December 24, 2010

The Gift

The day had arrived,
the family had gathered,
gifts were brought for the child.

With great gusto and delight
the child tore at the paper
revealing the gifts one by one.

Toys that talked, toys that moved,
toys with lights and sound,
wonderful things had been bought.

And so the time came
when the last gift was unwrapped
and the new toys sat all about.

The child chose the one
that thrilled him the most
and was his greatest delight.

From all that was given
the child chose to play
with an empty box.

— Dan Hardison

Image by Dan Hardison
mixed media

December 17, 2010

Deep Peace

Deep peace of Christ
the light of the world to you

Words from a Gaelic blessing
Image, mixed media artwork by Dan Hardison

December 10, 2010

A Light

Tanka and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina

Tanka, Sketchbook - Sep/Oct 2010

December 3, 2010

Prodigal Life

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Maury County, Tennessee

World Haiku Association, November 2010

November 26, 2010


Tanka and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Cookeville, Tennessee

Tanka, Sketchbook - Sep/Oct 2010

November 19, 2010

The Frost Covered Ground

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Bledsoe County, East Tennessee

World Haiku Association, October 2010

October 22, 2010

Slipping Away

Night is falling
and the sky is flowing
through its myriad of colors.

Watching as trees
that just a short time ago
were distinct and clear

draw further
into the distance
and into our memories.

And when all about is dark,
the trees and the day
will slip away into the night.

And they will be . . .
as a dream.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Hickory Nut Gorge, Western North Carolina

Also available:
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October 15, 2010

Dreams Remembered

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Balsam, North Carolina

Modern Haiga, December 2009

October 8, 2010


The best time is late afternoon
when the sun strobes through
the columns of trees as you are hiking up,
and when you find an agreeable rock
to sit on, you will be able to see
the light pouring down into the woods
and breaking into the shapes and tones
of things and you will hear nothing
but a sprig of birdsong or the leafy
falling of a cone or nut through the trees,
and if this is your day you might even
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
driving overhead toward some destination.

But it is hard to speak of these things
how the voices of light enter the body
and begin to recite their stories
how the earth holds us painfully against
its breast made of humus and brambles
how we who will soon be gone regard
the entities that continue to return
greener than ever, spring water flowing
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds
passing over the hills and the ground
where we stand in the tremble of thought
taking the vast outside into ourselves.

— Billy Collins
From his book "The Art of Drowning"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Bald River Falls, Eastern Tennessee

Also available:
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September 24, 2010

Postcard: Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Mountain and Entrance to Motor Road, Chimney Rock, NC
(Unused - divided back, c1920s)

Tucked away in Hickory Nut Gorge of Western North Carolina, Chimney Rock has stood the test of time. And if you have seen the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans," then you know the beauty of Chimney Rock Park.

Located along Highway 74A as it follows the Rocky Broad River, Chimney Rock Park has welcomed visitors since 1902. Its name comes from a 315-foot granite rock formation that stands like a chimney on the side of a cliff. The entrance is across a bridge spanning the river and follows a twisting road up to the base of the chimney. During the early days of the park, a series of paths, stairs, and ladders took visitors from the parking lot at the base up to the top of Chimney Rock. Since 1949, an elevator built inside the cliff can carry visitors 26 stories to the top.

Besides a visit to Chimney Rock, several other unusual rock formations can be found along five different hiking trails. Also found in the park is Hickory Nut Falls. At 404 feet, it is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The Pavilion dining room and the Cliff Dwellers Inn that were once part of the park are gone today, but you can still enjoy the Sky Lounge at the top of the elevator and the Nature Center.

For over 100 years, Chimney Rock Park was privately owned and operated. In 2007, North Carolina purchased it to become the centerpiece of a new state park. Still in development, Chimney Rock State Park includes over 4,000 acres in Hickory Nut Gorge and is part of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. Thanks to the state of North Carolina, the unique features and natural beauty of the area will be preserved for generations to come.

— Dan Hardison

Also available:
Message from the Past: Visiting Chimney Rock

Lake Lure from Precipice above Chimney Rock, Western North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, c1930)

September 10, 2010

On the Edge of Light

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

September 3, 2010


The heat of the day still lingers in the field.
Leaves disclose their secrets
in answer to whispers from the bay.

My daughter bends like a sapling in waning sun,
selecting dandelions: one for her,
and another one

for her brother who crouches on the uneven sidewalk,
Bear tight under an arm, thumb in mouth
to keep the world in balance.

