Big Nature on the Little Screen

For the last two weeks at our house we’ve been watching the Discovery Channel’s powerful and mesmerizing eleven episode series “Planet Earth,” or as Betsy calls it, the “Somebody’s Mama Steals Somebody Else’s Babies so Her Babies Can Eat” series. Betsy isn’t far from wrong. The series is focused on the planet’s vast and complex food...

Future Shock

The thought of what Spartanburg County will look like decades in the future disturbs my sleep. On my worst nights I see a vision of unregulated surreal sprawl as we cling to outmoded ideas of prosperity and growth. In my vision massive cinder block distribution plants for America’s out-of-control consumption are laid out helter-skelter along the I-85 corridor because no company with higher...

Living Green in a Black and White World

I’ve been thinking all week about the greening of our culture that seems to be underway. Out there in America 2006 was “the Green Year.” Over the months I collected “Green Issue” covers from TIME, NEWSWEEK, and VANITY FAIR. There were others I’m sure I missed. From January to December “Green” became a national media watchword. Almost every day...

Home on the Range

We were out walking the dog last week when a neighbor pulled up and asked, “Any cows in your backyard? “Cows?” “Two brown cows wandering around.” He explained how the cows had been grazing on the new grass down their way for two or three days and said we should keep an eye out for them in our end of the neighborhood. He’d seen them at least three times. We...

The Mighty Chinquapin

When I was a kid growing up on the north side of Spartanburg one of the AM radio stations I listened to claimed to broadcast “from the banks of the mighty Chinquapin.” It made Chinquapin Creek, the largest of Lawson’s Fork’s tributaries, sound like the Mississippi River. I think that radio announcer’s humor might have been the beginning of my fascination with local...

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