Thursday, March 24, 2016

Such beauty in one sentence.

"It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy;  to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self - never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardour of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dimsighted."

- George Eliot


Thursday, January 28, 2016

I believe this.

An economy cannot sustain itself without giving back.

Wendell Berry


Friday, October 23, 2015

Corey Jones and the Law

I haven't written about the various controversial  police shootings of black people around the nation this year.
But the killing of Corey Jones  was just a few miles down the road, and the victim was a friend of someone I know and admire.
I needed to post something.
So I rummaged through some of my books and found what I wanted in Loren Eiseley's autobiography "All The Strange Hours."  In Section 1, Chapter 6 (titled Toads and Men).

In this chapter, Eiseley writes about his days 'riding the rails' in the 1930's and how he and men like him were stoned or beaten or occasionally shot for 'breaking the law.'

Eiseley writes "I continued my meanderings on foot.  I wasn't tearing through the night on express trains any longer.  I avoided cops.  I avoided jails."
and then he writes:

"By no one but the law could I be regarded as dangerous."

That's my comment.   It doesn't solve the problem but I believe it does define it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I apologize for neglecting this blog.  The few readers I have deserve better.

Closing with this poem by Robert Frost:


Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward.
He waited (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure.
The age-long theme is Age's.
'Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past.  The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing -
Too present to imagine.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7, 2010

To fill a gap
Insert the Thing that caused it-
Block it up
With Other - and 'twill yawn the more-
You cannot solder an Abyss
With Air.

Poem # 223 by Emily Dickinson
From the Final Harvest Edition by Thomas H. Johnson


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Do you remember me?

By an accident of circumstance,  the woman on the other end of a call he made  was a friend of 55 years ago.
Do you remember me? she asked, after telling him her name.

He hesitated.

Do I remember you?   You had a bronze-colored late 50's Plymouth.  Your license plate number was RO-7477.  Your telephone number was SL3-2128.  Your birthday is December 22.
Yes, he thought, I remember you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wallace Stegner on 'being Green'

I searched for a quote by Wallace Stegner and found it at the beginning of an essay by him which is titled "Thoughts in a Dry Land."

The Quote:  "You have to get over the color green, you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns, you have to get used to an inhuman scale."

I also found this:

Behind the pragmatic, manifest destinarian purpose of pushing western settlement was another motive: the hard determination to dominate nature that historian Lynn White, in the essay "Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," identified as part of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  Nobody implemented that impulse more uncomplicartedly than the Mormons. a chosen people who believed the Lord when He told them to make the desert bloom as the rose.  Nobody expressed it more bluntly than a Mormon hierarch, John Widtsoe, in the middle of the irrigation campaign:  "The destiny of man is to possess the whole earth;  the destiny of the earth is to be subject to man.There can be no full conquest of the earth, no real satisfaction to humanity, if large portions of the earth remain beyond his highest control."  (Success on Irrigation Projects, p. 138)
That doctrine offends me to the bottom of my not-very-Christian soul.  It is related to the spirit that builds castles of incongruous luxury in the desert.  It is the same spirit that between 1910 and the present has so dammed, diverted, used,  and reused the Colorado River that its saline waters now never reach the Gulf of California, but die in the sand miles from the sea;  that has set the Columbia, a far mightier river, to tamely turning turbines;  that has reduced the Missouri, the greatest river on the continent, to a string of ponds;  that has recklessly pumped down the water table of every western valley and threatens to dry up even so prolific a source as the Ogalalla Aquifer;  that has made the Salt River Valley of Arizona and the Imperial, Coachella, and great Central valleys of California into gardens of fabulous but deceptive richness;  that has promoted a new rush to the West fated, like the beaver and grass and gold rushes, to recede after doing great environmental damage. 
The Garden of the World has been a glittering dream, and many find its fulfillment exhilarating.  I do not.  I have already said that I think of the main-stem dams that made it possible as original sin, but there is neither a serpent nor a guilty first couple in the story.  In Adam's fall we sinned all.  Our very virtues as a pioneering people, the very genius of our industrial civilization, drove us to act as we did.  God and Manifest Destiny spoke with one voice urging us to "conquer" or "win" the West;  and there was no voice of comparable authority to remind us of th Mary Austin's quiet but profound truth, that "the manner of the country makes the image of life there, and the land will not be lived in except in its own fashion." 
Obviously, reclamation is not the panacea it once seemed.  Plenty of people... are opposed to more dams, and there is plenty of evidence against the long-range viability and the social and environmental desirability of large-scale irrigation agriculture.  Nevertheless, millions of Americans continue to think of water engineering in the West as one of our proudest achievements, a technology that we should export to backward Third World nations to help them become as we are.  We go on praising apples as if eating them were an injunction of the Ten Commandments."
"Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs." (p. 86-87)