Monday, October 14, 2013

In the money?

Maybe, just maybe, we might be starting to turn a corner. Did you see this morning's sunrise. It was beautiful for 10 or 15 minutes. Then the sun went all  behind the clouds and it's been like that ever since. See what it was like earlier, though. (Again, some web wash out. Sorry.)

photo of cloudy day sunrise
cloudy day sunrise            © harrington

Yet another bright spot is word out of Washington that some sort of resolution of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling may be within reach. That would be great news because, as much as I don't buy (pun intended) into the idea that "more" is the answer, neither do I (as yet) think that crippling the world economy is going to make things better. A third bright spot was created when Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff project recently released "The Story of Solutions." It's about shifting from an economy based on more to one based on better. I can get behind that. And then, well after sunrise, I discovered that the bright folks at The Center for Humans and Nature Blog (link on your right) have a fantastic piece beginning an exploration of biomimicry as a possible answer to gentrification. Check it out please. We'll wait here for you. The application of biomimicry to human settlements seems to me to be such a natural fit that I don't understand why there isn't more written about it. Plus, the photos are great too. Yesterday, as part of an exploratory walk around what we refer to as our neighborhood, I grabbed a shot of a mushroom emerging from our Sand Plain soil, and, while rereading John Tester's Minnesota's Natural Heritage: An Ecological Perspective, I rediscovered the following about the origin of that oversized patch of sandy soil: "Eventually, the Grantsburg Sublobe receded to the southwest of the old Mississippi River channel, and the river again resumed its old course, draining through the area now occupied by the Twin CIties. The deposit of fine sand, known as the Anoka Sand Plain, covers and area approximately 60 miles from west to east and 50 miles from north to south and shows as an outwash plain on figure 1.13." (Tester, p13, 14]

photo of emerging mushroom
emerging mushroom         © harrington

What I find completely enjoyable is the serendipity of taking mushroom photos yesterday in the context of the sand plain soils and today's references to organisms billions of years old (like the orange mushrooms on the Center for Humans and Nature) as potential shapers of our neighborhoods. This makes me think of Victor Hugo's quote about "an idea whose time has come." As a country and as a species we seem to be way overdue in finding more of what we have on common than in exacerbating our differences. After all, it's mostly about money, and Philip Larkin has a very different perspective on that.

Money

By Philip Larkin 

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
    ‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
    You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:   
    They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.
By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:
    Clearly money has something to do with life

—In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
    You can’t put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
    Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down
    From long french windows at a provincial town,   
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
    In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.
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