The campfire that not only crackles but also learned to type
As contradictory as it may sound …
Sometimes saving a forest means cutting trees.
Stay on afterwards for the exclusive interview after the song
Specifically I’m thinking melaleuca in the Big Cypress Swamp, and even more specifically than that I’m thinking about a botanist named Tony Pernas. This Bobby Angel classic was written some 20 years back when Tony announced he was leaving Big Cypress National Preserve for the greener pastures of the Everglades and sung at his farewell party. Backstory: Tony had mentioned to me in passing that One More Cup of Coffee was his favorite Bob Dylan tune. Thus when it came time to write his farewell song, it only made sense to use the same chords.
More backstory: As is the case with all prodigal sons, Tony eventually returned — we call it “the missing 15 years” — and eventually went on to become the Resource Management Chief of Preserve. Fast forward the clock eight years later, and word just broke: After over 40 years of government service, Tony is retiring. Or “hanging up the ax” as exotic plant eradicators like to say. Not to worry: Tony will still be involved in a Phantom 2.0 type of way (i.e. filling swamp-rat extraordinaire Fred Dayhoff’s old shoes).
To say that Tony will be leaving behind a void is the understatement of the year. And by void, I mean all the melaleuca trees he cut down. Be sure to stay on for the interview after the song to hear Bobby Angel riff on comparisons to Bob Dylan, what makes Bob Dylan and Michael Jordan great, why he gave up guitar for 20 years, and why melaleuca is such a scourge.
This Bobby Angel song remembers the life …
Of the swamp’s most famous (and orneriest) WWI veteran.
Stay on after the song to hear the interview
Old Jim Dill was a friend of mine, a hermit who live at the end of the line. A man who didn’t have a lot to say. A man who died but never went away.
He kept his medals and he kept his gun, when returned at the end of World War I. But somehow things weren’t the same, so he left it all behind and he went away. Into the swamp to the end of the road, where he build him a cabin and called it home. ‘Coon and a gator he kept as a pet. Orneriest man you’ve ever met. Old Jim Dill was a friend of mine, a hermit who lived at the end of the line. Didn’t say much didn’t have a phone. Wonder if he ever felt alone.
Didn’t change at all and then it changed real fast, the new guard breaking away from the past. They chopped the trees and dug the earth, with not a care for what it was worth. Troubled by what he saw, but so goes the swamp under frontier law. Only thing them the didn’t want, was run-in with the hermit of the swamp. Old Jim Dill was a friend of mine, the hermit who lived at the end of the line.
Guarded his home with a gun and a horse, ‘til the day he was killed by a snake on his porch. Venom punctured through his hide, finally killed the pain inside. Comforted by a nurse at his bed who held his hand to the very end.
Old Jim Dill is a friend of mine, think about him when I pass the sign. Dead end then and a dead end to most, haunted by Jim Dill’s ghost.
Walls have a reputation for not speaking …
But if you listen closely enough they usually do.
Interview with Bobby Angel on his song about Oasis VC
The trick? You have to be very (very) quiet. That usually means that nobody (or not many people) is around, it’s just the building and you. Another must is having a long history of spending time with said wall. Even then, admittedly, it’s hard to hear, and usually you don’t fully understand what the wall is saying until a day, even a week later. The untold truth about walls is that listening is their best trait, especially in a place like Oasis Visitor Center where over the years many people have passed through. I’m not saying the wall remembers every conversation, but I have a hunch that over the decades its probably forgotten more than any of us know. Thus the reason for the wish: if only walls could talk.
You can’t control everything …
During a wildfire.
Stay on after the song to hear an interview with Bobby Angel
But you can hedge your bets on making it home safely, and making sure others make it home the same way. The trick? There is no trick. It’s called experience and good training, and people with experience giving good advice and relaying lessons learned to the new guard moving up the ranks. There’s a saying that an thorn of experience is worth a wilderness of warning. Multiply that by a thousand on the fire line. And just when things are looking up, conditions can worsen quickly, requiring a fire fighter to recalibrate. That doesn’t mean you give up, but it does mean you don’t bet all your chips. Or to quote the song: “With Three Jacks you stay, when you’re playing cards … with your life.”
About this song: I wrote it as a farewell song to wildland firefighter extraordinaire Jack Finley when he left Big Cypress National Preserve way back in 1999, or maybe it was 2000. Jack may have left, but his tradition of safety lives on.
You know the old expression:
“If the walls could talk.”
