Code Talking

The Spartanburg Downtown Code, developed in partnership with the city by the Lawrence Group from Davidson, NC, will soon move from the charrette and public planning stage to a vote by city council. The code is a progressive, even revolutionary document for our community. It articulates, for the first time in decades, a unified vision for the central business district and puts into place a set of...

ASLE Comes to Spartanburg

The summer of 1997 I traveled west to Missoula, Montana to take part in a panel on “Southern Nature Writing” at a biennial conference of an emerging academic group called ASLE (The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment). When I received the invitation the group was new to me, but a little research showed ASLE had met once, two summers before, in Fort Collins,...

Fall Grapes and the Poor Man’s Banana

This week we’ve been practicing our wild food gathering skills on our evening walk. It’s an August ritual. All along the road we’ve started seeing muscadines, or “fall grapes” as the locals call them, ripe and ready for eating. The Vikings named North America “Vineland,” and it’s easy to see why if you stop for a moment and look up into the edge of...

Piedmont Christmas

(This story is from The Point Guard, a novel-in-progress about the fictional town of Morgan, South Carolina.) In the old days, the weekend before Christmas, we always rose early on Saturday and headed up to Aunt Nina and Uncle Tip’s to get the tree. The year I was fifteen Connie’s boyfriend Randy went with us. He drove Mama’s car, the old Desoto, up Highway 176 past Landrum....

Into the Wild

Every morning at 8 A.M. our dog Toby gets off the couch and starts bugging me to go out. He’s a creature of habit, and our habit, rain or shine, is to take a ritual morning walk. “Into the wild,” I always joke as I head out the side door. Our walk is “off-road” on a narrow trail. I guess it’s a little less than a mile. Though not a trip into the Alaska back...

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