Along The Hiwassee River

Where I live now is not far from the Georgia beginnings of the Hiwassee River. The Chatuge Dam controls the flow of water levels in the river. When I last walked the other end of the Hiwassee on my Riverwalk trail near Murphy, NC the water was very high. So was the mosquito count and catfish thrashing about.

But two days ago I went back to take in the changes along that walk. It was later in the morning so the light was a bit different and more people were out.

Lots of ducks on the water and an occasional goose.

The river was way down and reflections beautiful.

I love the colors in this photo of the downed tree over the bank.

And this bit of sky trapped in the low water of a creek feeding off the river near the trail heading back upstream.

The flood waters of spring and summer soften the ground around old heavy trees that have little resistance left in them. It will become a moss-covered bridge for critters to avoid the snapping turtles who lurk in these shallow waters.

I always photograph this sloped trail heading back into the light. It was very nice to be back on this part of the river and I will make a plan to head this way once a week because I have missed it.

Back home on the path to the river at this end it is getting drier and the wind seems to have trained the tall grasses to mostly point east.

And in my garden out back….

This grass is so beautiful now that it is fully in bloom.

I pulled out my Boro shirt to sew on. There comes a point where a needle just needs to be threaded and cloth wants to be held to another piece of cloth.

This started out as a small Boro coat that a friend gave me some time back. I thought about just hanging it on a wall. But what I really wanted to do was feel it next to my skin. So what was there was reconfigured and patched with worn clothing of my own and additional old Japanese fabrics I had purchased because I could not leave them behind.

When we were in Japan many years ago with a group of basket makers led by Jiro Yanazawa, we needed to make a stop along a country road. It looked like an old gas station that might have some sort of facility out back. It turned out to be bushes at best. And when I had straightened myself back up, two Japanese fieldhands wandered by. I smiled. They giggled. They had on these wonderful patched and stitched shirts over their indigo dyed pants. The look and smell of these worn, patched, and worn again clothes was intoxicating to me. I would have bought the shirts right off their backs if it was not such an inappropriate thing to even think about doing. Now I will have my own done in the tradition of making something useful again with needle and thread.

If I was in Australia I could wear this shirt anywhere because there are so many people working in textiles and appreciating the history of Boro clothing. By that I mean the many friends whose company I enjoyed there. But here, in the conservative southern United States, I would be looked on as needing to return home to change. Not until I pulled out this Boro piece did it occur to me how few friends I have who would understand or appreciate the story of being clothed in such a history.

I used to buy used clothes to alter or cut up into another piece of clothing. When a former friend (who I am sure was embarrassed by it) asked me why. The best I could come up with was that I was wearing someone else’s history. We were sharing a time together. Perfect strangers feeling the same cloth on skin. It still surprises me how few people even think that it is something to consider. It is more than being mindful of making do and reusing what is there by putting a patch on….it is also about who else pulled this shirt over their heads and stepped out into another place at another time.

It is a very good thing that I like my own company and have become used to walking my own path.

I also have gone back to Burke and Wills. Drawing them more aged has been challenging.

Our youthful roundness will not last forever. Sagging bodies with wispy hairs takes over sooner than we thought. I love how these two have stayed together for so long. And look forward to doing more drawings and putting words and pictures on the page.

Til later….