Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Going On Here?

May 25, 2010, the blog's opening salvo, with typos:
.....beginning with a photograph of the kind of thing that makes us very, very sad.... Detroit will heal, but in the meantime, here is a sign that should give pause, along Jefferson Avenue, once a crown jewel in the city's crown.

I'm sitting here late at night, which is my preferred way, trying to figure out what's going on, why I'm doing this. Yesterday I signed up for Facebook, for god's sake -- and now this. Maybe I've been shamed into it by all of the really hip people in my life -- including geeky husband Larry Hart and boatloads of students. Larry thinks I'm an idiot because I can't run the cash register. I think it's the cash register's fault. Might be true about Facebook too. I say it's their fault, and I stand by it.

I'm 65. That's part of it. I don't feel old. Tired is not old. But I do feel a need to disencumber (books, belongings, old wool yarn, friends who tell lies). And part of disencumbering just might be getting rid of all of the garbage laid away in the recesses of the brain. Thoughts that didn't deserve to live but survived anyway. Experiences of doubtful value in character building.

More than that, though, is the way life accumulates. Part of being 65 is a daily recognition, not just of mortality -- though there are glimmers of that one -- but of the richness of experience, the way in which we really are better as we move along, that strange but unmistakable ability to deal in more than one dimension as the brain ages. I really love sitting at a lake's edge or on the second-story deck -- a really staggeringly beautiful place to be -- late at night listening to the way everything still moves along, as if I'm not there. The world is unselfconscious, and so we can learn through observation.

This weekend I will get in the rental car (my wonderful 2004 VW bug is getting old, I don't want to die beside the road before I'm 80, and I don't want to buy another car in the middle of the Great Recession) and drive to the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival. I go to most of the festivals, or at least as many as I can fit into a perfectly horrendous university schedule. They are my vacations. They are my private and deeply personal healing zone. And of course I find new artisans whose wares fill Artisan Knitworks with materials unavailable anywhere else. I am very proud of what I've found. But it's really the process that matters,. So I'll try to talk about it as I move along. No pictures yet. I need to learn how to insert pictures. But words are good enough for now. I leave Thursday. More soon.

In the meantime, I'm trying not to listen to the endless saga of unrefined petroleum spoiling the shorelines not only of North America but to some extent of the world. We are custodians of the earth. Are we really impotent in the face of BP's incompetence and corruption? We might be. The entire world ought to be sending tankers with vacuum-cleaner attachments. We ought to be mobilizing a world army. At stake is the health of the Earth's oceans, not simply the nation's supply of shrimp. But ... there it is. Chris Matthews on MSNBC going on and on, telling the truth, and the mindless senator from Louisiana assuring everyong that BP knows best, that 36 days isn't really as long as we think it is, that it's only a few brown pelicans so far. This kind of moral corruption will do us in as a race -- I fear in our lifetime.

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