Anne Bradstreet: Badass Puritan Poet

Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet

Because Thanksgiving season is upon us and because I will soon be travelling to Boston, I am continuing my series highlighting early American writers.  Yesterday, I wrote about the literary duel between Thomas Morton (the bad boy of early New England settlers) and William Bradford, the long-time governor of Plymouth Bay Colony.

Today, I am focusing upon the first English-speaking poet published in America:  Anne Bradstreet.  As you might guess from her name, she was a woman.  She was also a devout Puritan who married at age 16 and raised eight children in the howling wilderness of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Managing to become the first published poet of North American while being a female Puritan makes Anne Bradstreet distinctly Badass, in my humble opinion.  Bradstreet lived from 1612-1672, and she published her collection of poetry called The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America in 1650.

let us now praise badass women

During this time period, women—to put it mildly—were considered inferior to men and were expected to conform to female duties of running a household and raising children.  They were not expected to become published poets.

To give a example of the cultural attitudes that the prevailed, one historical document suggested to women readers that they should “derive their ideas of God from the contemplations of her husband’s excellencies.”

[Excuse me while I gag.]

So it was against strong odds that Bradstreet managed to publish a book of poetry.  It helped that her brother-in-law was a strong advocate of her work; he took a copy of her work to London to get it published.

The preface her brother-in-law wrote to the book explains much about the attitudes of the time:

.. .the worst effect of his [the reader’s] reading will be unbelief, which will make him question whether it be a woman’s work, and ask, is it possible?  If any do, take this as an answer from him that dares avow it; it is the work of a woman, honored, and esteemed where she lives, for her gracious demeanor, her eminent parts, her pious conversation, her courteous disposition, her exact diligence in her place, and discreet managing of her family occasions, and more than so, these poems are the fruit but of some few hours, curtailed from her sleep and other refreshments(my emphasis)

In other words, it is hard to believe that a woman could write poetry.  It is also rather disgraceful.  But, since the woman still managed to be well-behaved and did her domestic duties, I guess we can allow it.

Bradstreet tended to write about issues dear to many women’s hearts:  her husband, her children, her home, and her struggle to reconcile her faith with her more worldly desires.  People today who read her work out of context probably find it conventional and unremarkable.  (I know that was my first reaction to it.)

However, given her time period and her context as a Puritan settler in North America, her choice of subject matter was actually quite rebellious.  The Puritans in America were generally quite literate and promoted reading and writing—up to a point.  The only subject matter they really approved of was religious subject matter.  If a person was going to write poetry, they should be sure to write poetry in praise of God.  There was no other point in writing.

Bradstreet was a religious woman and she did often write about God.  But she also wrote about private, domestic matters.  For many of her fellow Puritans, such topics were considered frivolous or inappropriate. But that did not stop Anne Bradstreet.

In one of her poems, for example, “Before the Birth of One of Her Children,” she wrote a poetic letter to husband.  In this poem, she expressed her fears that she might die in childbirth (a realistic fear at the time) and hoped that her husband would remember her lovingly.  She also hoped that he would raise their children well, and not let any wicked stepmother abuse them:

“And when they loss shall be repaid with gains,

Look to my little babes, my dear remains.

And if thou love thy self, or loved’st me,

These O protect from step-dame’s injury”

Other topics of her poetry include love poems to her husband, poems in memory of a deceased young grandchild, and even a poem lamenting the loss of her house to fire.  She often wrote about her faith, but when she did so, she highlighted the very real struggles she often faced in trying to understand why thing happened the way they did.

Despite the centuries that separate contemporary readers from the 1600s, I think most women can relate to at least some of Bradstreet’s poems.  Reading her poetry helps me to understand early Puritans as full-blooded human beings, rather than just one-sided symbols of early America.

National Blog Posting Month
National Blog Posting Month

Animal House in the Land of the Puritans: Thomas Morton

William Bradford
William Bradford

photo source

I will be visiting Boston, Massachusetts in a couple of weeks.  In preparation for my visit, I am going to highlight a few early American writers, most of whom lived in New England.

If you paid attention when you were in school, you most likely learned about William Bradford, who was governor of the colony of Plymouth from 1621-1657.  Much of what we know about the early separatist settlers comes from his history On Plymouth Plantation.

