I’m lost and I wish I were found, in the arms of My Darlin’ Hometown…

Alan LeQuire’s bronze and limestone sculpture presides over the Music Row Roundabout in my hometown of Nashville, intended to convey “the importance of music to Nashville”.  If you know much about my beloved South, you will understand that those easily offended (they’re naked!) called for its removal at its installation in 2003.  We all calmed down eventually, or at least got tired of shouting about it, and these days it is a mostly beloved iconic figure representing music in all its forms (we have a wonderful symphony too).  I love music, and many of my posts feature lines from songs I particularly enjoy and/or find relevant.  A case in point would be My Darlin’ Hometown, a song by the great John Prine that speaks to those of us who live far away from home.  My hope is that anyone interested might dig a little deeper, check out the music in question, or even better buy a song or a CD and give it a listen…you waste more money than that driving driving around every day, and music is much more fun!  (30 March, 2010  Nashville, TN)

I get misty the moment you’re near…

The Industrial Revolution was one of those game-changing periods in human history when life was altered so thoroughly for so many as to be essentially unrecognizable to previous generations, and the Revolution was powered by burning coal.  Coal in the nineteenth century ran the machines and also heated the houses in the great cities that were being built, like London.  In today’s London, it’s worth climbing to the top of St. Paul’s for the spectacular view, but in the winter of 1901 smog limited the average visibility to half a mile.  Street intersections were blocked due to lack of visibility, busses were abandoned as unsafe to drive, and people literally walked into the posts of street-lamps during the daytime.  The smoky air was of course nothing new…Londoners had been burning coal and irritating lungs as far back as 1272 when King Edward I banned the burning of sea coal.  He got nowhere with that, and neither did Richard III or Henry V when they attempted to legislate for clean air.  The smog phenomenon even contributed to our understanding of evolution.  Before the Industrial Revolution when the air was still relatively clean, the peppered moth was a mostly white-winged creature that hid in plain view among the lichens on trees in London.  After two hundred years of ever-increasing soot deposits on the trees, the moths evolved to feature dark-colored wings to help them hide on the darkened trees.  By 1952, the air was so putrid that more than 4,000 Londoners were killed by smog over a four-day period…leading a few years later to one of the first effective Clean Air Acts the world has known.  These days I find the air in London unremarkable, which is of course much nicer than “chewy”.  The peppered moth is having another go with evolution, changing back to the good, old-fashioned light-colored version of itself.  The image below is of my hometown, where we do have issues with air pollution still, but on this occasion the mist was just a lovely fog rising from the Cumberland River.  (1 December, 2009  Nashville, Tennessee)