Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some Springy Photos (with geeky OED citation)

Springy : "1. b. Characteristic of the season of spring; spring-like."
I discovered this wheelbarrow full of avian domiciles parked in a front yard during a long walk around the neighborhood. I haven't followed up to see if any of these actually made it out of the wheelbarrow, or if this is some form of mobile cluster housing for birds. No evidence that any of these birdhouses are for your soul:

We saw this pair of rainbows last weekend after an afternoon thundershower. The view is from Flat Top Road between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC:

There it is! The end of the rainbow!

This indigo bunting lighted on the hedge beside a friend's house on the Watauga River near Sugar Grove, NC:

An Easter morning photo taken behind my mother's house in North Carolina:

And, finally, an enthusiastic Bou in our backyard, eagerly wanting to know what I'm doing with the camera:

There you go. A springy set. And now, as promised, "springy" from the OED:
springy, a. (from the Oxford English Dictionary)

a. Growing in the season of spring. Obs.{em}1

1593 QUEEN ELIZABETH Boeth. I. metr. vi. 16 Nor seake not thou with gredy hand The springy Palmes [L. vernos palmites] to weld. [Cf. SPRINGINESS 2b.]

b. Characteristic of the season of spring; spring-like.

1860 S. WARNER Say & Seal II. xviii. 229 It was April now, and a soft springy day. 1936 N. COWARD To-night at 8.30 III. 85 Quite Springy out, isn't it?

2. a. Characterized by the presence of springs of water.

1641 BEST Farm Bks. (Surtees) 4 Lowe, moist, and springy groundes are the best to increase milke in an ewe. 1733 W. ELLIS Chiltern & Vale Farm. 262 It will greatly improve springy, or over-wet Grounds, if we first drain them. 1799 [A. YOUNG] Agric. Lincoln. 245 Many similar springy sides of hills are to be met with all the way to Ranby. 1853 Jrnl. R. Agric. Soc. XIV. I. 36 Occasional parts of the field were found springy and full of water. 1865 MRS. WHITNEY Gayworthys xxvi. (1879) 250 A huge, dry slippery log that lay over a springy spot.

b. Coming from springs. rare{em}1.

1653 W. BLITHE Eng. Improver Impr. 19 That thou maist goe under that..springie moysture that breeds and feeds the Rush.

3. a. Endowed with spring or elasticity.

1660 BOYLE New Exp. Phys. Mech. i. 27 Though the Air were granted to consist of Springy Particles. 1685 {<span class=emem}" align="absbottom" border="0" height="14" width="26"> Effects Motion ii. 14 Which depends chiefly upon the Celerity of the springy Corpuscles of the Air. 1709 FLOYER Cold Bathing I. iv. 93 The Animal Spirits being compressed, are more lively, springy, and fitter for Motion. 1734 Phil. Trans. XXXVIII. 414 Her Hair was long and springy as that of a living Person. 1786 Med. Comment. II. 105 The tumor..was a little springy. 1817 KEATS Sleep & Poetry 95 A laughing schoolboy..Riding the springy branches of an elm. 1839 F. A. KEMBLE Resid. in Georgia (1863) 36 light as horse-hair, as springy, and elastic. 1887 RIDER HAGGARD Allan Quatermain 67 A light but exceedingly tough native wood, something like English ash, only more springy.

b. Of the muscles or body, or of persons, etc., with reference to these.

1776 MICKLE tr. Camoens' Lusiad 454 Their springy shoulders stretching to the blow. 1822 SCOTT Peveril ii, He satisfied himself..that though her little frame was slight, it was firm and springy. 1837 Fraser's Mag. XVI. 367 The prompt equerry had led the springy coursers to the gate. 1871 L. STEPHEN Playgr. Eur. (1894) xiii. 324 His muscles feel firm and springy.

c. Elastic to the tread.

1797 COLERIDGE This lime-tree bower my prison 7 Friends, whom I never more may meet again On springy heath. 1875 W. S. HAYWARD Love agst. World 13 Away they thundered over the springy turf. 1886 Cornh. Mag. July 58 The stage is..very ‘springy’, a condition designed to help acrobatic performances.

