UPDATE: Smoky Mountain Journal seems to have gone the way of all blogs and is no longer of this world I’m sorry to say. However, a similar Blue Ridge blog has taken its place or at least tries to take up where it left off and I commend it to your attention.
An important part of blogging is not merely creating and maintaining your own blog, but visiting the blogs of those who visit you; and searching for blogs that complement your own interests. Doing this opens you up to new ideas and new blogging possibilities. In travelling the blog world, I’ve discovered a wonderful phenomenon: the regional blog. A portion of my blog Tikun Olam: Make the World a Better Place is devoted to the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous place I live. But the blogs featured here are entirely focussed on the region in which the blog author lives.
Regional blogs are compelling because they force the viewer to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the pleasures of a particular time and place. Looking at the photographs (regional blogs need photographs to impart the wonder and pleasure of a place) in these two blogs, Fletch’s A Smoky Mountain Journal and Ana’s Views of the Northeast, you are forced to sit back in awe and admiration at the sheer magic of the Great Smokies and New England respectively.
A Smoky Mountain Journal
Fletch uses a two-column format, which enables him to use larger images and more essay like posts. His pictures of stormy mornings over the mountains, falling down old barns and raging mountain streams convey the meaning of life in the mountains. For a taste of Fletch’s elegant prose style, here is a post announcing his blog will go on winter hiatus:
The Journal Hibernates
The time has come for me to collect some fun tickets, as Jimmy Buffet calls them, away from these sacred mountains. I will not be too far away though, working a six month contract in Wilkesboro, NC. I’ve never been there, but I have visited Blowing Rock and Boone a few miles to the west, where I hope to hang my hat while working the contract. This is Mayberry country, Mount Airy being about forty miles to the northeast, complete with Mount Pilot, which is actually Pilot Mountain on the atlas. To the north about 40 miles is the Mount Rogers Recreation Area across the state line in Virginia, and to the west is the High Country of the Blue Ridge.
In the past I’ve tried to keep the blog going while away from the area, but a blog of place, and especially a photo blog of place, really requires actually being in that place for some odd reason. Displaying images fresh from the immediate season and weather has more appeal than displaying stale archived out of season pics, so I plan to let the blog go dormant for the winter, perhaps being able to return in the spring with the first show of jonquils in the Cove. I might be able to post a few odd updates occasionally, but right now everything is uncertain.
I want to thank Jane at The Daily Rant for introducing me to blogging, which I thought was a form of Canadian clogging when I first heard the term, and who was there to provide advice and support on those first timid posts. I also want to thank Fred at Fragments from Floyd, who has provided advice on everything from botany to HTML, and also daily inspiration on his site.
I also want to thank the visitors who drop by on a daily basis to take a peek at these places I’ve been fortunate to experience. These scenes are not really trees, waterfalls, or mountain vistas, but only forms. They are really shafts of light direct from the glory of God for which I’ve had the privilege to etch in pixel dust. I wish I could be here to capture the hemlocks weighed heavy by snow, a scene that will soon only be a distant memory to our generation, and a complete fantasy to future generations.
Ok, time to start packing. Happy Holidays and all that good stuff. I’ve been known to quit jobs after the first day so don’t be surprised if I have to retract this post.
Views of the Northeast
Ana, on the other hand, adopts a different graphic strategy. She uses a clean, elegant three-column format with smaller images and shorter text. While the style is lighter and breezier, it strongly conveys Ana’s interests and her eye for what is distinctive about life and topography in New England. Here is a sampling of Ana’s blog (her reference to a ship called Terror is probably related to the film, Master and Commander):
here be dragons
Just saw a link to this cool blog on Crooked Timber: Maps and Territories –snippets of maps and some commentary.
I like looking at maps. And I get a kick out of the names. Who wouldn’t want to go to “Thunder Bay”?
Speaking of names, I always wondered why anyone would name their ship the “Terror”. I wouldn’t go to sea in that. I finally did a google search and now it’s all clear: ‘Erebus and Terror were designed as “bomb ships” for the naval bombardment of shore targets’. Doh. It makes much more sense now that I realize they were supposed to be terrifying rather than terrified.”
Both Ana and Fletch have done something extraordinary: they have captured in their own unique voice the essence (seen through their eyes) of the place they live. Kudos and bravi!