Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Here's another moody scene: the smokestack at the Lakeshore Mental Health Facility towers over me and touches the stormclouds. The angle I photographed makes it look like the smokestack is curved, but it's really not. We're in for more stormy weather today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Out Like a Lion

You know the old saying: if March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion. Actually, I don't remember how March came in, but yesterday, we got whacked upside the head by the lion's paw. Knoxville was cold, wet, windy, and gray. Only a lunatic would be out in this weather.

So naturally, I went out to take some photos at my beloved Lakeshore Park.

I'm telling you, this one would have looked the same in monochrome or in color.
I love a leaden sky, in a makes-a-dramatic-image kind of way. Not so much in an about-to-rain-on-my-head kind of way.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Treaty of the Holston

The Treaty of the Holston was signed in 1791 by representatives of the United States and the Cherokee Nation. It ended the hostilities between the two nations, set boundaries, and allowed settlers to travel down the Tennessee River. In return for safe travel, the Cherokee nation received a one thousand dollar annuity and trade goods.

This monument by the point where First Creek empties into the Tennessee River is very close to the actual spot of the treaty signing. Here is the full view:

This speaks to the people of East Tennessee, as many native East Tennesseans today have a mixture of Scots-Irish and Cherokee ancestry.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


This tree at Lakeshore Park hasn't leafed out yet, but it looks like it forgot to take down its holiday ornaments.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Although Ijams Nature Center is primarily a natural area with woodland trails, there are a few places for a nice picnic. This little area used to be a homestead. All that's left now is a bit of a stone foundation wall and some steps. But in spring, clumps of dafodils return, planted by the homesteaders so long ago.
These folks are having a picnic on a perfect spring afternoon. Look at the size of that picnic basket!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trail's End

We're at the end of the greenway river trail at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. And look, here's a park bench so thoughtfully provided for us to rest our feet for the two mile (that's 3.2 kilometers) walk back.

There are trails that go inland, but I prefer to stick to the river during hunting season, as the greenway is off limits to hunters. So let's enjoy the river view and then go back and have a picnic lunch at Ijams Nature Center.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We're still on the trail at the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, now following the French Broad River upstream. Although this is a protected natural area, industry is never far away. A barge full of scrap metal sits on the opposite bank of the river.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Forks of the River

Just as the mountains define our horizon, the rivers of East Tennessee flow through our lives. This is the Forks of the River: the place where the Holston and French Broad Rivers merge to form the Tennessee River. The Holston is at the top of the photo, and the French Broad is in the foreground. They meet under that railroad bridge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Trails

I'm on my way to the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area in South Knoxville. What a pleasant trail, as spring brings color to the back roads of the Tennessee Valley. Come walk with me. We'll follow the river trail.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting Busy

This is kind of a Where's Waldo puzzle for biologists. So many bluets, so little time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The forsythia bushes are in bloom along the river at Sequoyah Park. I used my supermacro lens to capture one of the cheerful blooms.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Spring is officially here - and not a moment too soon! It doesn't take much warm weather for the Bradford pear trees to blossom out - here's one framing the Sunsphere.

Fun Fact: According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's 2009 allergy survey, Knoxville is the second worst city in the US for allergy sufferers. (Louisville, Kentucky is number one this year). This is not a fun fact for people who live here. Please pass the Zyrtec.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Early Birds

A flock of birds dots a lavender sky at sunrise. You can barely see a pale crescent moon to the right. Do you think any of these birds will get the worm?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This low stone wall at Ijams Nature Center meanders along the tree line. The little birdhouses on poles are waiting for occupants. But spring is just around the corner, so they'll be full of activity very soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Wearing of the Green

Yes, it's St. Patrick's Day, a big old party day here in the US. I hear everyone is honorary Irish today. Even me.

So, not to be too tedious, but the biggest green thing I could think of in Knoxville is the Gay St Bridge. Does this make it officially a series?

And also, lots of beer drinkin' goes on today, including here on the lovely waterfront deck at Calhoun's. If this photo listed any more to port, all those chairs would be virtually sliding across the deck.

Slainte, y'all!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where Seagulls Dare

I will never understand how seagulls find their way this far inland - we're eight hours from the nearest coast - but there's another one soaring above the Gay Street Bridge.

I've been kind of scarce on the Internets these days again, I know - work, work, work. And glad that I have a job.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Are What You Eat

Remember those fishermen I showed you on Thursday?

Well, I hope they read this sign. Catch and release is still a good idea when fishing in the Tennessee River.

For decades, Knoxville did what many other river cities have done: dump all their solid and liquid waste into the river. By the 1950s, the city was pouring so much raw sewage and industrial waste into the river that fish couldn't live in it, and it smelled like - well, like the open sewer that people had turned it into.

