February 27, 2009

Postcard: Union Station

Nashville, Tennessee
(No postmark - early 1900's)

During the railroad's heyday, many cities built architecturally grand depots where people, commerce, and mail flowed every day. Such was Union Station in Nashville, Tennessee.

Completed in 1900, the massive gothic style railway station served for years as a center of activity. Its train shed was said to be the largest such structure in the world. As passenger rail service in the U.S. declined following World War II, so did Union Station. When the last passenger train ended its run there in 1979, this once grand building was abandoned.

The building stood unused until redevelopment brought it back to life as a hotel in the 1980's. Its grandeur is preserved today (albeit without trains) as Union Station - A Wyndham Historic Hotel.

Dan Hardison

February 20, 2009

Water from Another Time

We encounter many things as we make our way through life that help steer us along our path, or perhaps set us upon another path entirely. There are people who influence our thoughts and beliefs. There are events that remain with us always. But we also encounter little things that can impact our lives – sometimes without realizing it at the time.

Often times we may hear a song that will take us back to another place in time. I remember my first awareness of music when I listened to Chet Atkins' album "Mister Guitar" in the early 1960's. The album turned me onto music and would lead to my own guitar lessons and a love of music that today includes many varied styles. My every day is filled with music (most of it instrumental), but when I pull out "Mister Guitar," I am transported back to where it all began.

During my school years, literature was not to my liking. If our grades ranked school subjects from favorite to least favorite, literature was definitely at the bottom. It did not matter what form or style of literature – if it had words, it was disliked. Everything changed in the mid 1970's when I picked up Jim Metcalf's small book of poetry "In Some Quiet Place." That one book created a love for words that literature classes could not. Although today I read many different forms of writing, I still occasionally pull out one of Metcalf's books and discover again that first thrill of the printed word.

I have long had a passion for visual art. I owe most of my knowledge and appreciation of art to my uncle, but a turning point came when I purchased a book, "The Art of Andrew Wyeth." Wyeth's work fascinated me. His art was realistic in that the scenes and subjects were immediately recognizable, yet they also told a deeper story and created a mood that drew you in and captured you. Most art critics dismissed Wyeth, yet the general public adored him.

A high point for me came in 1980 when I visited the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina. At the time, the museum held the Magill collection of Andrew Wyeth art. Here for one's viewing were most of the important works by Wyeth – primarily from the Olson and Kuerner periods. This was an event I would not forget. My love of art today embraces many different styles that include the world of craft as well. But for me the soft tones and quiet melancholy of Andrew Wyeth's world will forever remain a fascination.

Andrew Wyeth passed away in January 2009. Chet Atkins died in 2001, and Jim Metcalf died in 1977. So excuse me while I get a cup of tea, put on Chet Atkins' "Mister Guitar," grab my tattered copy of Jim Metcalf's "In Some Quiet Place" and "The Art of Andrew Wyeth," and settle down for awhile. I need to revisit some old friends, drift back to where things began, and dip once again in water from another time.

Their stories quench my soul and mind
Like water from another time

— John McCutcheon

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Rock Island State Park, East Tennessee

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February 13, 2009

Winter Visitor

If the time of April
were upon us,
you'd be just another day –
so much like the ones
that came before you
and the ones that would come after –
that your loveliness would go unnoticed
in the sameness of a springtime sequence,
when beauty follows beauty
from sun to moon to sun again.

But now, in winter,
you violate the mandates
of a calendar that dictates
what your nature ought to be . . .
and your warm kiss
is made the sweeter
when felt on cheeks
that recall the touch of winter . . .
just a day ago.

Jim Metcalf
From his book “Please to Begin”.

Photo by Dan Hardison
Moores Creek National Battlefield
Currie, North Carolina

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February 6, 2009

A Time for Sleeping

Trees that have stood
so stark and forlorn
are sprouting new leaves
as Spring brings new life.

Summer brings fulfillment
with trees full and shapely
casting their shade
with life at its fullest.

With Fall life has slowed
as leaves begin to fall.
Days grow shorter
and living has taken its toll.

In Winter trees are bare
and life seems weary
in need of a rest –
a time for sleeping.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Bledsoe County, East Tennessee

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