Monday’s Blog; Night Symphony, Opus 2

Noises in the night may be subdued and soothing or startling and jarring robbing us from precious sleep. A few posts ago, I lamented upon the steady hum of a nearby highway. An overnight on a farm that hosts motor homers on their property offered another version of a night time symphony. This time, not subdued but raucous and irregular open to the mind’s musings deep in the night.

Golden Acres Ranch in the Florida Panhandle has provided a return stopover for years. The Goldens raise and sell, lamb, goat and beef cuts as well as seasonal fruit products, eggs, crafts, boarding for dogs and horses in addition to various festivals scheduled throughout the year. Check out the Mayhaw jam made from the unusual berries of their 175 Mayhaw trees at
Golden Acres Ranch


Following the long farm road into the property is slow, best taken with care as it glides by the goat and sheep pens and the acres of orchard and dense tree forest to the interior. Our parking spot is book-ended by the farm house and the country store. The chicken coop is close by. Chickens and guinea hens scurry out of the way as you walk by. 




During our long day’s drive we were well able to ponder and ingest the past week’s long anticipated, intense and emotional visit to my brother and sister in law and extended family and friends on Florida’s west coast. Seeking an interlude in our fast pace life, we anticipated a leisurely dinner, a good read and a restful night’s sleep. Of course, farms have no quiet hours. In the past Golden Acres has been fairly quiet at night but happily for the Golden’s, business is good during holiday time. With an abundance of dogs in residence for boarding on the day after Thanksgiving, the dogs sang out in chorus often but intermittently. We were aware of the coming night time entertainment. 

Our rig is well insulated, so the sound was a bit subdued, but still quite audible and remaining unpredictable. Sleep came and went at various intervals through the night. I was prepared and my mind was not full of regret or complaint.  Instead, I began to break down and focus on the chorale responses going beyond the cacophonous tones. Was that mournful deep throated bark a complaint as if longing for family to arrive to take him home? Perhaps he is remembering a run to fetch thrown balls, a tumble in the grass or scratches on the head between the ears. 

Was the higher toned repetitive yipping a complaint against a larger dog’s threatening stance or the three or four dogs in tenor-toned unison attempting to attract the freedom they so desire? Each session most likely was triggered in response to a critter passing nearby or a disturbance among the boarders. Do canines have visual memories to trigger their responses or are their responses purely instinctual in reaction to their environment and nothing more? 

In the end my night contemplating dog song past fairly well and the activities on the farm continued as usual. We did enjoy another comfortable night in the woods among creatures and friendly hosts and continued on our way westward for more adventure. 






Monday’s Blog; into isms

The first time the matter entered my mind, the trigger was an exhibition on view in Austin, Texas, held at the Harry Ransom Art Center, part of the University of Texas on historical documents dealing with the world of ISMS. According to Eugene O. Golob, in his book, The Isms, A History and Evaluation, Harper & Brothers New York, 1954, Ism words define ideological concepts and are part of a lexicon of word endings with political, controversial and theoretical leanings.

I had always been fascinated by suffixes such as …ism, …ology,  …able, …ation and more that add certain assigned meaning to the words in each category.  Thus began my collection of such words and categories with hours spent delving into research on the matter. Not surprisingly, there exists a vast store of material before me. These include many essays, surveys and books on the subject, a society of ism lovers, and a vast storage of artwork including my own. 

The Ransom Center alone should not be missed. They can boast of a long and rich history of research in the arts, breakthrough discoveries, brilliant exhibits and the Center offers access to the public for one’s own study. Their web site is http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/.

This image is a photo of one of the pieces featured in the exhibit I observed, referring to dates of origin of the listed words. 


The trend continues. I constantly encounter “ism” endings of words that seem to be spontaneously created by a writer to serve a particular purpose in their meaning. A couple of recently encountered ism words include Purposfulism and texturalism.

My intent in today’s message is to introduce the topic of categories of suffix as an occasional subject for my Monday Blog and to offer and share my fascination with word development through the ages and ongoing as we read. I hope it will offer wondrous, humorous words for thought for you, my readers. 

Monday’s Blog; The Night Symphony

The noises in the night in the numerous and varied campgrounds and parks in which we perch when on the road, are so different; sometimes staying quietly in the background, on the edge of our our attention.  Sometimes they are loud, annoying and incessant keeping us from focusing on anything but the noise. 

Last night, while awake for awhile, I heard only one continuous sound, the droning hum of the nearby highway, not loud, not annoying but never ceasing. However, in my experience, this is not the average sound of the night.  The passing of Cars, motorcycles, buses or big trucks stomping on their Jake brakes applied while descending a grade producing a very loud, long lasting screeching blast of sound and prohibited in most counties. Here, the night sounds were indeed a steady low toned hum, continuous, without volume, tone or pitch change. 

There were no birds singing, no coyotes barking, no trains passing by, no boat whistles, campground noise or voices partying late into the quiet hours. I especially missed the early morning bird and animal sounds. Camping in Sanford, Fl, I expected to hear birds singing How strange.  

Abut 12 hours after my bout with sleeplessness, we took a walk on the trail leading into the park and swampland surrounding us. The sunlight glowed, lighting its way through the dense forest.


The sounds were still subdued, subtle and steady. There was still a lack of bird song. To my delight we walked through a cypress grove. 

