By Timothy Collins
May 26, 2017: Magical Twilight
Sitting out on a quiet evening is certainly one joy of small-town living.
If the neighbors have their lights out (they usually do), life tends to settle down around 8:30 or 9:00. It can be quite still, with an occasional interruption from a train on the BNSF line a few blocks away. Amtrak, when it races by each night, is, for whatever reason, comforting.
A rising moon can cast wondrous shadows through the old trees, as it did during our early May full lunar spectacle.
By now, the fireflies have started to come out, and the yard is alight with hundreds of sparkling gold fairy-like lights.
All of this deepening twilight is magical, often marked by a flock of geese crossing overhead.
The proliferation of night wildlife this spring has broken the silence in wondrous ways. Because we have had so much rain, the tree frog chorus is the biggest I’ve ever heard. We seem to have some ducks or something else nearby, perhaps in a neighbor’s pool. An owl has taken up residence in a nearby tree.
Simple gifts, all of these.
I am grateful.
I cannot ask for more.
Except for the end of buffalo gnat season, which isn’t too far away.
May 7, 2017: Rural Sunday, a Reflection
The American custom of observing Rural Life Sunday (also called Rural Sunday) during the spring transcends denominational boundaries. It has its roots in the ancient custom of “Rogation Days” from the Latin “rogare” ― “to ask.”
(In modern English, we find the root in our word, “interrogation”).
Late in the Easter season, Christians in farming communities would ask a blessing on their fields, their seeds, their farm animals, and their own labor, that their planting would flourish and result in a good harvest.
It was a joyful, hopeful time of community prayer for the land and its people.
Sadly, the custom of Rural Sunday has diminished in recent decades as we have moved farther away from a farming society. Even those of us who live in rural communities too often find ourselves isolated from the diverse beauties of the rural land, not only its farms, but the works of all of its human inhabitants, as well as our fellow creatures.
Today, following up on Earth Day, we have another opportunity to give thanks for the fullness of the land and its natural beauty, the gift of God’s creation. Today is an invitation to be just a little bit closer to the rural landscape, its people, and its creatures on a glorious spring morning. (Adapted from http://uccfiles.com/pdf/RuralLifeSunday-Easter6-May5.pdf.)
June 19, 2016: Preparing for Solstice
The last evening of Spring: The Earth and Sun are approaching a balance of zenith. Read more.
This all-but-forgotten "Negro Choir" was incredibly popular for singing spirituals in the 1930s and 1940s. It helped lower barriers to civil rights for blacks with its nationwide broadcasts on the CBS Radio Network and scores of live performances.
Latest in the Daily Yonder
People on the Land
Prairie Land Conservancy has released a short video about the Prairie Hills Wetland Reserve near Banner, IL. It was produced by Tory Dahlhoff of Yeoman Filmer and Then and Now Media. You can find the video here.
A piece in the Daily Yonder describes the land conservancy and the property.
“Preserving the Prairie, a Plot at a Time.” http://www.dailyyonder.com/preserving-prairie-plot-time/2015/02/09/7711/.
In a highly unusual contribution to the cemetery literature of African-Americans, Dr. Sam Barber chronicles the story of racial discrimination that followed the black population of Greenville, NC, through life and even into the grave. The story he tells can provide communities with inspiration to retrieve and preserve their history.
Order your copy today:
Dr. Sam Barber P.O. Box 1573 Winterville, NC 28590
Available through Amazon
Edited by Then and Now Media
Selling the State tells how economic development policies got started in Kentucky and changed over nearly 40 years. It is an rare account of state-level policy development.
FROM THE FOREWORD, by Bill Bishop, former editor of the Daily Yonder
"Selling the State tells how choices made over a century sustained a culture that was, in a sense, economically inert. It was a choice the state made—rather a series of choices. Kentucky wasn’t alone in its economic path. The consequences of those decisions—traced in the book’s charts—have been profound."
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