Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Relax, it's Summer's first full day

This morning's sky was as beautiful as ever I've seen. Fortunately, my iPhone camera captured it moderately well. (My "low light" skills on my DSLR weren't up to the challenge.) The almost new moon (new on 6/23) is just above treeline and, higher in the sky, Venus is lost temporarily behind the clouds.

Summer's first morn
Summer's first morn
Photo by J. Harrington

Sights like the above make a slight loss of sleep a small price to pay, and the dogs, especially mine, are ready to enthusiastically greet a new morn anytime, probably because dogs get fed soon after their humans get up, even before humans get coffee.

As you, I hope, know by now, this is National Pollinator Week. I've already learned a few things I probably should have known before, but, my interest in the outdoors, and in "nature" was a function of my interest in hunting and fishing. If a critter wasn't game, or bait, my attention span was limited. Pollinators were bees and butterflies. I never considered hummingbirds or beetles as pollinators. That lens was too limited, too narrowly focused. Another, a better, way to look at the world can be found in a brief essay on the Donna Meadows Institute's web site, titled Lines in the Mind, Not in the World.

As I finished reading through "Lines," I stumbled onto another piece by Meadows that made me think of Yogi Berra's "It's deja vu all over again." In late January, 2001, Meadows wrote this column: What Really Needs to be Said About our Last Lamented Election.

See if any of these phrases ring a bell:
  • "Like you, I have been drowning in the gush of reaction to our recent election (or selection) — an election that will never quite be over, that will continue to prick like a thorn, that was clearly never intended, as our new president is already demonstrating, to unite instead of divide us.

  • "… The illegitimacy of this administration should not be made to fade from view. No approval of lifetime appointments, especially on the Supreme Court. No cutting or privatization of any part of Social Security or Medicare."
She had similar perspectives to share in a column from two weeks earlier, Trying Hard Here to Work up Some Feeling of National Unity. I'm not sure if it's much help, being reminded that, in the not too distant past, we've been in a situation similar to the one under which many of us are now suffering, except that, in my opinion, more than a decade ago, Ms. Meadows nailed a large problem we faced then and still do:
"But the point of it — OK here’s the point — the point is, this political system sucks. The issues and concerns of the people are squeezed out by the issues and concerns of the centralized money-makers. The country runs on money-making at the expense of all other purposes and values." 
That's food for thought all the while we're relaxing at the cabin or wherever we go to regroup this Summer. We can take some time off, but our kids can't afford to have us give up the fight.

The Tragic Condition of the Statue of Liberty


By Bernadette Mayer


                                      A collaboration with Emma Lazarus

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Give me your gentrificatees of the Lower East Side including all the well-heeled young Europeans who’ll take apartments without leases
Give me your landlords, give me your cooperators
Give me the guys who sell the food and the computers to the public schools in District One
Give me the IRS-FBI-CIA men who don’t take election day off
Give me the certain members of the school board & give me the district superintendent
Give me all the greedy members of both american & foreign capitalist religious sects
Give me the parents of the punk people
Give me the guy who puts those stickers in the Rice Krispies
Give me the doctor who thinks his time is more valuable than mine and my daughter’s & the time of all the other non-doctors in this world
Give me the mayor, his mansion, and the president & his white house
Give me the cops who laugh and sneer at meetings where they demonstrate the new uses of mace and robots instead of the old murder against people who are being evicted
Give me the landlord’s sleazy lawyers and the deal-making judges in housing court & give me the landlord’s arsonist
Give me the known & unknown big important rich guys who now bank on our quaint neighborhood
Give me, forgive me, the writers who have already or want to write bestsellers in this country
Together we will go to restore Ellis Island, ravaged for years by wind, weather and vandals
I was surprised and saddened when I heard that the Statue of Liberty was in such a serious state of disrepair & I want to help
This is the most generous contribution I can afford.


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