Even though Knoxville was the first large city in Tennessee to build a water treatment plant in the 1950s, and even with the Clean Water Act of 1972, mercury, PCBs, and chemicals from roads and soil runoff have sunk into the riverbed and still circulate in the ecosystem.

On the upside, the Tennessee River never caught on fire, and water quality continues to improve. But until we can control the non-point pollution that runs off into the river, I'd suggest going elsewhere for your fish dinner.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Caboose In a Box

David Attenborough narrates in a hushed voice:

"Here at the Railroad Sanctuary on the edge of downtown Knoxville, you can see the Red Caboose in its natural habitat enclosure. Don't get too close. It's wild, you know. The Red Caboose roams along the banks of the Tennessee River following the Steam Locomotive. Its long, solitary winter hibernation will be ending soon in spring, when it awakens to forage along the tracks."

Or it could just be sitting there waiting for repairs. Whatever.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Trusses and Coffee

I'm glad that Newton's Laws of Motion keep the trusses of the Gay Street Bridge from falling on my head. Good job, Sir Isaac. But even better - look at their lattices and triangles and arches! And those solid stone pillars from 1890 anchor them all to the earth.

And here's the bonus: if you stand at just the right spot, they all frame the JFG Coffee sign quite nicely.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

McWherter Park

Here is a scene from McWherter Park. The park was named after former Tennessee governor Ned McWherter. And also, I suspect, because it sounded better than Parking Lot Under the South Knoxville Bridge With Boat Ramp and Fishing Dock Park. Which is kind of what it is.
But there are a few picnic tables, and a children's play area too. And fishermen, and speedboats, and a nice view of downtown.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arches and Branches

A forest of arches as seen through a tangle of branches.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

River Flow

A warm, sunny afternoon is perfect for sitting, swinging, and watching the river flow. This is at Volunteer Landing under the Gay Street Bridge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hurry Spring

This week I'm celebrating the first signs of spring - oh, so close now! - and my triumphant and noncontagious return to civilization. This past weekend, the sun was out, the air was warm, and the trees were starting to bud.
I know we'll probably get one more winter storm before March is over, but until then, I'll enjoy the good spring-like weather.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pine Cones

A pile of branchs and pine cones in the woods at Ijams Nature Center were probably blown down in a storm.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


One of the enormous chandeliers in the lobby of the historic Tennessee Theatre has infinite reflections in one of the enormous mirrors.

Friday, March 6, 2009


The trees along the Tharpe Trace Trail at Ijams Nature Center made stripey shadows in the afternoon sun.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Once a Capital

The grounds around the old county courthouse building downtown are full of monuments. This one reminds us that Knoxville was the original capital city when the state of Tennessee was first established. Of course, Nashville is the current capital, which is fine by me. I'm just as happy to live in a city without gaggles of politicians roaming the streets. Our local County Commission provides more than enough entertainment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Well, I've gone and caught that annoying winter cold that's been making the rounds at work. So while I'm really busy generously helping the economy to recover by buying boatloads of decongestants and facial tissues, I'll be posting some recent archive shots until I'm feeling well enough to go out and find some new material. Show must go on and all that.

This is one I took in August of last year, a typical Gay Street scenario. Gay Street is our main street downtown. Yes, we do also have a Main Street downtown that is not our main street. Knoxville is just full of contrary surprises like that.

This image spoke to me of haves and have-nots, a very serious scene that you unfortunately can see in most cities in the U.S. In fact, this image stopped me in my tracks, luckily with camera in hand: the space between the homeless man hidden behind the newspaper box and the crowd of downtown day-tripping shoppers may be a physical half block, but it might as well be a chasm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

That's Entertainment

There's a huge mural painted on the side of Barley's Taproom in the Old City that is supposed to depict East Tennessee luminaries in the music and entertainment fields. This shows just one third of the mural. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I can't seem to recognize many of these people. Except, I think that's Dolly Parton on the front left, the one who looks like she's trimmed her swimsuit with whipped cream. Uh, yeah.

I just noticed the bottom right of the photo holds an anomaly that I wish was a ghost light, but is actually the morning sun on the lens.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fearful Symmetry

This building in theOld City still has all of its transoms and custom-made doors. I cropped the sides a bit to frame the symmetry. I can assure you that I have no immortal hand or eye. Heh. Can you see the short staircase just inside leading to yet another door? Mysterious, no?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theme Day: Glass Houses

I'm going for the literal image in this month's theme day. The afternoon sun tries its best to burn out my retinas on the great glass whale known as the Bank of America building.

Ah, banks. You know the saying about people who live in glass houses, don't you?

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