To me, Cypress groves are a passion in the strange triangular bases of the trees trunks, the cypress knees that remain mysterious in their purpose.  This grove was very quiet. I heard only occasional sounds, mostly of limbs rubbing together in the breeze, accompanied by the same droning hum of the night from the nearby expressway and accompanied by the silence of the leaves falling before us. The effect was quite stunning.


I anticipate the night symphony continuing tonight wondering if the sounds will vary at all, Perhaps there will be a change in the traffic sounds, a stray cat whining as it searches for something delectable only to a cat, or a plane, a train or a clap of thunder. I am hoping to hear bird song in early dawn. I am not sure anything will change.

Monday’s Blog, Quote by Thomas Jefferson; “I live for books.”

After all of the years of my life and many visits to Washington, DC, I finally toured the incredible building, the Library of Congress. What a gift to our country, to each citizen just for the “cost” of mounting the dramatic stairway into the entrance hall.  After passing through security and entering the vast vestibule of the building, you look up for the first time and gasp at the unexpected beauty of this legacy building.  The ceilings are glowing in color, text shimmers in gold, statuary is done with fine detail and forethought; all fresh, clean and fulled with meaning and nuance.  When the Library of Congress building opened its doors to the public on November 1, 1897, it was hailed as a glorious national monument and “the largest, the costliest, and the safest” library building in the world; for more, visit web site, https://www.loc.gov/about/history-of-the-library/

From this site we learn that “throughout his life, books were vital to Thomas Jefferson’s education and well-being. When his family home in Shadwell burned in 1770 Jefferson most lamented the loss of his books. In the midst of the American Revolution and while United States minister to France in the 1780s, Jefferson acquired thousands of books for his library at Monticello. Jefferson’s library went through several stages, but it was always critically important to him. Books provided the little traveled Jefferson with a broader knowledge of the contemporary and ancient worlds than most contemporaries of broader personal experience. By 1814 when the British burned the nation’s Capitol and the Library of Congress, Jefferson had acquired the largest personal collection of books in the United States. Jefferson offered to sell his library to Congress as a replacement for the collection destroyed by the British during the War of 1812. Congress purchased Jefferson’s library for $23,950 in 1815. A second fire on Christmas Eve of 1851, destroyed nearly two thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson.”

The remainder of the books belonging to Jefferson on on display on the 2nd floor of library, and what a vast and varied collection it is.  After the second fire in 1851, about a third of the lost volumes have been replaced by books representing as closely as possible the same edition of the book that had been in Jefferson’s original collection. They cover many topics and themes and include many languages.
Some photos;


Across the way–The Capital and its cloak of scaffolding


Searches for more of the Jefferson’s lost books are ongoing and each book on the shelf is being digitized to enter into the archive for future research and preservation.  Furthermore, anyone over age 16 wishing to do research in the library, in one of its 23 reading rooms (don’t miss the main reading room and the fine ceiling) may do so.  Your book orders are filled withing 45 minutes from the vast stack system on or nearby the library campus.  On going programming is offered throughout the year in music, lecture and more. 

What more can I add? Go to the web sites for more historical input, photos and drawings underlining the value of this institution or to refresh memories of your own visits to the Library.  Our excellent docent, Fred summed it up for me; to paraphrase, he couldn’t be more pleased but to be a docent for this library. The value of the 3 months of training, exposure to items from the collection, instruction by the experts on staff and the enthusiasm shown by the visitors on his tours have enriched his life.  Mine has been enriched as well. What took me so long? Everything in its time I guess. 

Monday’s Blog, Historical Saga

This is a dark blog, not my usual tone.  The current book of non-fiction on my Kindle and my obsession with world news led me to create this entry.  One of the constants in this world is conflict. Nothing new, but the latest news is always there feeding our obsession with the need to know . Hatred, war, pillage, desecration, dominance, genocide and extermination are among the plagues practiced since the beginnings of mankind. The book alluded to above has brought this together for me in a poignant way: entitled, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, (Revisioning American History) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. 

The author vividly documents the history or our country from the Indigenous Peoples’ point of view, It is not glossed over, cleaned up or glorified as in the history books we have read or historical sites we have visited.  It is not to say that battles, scourges and attacks have been overlooked, but from the point of view of the Indigenous storytellers, it clarifies the horrid and constant treatment of those occupants of our land before Chris Columbus led the way to the New World. It is clear that the final solution is not a discovery of the 20th century, but ages old. 

From the first settlers in the 1500’s and sadly to the present day, the natives of our land have been tragically slaughtered and tortured beyond the realm of my understanding, remembering the many famous battles, Indigenous children’s re-education and removal from their families, the Trail of Tears, displacement from their traditional lands and more. Reading this history is eye opening. I am just half way through the book, but cringe at the treatment of this tribal people. 

I now try to accept that the world was born in Genocide, not with the love of tolerance and peace. From early man, the tragic stories continue world wide, yet again in waves of migrants, killing on our streets, killings in our schools, in the market, parks and parking lots, neighborhoods, in our homes. 

The words of Martin Luther King, JR, presented well after these events, provide the words underlying my ire centuries after the  days of our nation’s birth. The quote, as an introduction to chapter five entitled Birth Of A Nation on page 78 in Dunbar-Ortiz’ book reads; 

Our nation was born in Genocide...We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. More over we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode.” 

That these behaviors do not cease or modify is horrific and depressing. I still believe it is in the individual and their stories that hope springs eternal.  Sorry to be so serious, but my heart is aching at the suffering endured around the globe. I know I am not at all alone in these thoughts.

Next week, back to something sweet, humorous or hopeful.

Ann Carol