David Hoefer of Louisville, Ky., the co-editor of The Last Resort, reminds us of the power of art. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the emergence of environmentalism as a significant element in the political wrangling of the day. Kentucky old-timers likely remember one of the pivotal episodes in that emergence: the battle over damming the Red River and what would have been the wholesale alterations to landscape and ecology resulting from infrastructure of that magnitude. The Army Corp of Engineers and many local residents lined up on one side; the Sierra Club, environmentalists, and various culture warriors lined up on the other. Each alliance had serious points in its favor. Ultimately, with the scrapping of construction plans, the environmentalists won out. The gorge is now protected by inclusion in federal programs for natural, historic, and archaeological settings.
I bring this up because the J. B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville is currently hosting an exhibit that was directly inspired by the battle over Red River Gorge. One of the dam’s chief opponents was Kentucky author Wendell Berry. Berry coauthored a book, The Unforeseen Wilderness, with another native artist, the Lexington photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard. It is Meatyard’s photographs from this collaboration that are on display, and which allow us to reenter that time and place in history. The Unforeseen Wilderness is undoubtedly the most important document for the defense of the ecological and spiritual qualities of a unique landscape to emerge from the conflict. (I suppose the other side could point to the dam’s architectural plans and, no, I’m not being facetious. Good engineering is to be admired.)
Meatyard and Berry worked separately and together to produce their dual vision for preserving the gorge. Berry uses words, so he carries the weight of argument, which is sometimes cranky and polemical. Meatyard uses shadow and light, which means that he comes closer to presenting the gorge as it is, or was, within the limitations of photographic technology and one man’s subjective response to the world in front of him. The great variety of settings at Red River, the many microclimates and eco-niches, becomes immediately apparent in Meatyard’s camerawork, which is amply attested to in the book and the exhibit. That diversity bounding on the infinite may be the best case for leaving the flood-prone gorge in its (more or less) natural state.
My wife and I noted the darkness of many of the photographs. Some of this was attributable to museum lighting, but the darkness was also a conscious decision by the artist, either in camera settings or darkroom procedure (or both). Berry addresses this facet of Meatyard’s work in his foreword to a revised and expanded edition of The Unforeseen Wilderness, published after the photographer’s death from cancer:
“As I look now at [Meatyard’s] Red River photographs, I am impressed as never before by their darkness. In some of the pictures this darkness is conventional enough. It is shadow thrown by light; we see the lighted tree or stone and we see its cast shadow. In other pictures the darkness is not shadow at all. It is the darkness that precedes light and somehow includes it; it is the darkness of elemental mystery, the original condition in which light occurs…The darkness of these pictures is an imagined darkness; and this was a courageous imagining, for the darkness is made absolute in order to make visible the smallest lights, the least shinings and reflections. Sometimes the lights require hard looking to be seen” (1991:xi-xii).
Here we’re edging into the metaphysical. Maybe Meatyard’s Red River Gorge is more art than nature after all.
The Meatyard exhibit is showing at the Speed until February 13, 2022. I’ve included a few photographs of the photographs as enticement. (Just think about how much better the originals will be in person.) Click here for more information on this intriguing backward look to the early days of the environmental wars.
Last Sunday, on yet another unusually cool morning, we decided to take Lucy for a walk at a nearby network of mountain bike trails appropriately called Skullbuster. Rather than staying on the abandoned roadbed as we typically do, we donned hiking pants in a vain effort to ward off ticks and chiggers and headed for the orange trail, a byzantine loop of crisscrossing singletrack that features behemoth oak and maple trees as well as the old Stockdell family cemetery.
At one crossroads we decided to check out the Teeter-Totter Trail. I initially imagined the name referred to an undulating path with sharp up and downhill sections. Instead, it turned out to be a gradual uphill through both pastoral woodland and some slightly more open brushy areas. At one point we passed an old stone wall, evidence of a former homestead, which currently serves neither as property line nor rudimentary enclosure. A few yards farther up, at the highest point on the trail, we arrived at a small clearing where a simple bench had been erected among the towering trees. A few steps beyond the clearing were…two teeter-totters.
