Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'm Depressed and Grouchy and Likely to Offend Someone

Travel, especially away from the Interstate and along some of the byroads on the way to Leon's mom's house can be depressing for me.  We pass both occupied and abandoned homes, some once quite livable, and strip malls and main streets lined with empty businesses and landscapes strewn with human debris.
Once a Very Fine Home, I'm Sure
Once we arrive, I find a low-level anxiety permeates my spirit and world view.

We have plenty of depressing surroundings in our own "backyard" and they do distress me.  But I guess we get so used to them, on some level, that they no longer form a strong Gestalt.  In someone else's "backyard" I notice more acutely the blight of rotting cast-offs that ruin the countryside.

I need not post too many photos: we've all seen it, if not in our own "backyards" then on "Hoarders" and "American Pickers"  and "Storage Wars".

Even watching those shows can cause me the same kind of anxiety as I am feeling after several days of seeing trash and "collectibles" up close and personal.

That is why I have tried to keep the blog on the positive side during our trip.  I posted photos of Pearl Fryer's Topiary Gardens - a delight in an otherwise uninteresting travel event.

Not wanting to bore you all once again with our annual/semiannual trip south, I posted some links with minimal commentary, but perhaps even that was too much commentary.  I was trying to keep things low-key, for my own sanity.

In these environs, Leon and I begin to question if we are not, in fact, "abnormal" because we like a clean and somewhat orderly home, a yard free of rusty cars, rotten boats and no longer functioning machinery.

There is a Zen quality to simplicity and order that promotes peace, tranquility and motivation.

We discard, as responsibly as possible, those things that are discardable and bring other, still useful items to Goodwill if they are in the way or no longer being used.  We are not exactly minimalists, but that is an ideal I could aspire to.  We are not great decorators but we try within our means.

To see people living amongst the utter chaos of their accumulated possessions, many of which are damaged or rejected and many of which were purchased on the suggestion of slick TV advertising and not worth the plastic they are made of - usually by people who live from hand to mouth - makes me both sad and anxious.

Even more disturbing is seeing people who do not take care of (or actually abuse) useful or necessary things that often cost good money: cars, boats, home appliances, furniture, plumbing, roofs, foundations, doors and windows.  How does one prioritize buying another, new, flat screen TV...

To ease my anxiety I search out something of beauty and order.
Pastoral Scene, Devoid of Trash
It Is Possible to Maintain Order and Beauty 
It is amazing how a botanical garden or a row of neat picnic tables can give me a sense of calm and inner peace.

How An "Empty" Space Conveys Order and Peacefulness
And how a flower can ease my dis-ease.

By the way "Chicken Bog" is not a town in South Carolina.  It is a regional dish made with boiled and deboned chicken, smoked sausage or bacon, vegetables and rice.


  1. Oh man, I dashed, and I do mean DASHED down to North Carolina for the holidays.

    Of course it was a rental and of course I pushed that little car for all it was worth. Brand spanking new Nissan Versa, and let me tell you that little vehicle for being only a 4 cylinder has PLENTY of power.

    I could mostly be found in the left lane. In my book it's for passing or for ludicrous speed. I chose the latter.

    Yep, the need for speed. Always had it, even as a kid. Back then it was taking bicycles up nasty hills and then pedaling our asses off to hit 60MPH to 70MPH at the bottom of the hill, or the Alpine Slide at Atitash. Fun, fun, fun!

    The most laughable aspect was the speed limits on U.S. 17 in North Carolina. One end that was sparsely settled had the limit at 70MPH, while just ten miles down the road in a place with one intersection the limit drops to 50MPH. WTF!

  2. I know how you feel and admire you for at least trying to find your way out by focusing on bits of beauty.

  3. Your chicken bog link doesn't work but I googled around and found some recipes. Seems very similar to chicken-and-sausage gumbo, but made without a roux, and the rice is added to the pot, not cooked and served separately.

    Both La. and S. C. are major rice producers, so they both feature a lot of rice dishes.

  4. Thanks Russ, I fixed the link to one of several "Chicken Bog" sites.



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