4. Marked or characterized by spring, elasticity, or resilience: a. In general use.

1669 W. SIMPSON Hydrol. Chym. 93 The springy motion of the animal spirits. 1672-3 GREW Anat. Pl., Roots II. (1682) 82 The Aer being of an Elastick or Springy Nature. 1710 T. FULLER Pharm. Extemp. 249 It..roborates the Springey Tone of the Lungs. 1741 A. MONRO Anat. Bones (ed. 3) 171 In raising the Trunk, these Cartilages will assist by their springy Force. 1837 JAMES Phil. Augustus I. ii, There was a springy vigour in the atmosphere, as if the wind itself were young. 1888 RUTLEY Rock-Forming Min. 193 Then drive a needle, by a sharp, springy tap.., into the mica. 1893 Brit. Jrnl. Photogr. XL. 745 Resisting with all its springy power.

b. esp. Of the bearing or movements of persons or animals.

1818 Sporting Mag. II. 166 His attitude was springy, and ready for quick action. 1820 SCOTT Monast. xxxii, The springy step..reminded Henry Warden of Halbert. 1889 ‘R. BOLDREWOOD Robbery under Arms xx, Rainbow [a horse] sailed off with his beautiful easy springy stride.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hard frost's A-Gonna Fall

We had a hard frost this week, hopefully the last of the season. I took these photos in the backyard just as the sun was reaching the yard. The first photo was taken with the frost intact:

While this one was a few feet away in the sun:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Appalachian native wins second NCAA national championship

Appalachian native Roy Williams, head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels, led his team to the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship last night. The Tar Heels defeated Michigan State 89-72 to win North Carolina's second national championship under Williams, who also won in 2005. It was North Carolina's fifth NCAA men's basketball championship overall.

Williams spent his early years in the Appalachian towns of Marion and Spruce Pine, NC, but as a young child his family moved to Biltmore, outside of Asheville, NC. Williams was raised near the famous Biltmore Estate, the megamansion built by robber baron George Vanderbilt in the nineteenth century. Williams attended T. C. Roberson High School, where he earned letters in basketball and baseball.

A 2003 article by Ed Hardin, in the Greensboro, NC, News & Record, discussed Williams' years in Biltmore :

"I've never even been inside it," Williams said (of the Biltmore House)...He lived on another hill in a tiny white house under two giant hardwoods.

Williams escaped from these hills in a Ford Mustang, and he fully intended to come home forever. His mother died in 1992 and his alcoholic father moved a few years back... "My mother was my hero," he said. "She was a very intelligent, uneducated lady who only went through the 10th grade. She always said, 'You just try to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is not necessarily what you want to do, but you do the right thing.' "

"When I was a youngster I dreamed of playing at North Carolina," he said. "Then I dreamed of coaching at North Carolina. You may not believe this, but I never dreamed of being a head coach at North Carolina. I always dreamed of being coach Smith's assistant."

T.C. Roberson High School sits far off the main road, located on the banks of Lake Julian just below the Blue Ridge Parkway. The gym is named for Buddy Baldwin, the Roberson basketball coach who would become Williams' mentor.

Baldwin said that was something he found out later.

"You don't know about things like that at the time," he said. "I knew Roy when he came in the ninth grade. He played basketball, and he played baseball. He was a little guy, but he loved the game, and he worked really, really hard at it."

Basketball would be his way out, and he determined that early on.

"Roy could've done anything he wanted," Baldwin said. "And I mean anything. He was a very good student - a Morehead scholarship nominee. He had an offer to go to Georgia Tech on an engineering scholarship, but he wanted to be a coach."

Williams went to UNC where he met Smith and soon became a student of Smith's game. Williams was allowed to watch UNC practices. Upon graduation, Williams headed back to the mountains to start his career.

"You look at his teams now, you can see his teams at Owen," Baldwin said. "They had very little talent when he first started, but they developed quickly. They played very hard, and he played a lot of what Carolina did - run-and-jump, man-to-man defense. He played a lot of kids, not just the six or seven best. He played all of them, alternating them in and out. He took what he'd learned and did what he could with it."

Williams learned he wanted to coach forever. He learned he wanted to coach like Buddy Baldwin and Dean Smith. And as much as it hurt him, he learned he'd have to get out of western North Carolina to do it.