I had not expected that the trail would lead me—literally—to teeter-totters or, as I always called them, seesaws. It was a moment of pure surprise and delight. They appeared rough-hewn but sturdy enough for two adults, so Rick and I tried them out. Lucy was quickly bored, so we took the intersecting path to Wyatt’s World, a trail full of laid stone ramps and log jumps to challenge the cyclists, and eventually found ourselves back on a familiar stretch of the orange trail.
As we walked, I thought about how those teeter-totters had gotten there. Remembering the stone wall, I imagined a family in the early twentieth century constructing them to entertain a passel of children. That idea had evidently settled in my mind when Rick mentioned that just as Wyatt’s World was likely named after a central Kentucky cyclist with a penchant for treacherous downhills, he suspected a cyclist named Teeter had been inspired to construct the teeter-totters from leftover lumber as he worked with other volunteers to develop the trail system.
His comment startled me. We had both stumbled upon the teeter-totters for the first time just moments earlier and, in that brief period, we had both quietly come to radically different conclusions about how they got there.
My romantic mythology arose from my limited understanding of the history of the place, which I had concocted purely from the scant evidence left behind by long ago inhabitants. In my silent musings, those who built the trail system had happened upon a relic of another world.
Seeing the same evidence, Rick concluded quite sensibly that those constructing the trail simply hadn’t wanted to lug unused lumber back down the trail and had had imagination sufficient to figure out an entertaining application for it.
If a conversation hadn’t ensued, we would have left the trail carrying two immensely different interpretations of this site of human activity.
I look to my friends with backgrounds in archaeology or anthropology to explain the human frailty this experience reveals. I will admit it has humbled me. Although I was still embellishing my romantic vision of farm children running toward the teeter-totters after a day of chores, I can imagine how quickly that initial vision might have congealed into “fact.” Can my experience, my understanding of what I observe, my conclusions be so errant from what may actually be true? How quickly I could have gotten to certainty—and been dead wrong.
At that moment I realized how easy it is to create our own mythologies. And once we have created them, we are emotionally bound to them. We will not give them up easily. After listening to Rick’s unexpected interpretation of what we saw, I felt fairly quickly that his scenario was probably more likely than mine. But if my vision had had more time to gel, I might have been more stubborn. He might not have been able to change my mind, and I might have fought tooth and nail to defend the mythology I had created. I could imagine myself insisting on the validity of a baseless story I had simply told myself over and over.
Perhaps this experience not only provided a much needed dose of humility. Perhaps it also provided a window into the empathy I currently lack to understand those who seem to have fallen under the spell of what I believe to be false interpretations of facts or experiences. I may never share their beliefs, but perhaps, if I were willing to set aside my own contrariness, I can better understand how they came under the sway of a mythology they so dearly want to believe.
David Hoefer of Louisville, Ky., the co-editor of The Last Resort, explores our relationship with a beloved emblem of summer. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
They dot warm summer nights like phosphorescent punctuation marks. They carry bioluminescent chemicals in their abdomens that produce a cold light, more like LEDs than Edison incandescents, to attract potential mates. Little children (and adults behaving like little children) enjoy chasing after them, catching them in hand and watching them glow on release. (I’ve been known to do this after a couple of beers.)
What am I talking about? Lightning bugs, of course. Or fireflies. Or glow worms. Well, which is it?
It turns out that it’s all three, though the first two names are now more common than the third. But it also turns out that what you call these creatures is, in part, dependent on the section of the country from which you hail. The following map recently appeared in an article on the Rochesterfirst.com Web site:
This makes sense to me. I’ve called these beetles both names at different times but lean toward lightning bug. No surprise there, as Kentucky is smack dab at the center of lightning-bug territory. But I grew up in North Syracuse, New York, at the northern edge of the same region, and called them lightning bugs up there, too.
The article goes on to note an interesting coincidence. Firefly is more common in parts of the country that record more wildfires. Lightning bug is more typical of areas with higher frequency lightning strikes. The author correctly states that this is not proof of causation. But it is definitely intriguing.
We get no help from John Goodlett on this topic. The bugs are never mentioned in The Last Resort. (Pud always was a plant guy, first and foremost.)
