Sunday, July 26, 2009

Crown O' Thorns ?

We had set out to visit Ridgeway, South Carolina this afternoon, but a curveball in Camden sent us in the opposite direction. We don't use Map Quest or Google mapping because it is so often misleading for the out of the way places we seek to visit and the big towns with which they have somewhat better luck are already known to all. Our actual map showed a Hwy 34 so we took the only one we saw which went in one direction. Mile after mile after mile and no Ridgeway, not even a sign to Ridgeway. How one can go so wrong for so many miles is not something we can explain, but that's what happened as many miles were covered.

Where we ultimately went and what we there saw will be shared in a subsequent posting. For the moment we want to begin at the end of our long and misdirected adventure. At the point where the towel was tossed we resolved to find our way home by means of a more direct route. In short order an array of highway signs presented in a cluster much as every hamlet welcomes one with a host of civic club and church signs at the city limit. In the midst of all this we saw good old US Highway 52, an almost straight shot cutting through the Pee Dee and terminating at the fabled Dual Lane which is the southern end of Rivers Avenue.

Making our way down 52 and taking care to avoid the many speed traps of the many hamlets along the way, our slower pace gave us a more in depth view of the sights along our path. Next to and a very close second behind auto racing related interests we saw a great number of signs directing motorists in matters of faith. Many signs evoked the saving grace of specific denominations while others drew the viewer to that one church as a specific location which could do for you what others might not. Other signs were less specific, but more instructive by invoking damnation which overcomes the wicked, a general warning to those who don't follow the Scriptures and, by implication, those who fall behind in their tithing.

We could never figure out which specific church or denomination looked best from the road, but the one billboard which said the most with the least wording was an eye catcher. It showed a very humble faucet or spigot, the type which most rural kitchens had over their sinks many years ago. From this common "spiket", as it's often called in these parts, flowed a stream of clear water which suddenly turned into red wine once it splashed into finely cut crystal clearly intended only for a very special Cabernet. This, of course, demonstrates the First Miracle: the turning of water into wine. In this image we found the suggestion that the even lowest sinner can become a premium Christian with the proper application of faith. It seams reasonable. We also wondered if this suggested that with the proper faith one could turn their recession degraded investments into consecrated profits. Less reasonable, but with faith who can say ?

Close to home on 52 between Moncks Corner and Goose Creek we spotted what appeared to be a serious OSHA violation off the road. Turning into a side road we were confronted with is seen in the photo. It seems a very dangerous way to store one's gardening implements, but maybe this was a means of theft prevention. With hundreds of acres of valuable plants it must take many of these to work the gardens. We first thought this to be a very powerful electromagnet which held all the tools securely over the weekend which then fell into the arms of waiting workers when the boss threw the switch on Monday. We feared that it could suck our radiator clean through the grille.

Upon closer inspection it took on a decidedly Bolshevik aura. Did the workers of the world throw down their tools? We can't recall. Was this a Collective in Berkeley County ? Or, could this be a Crown of Thorns fashioned by fate for those who travel the state roads and poke fun at Holy messages? If so, it would have fallen like an avalanche upon our disrespectful head. Thankfully, it did not.

When the scales fell from our windshield it became quite clear that this is what many wounded veterans of Spoleto festivals know to be site specific art or " SSA " in our book. SSA is anything which anyone puts anywhere as long as it evokes something, but means nothing. This, however, means something is linked logically to their corporate calling. We find it quite dazzling, but wonder why it's not on the highway side or at the customer entrance where it might sell some plants. This dramatic work hangs over the service entrance where only deliveries are made and workers may pass. Perhaps it is a gift to those to work the fields for the nursery or might this just be a bit of corporate ego? Is this for those who till the soil or did this just soil the till?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Of a Moses in Berkeley County

This is Lake Moultrie, the last link in the Catawba Chain, a series of seven lakes formed and controlled by hydroelectric electric plants along the way. On the other end of this chain is the Catawba River which begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. The Catawba finds its way to South Carolina through Lake Wylie on the border with North Carolina. It takes a circuitous route to find its way into Lake Moultrie in Berkeley County, South Carolina It has run through 9 sub-basins and 3,000 stream miles by the time it arrives. This time it did not arrive.

In the first photo we were at Lyons Beach viewing a critical drought. Not since 1951 had the lake level been this low. We called it a Martian Landscape, but scampering across the dry lake beds had been an assortment of Earthlings as astonished as if they had just landed upon Mars. We were told by a lady at the landing that there had been considerable mischief visited upon the land where the lake usually lived. She said that it had been necessary to call in the authorities to dispatch the troublemakers. From the foot prints and All Terrain Vehicle tire tracks we could pretty well determine the paths of the troublesome ones. Without our Lake Bed Tires we were unable to follow those tracks to our own mischief making. We later found that would not wish to follow each footstep.

In the second photo it is clear that the drought has passed. Those who had scampered about the dry lake bed buggering around with things which Lake Moultrie had once revealed now skim upon its surface with abandon. The lady at the landing had also alleged that there had been some tampering with grave sites accessible during the drought. This act we remove from the category of mischief and place it in dark hole of dirty deeds. We figure that if you don't get your share of bothering a person while they are above ground, you may not further trouble them once they are below. With this in mind we day dreamed that perhaps some Berkeley County Moses came upon their crimes and bid the lake to return with a vengeance.

Friday, July 10, 2009


While pleasantly cruising River Road on Johns Island, SC, were were not expecting the head on collision between rival philosophies. We came upon, but thankfully not into this, the most annoying of all philosophical metaphors. " If a tree falls...," well, you know how it goes.

The Primacy of Existence is the theory that existence obtains independent of consciousness. Things are what they are and are thus classified, understood, accepted. You go out into the world, you find, see and learn by looking outward rather than inward. We hold the steering wheel, shift the gears, work the clutch and apply the throttle knowing from experience what is happening and the good and bad consequences of these acts. We didn't conjure this process by meditating upon our belly button lint.

The other side of the coin is the Primacy of Consciousness wherein one looks inward for reality and to define existence without regard or respect for that which they actually experience, hear, see, feel or smell. In short, one is unwilling to witness or permit a reality which does not come from within and the hell with the existent outside world. This is theology over technology, accepted beliefs over proven facts. It is often the path of greater convenience and lesser effort. This fog shrouds more than religion, it unfocusses everything. You fiddle around with this and pretty soon you don't exist.

This is all very interesting, but along the road to our existential errands that old fallen tree business is around every corner. It's one of those often repeated quotations which becomes woven into the fabric of the collective consciousness. Any concept when promoted through repetition soon becomes accepted as truth. The Big Lie theory is generally considered to have come from Hitler's "Mein Kampf," but in fact it is timeless. The idea is that little people tell little lies. If you are a figure of consequence in a position of power, the little lies just won't do. You must use the big lies and repeat them constantly. They will then become fact in the minds of those who dig not too deeply for the truth. This includes the majority of TV viewers who naturally evolve into internet believers. This tool is neither the property of the Left nor Right wings of public policy as it well fits both with the same glove.

Someone cooked up this nice little ditty along the way:

"To be is to do" - Socrates.
"To do is to be" - Jean-Paul Sartre.
"Do be do be do" - Frank Sinatra.

The question should always be: 1) Is it true? and 2) Does it matter? We didn't hear this tree when it fell but, 1) It's down and 2) It's this guy's yard and it certainly matters to him. We can credit neither Socrates nor Sartre for this fallen tree. We're going with Old Blue Eyes on this one: " The summer wind came blowing in...."