Friday, November 7, 2014

The more things change, the more...

One of the local ponds, close by a state highway and just off the parking lot of a small restaurant, was full of Canada geese this morning. I estimate there were several hundred sitting on the water watching people walk to get coffee and return to their cars or drive by on the highway. I didn't see other geese, or ducks for that matter, on any of the nearby lakes, including the pools on the Sunrise River in Carlos Avery. There were some in the usual spot on the St. Croix River, but mostly they're more concentrated than they were over the Summer.

Photo by J. Harrington

In case you don't remember, this is what our world looked like a year ago. This year there's no snow on the ground, yet. The smallest local water bodies haven't started to freeze and get ice covered, yet. And yours truly hasn't settled down for a long Winter's nap, yet. But it's all coming. Remember, November is the month of the freezing moon. As I was driving around taking photos for a project I'm working on, I noticed every time I got out of the car that the cold temperatures were exacerbated by today's wind. I was glad I wasn't on the St. Croix today. I'm not sure I could have worn enough clothes to keep from getting hypothermia. Now, although we aren't at January, yet, and 1795 was quite a few years ago, I find it surprising, and sort of depressing, how little things, and people, have changed. I suppose that helps explain why evolution takes such a long time.

January, 1795

By Mary Robinson 

Pavement slipp’ry, people sneezing,
Lords in ermine, beggars freezing;
Titled gluttons dainties carving,
Genius in a garret starving.

Lofty mansions, warm and spacious;
Courtiers cringing and voracious;
Misers scarce the wretched heeding;
Gallant soldiers fighting, bleeding.

Wives who laugh at passive spouses;
Theatres, and meeting-houses;
Balls, where simp’ring misses languish;
Hospitals, and groans of anguish.

Arts and sciences bewailing;
Commerce drooping, credit failing;
Placemen mocking subjects loyal;
Separations, weddings royal.

Authors who can’t earn a dinner;
Many a subtle rogue a winner;
Fugitives for shelter seeking;
Misers hoarding, tradesmen breaking.

Taste and talents quite deserted;
All the laws of truth perverted;
Arrogance o’er merit soaring;
Merit silently deploring.

Ladies gambling night and morning;
Fools the works of genius scorning;
Ancient dames for girls mistaken,
Youthful damsels quite forsaken.

Some in luxury delighting;
More in talking than in fighting;
Lovers old, and beaux decrepid;
Lordlings empty and insipid.

Poets, painters, and musicians;
Lawyers, doctors, politicians:
Pamphlets, newspapers, and odes,
Seeking fame by diff’rent roads.

Gallant souls with empty purses;
Gen’rals only fit for nurses;
School-boys, smit with martial spirit,
Taking place of vet’ran merit.

Honest men who can’t get places,
Knaves who shew unblushing faces;
Ruin hasten’d, peace retarded;
Candor spurn’d, and art rewarded.

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