Amber light filters through spreading elms
lining the avenue of this small town.
I breathe in the evening, close my eyes

long enough to etch the moment for safe-keeping,
before it fades, an old photograph, fleeting,
a child's breath freeing seeds.

— Ronda Broatch
From her chapbook "Some Other Eden"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Cookeville, Tennessee

Also available:
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August 27, 2010

Message from the Past: Visiting Chimney Rock

Parking Place at Base of Chimney Rock, Western North Carolina
(Used - divided back, 1921)

Driving along the steep and winding highway 74A as it passes through Hickory Nut Gorge in Western North Carolina, Chimney Rock stands as a sentinel over the Rocky Broad River. For over 100 years, the distinctive 315-foot tall granite rock formation has been the centerpiece of Chimney Rock Park and a destination for visitors.

Access to the park is across a bridge and along a road that leads to the base of the chimney. In earlier days, visitors had to climb a series of trails, stairs, and ladders to reach the top of the chimney. In 1948, a 26-story elevator was constructed inside the cliff to take visitors to the top. A footbridge is still needed to get from the elevator out onto the top of the chimney.

The cover of the postcard shows Chimney Rock with the parking lot and the Cliff Dwellers Inn at the base of the chimney. The inn would be torn down to make way for the entrance to the elevator.

The back of the postcard has a postmark of 1921. The message reads:

"Our boarding house accommodates thirty six people. July and Aug. are the hottest months. This is top of Chimney Rock. It is so high that people have been carried down on stretchers as they could not stand the altitude."

It is no wonder that an elevator was installed, and good that it is still in service today for visitors to Chimney Rock.

— Dan Hardison

August 20, 2010

Morning in the Blue Ridge

Morning comes
to these mountains before me.
Not in a rush
but gently and silently.

It is a cloud-covered morning
bathed in a myriad of blues.
It is hard to tell
where the mountains end
and the heavens begin.

There is little sound
save for a breeze
rustling through the trees,
and a mourning dove
somewhere in the distance.

As time slowly moves on
there seems to be little change –
as though time itself
was standing still.

But at some point
this peaceful calm will be broken.
The sun will come alive
and the day will awaken.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina

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August 13, 2010

Swirls of Mystery

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Western North Carolina

World Haiku Association, April 2010

August 6, 2010

Rough Country

Give me a landscape made of obstacles,
of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,
where the low-running streams are quick to flood
the grassy fields and bottomlands.

A place

no engineers can master–where the roads
must twist like tendrils up the mountainside
on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.
Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine
push through the tangled woods to make a roost
for hawks and swarming crows.

And sharp inclines

where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,
scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly
to find an unexpected waterfall,
not half a mile from the nearest road,
a spot so hard to reach that no one comes–
a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies
and nesting jays, a sign that there is still
one piece of property that won't be owned.

Dana Gioia
From his book “The Gods of Winter.”

Photo by Dan Hardison
Western North Carolina

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July 30, 2010

Postcard: Old Baldy

Lighthouse on Smith Island, (Bald Head Island) North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, 1940s-1950s)

The coast of North Carolina is known as a ship graveyard of the Atlantic. Lighthouses along this coast have long served to give warning of the treacherous waters found there. On the southern end at a prominent headland jutting into the Atlantic Ocean is Bald Head Island (also known as Smith Island) and Old Baldy Lighthouse.

Bald Head Island (also known as Smith Island) is located off the coast of Southport, North Carolina where the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean come together. Old Baldy is North Carolina's oldest standing lighthouse. Built in 1817, it was the second lighthouse to be built on the island. The bricks from the first lighthouse (completed in 1795) were reused for Old Baldy's construction.

The 110-foot brick octagonal lighthouse has a base diameter of 36 feet with walls 5 feet thick, decreasing to 2 feet at the top. A set of spiraling stairs takes you from the base to a platform under the distinctive offset lantern room. Entrance into the lantern room is by a narrow ladder through a small opening in the floor.

Bald Head Island was the site of Fort Holmes during the Civil War. The fort was used to protect the Cape Fear River and the port of Wilmington. Old Baldy remained active until 1935. It was used as a radio beacon from World War II until 1958. Old Baldy is open to the public today and a replica of the 1850's lighthouse keeper's cottage stands next to it and houses a history museum.

Lighthouses have long served as navigation aids to ships piloting coastal and inland waterways. Old Baldy stands as a reminder of the role of a lighthouse and its duty serving the area known as Cape Fear.

