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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