Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"Daily occurrences lean every day into history. Both a human being and a thing turn one side to what is now, while with the other they look toward us or our successors out of the depth of past time.

Scraps of paper, telephones, meetings--i.e., daily routines--quickly become merely ridiculous, but later on grow to a monumental size, as they are parts of a totality carved out of the whole of experience in which many details irrevocably perish.

People, dependent as they are upon little things, are undefined and elude their own grasp or the grasp of others yet with time they, together with little things, acquire traits that can be described, characters, like the surface of the earth, which only from a distance shows the folds of its mountain chains and the nervous systems of its rivers."

Czeslaw Milosz

The picture above is from July 5th, 2009. Harlan saw the town fireworks the night before with us down at the high school. In an otherwise cold and rainy summer, it was a rare sunny stretch ; my dad took full advantage of it. On his lap sits his folder of research topics. What was his chief topic of interest that day? I'm sure it's still relevant today, two years later.

As the summer turned, each morning I picked tomatoes in the hoop house while the rain battered the plastic covering overhead. Late blight wiped out the crop all along the eastern seaboard, but our plastic covering spared our plants and I picked long into fall, past the first light frost.

I don't recall the last time my dad drove out into the garden in his golf cart. I see him often like this, in early summer, when the light is right, even now.

Perspective…by Traug Keller

Long ago he had become a news junky. No apologies, no regrets. He just liked the news. Had always liked the news. Liked it now. In fact NOW was better than ever.

Anyone following the Democrats and their agonizing march toward selecting a nominee for the party’s presidential ticket knew what he was talking about. The news coverage of two candidates locked in a titanic battle for their party’s prize has been never ending. Driven by what is called a 24-hour news cycle, the news media has turned on its head to find enough copy to feed the ravenous 24 hour beast.

The candidates vilify each other. So do others. Not only is nothing they do private but also nothing their supporters do that may be about the candidates stays private for long. Throw in vitriolic bloggers who ease their own souls with harsh words and near-slanderous criticism and chaos rears it’s frightening head.

All of it Delicious. To his news junky soul, it was Nirvana revisited. Except…

Pessimism had crept in. Hugely. There was no hiding. Certainly, he understood the game. Clearly, nobody was going to get nominated on good news. If it was all good news who would need a change. So the litany of woes spilled out 24 hours a day. Nothing works. Health care is a disaster. Fuel costs are a calamity. Global warming hangs there like the sword of Damocles. Al Gore chuckles in the background like Mephistopoles come for Faustus’ soul. The Polar Bears drop like flies. The war will never end. Armageddon sits on the foot of his bed. We are all doomed.

And yet…He remembers the old Nova show on television with the host of the show in front of a background of huge mountains of snow to represent the ages of earthly cycles. There was the Precambrian age some four billion years ago, the Eocene Epoch, a mere 55 million tears ago the Cretaceous Age where the dinosaurs roamed some 64 million years ago. It was an awesome sweep of Geologic time with each age lasting for many millenniums and the snowy backdrops filled the screen.

Way down in the corner of the screen almost hidden by the great sweeps of history was a tiny red dot representing the amount of time that mankind has existed. “Christ, we’re just beginning he thought, “we’ve still got time.”

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