— Dan Hardison

Also available:
Visit Windscape Studio at for photos of Old Baldy.

July 23, 2010


Dreams fulfilled
and unrealized
Circumstances won
and lost
Emotions touched
and shattered
Observations beheld
and fate endured
Life experienced
and knowledge gained
Memories all

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Columbia, Tennessee

July 16, 2010

The Water Lily

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

World Haiku Association, June 2010

July 2, 2010

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written,
I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz
From his book "The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Airlie Gardens
Wilmington, North Carolina

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June 25, 2010

Postcard: St. John's Church

Columbia, Tennessee
(Unused - divided back, c1940s)

In 1864, the Confederate Army of Tennessee marched past St. John's Episcopal Church on its way to face Union troops at nearby Franklin, Tennessee. General Patrick Cleburne, while passing by the church, is said to have remarked, "This is the most beautiful and peaceful spot I ever beheld . . . It is almost worth dying to be buried in such a beautiful spot." Several days later Cleburne, General H. B. Granbury, and General O. F. Strahl died at the Battle of Franklin and were buried at St. John's.

Located in an area known as Ashwood between the towns of Columbia and Mt. Pleasant in Middle Tennessee, St. John's Church is one of Maury County's most treasured historical sites. Built by Leonidas Polk and his three brothers: Rufus, Lucius, and George – cousins to President James K. Polk – the church is located at a point where the brother's plantations came together. The land and material for the church was donated by the brothers and built by slaves. The pulpit, reredos, and altar rail were made from a single wild cherry tree that grew on the site. It was a plantation church meant to provide a place of worship for the Polk families, their slaves, and their neighbors.

Construction began in 1839 and completed three years later. Bishop James Hervey Otey, the first Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee, consecrated the church on Sept. 4, 1842. Leonidas Polk served as St. John's first rector and would later become the first Bishop of Louisiana and a general in the Confederate Army know as the 'Fighting Bishop'.

Behind St. John's is the traditional churchyard burial ground where generals Cleburne, Granbury, and Strahl were buried. Years later their remains were removed and re-buried in other states, but their gravesites at St. John's have never again been used. All but one of the Polk brothers would eventually be buried at St. John's. Resting at St. John's are members of the Polk family, Civil War soldiers, and five Episcopal bishops including Bishop Otey.

St. John's continued regular services until 1915 when the congregation dwindled to just one family. Since 1921, services are held only once a year on Whitsunday – the Feast of Pentecost. The service always draws a large crowd and afterward a picnic is held on the grounds.

St. John's remains today much as it was during the 1800's. There is no electricity and no running water. It still has the original furnishings, hand-blown leaded glass windows, and the 1890 Packard reed pump organ. Also, the original silver chalice used by the Polk family is once again used for the Whitsunday service.

For 160 years, St. John's kept a peaceful existence that not even the Civil War could betray. But the peace and serenity at St. John's came to an end when two present day teenagers broke into the church and vandalized it in May 2001. The tragedy occurred just one week before the annual pilgrimage to St. John's to celebrate Whitsunday.

The church windows were broken out, the Baptismal font was damaged, and the organ that sat in the choir loft was thrown to the sanctuary floor below. Tombstones in the graveyard were toppled or destroyed. Two young men were later arrested and charged with the destruction.

After news of the vandalism spread, the community – regardless of denomination – turned out to help cleanup the church and make temporary repairs so that its annual service could be held. Donations came from people near and far sympathetic to the tragedy the church had suffered. The anger and grief over what happened, as well as the show of support, demonstrate the affection for the historic church.

Mary Polk Branch described St. John's Church in 1911 with these words, "This church of many memories stands in a cemetery of seven or eight acres surrounded by a stone wall. The large oak trees and the carpet of blue grass make it a lovely spot, but the doors of the church are closed, the windows unopened, the iron-gate in front locked. . . . In the distance is heard the sound of the automobile and the roll of heavy wagons upon the pike, and we realize the brightness of the world without and the busy life which surrounds the old church with its story of the past."

— Dan Hardison

An engraving of St John's Church that originally appeared for the article "The Country Church in America" in Scribner's Magazine, November 1897.

For photographs of St. John's as it appears today, visit Windscape studio at

June 18, 2010


In youth when work
and worry about the future
seems all important
little time is spent
on the beauty
that surrounds us.