What to call an insect may seem like a purely academic question, of little import to anyone other than linguists or entomologists. That notion would be mistaken, however. Sectional differences are an integral part of American history, with serious and sometimes dire consequences. These many differences—a true, organic form of diversity rather than the often forced and phony stuff that we’re being inundated with now—are gradually being rung out of our lives by the growing homogeneity of corporate-state culture. I like lightning bug but am okay with firefly as well. I hope distinctions like this one, and thousands of others, stick around for a while longer.
I live in the fastest growing county in Kentucky. It seems that everywhere I go I come face-to-face with this reality: farmland bulldozed for a new subdivision, woodlands daylighted without a thought of what has been sacrificed, trees pushed into hulking piles of smoking debris, traffic and impatient drivers clogging the roadways, new interstate exits and newly built intersections designed to handle today’s volume of cars. New schools, new businesses, and a new bypass to get around it all. And let’s not forget a controversial dump still accepting garbage way beyond its approved capacity.
This morning, however, we took a road trip a few miles southwest to Woodford County, where the tiny town of Midway is trying desperately to manage its own growth. It has been called “Kentucky’s Mayberry,” and as little as ten years ago it was a quaint little hamlet of historic homes and a bustling main street that attracted visitors to its special collection of unique restaurants and art shops. In recent years, however, industry has come to the area near the interstate, along with fast food franchises and convenience stores. It’s a disheartening trend that I expect is nearly inescapable for every community that had been temporarily left behind by the ravages of what many call progress.
But just off Midway’s historic downtown Railroad Street, the town has established the remarkable Walter Bradley Park, named for a town native and World War II Army veteran who, in 1977, became the first African American on the Midway City Council. He served the community in that capacity for 24 years. I had been on the periphery of this 28-acre park many times for events, mostly races where I was more focused on making it to the start line on time and finding the finish line while still breathing. This morning we could wander the grounds and its four miles of walking trails at our leisure.
Unlike many city parks, this is not simply a mowed area with a few signs and perhaps a walking path. Some visionary arborists and gardeners have created a verdant sanctuary that delights all the senses. On an unusually cool summer morning, the butterfly gardens were bursting with color. A wide variety of native trees—some old, many recently planted—welcomed us, already offering shade and guaranteeing a cool summer retreat in the years to come. Gravel paths wend among the gardens, around Sara Porter’s Seed Farm shed, across wooden footbridges, past an old spring, circling near horses grazing in the nearby meadows, and winding up to the public pavilions behind the elementary school.
As I stepped into the long arbor facing one of the many wildflower gardens, I felt as if I had stepped back into another century. Time slowed. Natural beauty again felt revered. I could imagine spending a full afternoon seated on the benches watching the birds and butterflies while engaged in idle conversation. Would I be twirling a parasol?
The good people of Midway have always seemed to understand the importance of their community’s history and have managed to preserve its rare qualities. This battle will intensify over the next few years. But they have committed to nurturing an oasis in their midst. Bravo. Central Kentuckians now have yet one more reason to visit.
David Hoefer of Louisville, Ky., the co-editor of The Last Resort, bids a fond farewell to the Brood X cicadas. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
The cicada bloom is finally starting to wind down in my neck of the woods (which is the Louisville Highlands). It is increasingly possible to hold an intelligible conversation with another human outside the house and to travel the sidewalks without the regular crunch of dead or dying bugs underfoot.
That said, I had a final cicada experience that might be worth relating. I’m currently taking an online birding course through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (an organization whose praises I’ve sung previously on this blog). One of the exercises, called “sit-spotting,” involves sitting outdoors for 15 minutes, observing the immediate surroundings, and making note in a field journal of all that which most impinges on the five senses. In a Kentucky suburban environment, that ought to mean birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bees, cats, breezes, floral scents, etc. I did this a couple of weeks back, when the cicadas were still hot and heavy. Not wise. My entries read something like:
I’ll give the cicadas this: every 17 years they put on what is truly a command performance. I guess part of the diversity of nature that we always go on about, is that sometimes there is very little diversity at all.
David Hoefer of Louisville, Ky., the co-editor of The Last Resort, examines our latest plague. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
They’re here. In fact, they’re everywhere—gazillions of them. They’ve come up from holes in the ground, where they spent 17 years sucking nutrients from plant roots in the dark, biding their time until nature called them to invasion.
