Sharia takes my old high school
Friday, December 18 2015
I was down in the brownhouse this morning checking the usual first-thing news sources on my Chromebook (to see, for example, if there had been a nuclear war between Pakistan and India over night), when I saw yet another news item of hillbillies freaking out about the relentless march of Islam in the American hinterland. This time it was taking place in Virginia, which wasn't surprising. But then I noticed that the part of Virginia was Augusta County, which is also the location of my childhood home. And then it turned out that the ultimate location of creeping Sharia was Riverheads High School, the only institution from which I ever received a diploma. The story is that students in a "religions of the world" class were asked to copy the calligraphic tangle that is the Shahada, the Arabic statement of faith. A concerned parent had gotten wind of this assignment, went huge with it on the right wing internet, and a good portion of that immediately began acting like decapitated chickens. The resulting firestorm concentrated from the entire internet on the humble Augusta County school system was so intense that schools were apparently closed for the day, much as they would have been had two inches of snow fallen overnight. (I remember eagerly anticipating the mention of "Augusta County" in the list of closed school systems when waking up on many a snowy morning.) This gave me a bunch of material for my troll Suzy, who, like me, was a student at Riverheads High School (though she purportedly graduated in 1984, two years ahead of me).
Later ths morning, Q & N came over with their young dog Coach Eric Taylor, joined by Nancy, who'd driven up from Old Hurley with her dog Jack. They all went for a big walk in the forest while I stayed back at the house. Eventually we all had coffee, bits of bagel, and banana bread while discussing such things as the news item in the preceding paragraph.
Later in the day, my childhood friend Nathan would call me; the sad-yet-hilarious story of creeping Sharia reaching and subsuming our alma mater was just that big.
Because of the rain yesterday, when I set out on a firewood gathering foray today, I searched for standing skeletonized Red Oak trunks, since they comprise the reliably-driest form of oak even in wet conditions. I found one along the Stick Trail only a couple hundred feet south of the Chamomile crossing; it had been one I'd missed in the past because it had been hidden behind two live siblings from the same stump. Today's load came to 101.75 pounds and included a couple small pieces from some species of small, dense tree (perhaps Hophornbeam or Flowering Dogwood).
Today, among many other little projects, I managed to start and complete a small painting of Clarence the Cat. My mother-in-law had expressed interest in one of my small animal paintings, so I'd decided to do one featuring the animal she'd mentioned the most. She'd repeatedly referred to Clarence's "Egyptian" qualities, so I made a background for Clarence consisting of stone containing hieroglyphs, some of which spelled out his name using their phonetic characters. But of course the hieroglyphs were too strong in the background, so I had to mute them with a translucent greyish-blue layer. And that proved to be so opaque that the characters ended up barely visible. But I liked the way this looked, so I kept it that way. Here you can see the result:
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