But the time will come
when we realize
the future is receding
and we must make time
for that which
we are given.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Columbia, Tennessee

Also available:
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June 11, 2010

Song I Remember

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

Haiku appeared in moonset, Spring/Summer 2010.

June 4, 2010

How Perfectly

How perfectly

and neatly

opens the pink rose

this bright morning,

the sun warm

on my shoulders,

its heat

on the opening petals.


it is the smallest,

the least important event

at this moment

in the whole world.

Yet I stand there,

utterly happy.

Mary Oliver
From "Provincetown Arts", volume 24, 2009/10

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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May 28, 2010

Flat Harrison's Visit

In 1964, Jeff Brown published his children's book titled "Flat Stanley." Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer, the book describes the adventures of Stanley Lambchop, a small boy who is accidentally flattened when a large bulletin board falls on him. Stanley now finds he can enter rooms by sliding under doors, can be used as a kite, and visit friends by mailing himself in an envelope. Brown continued the adventures of Flat Stanley in a series of books, but the concept of a flat little boy has also continued through school projects.

The first Flat Stanley Project was started in 1995 by Dale Hubert, a third grade schoolteacher in Canada. Beginning by reading the book, students created paper Flat Stanleys and took them on adventures - keeping a journal of the places and activities. The journals were given to others and were asked to add their own adventures with Flat Stanley. Variations of this concept have been used in classrooms throughout Canada, the US, and the world.

It was through a school project that Flat Harrison came to visit Wilmington, North Carolina. A third grade class in Alabama read the Flat Stanley book and the children cutout and colored their own flat person naming each one after themselves. Afterwards, each child mailed their flat person to a friend or relative asking them to take the flat person with them and take photos of the places and things that they did together. A journal or diary was to be kept documenting the visit. The flat person, photos, and journal were then mailed back to the teacher, so the class could discuss the travels and adventures of the students' flat people.

If you have not read the original "Flat Stanley" book, Stanley does not remain flat forever. Tiring of the attention Stanley is getting, his younger brother Arthur uses a football air pump to return Stanley to his old self.

— Dan Hardison

Flat Harrison's Journal:
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May 15, 2010

Where the Water Falls

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Fall Creek Falls State Park, East Tennessee

Simply Haiku, Autumn 2009, vol 7 no 3.

May 7, 2010

Waters of the River

My being
is as the waters of a river;
passing through time and change
and creations of God
and man
that line my way.
Ever changing, ever moving,
pursuing paths
not always of my choosing . . .
traveling at a pace
not always of my heart's desire,
toward some obscure horizon;
some uncertain destiny.

Like the river,
I am moved by powers
I cannot command;
sometimes to linger
in desolate and ugly places
'til I become
a part of what they are . . .
and their look
is on my face . . .
Then suddenly to be swept
past things of beauty,
things of worth,
too fast to grasp . . .
too fast to comprehend.

My life
is as the waters of a river
and I cannot change my course.
Perhaps, there was a time,
somewhere in the beginning,
but not now.
So I will take the path I must
toward whatever seas await me.

Jim Metcalf
From his book “In Some Quiet Place.”

Photo by Dan Hardison
Tellico Plains, Tennessee

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April 30, 2010

Postcard: The River Front

Wilmington, North Carolina
(unused - undivided back, early 1900's)

In earlier times, towns were settled along the banks of a river to take advantage of the river's use for transportation and to move commerce. Warehouses, naval stores, and docks would line the banks of the river. Even though the river itself provided a means of travel, many rivers also presented the problem of crossing from one side to the other. Such is the history of Wilmington, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River.

Wilmington was first settled in the 1720s and was important not only for its location on the Cape Fear River, but also its closeness to the Atlantic Ocean where the Cape Fear flows. The earliest means of crossing the river was by oar-powered flatboat ferries. Ferries of various types continued to operate on the river into the 1930s carrying passengers, goods, and later automobiles. The first bridge in Wilmington to cross the Cape Fear River did not appear until 1929 and like the ferries, there was a toll to cross.

As the city grew, so did its need for crossing the river. Today there is the Cape fear Memorial Bridge that opened in 1969, and the Isabel S. Holmes Bridge that opened in 1979. There are currently plans to build a third bridge, which ironically would be a toll bridge like the earlier bridges and ferries.

Like many river towns of today, Wilmington's riverfront has changed from that of a working riverfront to one of condos, retail shops, restaurants, pleasure boats, and tourists. But while those in a rush can take to the bridges to hurriedly get from one side of the river to the other, one can also take to the river by tour boat or river taxi to enjoy the beauty of the river at the leisurely pace of those early ferries.