As you can imagine, life was hard for these early settlers who were trying to form a religiously pure community untainted by the corrupt ways of the Church of England back home.  Not only did Bradford’s community have to battle against nature, hunger, disease, Native Americans and the like, but they also had to battle against other English settlers of a dissolute nature.

Thomas Morton
Thomas Morton

photo source

Thomas Morton was one of these settlers, a major thorn in the side of Governor Bradford. Thomas Morton was not part of Plymouth; he was neither a Separatist nor a Puritan.   He was the breed known as a “Cavalier,” someone loyal to the King and Church of England.  For Bradford, that amounted to almost the same thing as atheism.  Furthermore, according to Bradford’s account, Morton and his band were licentious drunks who partied too much.

Worse yet, Morton invited Indians to his celebrations. [Gasp!] It nearly drove Bradford into a apoplectic fit when he heard that on May Day, Morton’s band got together with Indians to celebrate.  They all gathered together to cavort around a maypole, a true sign of paganism for Bradford. The Governor wrote that  “They also set up a maypole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting the Indian women for their consorts, dancing and frisking together like so many fairies, or furies, rather; and worse practices.”

In other words, Bradford considered Morton and his pals to be the Animal House of Puritan times.

The truly shocking thing about Thomas Morton, however–the unforgivable thing–is that he did not consider Native Americans to be savages.  In his book New England Canaan, Morton goes to great length to portray the Native Americans as more civilized than the fanatical Separatists of Plymouth Plantation.  Morton points out that the Indians display a reverence for God, a deep sense of hospitality, a natural modesty, a respect for old age, and a reverence for authority.

Morton believed the Separatist and Puritan English would be better off if they respected the ways of the Indians and formed true friendships with them, rather than treating them as Satan’s minions and an impediment to be overcome.

Unfortunately, there was no room for such radical beliefs in early New England.   Thomas Morton was arrested and exiled by the Plymouth authorities.   I wonder how our country would be different if Morton’s views had prevailed.

Thomas  Morton

The Too-Wild-West: Amanda Coplin’s “The Orchardist”

MizB at shoudbereading hosts the weekly Musing Mondays event.

Here are the rules:

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Amanda Coplin
Amanda Coplin

I am currently reading Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist for one of my book groups.  Set in late 19th/early 20th century Washington State, it is the story of orchardist William Talmadge and two young women, Jane and Della, whom he befriends and tries to protect.   This is Coplin’s first novel, and she has received high praise from critics, deservedly so.

orchardist

I am only about halfway through, so I am not ready to make Grand Sweeping Pronouncements on the novel as a whole, except by saying that Coplin’s writing is beautifully evocative of a bygone era, and her characters are complex and engaging.

One thing that struck me about this novel was how utterly wild the Wild West was.  By that, I mean characters could live their entire lives with little to no contact with the larger world or even other people.  People could and did start their own homestead and live their lives with only the most minimal contact with society.

In today’s hyper-connected world, where we are constantly bombarded with information from around the world, this may seem appealing.  Such isolation, however, has a dark side.  We see this darkness in The Orchardist.  We learn early on that Jane and Della are runaways from what can only be termed sexual slavery.  A man named Michaelson keeps a brothel.  However, the brothel is full of children and young women who are kept captive there as slaves. It is unclear where these women came from, but it is suggested that many of them were kidnapped and several are the children of the slaves.  If a woman dares to escape, Michaelson sends out his men to hunt them down and bring them back.

Everybody in the sparsely populated community knows what goes on in Michaelson’s place, but nobody does anything about it.  This aspect of the novel puzzles me.  Surely, even in the Wild Wild West, there were laws about kidnapping and sexual slavery? Or did nobody care because the slaves were just “whores”?

Maybe some of you readers know more about the history of these times and can elucidate me.  I know that brothels existed (and still do), but I assumed the women working there were adults who chose this way to make a living.  Was Michaelson’s brand of sexual servitude for white women common in that day and region?

Pear Trees Are Obscene! Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

I'm a sexy beast.
I’m a sexy beast. Click here for source of photo.

 This post contributes to the Banned Books Blog Party hosted by hannah at her blog Things Matter.  Click here for more about her blog and the banned books blog party.

Pear trees in bloom should be banned.  They are just too sexy, too alluring.  They are, in fact, positively obscene.