With their cellophane wings and bulbous red eyes they look like something out of an Old Testament plague or maybe next-of-kin to the “Bug-eyed Monsters” (BEMs) that infested the covers of science-fiction pulp magazines from mid-20th century America.
And the racket—an incessant loud thrumming from high in the air, as though alien spacecraft were massing behind tree cover or Saruman the White was working up his war engines, as described by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. Reportedly, that racket can raise noise levels in neighborhoods up to 100 decibels.
What am I going on about? Why the 2021 vintage of Brood X cicadas, of course.
You likely know the story by now. Brood X is number ten of 15 groups of periodical cicadas resident in eastern North America. It consists of three species and is the largest and most widespread of its kind. Brood X nymphs tunnel up from their underground lairs every 17 years, once soil temperatures reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit. They shed their exoskeletons, briefly taking on a final adult form. What follows is a furious few weeks of them discharging their Darwinian duty—flying, mating, laying eggs in the trees, and dying. And, yes, all that noisemaking—the male’s monochromatic version of a mating song. Brood X cicadas are estimated to emerge in the trillions, and species survival depends on it, because these defenseless insects make easy prey for a variety of birds and other hungry creatures (including my dog, who wolfs them down like a human chomping on potato chips—a protein supplement, I suppose).
In the meantime, cicadas are as common as hydrogen, and getting into everything. You name it and they‘re on it—clothing, hair, cars, furniture, rugs, sidewalks, houses, and every other manifestation of human culture. Their weird insect noises and alien ugliness make them unwanted guests, but the fact is, unlike last year’s virus, they’re perfectly harmless. Brood X cicadas may be the ultimate proving ground for the philosophical notion of “live and let live.”
Kentucky is not actually at the epicenter of Brood X, but the bugs are certainly present and accounted for in the Bluegrass State (including in great numbers in my treelined yard). Entomologists see this North American version of a locust visitation in effect until mid-July, when the survivors will begin a new 17-year cycle of root-sucking and apocalyptic emergence and transformation. The best we can do for now is batten down the hatches and learn to live with one of nature’s stranger life utterances.
If you’re inclined toward more active observation, I can suggest an interesting application that is downloadable to iPhone and Android devices. Developed by an academic at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati and called Cicada Safari, it enables Joe and Josephine Test-tube to take on a citizen-scientist role during the Brood X interval by documenting local cicada activity with photographs and videos and posting them to an ever-growing database curated by the application’s sponsors. I’ve enjoyed running around my neighborhood looking for interesting shots, once I got over my initial repulsion.
Just remember: the cicadas probably find us at least as hideous to contemplate.
There is no mention of cicadas in The Last Resort, which makes me think that John Goodlett didn’t observe them in the Lawrenceburg environs during 1942-43. Brood X outbreaks would have occurred in 1936 and 1953, outside of the journal’s timespan. But there are other broods on different schedules, waiting for long periods to climb into the light and then share the world with us, if only briefly.
The words leaped off the cover of the February-March issue of National Wildlife, the magazine of the National Wildlife Federation. Looking directly at me on the cover was an adorable young American marten—a tawny brown weasel with a bushy tail, a species I knew nothing about that evidently builds tunnels under the snow for warmth and easy hunting.
The phrase stayed with me—“The Solace of Snow”—as I awaited a little snowfall here in central Kentucky. This morning, I awoke to Kentucky’s version of a winter wonderland. Out walking Lucy, I talked to a neighbor who was headed to Florida for some sunshine and golf. The mail carrier stopped to chat and said she’d be fine if this were the last snow she ever saw in her life. I piped up, saying, “I’d like to have snow on the ground from December 1 to March 31”—and the conversation abruptly stopped. They stared at me. My undying love for snow is not popular.
A snowfall calms me. It purifies the landscape, covering all the world’s blemishes, all the ugliness, all the winter rot. I love the crisp, cold air. I love crunching through the snow or kicking up the powder. A beautiful snowfall renews me, the way crocuses pushing through the snow might give others hope.
For me, snow does indeed offer solace, something that has been in short supply over the last months.
