Monday Morning Musings


Felix dies lunae, y’all!  I wonder what The Girl & The Boy were thinking as they gazed across the shallow falls at the still-naked trees beyond?  I hope they were as amazed by the bounteous beauty of the boundless woods as I was in awe of their prodigious potential and unfettered futures.


I was fixin’ to post a rant today, one that’s been brewing & stewing in my febrile brain since I received my copy of the anthology that included my first published short story a few months back.  (Liz Charnes, what’d you think about your state’s anthology?)  I may yet do so sometime soon.  But when I sat down to compose and chose the John Prine station on Pandora, the first song played was “Long Monday” off his excellent 2005 album Fair & Square.  The chorus grabbed me by the ear, smacked me ’round a bit, and stood me upright:

Gonna be a long Monday
sittin’ all alone on a mountain
by a river that has no end.
Gonna be a long Monday
stuck like the tick of a clock
that’s come unwound again.

Now I reckon that may sound mighty depressing to some of y’all, but it sounds damn near like paradise to me.  Hell, if paradise ain’t pretty close that, I don’t wanna go.  So thank you, Mr. Prine, for straightenin’ my cranky ass up today.  It’s cloudy, damp, & cool outside, but the sun’s just a’shinin’ in my soul.


The Boss had to work the early spring day the kids & I took this hike at Tennessee’s lovely Burgess Falls State Park, one of our favorite nearby day hikes.  I took the pic above halfway through the hike, atop the ridge after ascending from the river basin.  Which route y’all think my intrepid little adventurers chose? (Note the boldface red warning on the sign.)


Yup, you guessed it.  They chose the VERY STRENUOUS HIKE.  As is her wont, The Girl was exuberant, while The Boy, ever the tentative one, was less enthusiastic about being on a narrow outcrop thirty feet above the fast-flowing 135-foot falls.  It took some patient coaxing to get him to join her.  And maybe a teensy bit of sibling shaming, too.


The Boy’d had enough,bless his heart,


but The Girl was ready to fly.

Unfortunately, the fenced-in metal stairway leading down to the final descent into the swimmin’ hole at the base of the falls, which had been washed out seven years prior in some of the worst flooding we’d seen in the last 100 years, still hadn’t been repaired and was closed off, so we were unable to access the breathtaking view and invigorating spray of the falls cascading into the basin.  Thank you, Republican supermajority in the State Legislature, for reducing tax revenue so much that the State can’t afford to maintain its infrastructure.

Whoops.  This wasn’t supposed to devolve into a rant.  Forgive me.

After hiking back up out of the gorge, the kids had to ham it up a bit.


Good golly but I love those l’il devils.  After some refreshments, we were on to the last leg of our walk in the woods.


To get the breathtakin’est views, we had to brave the dangerous bluffs and risk tumbling to our doom on the boulder-strewn banks below.  Ain’t that a perfect metaphor for life, though?  We were well-rewarded for our efforts.




At the end of the trail, we came across this adorable little fella scampering around then up the trunk of an unfortunately inscribed tree.


And ain’t that just like life too?  At times it feels we’re scaling an insurmountable wall of indecipherable rules, regulations, instructions, & prohibitions.  Y’know what my kids do when they encounter such an obstacle?


Damn straight!  My primary obstacle right this minute is whiskey.  I love that stuff.  As of today, though, I’m one week whiskey-free and have no doubt I can remain so, for the most part, indefinitely.  Special thanks to my friend Shelley at Quaint Revival, who inspired me by sharing her “Dry January” challenge with us.

Have y’all overcome any personal obstacles recently that you’re proud to share?  What risks are you willing to take for what rewards?  What do you think about legends like John Prine and Van Morrison?  Can a simple, single song from either change your mood or direction in a moment?

This post began with a fortuitous song, and as I’m wrapping up, it ends with one as well.  Pandora’s playing one of my all-time favorite songs right now.  As I sail with Van Morrison “Into the Mystic“, I leave y’all with sincerest hopes that your obstacles will be easily overcome and your week’ll be wonderful.

