Saluda News & Notations: Savor fleeting sweetness while it lasts

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 25, 2017

“There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.

When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine

and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.

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And two mice–one white, one black–scurry out

and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point

she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.

She looks up, down, at the mice.

Then she eats the strawberry.

So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse

in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,

slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel

and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.

Oh taste how sweet and tart

the red juice is, how the tiny seeds

crunch between your teeth.”

~ Ellen Bass, excerpt from “Relax” (thanks to C.A.)

On a rainy afternoon after returning from a day of inspections — mammogram and truck— I sit down to write, River snoozing at my feet, a sense of relief that inspections went well.

A friend sent the above poem (in its entirety) on a Monday morning. I thought on how life leads us to learn to eat that strawberry, to savor fleeting sweetness while it lasts. Friends do that in this life—send us words, love, snippets of hugs and tenderness that lighten the day.

Later that same morning, I hauled a bag of donations to Hospice in Landrum and spotted Sue Kruse, who volunteers there every Monday. Admiring her latest hair style, Sue admitted that her husband Steve was the reason it looked so flattering—he has an engineering background, so that explains a lot! We laughed about past beauty shop horror stories of round hair, burnt hair, and no hair.

Sometimes a wild strawberry, a willing partner who cuts hair better than a beauty shop, or a poignant poem on a Monday happens along. There will be bad hair days and cracked bones, but there will be that sweetness somewhere in all that. That wild strawberry in the crevice. 

~ ~ ~

Saluda Welcome Table is at Saluda Methodist Church Tuesday from 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) has “Walks in the Woods” on the first and third Sundays each month (meet at Saluda Library parking lot at 2 p.m.). Free swimming lessons at Twin Lakes (thanks to a grant from Polk County Community Foundation) start with Brian Lilburn from Aqua Child from June 19-July 7. Contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit to learn more, donate, or volunteer.

Saluda Tail Gate Market is open 4:30-6:30 p.m. every Friday May through October.

Historic Saluda committee will have a tour of homes on Shand Hill, plus other historical buildings on June 3. Visit for more information.

Thank you to the volunteers who made the Saluda Arts Festival a success!

Saluda Center’s inaugural community meeting will be May 29 at 6 p.m.

Top of the Grade Concerts at McCreery Park begin June 9 from 7-9 p.m.

There’s a citywide yard sale event June 10 at Saluda School’s tennis courts, McCreery Park, Pavilion and around town. To reserve a free space, request a sign, or information, call 828-749-3789.

Coon Dog Day is July 8.

Happy May Birthday to Amy Copeland, Corinne Gerwe, Chris Anderson, Mark Jackson, Cary Pace, Lisa Hipp, Trevor Young, Jemme Latell, Paul Marion, Jesse Thomas, Margaret Sease, Elizabeth Baldwin, Chad Baldwin, Lynn Cass, Thelma Jones, Betsy Burdett, and Melia Bradley.

Garden Tip:

Last week’s garden tip was a recipe for mosquito spray that I’m still testing. I’m also trying used dry coffee grounds, burnt like incense outside in the areas I’m in. Just put the dry grounds in a metal container or bowl, light, and set where you want. Pests supposedly hate the scent of coffee grounds. I’m trying it out since I don’t like chemical sprays that smell to high heaven and I don’t like mosquitoes trying to carry me and River off to the deep woods. Dear readers, if you have a tip that works, send it along!

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this column. You can contact me at, 828-749-1153, or