The Naturalist's Corner: Swimming with mermaids

Christopher Columbus had a lot of misconceptions about where he wound up in 1492 and what he saw. Mermaids were listed in one of his journal accounts. But to Chris’ credit, mermaids had been around in literature basically since the beginning of literature.

This must be the place: ‘Keep on rolling, my old buddy…’

Once the roads became sketchy, I became familiar with the territory.

This must be the place: ‘Life being what it is…’

Ten years ago this week I left my native Upstate New York for my first journalism gig out of college in the tiny mountain town of Driggs, Idaho.

This must be the place: ‘They won’t know what route I’m going…’

For a moment, I thought the dog was going to charge me.

Running along the quiet back country of Southwest Georgia, dirt roads that make up most of the escape routes into the abyss ‘round these parts, I could see the small creature out of the corner of my eye. Once I realized he had stopped at the end of the driveway, my primal instincts disappeared, my eyes aimed further down the bright dirt path my feet playfully and joyously jogged atop.

This must be the place: ‘Where do you think you’re goin’?’

It’s the internal struggle.

Do you participate in life and soak it in like a sponge being dropped into a bucket of water, or do you simply walk to the side and stay out of the way of the trials and tribulations hurled at those who aim to find and achieve some semblance of success?

This must be the place: ‘Remember me if I forget…’

He suggested two. I bought three.

Standing in the small main office of the Woodsmoke Campground in Unicoi, Tennessee, I grabbed the three bundles of firewood and tossed them into my rusty, musty pickup truck and tracked down campsite #4.

The Naturalist's Corner: Pardon me Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes

Number one daughter had a big camping weekend planned with friends and their families at Lake Chatuge over Labor Day. So we came up with an impromptu plan for Maddie and us. We made reservations at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. We had taken Izzy to the aquarium when she was a tot and she enjoyed it, Maddie had never been so we figured this was a good opportunity.

Making memories, one trip at a time

After reading Doug Woodward’s book You Took the Kids WHERE? and as I write these words, it is still officially summer. Despite its somewhat deceptive title, this book is not about “how I spent my summer vacation,” or even your usual travel memoir. With a foreword by legendary alternative medical doctor and cultural icon Patch Adams, this book explores new territory in terms of family relationships and outdoor adventure.

Planes, trains and automobiles

Reuniting with my big sister never seems to be an easy jaunt. Whether she’s traveling to North Carolina or I’m visiting her in D.C., one of us must journey almost 500 miles to get to the other.

But despite distance and tight budgets, we’re good about making it happen.

The Naturalist's Corner: Rock Hill on the river

My family and I were in the Rock Hill, S.C.-Charlotte area a few weeks back to visit my sister and catch my niece, Haley Barfield (one of the triplets, yeah, as in three, Allison and Jess round out the trifecta) in Shakespeare Carolina’s production of Macbeth. We also got to enjoy a birthday dinner with Matt, the triplets’ older brother.

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