The Newness of November
The Two-Lane Renaissance is not all about me.
(Photo by Frank Minney)
New this month:
A Holistic View is a Spiritual View - A holistic view looks at a person, problem, or thing as a whole of collected aspects and parts.
A Morning Cup of Joe - Moderate coffee intake can actually be beneficial to your health!
Book Review - Odder by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Charles Santoso
On Fire - Exasperated by the call, he asked, “IS ANYTHING ON FIRE?”
’Tis the Season for Self-Reflection - Take some quiet time to think about your life and life in general.
New from the archives:
Identifying Your Feathered Friends - Tips for learning who visits your feeders
Upcoming Appearance: I will be presenting my books and my artwork at the Christmas Craft Show in the Glen on December 3rd, at the Gilmer County Recreation Center. The event is from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and will be the first time I have offered my books for sale to the local general public. You can also purchase books online here.
Although it started out that way, The Two-Lane Renaissance is not all about me. It began as a simple email update with a single essay, but by happy accident and incident, has become a growing e-zine.
I tossed out a tiny seed, and it is growing.
My birthday is in November, and so I spend a good portion of the month thinking about seeds planted in the past that got me here, mistakes that shifted those plans, surprises, harvested investments, and blessings blossomed that got me this far. I think about my goals for the next year (a return of the veggie garden), the next five years (the growth of the Two-Lane Renaissance), the next ten years (to finally retire from working so that I can maybe become the artist and writer I was meant to be before I die).
My mother had a sign in her front garden saying, “He who plants beneath the sod, shows he has a faith in God.”
It is true, the act of planting anything is an act of faith. So many risks and variables exist in the world, you cannot be sure you will eventually benefit from future blossoms or harvests.
While my yard and gardens are filled with flourishing plants, only I can see the spaces where potential plants didn’t make it. I used to have lavender here, chocolate mint there, and hostas only survive if I remember to treat them with deer repellant. I know my regrets, though there are no obvious outward signs of them.
But, I have faith. I have hope.
I have to. What’s the alternative?
And so I plant seeds in the earth, and in life. Some are planted in the spring, but some species of bulbs and tubers need to be planted in the fall. November, for me, is a month of reflection and planning as well as the month of gratitude and thanks. A time to be grateful for previous harvests, for current blessings, and for our faith in our hopes and dreams for the future.
The pieces from our archives are like heirloom seeds saved over the years. We’re re-sharing the works of Bill Church (Gilmer County) now, posthumously. Bill spent his life studying, immersed in, and writing about the plants, shrubs, tracks, and trees of the local hills, and I am so glad he recorded his knowledge of such to carry on his legacy.
Our new columnists, like Elaine Ferry (Calhoun County), also have knowledge and talents that interest me. Elaine recently retired from her position as an Organic Inspector and Animal Welfare Inspector, and she is a nurse-herbalist. Elaine is like a hearty perennial. She owns her own farm, and her own chainsaw and safety equipment. In other words - an amazing independent woman. I look forward to her sharing her knowledge with all of us.
Robin Holstein (Kanawha County) wrote for our print edition and was the first to rejoin our efforts online. Robin and I first encountered each other online in the late 1990s using dial-up internet, and we have been following each other since. I don’t think we met in person for at least a decade, if not longer.
Robin is a polymath - “an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.” She writes our Sunday sermons, but she also is a mobile notary, owns an Air Bnb, offers healthy-option, budget-friendly products (including CBD), and has amazing skills relating to self-reliance. Robin is like a butterfly garden filled with various sundries. If her online ministry pieces don’t appeal to you, visit her social media, substack, or website. She’s bound to have tips, products, advice, or information you could use.
Janet Cowger-Fleigel is another TLL columnist returning to TLR. Janet is a photographer and artist who works with leather. When Two-Lane Livin’ ceased print, Janet kept writing, her work appearing in The Webster Echo. She now has ten years of essays she has written from her ongoing column, and we are thrilled to have her Farmgirl Philosophy again. She has a book coming out next year. Janet is like a native West Virginia wildflower, a rare species raised from WV soil.
Two-Lane Renaissance is currently like a secret garden, with sprouts and spring potential hunkering beneath the soil. The seeds have been planted, and more will be sown. We will revisit the work of columnists Randy Bodkins and Janet Smart, and introduce a few new writers. As a reader-supported publication, we need your help to water and shine the light on our growing online space.
This is a good email/post to share with your friends and family to introduce them to the type of information they can find in our eZine. Give them a sample of what’s to come.
Are you planning your own renaissance? Participating in community renaissance-ish events and ideas? While you count your blessings this month, consider the seeds you can plant for more blessings in the future.