"If I have something I like, I usually stick with it," he said last week. "It's hard for me to leave and do something else. I've had the same putter for 34 years, and the same wife for 29."

Change comes slow to the mountains. The appeal of small towns like Biltmore and even the larger mountain towns such as Asheville is the slow evolution over time.

While Biltmore looks the same to the occasional tourist, the locals believe it's changed dramatically.

"It's been like an explosion," Baldwin said.

Williams would recognize his old neighborhood. Not much has changed since the day he left. The explosion of upscale homes and coffee shops and eclectic restaurants happened elsewhere. He likely wouldn't have much time for them.

His memories of home are of his mother and of the basketball courts at Biltmore Elementary, where he learned the game of basketball and discovered a way out. The irony on the hill, the giant Biltmore Estate that turned away locals while turning a profit on the tourists, was never a part of his world.

"I used to sneak onto the grounds," Williams recalled a few years back. "We'd steal sugar cane poles for the pole vaulters in high school. But I never went in."

There's an expanse between the haves and have-nots here, and it forms a person from an early age. There are million-dollar homes just off Hendersonville Road, and there are places like 6 Warren Ave.

Of course, that's the history of this place. Asheville looks just as it did decades ago when much of the state and the nation was blowing up old buildings to make way for new ones. Asheville couldn't afford to do it, so there's an old charm that can never be reproduced or bought.

Thomas Wolfe said the mountains beckon you to leave and then call you back home. People who leave here do come back again, and most haven't changed a bit. Williams doesn't come back as much as he used to, but he does from time to time. And when he does, he calls Baldwin, his old basketball coach, and they go play golf.

"Roy's the same now as he was way back then," Baldwin said.

Sources: News & Record, Greensboro, NC, April 20, 2003./ Photos from

Monday, April 6, 2009

On the Mall: DC/Baltimore scenes Part II

"The Mall" certainly has different meanings since the post WWII rise of suburbia and the development of indoor shopping centers known as "malls." But the National Mall, that 3 mile stretch of public space between the Lincoln Memorial and the U. S. Capitol building, lined by the Smithsonian and other museums, is a unique and wonderful place, packed with history and culture. This last trip was our first time to DC in over a decade, and I kept looking down the Mall, trying to envision it packed with over a million people. It's where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, and where, just a few months ago, Barack Obama was inaugurated. Given the right inclination and outlook, the Mall can be a goose-bumpy kind of place (yes, even for those of us who would be labeled "pinko" in another era). The satellite photo on the left was taken on January 20, 2009, the day that the Constitutionally-mandated transition of power from Bush to Obama occurred.

Our Mall trip focused on the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the East wing of the National Gallery of Art. After getting off the Metro at the Smithsonian station, we strolled past the Smithsonian "castle," to discover this lovely garden beside it. These rain-splattered pansies added a splash of color to the gray, overcast day. Then on past the Air & Space Museum, with its throngs of kids flowing in and out of school buses, to the NMAI.

The NMAI is an amazing place, starting with the architecture. Landscaped to reflect the native lands pre-contact with Europeans, the building itself was designed in consultation with members of the Blackfoot, Cherokee/Choctaw, Diné/Oneida and Hopi nations. Every detail of the museum had significant input from Native Americans, and many exhibits includes specific references to the individuals who consulted from various Nations. Ongoing, active citation of the exhibit sources. A nice touch that provides some sense of authenticity.

The main area of the interior is more than four stories tall, and resembles a giant kiva with light coming from the sky:

"Our Universes" is a permanent exhibit describing the cosmologies and philosophies of eight native tribes. The exhibit doors feature this raven eating the sun:

As well as this description of the moon. Note the specific citation:

After several mesmerizing hours in the NMAI, we walked across the Mall to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. Our first stop was the cafe for a snack, which is located on the concourse below street level that links the East and West Wings of the Gallery, and is joined by a long moving walkway. Covering the walkway is Multiverse, a moving light display by artist Leo Villareal. Featuring 41,000 LED nodes that pulsate and move in a series of patterns, it's an amazing work of computer-generated light art. (Macophiles take note: it's run by a small Mini Mac)

Finally, upstairs to see the permanent exhibits. Here's Barrie in the main room, gazing up at the Calder mobile:

Sattelite photo source: Popular Science