Tuesday, December 22, 2015



I loved her then.
I love her still.
We never touched.
We never will.


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)


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lake Mead is drying up. So?

Lake Mead has lost 150 feet of water in the last 14 years.

Lake Mead is  80 years old.  Only the fools who built it did not know that it could not last forever.

Lake Mead was opened AFTER I was born.

America and its people lived without Lake Mead for the first 159 years of the nation.

Let's try that again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

While waiting for the End Times

During  Spring Break of 2015 thousands of young people attended various cities in Florida, the state in which I reside.  I know this because the newspapers and TV stations report on the event and they summarize the financial results.
For example, Fort Lauderdale is reported to have taken in $110 million dollars.  Panama City Beach earned $92 million dollars.  So it goes.
We can assume, I suppose, that these kids have no problem paying off their student loans if they can party for two weeks.
And as for the girl (young woman?) who passed out in the sand in  mid-afternoon at Panama City Beach and was gang-raped amid the crowd, she should not be too ashamed.  It seems that hardly anyone noticed.

The other day a satirist pointed out that if you torture a chicken you risk arrest.  If you abuse hundreds of thousand of chickens for their entire lives, that's agribusiness.

3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team has been assigned to the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or man-made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

Northern Command (Northcom), a joint command was established in 2002 to provide command and control for Federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

This action was in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which prohibits deployment of the U. S. military inside the United States.
Here again, it seems that hardly anyone noticed.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Poem for Earth Day

The Future of Forestry

by C. S. Lewis

How will the legend of the age of trees
feel when the last tree falls in England?
When the concrete spreads and the town conquers
the country's heart:  when contraceptive
tarmac's laid where farm has faded,
tramline flows where slept a hamlet,
and shop-fronts, blazing without a stop from
Dover to Wrath, have glazed us over?
Simplest tales will then bewilder
the questioning children,  "What was a chestnut?
Say what it means to climb a Beanstalk.
Tell me, grandfather, what an elm is.
What was Autumn?  They never taught us."
Then, told by teachers how once from mould
came growing creatures of lower nature
able to live and die, though neither
beast nor man, and around them wreathing
excellent clothing, breathing sunlight-
half understanding, their ill-acquainted
fancy will tint their wonder-paintings,
trees as men walking, wood-romances
of goblins staalking in silky green,
of milk-sheen froth upon the face of hawthorn's
collar, pallor in the face of a birchgirl.
So shall a homeless time, though dimly,
catch from afar (for soul is watchful)
a sight of tree-delighted Eden.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

John Burroughs on Walking

"We are unwilling walkers.  We are not innocent and simple hearted enough to enjoy a walk.  We have fallen from that state of grace which capacity to enjoy a walk implies.  It cannot be said that as a people we are so positively sad or morose or melancholic as that we are vacant of that sportiveness and surplussage of animal spirits that characterized our ancestors, and that springs from full and harmonious life - a sound heart in accord with a sound body.  A man must invest himself near at hand and in common things, and be content with a steady and moderate return, if he would know the blessedness of a cheerful heart and the sweetness of a walk over the round earth.  This is a lesson the American has yet to learn - capability of amusement on a low key.  He expects rapid and extraordinary returns.  He would make the very elemental laws pay usury.  He has nothing to invest in a walk;  it is too slow, too cheap.  We crave the astonishing, the exciting, the far away, and do not know the highways of the gods when we see them - always a sign of the decay of the faith and simplicity of man."

from:  John Burroughs' America

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where my mind is these days

I was driving to a nearby mall to make some necessary purchases but my mind was addressing the use of the phrase 'moral equivalence.'   Too often I find it seems to mean that our killers are not as evil as someone else's killers.
I parked the car, got out, and stood by the trunk.  I turned my shopping list over and made some notes with a pencil stub I carry with me.  Since when does morality require a test of validity?  Is there a registry of values to be applied to  morality?  And if there is...#*&+!

Suddenly a beetle the size of a penny landed  on the tiny paper list I was using.  Impatiently, I flicked it away with a finger.  Instantly I felt remorse.  What if, I thought, that beetle came with a message for me, for my thought.   What made it land on that little paper scrap at the point of my pencil?   What have I done?

Yes, this is a fair description of my daily confusion.  Trying to navigate between old age and living in a culture extremely different from the one I was formed by.  A ceaseless  grasping for mental handholds.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Faith versus Atheism

I observe that people who have powerful faith do better at survival and they have more useful responses to a cruel world.
They may be delusional but that is trumped by successful living.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A compass point

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”
Wendell Berry

Monday, January 12, 2015

The tragedy of our decline continues to unfold.

"There are no longer protagonists;  there is only the chorus."

-Ortega y Gassett


Friday, January 2, 2015

On American culture

"To really learn much about another culture is a very long and slow process and you're not liable to receive anything in a spiritual sense unless it's already in yourself waiting to be discovered.  In the past two decades there's been a great deal of spiritual shopping which, though understandable, carries with it and is disastrously married to our culture's collapsed sense of time, where speed is, finally, of the essence.  There is a fatal impatience to quickly count spiritual "coup" and get on with it.  This includes a great deal of the eco- and ethno-travel "opportunities," and the comic aspects of faux shamans selling three-hour "power visions" for a few hundred bucks.  That's just us, whether it's the Zen of tennis, or fishing, or shooting,  the Zen to make you a better businessman or help you write "spontaneously," or the "Apache" or "Redskin" football teams that abound, the warriors, the mightily white Mohawks, the secrets of Black Elk learned in an afternoon seminar after which Indian fry bread is served and then a buffalo ghost is ridden back to the suburbs.  Of course there is no kind of  absurdity we'll refuse to perform if the economics are tangible.  If anyone is truly sick of "the fucking American culture," as I frequently hear, they better get ready for a long haul.  An hour staring at a fifty-ton Olmec head will offer you a preposterous emptiness that all the sugar in the world can't sweeten."
Jim Harrison
"Off To The Side" (2002)