This is the message I took away from learning recently that Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is on the list for Banned and Challenged Books.   You may be aware that September 21-27 is Banned Books Week.  Sponsored by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week

“is an annual  event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”    http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek

One of the Banned and Challenged Books listed by the ALA is their Their Eyes Were Watching God, a gorgeous novel written in 1937 by African-American anthropologist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston.  Their Eyes chronicles the story of a girl named Janie Crawford who, throughout the course of the novel, matures from a restless girl of 16 into a mature woman in her early forties.  Hurston focuses in particular on Janie’s search to find love, community, and a voice of her own.

Zora Neale Hurston from Carl Van Vechten/Beinecke Library, Yale
Zora Neale Hurston from Carl Van Vechten/Beinecke Library, Yale

This quest is made difficult, however, by the fact that, as a poor, black, southern girl in the early years of the 20th century, with no family except her grandmother, Janie is at the bottom of the totem pole.  As she learns from her grandmother, “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see” (14).  Poor black women are used by others—including black men—to gratify their own desires.  Expecting, as Janie does, to forge her own destiny and find love on her own terms, is unrealistic and even dangerous.

That is why Janie’s grandmother marries her off at age 16 to an older man whom Janie finds repulsive.  Granny knows through experience what it is like to be treated as a “spit cup” by men and she does not want Janie to go through the same pain.  Janie’s marriage with Logan Killicks is not a successful one.  It serves as the springboard to her restless search for a better marriage, a better life, which she does find eventually.

So why is Their Eyes Were Watching God on list of banned and challenged books?  According to the ALA, in 1997 “a parent objected to the novel’s language and sexual explicitness.”

Sexual explicitness?  I have read this book many times (it is one of my favorites) and I cannot remember any sexually explicit scene.  Hurston’s language is poetic, full of metaphors and images, rather than any starkly realistic descriptions of sexuality.

I can only surmise, but I am guessing what bothered Concerned Parent is the central symbol of the novel:  the pear tree in bloom.  In the beginning of the story, Janie is a sixteen year old girl who is first beginning to feel the stirrings of her sexuality.  One lovely spring day, she is lying under a pear tree when she has a revelation:

“She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her.  She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight.  So this was a marriage!  She had been summoned to behold a revelation.  Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid. . . .

Oh to be a pear tree—any tree in bloom!  With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen.  She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her.  Where were the singing bees for her?”  (11)

http://www.balboapark.org/blogs/balboa-park-beat/pear-trees-bloom#.VCa3iPldVTQ

Click here for source of photo.

 

This vision of the pear tree helps her to really “get” what the “birds and the bees” are all about.  This glorious vision of “marriage” in nature fuels her quest for the rest of the novel.  She, too, wants to find a “bee for her blossom.”  She wants the natural ecstasy she observed in nature.

 https://www.threadless.com/product/684/Birds_The_Bees

Click here for photo source.

Apparently, for Concerned Parent, the pear tree is too explicit; it is like a saucy siren minx who lures on innocent youth to their demise.  Good point, Concerned Parent.  But why stop at banning Their Eyes Were Watching God?  We should ban all pear trees everywhere.  Pear trees have undoubtedly been the cause of many a ruined life.

But let’s not stop at just pear trees.  Let’s ban all trees.  Their spring-time hanky-panky sets a bad example for the Youth of America.  For that matter, let’s get rid of spring time altogether.  You know how adolescents get when they feel those soft May breezes stroking them into a frenzy of desire.  But, as long as we’re at it, let’s ban nature.  All those plants and animals reproducing constantly.  It’s obscene and I won’t put up with it any longer—nor should you.  Let’s act now to end nature and its obscene allure.

Please join me in signing the attached Petition to Abolish Nature in All Its Forms So That Our Children Will No Longer Be Sullied.

Bird sluts
Bird sluts

Click here for source of photo

Diversiverse Challenge
Diversiverse Challenge

 

 

 

 

This post is a response to Aarti’s #Diversiverse challenge.

For more information about her #Diversiverse challenge, click here.

100 Best American Novels Before 1985?

It is probably impossible to come up with an objective list of the 100 best novels from any country.  Nonetheless, people try, and these lists can be helpful for people  looking for new works to read or a way to fill in the gaps of their undergraduate English literature degree.