Take care, be well, and happy blogging,



25 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings

  1. Great pictures Denny, and you even manage to sneak a mini-mini rant.

    I have overcome so much in my life. The latest being my neck surgery and its aftermath this summer. While it is unlikely to ever be perfect again (was it ever?), I am reaching the end of my physical therapy. A great deal of the time I have no pain, and when I do it is never on a continuous basis. The great thing about physical therapy is that I took an active role in my recovery. This was empowering for myself. It was so much better than taking a pill. Pills wear off empowerment does not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right, Steven! I injured my right shoulder years ago and chose to live with the pain until it got so bad I could hardly raise my arm. When I finally had the extensive (and expensive even with insurance) testing done, I had my choice of surgery or physical therapy. I chose the PT, and after about 3 months of in-office PT followed by 3 more months of at-home PT, my shoulder was almost as good as new. I never did have to take any pain meds, thank goodness!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me pain medicine was essential in the beginning. It was only when the initial pain started to subside that I was able to taper off and begin PT.

    I think pain meds get a bad rap because of the very real addiction problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I noticed you call your kiddos “The girl” and “The boy.” I’m sure you were doing it long before The Bird Box came out! 🙂 If you haven’t seen that Netflix thriller, it’s a good one. (Too scary for the kids though!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think I started calling them so in 2017 (my wife is The Boss). The Girl loved Bird Box. I started watching it a couple of weekends ago but promptly fell asleep, which is what usually happens these days when I try to watch something after a day at work then getting the kids fed & bedded down. I’ll try it again soon. I hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful pictures and a beautiful spot. Have a bit and girl myself, and it goes so fast. Still overcoming some work challenges, trying to turn it into positive job searching. Some days it’s enough that we have kept the boat upright.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great photos and pure Southern writing, Denny. I’ve overcome a few things in my life. One was extreme shyness that I overcame when I was a waitress to put myself through college. I learned quickly that extrovert friendliness equaled better tips. I must have gone to the other extreme and became someone who ran her mouth and said everything that came to her head without filters. I am getting past that one, too, lately, most through practicing the fifth chakra of talking and listening which is similar to the Buddhist idea of Right Speech. Of course there are lots of traits that could still use improvement such as consistency, but hey, growth reminds us we’re still alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, LuAnne, and thank you. My first career was in restaurants, 15 years, & I did time in every possible position from busboy to bartender to management. I don’t miss it one bit! I’m coming up on 15 years as a PO now & hope I’m able to retire as one. In another 15 years or so. 😧

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m still trying to decide whether I’m going to post about my experience, but basically, I was shocked at the poor quality of some of the stories that were accepted & published. Seeing those alongside mine made me question the quality & value of my own story.


  6. I’m so behind the game, how did I miss this post!? Thanks for the callout and thanks for taking the challenge to go dry for a month. Are you sleeping better yet? Your writing hasn’t taken a turn for the worse, you’re as witty as always! Way to go – keep going, only one week left to the month! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sleep struggles predate my increased consumption of whiskey by several years and have not abated. I’m just a light sleeper. However, I have noted a marked improvement in energy and focus in the mornings since waving the whiskey bye-bye.

      Thank you especially for praising my writing. Keep on inspiring us!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I can relate to the light sleeper mode, as well as the improved energy and focus in the mornings. I do believe when I do sleep it is better sleep, even if it isn’t tons more time in the bed than before! You’re welcome – you’re an exceptional writer, thank you for sharing your talents with us!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! I have given up something that’s been quite a struggle for me. I live with chronic neck pain and migraines. I have been taking over the counter pain pills for years on a daily basis to cope and also a beer and glass of wine each night. In December I started to see some of the effects when I discovered some stomach issues. I am still learning to manage my pain and my stomach is still recovering, but I haven’t taken Advil or tylenol since the beginning of December, I’ve quit drinking coffee and wine. For me this is huge! Anyone who suffers from migraines will understand how hard this is! Good for you for taking a break from the whiskey. 👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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