Reading the article “A Fading Winter Blanket,” I learn how diminishing snowfall is affecting a wide range of animals, from the marten to the polar bear to ruffled grouse to the tiny Karner blue butterfly in upstate New York, which lays its eggs on the stems of wild blue lupine, expecting them to be warmed and protected by persistent snowpack all winter. As the earth has warmed, that hasn’t been the case, so the Karner blue butterfly population is at risk. Polar bears are struggling to find the deep snow needed for birthing dens. Mountain goats in the American West seek increasingly rare patches of snow year-round to prevent them from overheating.
The natural world as we know it depends on snow, for a wide variety of reasons. As our weather becomes more extreme—too much snow in some places, too little elsewhere, glaciers melting, sea levels rising—many species suffer. Some will adapt. Some will disappear. We’ll grieve them when it’s too late.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep longing for the blanketing snows of my childhood, for long days on the sledding hill and soaking wet snow gear draped around the house. For the break in routine that a heavy snow compels—the only excuse you need to revel momentarily in its enchanting beauty.
I’ve used up all my words. Whatever I was allotted in 2020 has already spilled on the page. It seems I’ve ranted and wondered and proclaimed all year, and now I have nothing left. Language fails me. My usually active mind is dull. I feel defeated. Lifeless.
While others finally see a glimmer of hope, I remain shrouded in despair. Is it the incessant darkness of winter in Kentucky? The cumulative exhaustion of the last four years? The overwhelming sense of grief engulfing so many across our country?
Having lost the ability to express myself, I, too, feel bereft.
For a few moments this past week, however, I felt the sap gurgle in my veins. A classmate from long ago invited a few of us to walk the paths he had cut through his pastureland and wander the woods along Sharp’s Branch. The sky was still gray, the leaves under our feet damp. But we were instantly silenced by the talkative stream, seemingly full of joy and purpose, and by the slender trees shielding us defiantly from the atrocities of the man-made world nearby.
Quietude settled lightly on our shoulders.
As I try to recapture the serenity of that place, the words still do not come. But I feel a wan smile creep across my face. Perhaps there is hope in me yet.
A few years ago, as I was piecing together my father’s youth from his writings and photos, it seemed clear that three of his favorite Anderson County haunts were the camp he built with Bobby Cole on Salt River, Lovers Leap, and Panther Rock.
Perhaps the latter two were preserved in words or pictures largely because they were notable local landmarks, scenic hideaways from what passed for civilization in the small town of Lawrenceburg. The fact that all three feature rocky outcrops overlooking moving water may reveal my father’s affinity for those natural features. Or perhaps it’s simply a testament to the magnetic beauty of the limestone palisades that dot the eastern Anderson County landscape.
In 2015, retired biologist and Lawrenceburg native Bill Bryant took me to Camp Last Resort for the first time. My own love for the woods and water made me wonder, somewhat peevishly, why no one had ever thought before that I might like to see the place that was so special for my dad. The photo on the cover of The Last Resort shows my father perched on a bluff above the small waterfall near his camp on Salt River. When I saw that photo, it seemed clear where I got my penchant for sitting with my feet dangling over a rocky cliff. (See photos below.)
I still have not been to Lovers Leap, the Kentucky River overlook near where I used to bike as a teenager, on rural roads I imagine my father also pedaled. But last weekend I finally made it to Panther Rock—unfortunately, too late for Dr. Bryant, the expert on Panther Rock, to accompany me.
I’m not sure what I expected. I had seen one photo of my dad seated below the rock face, but it had been hard to make out the full magnitude of what the picture relayed. When our small hiking party caught our first glimpse of the rock from the narrow approach path, however, I was dumbstruck by its immensity. We scrambled down the steep path and poked our noses into the cave at the bottom of the wall. We negotiated the fallen rocks and boulders until we reached the small stream dropping sharply away from Panther Rock.
The whole area felt mystical, magical, remote. I could not believe this gem lay hidden, at least for me—majestic and unexplored—as I grew up roaming the domesticated woods and creek behind my Lawrenceburg subdivision, just a short distance away.
In local mythology, Panther Rock got its name in 1773 when Elijah Scearce, a hunter and trapper from nearby Fort Harrod, was captured by a Native American chief. That first night a panther supposedly sneaked into their camp under the rock face and killed Scearce’s captor. Scearce then memorialized the area by naming it after the animal that had purportedly saved his life.
