1/2 years I’ve been racing around the mountains here this house has decided to disintegrate markedly. When they get to this stage they collapse altogether before you know it. I’ve seen quite a few houses and barns simply fall under their own weight, weighted down as they are by humidity and mold, weakened by rodents and carpenter bees and termites.

Such dwellings would be filled with memories, but their owners are long gone as well. The forest reclaims the house and the Forestry Service reclaims the property. We think we keep such houses alive with imagined memories, but they just continue to cave in to the inescapable pressures round about. And they don’t even do that. They just fall down.

We, however, think that we are as young as we feel, that is, not regarding our health situation (for we can have all the aches and pains and misery anyone could ever experience), but regarding the state of our minds. If we have discarded past baggage of whatever, and we feel free, and we set about having a second childhood, well, maybe then the reality sets in that good memories in the dwelling that these bodies are don’t quite give us back the health we once had. I have great memories of insane extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean I can do them up again.

If we have the wonder of a child before the entire universe and God Himself – hey! – we are in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new. But our bodies can’t quite keep up. Walking through life in the stability of being with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, provides a youthfulness that does not shun the grave, but rather, with living hope, in touch with Him who is ever ancient, ever new, one looks forward to heaven, knowing that, in that present friendship, it is already starting.

1 Comment

Filed under Nature, Spiritual life