Wednesday, June 17, 2015

If we don't try, we'll never know

A couple of days ago I pulled a number of dame's rocket plants from the area behind the house. Out of curiosity, I tried cut their stems if there were lots of flower blooms and promptly put them into a bucket of water. Admittedly, many of the plants were pulled when they were past their prime, but before they had gone to seed. From the bucket of cold water, the stems got retrimmed and placed in a vase with fresh water. The next day they were all looking droopy and very lifeless. They serve pollinators better than those of us looking for the beauty of cut flowers. If I hadn't tried, I wouldn't have known.

dame's rocket flowers
dame's rocket flowers
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm also learning just how much the window screens can mess with my camera's autofocus. Here's an out-of-focus photo of the independent fawn we've been seeing for the past week or so. Yesterday it was exploring the north side of the house.

whitetail fawn
whitetail fawn
Photo by J. Harrington

Once again, if I hadn't tried it, I wouldn't have known. From now on I'll try to remember to use manual focus and see if that helps.

This morning, again out of curiosity, I started wondering about the recent special session deal cutting a break for northern Minnesota's major energy consuming industries. Minnesota Power is claiming that the change will make it more equitable, that industry has been subsidizing residential users for years. (They didn't provide supporting numbers.) It seems to me that, if Minnesota's legislature, and the IRRRB, wanted to be creative and helpful, they could have worked on putting together an accelerated program to convert to greater use of renewables, especially solar, thereby helping to further diversify the Iron Range's economy. As it is, they ended up doing little more than cost shifting of a relatively small element of taconite production's total costs. Last minute, middle of the night deals almost always leave much on the table for the public to pick up.

These Lacustrine Cities

By John Ashbery 
These lacustrine cities grew out of loathing
Into something forgetful, although angry with history.
They are the product of an idea: that man is horrible, for instance,   
Though this is only one example.

They emerged until a tower
Controlled the sky, and with artifice dipped back
Into the past for swans and tapering branches,
Burning, until all that hate was transformed into useless love.

Then you are left with an idea of yourself
And the feeling of ascending emptiness of the afternoon   
Which must be charged to the embarrassment of others   
Who fly by you like beacons.

The night is a sentinel.
Much of your time has been occupied by creative games
Until now, but we have all-inclusive plans for you.
We had thought, for instance, of sending you to the middle of the desert,

To a violent sea, or of having the closeness of the others be air   
To you, pressing you back into a startled dream
As sea-breezes greet a child’s face.
But the past is already here, and you are nursing some private project.

The worst is not over, yet I know
You will be happy here. Because of the logic
Of your situation, which is something no climate can outsmart.   
Tender and insouciant by turns, you see

You have built a mountain of something,
Thoughtfully pouring all your energy into this single monument,   
Whose wind is desire starching a petal,
Whose disappointment broke into a rainbow of tears.


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