This particular list comes from David Handlin, who describes himself as an “enthusiast” rather than a scholar.  He published this list in The American Scholar recently.  For the complete article, including his definition of what he means by “Best American Novels,” click here..  He places in bold-face the novels that are his personal favorites.

If your goal is to better understand the American literary tradition, I think this is a reasonably good list.  I teach American literature in a university, and if I could teach 100 novels, I think my list would not be dramatically different from this one.

What do you think?  Are there novels you think should be on this list?  Are there some that should definitely be removed?


1. Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry (1792–1815)

2. Hannah W. Foster, The Coquette (1797)

3. Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland (1798)

4. Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie (1827)

5. James Fenimore Cooper, The Prairie (1827)

6. John Pendleton Kennedy, Swallow Barn (1832)

7. Robert Montgomery Bird, Sheppard Lee (1836)

8. Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838)

9. Johnson Jones Hooper, Some Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs (1845)

10. George Lippard, The Quaker City, the Monks of Monk Hall (1845)

11. James Fenimore Cooper, The Crater (1847)

12. Herman Melville, Redburn (1849)

13. Ik Marvel (Donald G. Mitchell), Reveries of a Bachelor (1850)

14. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850)

15. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

16. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or The Whale (1851)

17. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance (1852)

18. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

19. Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man (1857)

20. John W. DeForest, Miss Ravenel’s Conversion (1867)

21. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868–1869)

22. Albion Tourgée, A Fool’s Errand (1879)

23. George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes (1880)

24. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (1881)

25. Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

26. Henry James, The Bostonians (1886)

27. Henry James, The Princess Casamassima (1886)

28. Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 (1888)

29. Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

30. William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890)

31. Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893)

32. Henry Blake Fuller, The Cliff-Dwellers (1893)

33. Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894)

34. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)

35. Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896)

36. Frank Norris, McTeague (1899)

37. Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)

38. Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)

39. Frank Norris, The Octopus (1901)

40. Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (1902)

41. Owen Wister, The Virginian (1902)

42. Henry James, The Ambassadors (1903)

 43. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905)

44. Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913)

45. Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons (1918)

46. Willa Cather, My Ántonia (1918)

47. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street (1920)

48. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence (1920)

49. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

50. John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (1925)

51. Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926)

52. Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927)

53. Claude McKay, Home to Harlem (1928)

54. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)

55. William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

56. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)

57. Willa Cather, Shadows on the Rock (1931)

58. William Faulkner, Light in August (1932)

59. Daniel Fuchs, Summer in Williamsburg (1934)

60. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (1936)

61. William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

62. John Dos Passos, U.S.A. (1930–1936)

63. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

64. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

65. Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust (1939)

66. Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

67. Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)

68. Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

69. Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely (1940)

70. James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce (1941)

71. Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men (1946)

72. Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead (1948)

73. Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky (1949)

74. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (1952)

75. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

76. Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

77. James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)

78. Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)

79. William Gaddis, The Recognitions (1955)

80. John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle (1957)

81. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1958)

82. Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (1958)

83. John Updike, Rabbit, Run (1960)

84. Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (1961)

85. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

86. Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road (1961)

87. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire (1962)

88. William Faulkner, The Reivers (1962)

89. Peter Matthiessen, At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965)

90. William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)

91. Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint (1969)

92. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)

93. Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose (1971)

94. Isaac Bashevis Singer, Enemies, A Love Story (1972)

95. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

96. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (1977)

97. Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)

98. William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

99. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)

100. Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)

Why Can’t I Be a Savannah Weirdo?

 

Fountain in Savannah
Fountain in Savannah

An otherwise nondescript salesman named Jack wears a “carefully applied arc of purple eye shadow that blazed like a lurid sunset” –but only on his left eyelid. This is because his boss forbade him from wearing any makeup to work. To avoid getting fired for misconduct, Jack has spent years looking at his boss only over his right shoulder so that the boss can only see his right eye. In order to succeed in this mission he always walks “sideways around the store, like a damned crab, twistin’ this way and that” (58).

Serena Dawes, an aging upper-class beauty whose hair is dyed a flaming red, decided to spend the last half of her life holding court in bed, “drinking martinis and pink ladies, and playing with her white toy poodle, Lulu” (70). She “drawled and cussed and carried on” with visitors and servants while lounging in bed, dressed in one of her many peignoirs.   When she has a particularly strong point to make, she throws objects across the room—sometimes even Lulu the poodle (71).

