Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The election happened - the sun came up this morning

I was up early this morning to see the sunrise. It wasn't quite as beautiful as the sunrise last week over Lake Superior pictured here.

At the feeders outside this morning there was a red squirrel, a couple gray squirrels, Chickadees, Junkos, Cardinals, and House Sparrows (not my favorite bird). I drove down to the Louisville Swamp for an early morning walk. There were already deer hunters in the woods. I saw two Bald Eagles, lots of Canada Geese and Mallards, Tree Sparrows, Pileated, Red-breasted, and Downy Woodpeckers and other birds and squirrels. It was another beautiful November day. Yesterday I spent much of the day with our three grandchildren. There is - still - much to be thankful for.

I am deeply disappointed in the election outcome. I fear for my children and grandchildren. I fear for the country. I fear for the earth. This morning I feel very much like Thomas Friedman: "Homeless in America." But the voters have spoken and we will have President Trump. I hope he rises to the immense challenges he will face. I hope he is able to be a leader for all the people. I hope he succeeds in improving the fortunes of all of the angry voters who voted him into office, who themselves have felt homeless in America as their jobs were shipped overseas or lost to the rapidly changing global economy. With a Republican Congress he will certainly get his chance. Time will tell.

Meanwhile we have families to nurture, friends to give us hope and keep us laughing, communities to support, and a fragile earth to take care of. There is much important and meaningful work to do.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Edward Abbey. I am not quite as confident as he is about the outcome but I love the sentiment:
One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day

Mary Ann and I voted around lunchtime today. No lines, but a steady flow of people. Two women were wearing pants-suits. I wonder who they were voting for? It's been the nastiest election season I have ever seen and I can only hope that the nasty woman wins and wins big.

There has been little if any conversation about issues that matter during the campaign. Trumps daily insults and Hillary's emails have kept the media titillated and uninterested in moving the conversation on to more important topics. It is particularly disappointing that climate change went unmentioned. It's the most important issue facing us and it didn't, as far as I remember, come up in the debates nor get any air time by the candidates or the press.

Meanwhile our endless summer continues. Sixty degrees this afternoon, still no freeze, and the longest growing season on record continues.

Yesterday I walked at Murphy-Hanrehan Park. I parked in the main parking lot and walked past Hanrehan Lake where there was a large flock of Ring-necked ducks on the water. I read that they are late migrants.

Interestingly, there was a Bald Eagle swooping low over them. I watched it make six passes before it saw me and took off. I don't know what it was up to,

What I do know is that we must love the ducks, the eagles, the earth that nurtures us all, and one another, or die.

September 1, 1939
W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973

 I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
“I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.