— Dan Hardison

April 16, 2010

A Splash of Color

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Hampstead, North Carolina

Simply Haiku, Autumn 2009, vol 7 no 3.

April 9, 2010

So That's the World

(After George W. Jones)

Mountain born and bred they say,
and it is from this mountain
that he has never strayed.
His home is, as it has always been,
a cove in a narrow valley.

A simple life for a simple man –
never wanting more,
never needing more,
never venturing beyond
the tree lined rim.

Then the day came when
he traveled beyond the valley
to a bluff on the other side
of the mountain.

The vastness of land
stretching out before him
caused him to exclaim,
"So that's the world.
God almighty ain't she a whopper!"

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Western, North Carolina

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April 2, 2010

Lines (Sometimes from the far-away)

Sometimes, from the far-away,

Wing a little thought to me;

In the night or in the day,

It will give a rest to me.

I have praise of many here,

And the world gives me renown;

Let it go – give me one tear,

'Twill be a jewel in my crown.

What care I for earthly fame?

How I shrink from all its glare!

I would rather that my name

Would be shrined in some one's prayer.

Many hearts are all too much,

Or too little in their praise;

I would rather feel the touch

Of one prayer that thrills all days.

Abram J. Ryan

Photo by Dan Hardison
Montgomery, Alabama

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March 26, 2010

Postcard: Automobile Road

Asheville, North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, early 1900's)

Many of us today take travel on Interstate Highways for granted. Few of today's travelers remember the days of traveling before there was a network of limited-access multilane highways crisscrossing the US. Although we all experience the frustration of traffic tie-ups and construction delays associated with Interstates, travel by road could – and has been – much worse.

The Interstate Highway System is the largest highway system in the world and the largest public works project in history. Officially, it is the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The system is named for President Eisenhower who was instrumental it its formation by the federal government in 1956. The concept was not only to provide a road system for private and commercial transportation, but also key ground transport routes for military supplies and troops in case of an emergency or foreign invasion.

The completion of the Interstate System as originally planned occurred in 1992. Since then, work has continued to add bypasses, spurs, and new routes not part of the original plan. Besides accomplishing its initial goal of providing private, commercial, and military transportation, the system of roadways has also been used for evacuations in the event of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

When I-40 was completed in the 1980s to become a major highway linking the east and west coasts, a sign was erected near the start of the westbound section in Wilmington, North Carolina that read "Barstow, Calif. 2,554 mil." With the completion, Charles Kuralt lamented, "Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything."

The late Wilmington, North Carolina artist Claude Howell told stories of his family traveling by car in the 1920s from Wilmington to Asheville, North Carolina to visit relatives when he was young. Much of the trip was made over dirt roads using trees with painted marks to guide the way. The trip took 3 days to complete. Today, using I-40 to make the same trip to Asheville takes 6 hours.

— Dan Hardison

March 19, 2010

The After A While

There's a beautiful river, the After A While,
With travelers drifting away;
It flows through the country of Putting Things Off,
Till it broadens out into the bay.

Far down at the mouth of this slow-winding stream
Is the city of Never, I hear,
And those who would drift on the eddying tide
Must tie at its tumbledown pier.

So if you wouldn't go to the city I've named,
Don't ask me the "why" or the "how";
Just portage today, to the stream o'er the hill,
That turbulent river, the "Now"!

Stillman J. Elwell
From his book "Windows of Thought"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Brunswick Town, North Carolina

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March 12, 2010

Winter Weavings

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

World Haiku Association, February 2010

March 5, 2010

Until Blooms Come

Stepping into morning
with air crisp and cold
and the wind sighing
through the trees.

Footsteps seem intrusive
in this wintry world
where not even bird
or animal stir.

I stand amidst a world
devoid of color and remember . . .
a time of warmth when
nature was at its fullest.

But not so today
for now, it is only a memory –
a fond remembrance until
blooms come again.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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February 26, 2010

Postcard: The Classic Duck River

Columbia, Tennessee
(Used - postmark 1908)

The Duck River in Middle Tennessee is the longest river located entirely within the state. It is also one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and it is considered one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America. Its latest honor is the designation by National Geographic as one of four sites that are the most biologically richest places in the world.