Serena’s shy lover Luther has his good qualities, but he is possessed by inner demons and everyone worries that he will dump his lethal poison into the city’s water supply, killing the entire population. One of Luther’s hobbies is to anesthetize house flies and glue lengths of thread to their backs.   Some days, he walks his flies through downtown Savannah, holding a dozen different colored threads in his hand.

These are a sample of some of the colorful characters John Berendt describes in his book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Set in Savannah, Georgia, this book is a nonfiction account of the legal battles of Jim Williams, a successful antique dealer and restorer of old houses.   Jim Williams definitely killed his young lover and employee Danny Hansford. He admitted to doing so. The legal question was whether the killing was self-defense or murder.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Berendt’s account of the events leading up to the shooting and the four (yes four) trials Williams endured are riveting.  What fascinates me most about this book, though, are the other characters Berendt profiles—and there are many. This is as much a book about the weird denizens of Savannah, Georgia as it is about how and why Williams killed his boy toy.

Some of the main characters readers get to know include Joe Odom, the cheerful lawyer/crook that is such a a wonderful host, piano player and all around likable guy that nobody wants to send him to jail. We also get to know Minerva, a voodoo priestess who helps Jim Williams with her dark arts.  And we meet one of the most unforgettable characters of all: the Lady Chablis, an African-American transvestite “show girl” with a penchant for mischief.

With such a remarkable cast of supporting characters, I sometimes forgot that the main thread of the book was about Jim Williams’s trial for murder. His story paled in comparison to the characterization of the rest of Savannah. And this book does seem to be about the city of Savannah as a character, a weird character who likes to drink a lot and act outrageously.

For more details on Midnight’s cast of characters and where they lived, check out this website which maps out all of the main locations and people of the book.  http://mayakashi.net/Photo/Journal/Journal3/Savannah/frameset.html

Berendt points out that Savannah encourages eccentricity: “For me, Savannah’s resistance to change was its saving grace. The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large. It grew inward, too, and in such a way that its people flourished like hothouse plants tended by an indulgent gardener. The ordinary became extraordinary. Eccentrics thrived. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world” (368).

Some of these Savannah eccentrics seem harmless; others are downright dangerous.   As a group, though, they seem to be more colorful and to live life with more zest than do the denizens of my beloved Midwest.

We Midwesterners are decent, hard-working folk. Contrary to national stereotypes, we are actually highly educated and literate in comparison to the rest of the country. We do good things.   But we don’t cultivate eccentricity. Sure, we have our share of nut jobs, but we expect our nut jobs to keep their nuttiness to themselves. Mostly, we expect people to fit in. These are fine qualities, I suppose, but they can make us all a bit colorless.

Reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil makes me wonder how I would have turned out if I’d been born and raised in Savannah.   I think it’s time to find out. I shall henceforth cultivate eccentricity. I am going to move my bed to my office at work. I will greet my students during office hours wearing nothing but a purple peignoir and my 13 cats. I’ll be smoking cigars and drinking champagne simultaneously.  After I get fired for this behavior, I will perform voodoo on the people who fired me, causing them mysterious, wrenching pains in body parts they didn’t know they had.

And I’ll wear purple eye shadow on only my right eyelid.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Where are you from? What sort of behavior is encouraged in your neck of the woods?

LeConte Lodge, Smoky Mountains

In the summer of 2007, I hiked with a group of people in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We stayed at the top of the mountain at LeConte Lodge.  The pictures that follows this posting are taken from that stay.  LeConte Lodge sits at an elevation of about 6400 feet.  There are no roads leading to the lodge; the only way to reach it is by hiking (on trails ranging from 5.5 to 8 miles).  I suppose you could also hitch a ride from a llama.  They are used to transport food and other necessities.

The lodge provides substantial, wonderful meals to replenish guests after a long hike.  They also provide rustic cabins that protect from the elements but are devoid of electricity or plumbing.   There are flush toilets–but only in a communal outhouse.  There are no shower facilities.  On the other hand, the views are breathtaking!

I would highly recommend a stay at LeConte for people who enjoy hiking and who don’t mind a few days of rustic living as long as it is rewarded with gorgeous views.  For more information, check here.