09 July 2008

untitled puppy.

has anyone seen our little pup? why is owning a dog in greensboro so impossible.

08 July 2008

sewell street

long time no see, blog.

a ravine separates two tracts of land HERO owns in the north ward. we've begun major developments on the southern tract - 5 rural studio homes, 4 habitat for humanity homes, two hero homes, water and sewer lines, a landscaping plan, free gas tankless water heaters, excited parents, shrill babies, bobcats, hammers, scaffolding, block parties. the other tract remains untouched as of now. what to do?

currently it is access solely by a ruddy gravel and dirt road that stems from ward street on the east. the road meanders and dissolves into an eroding landscape that slopes gently, than furiously, into the ravine. time and weathering and misuse of the land has stripped the earth of its topsoil. patches of dry grass suffer to exist in the red clay. entire beds of tree roots are exposed and are losing their battle to grip the ground.

this little street, sewell street, is known in the area to be a dark, dangerous nook in the north ward of greensboro. drug dealing, dog fighting, who knows. people assume, and possibly know, that something is going on, but no one wants to take a peak.

so of course, pam and i had to. we went back there and met with a homeowner. sue loves her little house. it was owned by her mother. it is need of major repair, but she would never move. her family lives in the other homes on the land.

they seem happy. but complacent? if the status quo is all that you've ever known, how do you dream of something bigger?

so how can this little piece of land help them to dream bigger?

tree house
bridge to the other neighborhood
hanging garden
clean ravine!
solar power
pavilion over the ravine?
light sculpture
lightning bugs and cricket chorus
terracing + benches
wall o' sewell family photo extravaganza

18 April 2008

karate chop

this is week no. 6 without a cell phone, but i've been comforted by the presence of 50-some men and women from around the country who, upon arrival in town, lost coverage as well. the ultimate black belt test has descended upon greensboro this week for several days of intensive home-building labor.

after some long days on site, i'm surprised that i'm not sore at all. perhaps the only pain i feel is the particular burning sensation that comes only when those oh-so-zippy cajun spices coating boiled crawfish come in contact with the ever-annoying splinter under the fingernail. ooph. we treated the black belts to a crawfish boil at the baptist church this evening. imagine a long, narrow table with lipped edges and three circular holes cut out revealing soon-to-be-full garbage cans. 70 or so recently-cleaned and ravinous folk. out from huge basins come the boiled crawfish, corn on the cob, and potatoes, by the pitcher-full, flung out across the table. grab a crawdad, twist apart, pinch the tail, suck out the goodness, toss it in the can. repeat. i came home to find my lips completely swollen from all the spice.

of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a picture of the boil. it's a rainy evening, i'm snug in my bed, and the last thing i feel like doing is tromping all the way across my spacious cottage into the other room to get my usb cable, but in an effort to deliver quality reporting and coverage (npr would be proud), i have retrieved the cable. granted, i had to bribe myself with another cup of tea.

13 April 2008


parallaxed, because

[par·al·lax [par-uh-laks] –noun:
1. the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.
2. an apparent change in the direction of an object, caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight. ]

it is perhaps too simple a concept to apply to my relation with my environment, but metaphorically it at least touches on my push for continual self-development. as i plant myself in new places, i am forced to look, to re-look, to move and circumambulate around ideas, objects, people, and situations that i might recognize but now have to reconsider. superficially, the are recognizable, but the context or underlying motives are not.

this need for investigation (both looking inwards and out) was at least part of the reason i chose to move to alabama. coming from the northeast, the deep south is truly exotic. it is steeped in a sharp and tangled history so unlike that of rust belt/snow belt buffalo. it is managed today with a different set of socio-economical-political principles. most noticeably, the breeze is laden the heavy, penetrable, ever-present odor of fry and catfish (and fried catfish). however, both places are part of the same country, and as such there is a certain amount of familiarity that comes (or should come) with this likeness.

however, being quite keen, i have determined that greensboro is not the same as buffalo.

at the same time that i am moving, so are objects in my environment. perhaps parallax is too self-centered a word to describe this mutual metamorphosis. i don't feel as confident that i'd be able to accurately convey how other entities change, however, so parallax it is.

and muddy, because i often cannot find, or am forced to fumble with, words to describe and explain the change in or reinforcement of my position, my new line of sight, and the fuzzy interface between me and this place.

phew, the inherently awkward first post is behind me.