The National Geographic article, "Within One Cubic Foot, Miniature Surveys of Biodiversity," appears in the February 2010 issue of the magazine. For the survey, National Geographic used a 12-inch tank, dipped into the water, to determine the bounty of life at each location. For the Duck River survey, a spot was chosen at Lillard Mill 15-miles east of Columbia.

The Duck River flows for over 290 miles through seven counties before merging into the Tennessee River and provides recreation and drinking water for more than 250,000 Tennesseans. Along its route is a 37-mile stretch designated as a State Scenic River and an area that is part of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to more than 650 species, more than found in all of the streams of Europe combined, and includes 150 fish species and more freshwater mussel species than any river in the Southeast.

Major towns along the Duck include Manchester, Shelbyville, Columbia, and Centerville. In 1973, construction of the Columbia Dam was begun on the Duck to be a TVA reservoir. The dam was meant for flood control and recreation, and not to produce electricity. Work was halted in 1983 after the dam was 90% complete when two endangered species of mussel were found. After determining that costs would far exceed benefits, the project was abandoned in 1995. The largely completed dam was dismantled and the area is now the Yanahli Wildlife Preserve.

The diversity and wealth of life in the Duck River is credited to the river being part of an ancient watershed where its water has streamed over a limestone base for millions of years. Through the years, care has been given to keep the river flowing free and clean. The postcard (postmarked 1908) calls it the "Classic Duck River," and indeed it is.

— Dan Hardison

February 19, 2010

Moon's Benediction

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Pastel and handmade paper

World Haiku Association, January 2010

February 12, 2010

Winter's Tease

The last days of winter
filled with ice and snow
have brought a longing
for spring to come.

But today feels like spring
with its warm air and sunshine,
and a sense of renewal
that has long been absent.

Birds have taken flight
in search of new surroundings
and squirrels have ventured out
in the warmth of their world.

But this wonderful day
is only a tease
of what our thoughts
have been longing for.

For tomorrow will be
another winter day
and the cold and gloom
will feel even worse . . .
after winter's tease
of what's to come.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Bledsoe County, Tennessee

Also available:
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February 5, 2010

Weather Note

The snow has gone,
But the naked tree
Has yet no bird
For us to see:

Against the sky
The tree stands tall,
Wanting a bird,
Shapely and small,

To break the lean
Black bough austere, –
And break the frozen
Silence, here,

With a spring note,
Startling as thunder,
On ears awaiting
That first wonder.

David Morton
From his book "Angle of Earth and Sky," 1941.

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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January 30, 2010

Postcard: The Arcade

Nashville, Tennessee
(Unused - undivided back era, early 1900's)

When you think of a mall, do you think of a large enclosed structure containing retail shops and restaurants, or a complex where young people like to congregate and "hangout," or maybe a place where senior citizens go to walk? We like to think of today's shopping mall as being a modern convenience that had its beginnings during the 1970's as an enclosed version of the shopping centers or strip malls that came with the rise of suburban living after World War II. Actually, the mall concept goes back a bit further.

The shopping mall is based on the traditional marketplace. One of the largest covered marketplaces in the world is the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, which is still active today after being built in the 15th century. The oldest mall in the United States is the Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island, that was built in 1828. The large-scale fully enclosed shopping mall as we know it today can be traced to Northgate Mall, built in Seattle, Washington, in 1950.

In Nashville, Tennessee, the indoor shopping experience can be traced to the "Arcade." Built in 1903, it is located between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in downtown Nashville at what was then known as Overton Alley. It is a two-level complex with a glass roof and identical Palladian facades at each end. At the time of the Arcade's opening, it was described as "the only building of the kind in the South."

The Arcade contained some of the best retail stores found in Nashville and offered services from a barbershop to a post office. The Arcade is still open today offering visitors a variety of stores, cafes, and art galleries.

The concept of the mall has grown and changed since its earliest days, but the idea of an enclosed shopping experience still rings true. Nashville's Arcade is an active example of one of the mall's early inceptions.

— Dan Hardison

January 15, 2010


Morning has come,
but as yet no sun –
grey clouds fill the sky.

The air is still
and all about is quiet –
nothing is stirring.

As if all were waiting
for what may happen next,
but for now the world
still wants to slumber.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Cookeville, Tennessee

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January 8, 2010


I am so tired and weary,
So tired of the endless fight,
So weary of waiting the dawn
And finding endless night.
That I ask but rest and quiet –
Rest for days that are gone,
And quiet for the little space
That I must journey on.

Joseph S. Cotter, Jr.

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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