Sunday, May 3, 2015

Live off the interest, not the principal

Last night when I went to bed, the pear tree blossoms were all wrapped up tight in their buds. This morning many of the buds have burst into flowers. There must have been an overnight visit from the flower-opening fairies.

pear tree blossoms
pear tree blossoms
Photo by J. Harrington

We've added a meal worm feeder, full of rehydrated meal worms, for the bluebirds and orioles; a hummingbird feeder is full and hanging out front and we're moving into a Summerish mode after yesterday's warm temperatures. The Daughter Person and Mr. Daughter Person (I'll get in trouble for that) bought, filled and hung a nectar feeder in hopes of attracting orioles. The aesthetics of grape-colored nectar in a bright orange based feeder leaves a lot to be desired, but we'll see if it works. It looks as if the local gray squirrels have been sampling the meal worms so that feeder will probably get moved to someplace less readily accessible by rodents.

Earth's only real source of energy
Earth's only real source of energy
Photo by J. Harrington

We had a family conversation last night about clothes lines and clothes dryers and drying clothes. I started from a perspective that the younger generation should be more concerned about global warming and relying on electric dryers than about road dust collecting on their line-dried clothes. As we continued to talk, it occurred to me that, if all of our electricity came from renewables, much of my perspective on "clothes lines to save the world" would be unneeded. I suppose it's too much to hope for that our utilities might wake up some day and see renewables as a major marketing strategy. Instead, Xcel is fussing about oversized community solar gardens. There does seem to be an unfortunate direct correlation between the size of an organization and the ossification of its corporate thinking, not that small organizations and individuals, large and small, aren't capable of egregious stupidity. If you don't believe me, check the Star Tribune's comment section on almost any story they run. I can't decide if most of the commenters are posting intentional troll-bait or are really as clueless as they seem. (I'll probably get in trouble for that too.) I seem to be moving from my Winter funk to my Summer feist as rapidly as the weather patterns are changing. Change can be good. Maybe I can find some "eye-opening fairies" to visit utility executives during the night.

Mechanism

By A. R. Ammons 
Honor a going thing, goldfinch, corporation, tree,
          morality: any working order,
       animate or inanimate: it
has managed directed balance,
          the incoming and outgoing energies are working right,
       some energy left to the mechanism,
some ash, enough energy held
          to maintain the order in repair,
       assure further consumption of entropy,
expending energy to strengthen order:
          honor the persisting reactor,
       the container of change, the moderator: the yellow
bird flashes black wing-bars
          in the new-leaving wild cherry bushes by the bay,
       startles the hawk with beauty,
flitting to a branch where
          flash vanishes into stillness,
       hawk addled by the sudden loss of sight:
honor the chemistries, platelets, hemoglobin kinetics,
          the light-sensitive iris, the enzymic intricacies
       of control,
the gastric transformations, seed
          dissolved to acrid liquors, synthesized into
       chirp, vitreous humor, knowledge,
blood compulsion, instinct: honor the
          unique genes,
       molecules that reproduce themselves, divide into
sets, the nucleic grain transmitted
          in slow change through ages of rising and falling form,
       some cells set aside for the special work, mind
or perception rising into orders of courtship,
          territorial rights, mind rising
       from the physical chemistries
to guarantee that genes will be exchanged, male
          and female met, the satisfactions cloaking a deeper
       racial satisfaction:
heat kept by a feathered skin:
          the living alembic, body heat maintained (bunsen
       burner under the flask)
so the chemistries can proceed, reaction rates
          interdependent, self-adjusting, with optimum
       efficiency—the vessel firm, the flame
staying: isolated, contained reactions! the precise and
          necessary worked out of random, reproducible,
       the handiwork redeemed from chance, while the
goldfinch, unconscious of the billion operations
          that stay its form, flashes, chirping (not a
       great songster) in the bay cherry bushes wild of leaf. 

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