Beanery Online Literary Magazine

February 2, 2010

River Song: Part 3



Tim Landy

     Tim’s story is posted in three parts. To read Part 1, click on: River Song: Part 1 .  For Part 2, click on: River Song: Part 2

     Revisit the Beanery Online Literary Magazine to read the final post of  River Song. Or, for your convenience, subscribe to this site by typing your e-mail address in the SUBSCRIPTION box in the upper right hand column of this site. You will receive a return e-mail asking you to confirm the subscription. Your e-mail will not be publicized.

          The subject of this article is a fascinating woman who lives on the line between nature’s chaotic and man’s organized worlds.

      After graduating from high school, Joan matriculated at Pomona College, a small college in California established to educate westerners in the New England liberal arts tradition.  Here she majored in sociology and art.

            After completing her degree, she and several friends went to Europe.  Eventually she settled in Paris for two years, where she studied etching at a private studio.  Having finished her course of study, she decided to stay on for two more years, working as a secretary in the American Consulate.  When her job was upgraded to that of personnel assistant, she was able to take a position with the State Department in Germany.

            Finally returning to the United States, she soon met her future husband, Charles, a native of Western Pennsylvania.

            “After I married, my focus was on my family,” she says.  I wasn’t ready for a career in art.”

            These days, having reared two sons and two daughters, Joan has more time to devote to the arts.  A member of the Laurel Art Group, she works in a variety of media, from oils to chalk to pastels.  Her artwork includes, among others, several portraits of canines and of children.

            As the seasons wheel across the hills and glens of the western Appalachians, Joan’s daily life unfolds like a pleasant tune—rhythmic, harmonious, rich in images of nature.  Besides painting, drawing, and gardening, she finds lots of time for reading, writing, reflecting.

            Her interest in books focuses on prehistory, old-world history, and science.  One of her favorite science texts is Guy Marchie’s Seven Mysteries of Life.  However, she believes “first-hand experience is something more interesting than you can read in books.”  Her respect for science, with its need to classify everything, is tempered by the belief that “each life form is unique.”

            A member of both the Ligonier Valley Writers and the former Foothills Writers Group, Joan says, “I enjoy writing essays.  I’m always pleased if someone enjoys reading them.”

            The most recent one explores the relation between spirals on earth–such as the spiraling vines of her bower and the seed pattern of her sunflowers–and those found among the swirling gases of the galaxies.

            When Joan describes her garden as a product of “mysteries, marvels, miracles, surprises, and mistakes,” perhaps she is describing her own life.  Or all of our lives.  Ultimately, she has no answers.

            In the lyrics of a song that she wrote several years ago, Joan says,

                                    Youghiogheny melody

                                    Youghiogheny memory

                                    Round it follows

                                    The hills and hollows

                                    Always coming back to me                   

            That little girl playing on the sand in Southern California—longing for a world lush with living things, moving things, green things—has found the place she had always imagined.

            “I found what I was yearning for,” here in the hills of western Pennsylvania.

            Like this meandering Youghiogheny River, Joan’s life has returned to itself.




January Catalogues Lead to June Gardens

Memoir Writing Can Elicit Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Deborah Nelson: Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

How to Give Support to Caregivers

The Partners in Progress Mission Project in Haiti

Post Office Closings in Rector and Export, Pennsylvania, Mirror a Larger Postal Service Problem

Update on the Rector and Export Post Office Suspensions

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