The area seems to have preserved its magic ever since. I am grateful to the property owners who permitted us to absorb its wonder for a short time on a bewitchingly perfect fall day. I can only hope that generations of future explorers who stumble into this sacred place will experience the same awe as their forebears. I know I could almost hear Pud and Bobby speaking in hushed tones as they pulled bacon sandwiches from their knapsack.
Bobby Cole at Lovers Leap in 1941. Photo taken by Pud Goodlett. On May 13, 1942, Goodlett wrote in his journal, "Rinky, Bobby, and I went to Lover’s Leap this afternoon. We saw the unusual red sticky flower, and lots of pinks, but outside of these, the day was very dull. Lover’s Leap seems to have lost its attraction."
More photos of Panther rock, november 2020
Last week, as COVID-19 cases surged all across the country and the nation remained mired in a contentious election cycle, we in the Ohio Valley and the Midwest enjoyed unseasonable fall weather, with abundant sunshine and temperatures regularly reaching into the mid- and upper-70s. Each day I found myself setting my work aside and spending more time outdoors—walking the dog, bicycling tree-lined country lanes, kayaking on my small lake…and trying to stay upright in the rowing scull recently bequeathed to me by a friend and neighbor who had decided to rejoin civilization in Lexington.
That neighbor, David Bettez, was a day away from closing on his house here on the lake. I discovered messages on my phone asking if I would be willing to store his single scull on my property until he could find someone—possibly from one of the rowing clubs in Cincinnati or Louisville—who might be interested in it. I’ve known David and his wife, Roi-Ann, for over 20 years. I knew they were avid sailors. I knew they occasionally paddled their canoe on the lake. I had no idea David owned a scull.
As I read his message, I’m sure my pupils grew to the size of saucers and my heart started racing. I had always wanted to try rowing but had never had an opportunity. My cousins Martha and Becky are accomplished rowers who have regularly competed at the Head Of the Charles, the elite competition held each October on the Charles River in Boston. Once when I was visiting Martha in Seattle years ago, I went out to Lake Washington early one morning to watch rowing practice. They put me in the motorboat with the coach. It was a fascinating introduction to a grueling sport. I wanted to try it.
So I asked David if he would consider selling the scull to me.
Turned out that watching me wrestle with those big oars in the narrow inlet near my house was all the payment he wanted. I’m sure it was akin to attending comedy night at the local pub (back when those things were possible). The amazingly generous deal he offered included a day of instruction and several books on rowing technique and personal rowing adventures. The books will taunt me until I find a few days to immerse myself in them. The beginner’s instructional course took place November 9.
To calm any jitters before my introduction to the sport, I tried to assess what useful skills I might have accrued over my many decades of outdoor activity. I was accustomed to getting in and out of somewhat narrow, somewhat tippy boats. And I used to row our old metal johnboat, before we acquired lighter weight kayaks. This past summer, lazily backstroking was about all the swimming I did, so traveling backwards across the water would not be a novel sensation. In fact, my general comfort in the water made me less fearful of being tossed in by an unruly oar, even in early November.
So I hoped I could transfer some of those experiences into a successful turn in the scull. David was a gem—organized, patient, encouraging. I flailed. He talked me through it. Roi-Ann filmed. I nearly clipped the elaborate Christmas tree erected on a nearby dock. My neighbor Marc, standing on the shore watching, offered me a trolling motor.
I can’t say I ever really got the hang of it. But I think I understand, for the most part, what I need to do. Mostly I know I need practice. Miles, as Martha told me. I headed out on my own the next day, but the wind was whipping a bit and I decided I’d better not wander too far out on the open lake. So I still need many, many hours under my belt.
But more than anything, I relished having yet another excuse to be out on the water, far from all the daily horror that seemed to be smothering us. I relished a new physical challenge, at an age when bending over to tie a shoe or reaching for a clothes hanger can result in weeks of debilitation. I relished that I have friends who are willing to part with a piece of their own history so I can create a little history of my own.
Sometimes the best tonic is taking a risk. Putting oneself in a situation where humiliation is nearly guaranteed. Opening oneself to a new joy. Life can become routine, even a little dull when opportunities for new experiences have been sorely limited by necessary precautions during a pandemic. I was fortunate to have a new challenge drop in my lap. How could I let it pass without giving it a whirl?