In the Everglades, the same applies to the rocks, but with a twist: Even when people notice them they are just as quickly ignored. The reason? It probably has something to do with all the other sights — wading birds, alligators, flowers … the list goes on. Also factoring in is the flatness of the landscape and the fact that most of the underlying rock is covered with water or a layer of peat. Another knock against Everglades rocks: There are really no scenic outcrops or dramatic geologic outlooks.
I’m not saying you have to forget that other stuff, but we can’t forget that the underlying limestone forms the foundation of it all. And rocks, believe it or not, are a lot more charismatic than you think.
And if you don’t believe me, watch the above video and listen to what “Rock E” has to say. I think you’ll be impressed.
My name is Cap’n Killivine …
And I have a confession to make:
Staying in good penmanshape is hard work
I somehow let an entire decade slip by without writing a single “handwritten” a note. The reason? You guessed it – the smart phone. The moment I got one, all I’ve been doing is “thumbing” texts ever since. As a result, my penmanship has seriously slipped. Looking in the mirror I feel like a nub of my former self. Or in other words, I’m in bad penmanshape.
Well, no longer! With the new year now here, I am fully committed to once and for all (and finally) getting back into good penmanshape. Find out more about my workout regimen below:
Cap’n Killivine in action
For now, the the best way to connect with me, Cap’n Killivine, and the rest of the gang at Nature Folk HQ, also found on the After Hours portion of the Go Hydrology website. In the meanwhile, pick up a blank piece of paper and pen and write yourself or someone else a good handwritten note. You’ll be amazed what you discover and how good you feel when you do.
Sincerely and Truly,
P.S. About my name: The term “killivine” is just a fancy name for a writing instrument, whether a pencil, pen or crayon. My favorite crayon color is Cerulean Blue.
P.P.S. And sorry to be so formal – it’s just been a long time since I’ve written a long-form letter like this.
Granted, it was a bizarre time.
People actually had to talk to each other face to face.
And there were only three channels on the TV.
As unpleasant as that sounds, somehow it worked (although I have my doubts).
But how exactly did people survive (even thrive) before phones?
Here at Before Phones (BP) “Where the Dinosaurs Roam” we explore the latest discoveries about the Pre-Phone era. Our methodologies include interviews with other dinosaurs, the latest archeological finds and a range of other innovative research techniques.
Mysteries We Explore
Here at Before Phones (BP), we are dedicate to …
Trying to understand the cryptic pre-phone era.
Unresolved questions include:
- How people drove without texting?
- What is was like to have only 24 photos to a roll?
- How people (dinosaurs) coped with the boredom?
The pre-phone era also had its charm (so they say).
Our goal is to understand how society worked without everyone staring at their phone all day (and night).
- To inform, inspire and educate about the pre-phone era
- Feature guests from the Before Phone (BP) era
- Continuously improve our understanding of phonelessness
Just to be clear …
Yes, I am the Boogie Phone.
But I’m really not as bad as everyone says. By “everyone,” I mean whatever they’re saying on the internet. More about me: (1) Think of me as your most trusted advisor. Or in other words, don’t ask a friend – ask me! (2) In general, you should spend as much time with me as you can. When you’re bored, pick me up. (3) Think of me part friend and part hobby. Over time I hope to convince you I’m your only friend and only hobby.
Now time for the quiz:
(1) How often should you clean your phone? (a) once a day, (b) as needed, (c) never, (d) at least once a year. | (2) How much time should you spend on your phone (per day)? (a) up to but not to exceed 24 hours, (b) all waking hours, (c) as much as possible, (d) all the above. | (3) What’s the best place to get accurate news? (a) old-fashioned newspaper, (b) social media, (c) word of mouth, (d) AM radio, (e) search engine. | (4) True or false: Reading from a book strains your eyes? | See answer key below.
In summary: Over time I think you’ll truly come to see it my way. Really, I’m just your everyday all-around average friendly phone. Nothing to hide. And nothing to fear. Sort of like a rotary phone (with teeth … very sharp teeth).
Yours truly and at your service,
Answer Key: 1c, 2d, 3b, 4t
Nature is all around us …
And in our dreams.
Bobby Angel’s song about restoring nature
In this original song, singer/songwriter Bobby Angel explores the cross roads between the idealism of youth and the harsh realities of life, and in particular our relationship with nature. About those dreams: Sometimes those dreams inspire, other times they haunt. And each sunset is a promise to make it right the next day.
Stay on after the song to hear an interview with the artist.