Sunday, April 12, 2020

When the Time Has Passed to Prune the Rose or Caress the Cat

For years I've driven by a small parking lot on Zion Road (it's the road on the N in Cracklin in the map below of Montgomery County Maryland election districts circa 1800-1880) with a sign saying Blue Mash Nature Trail. Friday we hiked Rachel Carson Conservation Park (it's the pond and the stream just above on Zion before it meets Sundown), when driving home past the Blue Mash Nature Trail parking lot we decided to hike it yesterday.

  • (I chose this map instead of taking a photo of the Martinet Map SeatSix gave me a few giftmases ago because this one has today's roads for orientation, see Wheaton Triangle fellow mocomofos?)
  • The trail circles a closed landfill, completely flat, half-wooded, half-meadowed and open (is not for mid-summer full-sunned afternoons), and will be completely ticky, and is not particularly interesting, but it was a chance to explore a part of Montgomery County, my memory palace and box in box in box reminder that infinity is as large smaller and it is large larger
  • (See the creek that rises almost dead center of the map, above the word Rockville, and flows southwest to the Potomac, not Seneca, which serves as border between Medley and Rockville, the one below that? Muddy Branch, and its spring is in the backyard of the house I grew up in, SeatSix can vouch)
  • No one uses the terms Cracklin, Medley, or Berry, or has in the fifty years Moco has been my memory palace
  • (Serendipitously, yesterday morning a friend inadvertently put a Tommy Keene song in my head)



Mark Strand

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.


  1. When this shitstorm is over, if it will be, I'll be happier than Biden in wig shop!

    Biden announced today that he was thinking of running for president.

    A message from Mars:

    Hi y'all, this ex-prez Obama calling from Mars. Me and my family decided to volunteer for the top secret
    Mars colony we never told you folks about. We just want ya'll to know that our prayers and thoughts are with you. Good luck!

  2. 0)that's a good looking old map

    1)our friends at wikipedia tell us that cracklintown was the former name of laytonsville and the district was named for the town

    2)they say the town was named for 'cracklin bread' - 'essentially a bacon corn bread'

    3)writing in the washington post in 1986, sharon farrington said

    Cracklin' bread is a member of the cornbread family, the oldest and most versatile family of American breads. Cornbreads and cakes ranging from flat little hoecakes, which were actually baked on a hoe over an open fire, to the porridge-like, southern spoon bread have been staples here since the Indians introduced early settlers to the virtues of corn.

    Cracklin' bread, which was sometimes called spider corncake because it was baked in a "spider" or black cast-iron skillet nestled in hot coals, combines two staples of the early American diet, salt pork and cornmeal.

    The diced pork was first fried in a hot spider until it had rendered its drippings, leaving crisp little bits called cracklings. The drippings were added to a simple batter of cornmeal, buttermilk or sour milk, and a touch of molasses if there was any on hand, and poured over the cracklings in the spider. It was returned to the bed of coals to bake and was often served up with whatever soup or stew was bubbling in a big black pot hanging over the fire.

    the recipe she gives uses bacon, not salt pork, in recognition of modern sensibilities

    3a) the 'spider' cast iron frying pan with legs is mentioned a book i've been looking at recently - marie nightingale's out of old nova scotia kitchens

    1. while we're on the topic of food, ian welsh has recently written

      Alright, back in February I warned people to get ready to shelter in place.

      Now I’m telling you to be concerned about food price increases and even shortages.…So, stock up if you can. Simple stuff: rice, beans, canned goods and so on. It’s highly unlikely, unless you have an ongoing issue already, that water will be a problem, so: food and medicine. This isn’t a “right now” issue, this is not for months: buy a little extra when you go to the supermarket.

      If it turns out you don’t need it, having some bags of rice and beans won’t do you any harm. If you do need it…

  3. Chris Floyd writes:

    So let's be clear about the Democrats' position. Thousands of Americans dying needless deaths every week because the federal government has abandoned them in the face of a pandemic: not an emergency. More than 16 million Americans thrown out of work and losing their healthcare in just three weeks: not an emergency. An obviously addled, murderously ignorant gangster declaring he has dictatorial authority over the entire country: not an emergency. So can we please ask Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership one simple question: what, in God's holy name, IS an emergency?