Thursday, April 01, 2004

You folks got relief from my blog this morning. I was traveling to my job actually. This evening I am relaxing at our old cabin in South Carolina. Way back in 1976 I moved to this area for one thing, mainly. Quiet. Yeah, quiet as in the absence of noise. No interstates or trains or gun shots in the night. Well there are actually no interstates but I can hear a few cars now and again out on the paved road. Trains? Nope.

There was going to be a railroad in these mountains but the going is tough up here. They never finished the tunnels for what would have been the Black Diamond railroad. For a while they made cheese in Stumphouse tunnel but never did a train rumble through it. I use to tell my younger brother and sister scary stories at the end of it in the dark. When I say dark, I mean dark like you have never seen. Well of course you haven't seen it(even the folks who have seen it, and some of you have, haven't "seen it"), but I want you to understand dark as in a quarter of a mile back into a mountain in a tunnel dug into solid rock by Irish immigrants with star drills and green oak stobs, dark. First they would pound a drill hole into the granite with a star drill. That wasn't actually a drill but is a steel rod with a star shaped end that you hit with a two pound hammer. Each time you hit it, the end of the drill chips a little bit of rock loose, you turn the drill slightly and hit it again. After hitting it enough times there is a hole in the rock. I have used a star drill. Tain't work I liked. In Stumphouse tunnel they knocked holes in granite and then drove oak stobs into them. The stobs were dried in kilns and had shrunk up as much as the wood could. after driving it into the rock a worker would pour water on the end of the stob. eventually the water would soak into the wood and cause it to expand. The pressure from the expanding wood put pressure on the rock internally and with the help of the workers pounding hammers on a line connecting several holes the rock would eventually crack off. it would be hauled away and the next hole would be started with the star drills and hammered. Apparently Irishmen were cheaper than black powder.

Anyway it is relatively quiet here. Except for the planes. They fly high on the way to Atlanta and tend to quit after midnight so I can deal with it. Gunshots were a problem when I went to Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 1968. Back then, nobody much, maybe a few, got shot but that isn't true nowadays. We in America got all upset when 19 Arabs killed a little less than 3000 People on 9-11 but we can move right along with our lives as over ten times that number get shot each year in our country. As for where I am now, the shots in the night come from coon hunters. I have tried to reason with coon hunters late at night or early in the morning, as in one or two am, but it doesn't work. They don't seem to understand why they can't shoot a racoon out of a tree in your yard at 2 in the morning. They're hunters, the dogs ran the coon up a tree and they have to shoot it. Sorry about it being in your yard but that's where the coon went. Not their fault! Coons got to be shot! Dogs are barking, hundred thousand candle power flashlights are waving up in the trees and two little beady eyes are reflecting back at us all. The coon hunters have dogs and guns and seem to be just a bit drunk. I am in a disturbed sleep quiet rage. After a bit they fear me. I am not a rational human being. They have treed a coon and I will not let them fire their weapons because there will be noise. They can't comprehend that is the noise that I will not tolerate. It's just a shotgun...They are just going to shoot the coon and leave after it hits the ground. If they can do it with out making noise,I say, fine... I must be crazy. Finally I say, 'Guys, you're on my land. You didn't ask me. Go away and some other time we'll talk about coon hunting." This seems to give them a way out of having to deal with me and we all smile, see ya, and they go away. I will never let them shoot racoons out of my trees in the middle of the night, ever, even though I hate the damned things. it makes too much noise. I hate the coon that is clinging to the tree maybe forty feet above me but he will live through this night. In my heart of hearts, I hope he dies tomorrow night, as long as he makes no noise in the process.

It is very quiet now. Coon hunters fear the insane. it is still winter here and the frogs are quiet, too. They fear nothing... it is too cold for them. Not me, I like it now. For a moment, I can hear the stars twinkle.



Check what's happening in the tanks:

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