Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thrasher In January

     I was living in the City of Cardiff when Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States.  The general opinion was that citizens of the United States were an unnaturally cheerful bunch who waved flags and who reckoned the British Isles qualified as the Near East. Then when they elected a film star as their king, it was obvious to us they'd all gone quite insane and the world would shortly end.  His Evil Empire Speech, some of us thought a comedy routine, but more likely we were enthused by the certainty this man and his underlings would further concentrate wealth, as some theories predicted, then at least something could be called true.

        At the beginning of the 1980's  in South Wales, mines were shedding miners, steel was already gone to Japan, I think. Our iron foundries dying, our factories shuttered, the middle class still obsessed by poor opportunity after being so well behaved at school.  We had elected Margaret Thatcher who wanted us to be Great again. And I could go on into the torrid account of how our great leader fell when she called for a Flat Tax which she decided was a Community Tax, but which in fact was a Poll Tax, and which because of  tradition meant rioting. But, I'd like to announce, I am one citizen of the United States who has just seen a Brown Thrasher in January out there on the Solstice Path and I have priorities which do not include listening to what used to be called pretenders, but who now are called candidates, sing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Articulated Pest

     My friend Hector has a twitter account, and sometimes I think the old me has gone to live with Hector, which would be a good thing for both of us because duality is more than a philosophical problem others might call politeness.
       This way Hector can say things like "anyone else unnerved by the phrase 'christian mingle' in conjunction with the word 'moist'" without it appearing to have come from me. Makes good sense at the moment, but January does odd things to a mind.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bloody Merlin

     A person who gets past January without lapsing, has his name penciled onto that heavenly tablet Angels call "The Maybe's".  Most years, by this time my name has already been engraved upon that tablet Angels call "The Very Unlikely".  And there are only two days  left, so this is not the time for me to take pot shots at the Bloody Merlin whose morning routine has become so regular I could "all things bright and beautiful" him at around seven forty five in the morning.

        He comes in from the South, low over the field, and I can see him in the Maple tree staring around, looking mean and suave like one of those beings who has managerial potential and drives a Mercedes or a Cadillac, because anything else is common.  But my guys are pretty smart, except for the Blue Jays, who see their chance to make some sort of pointless statement, which I have to admire because I have been there too. Then he's  low into the trees north of here, where he pauses a while, just in case.  It doesn't fool anyone. Then the bastard is off, over the horizon and we all come out to play, or make a  fuss about who owns which Privet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Church of The Infinite Straight Line

      I am slowly coming to a conclusion there is a chance I believe in social analysis through data from polls.  I don't think this a madness or an early dementia, or seasonal delusion on my part.  I say this because I have read the results of  recent polls.

        The group "Religious Believers" distrust as much as they distrust "Atheists" - are "Rapists."  The poll also suggests that "Theists" know less about  the tenants of  their "Religion" than do "Atheists."  And by the way, The Church of The infinite Straight Line has all of  its meetings weather permitting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ladybird Sanctuary

     I am the proud owner of a new keyboard.  It is black, every key has letters, or numbers, or a sign of some sort. When tapped, the keys have an old fashioned noise that I used to like, and I am certain that one day I might like again. As well, when the desk light is switched on, the new keyboard becomes very shiny, which means that unless I hold my head at the correct angle I am blinded.  And I am sure I'll get the hang of the delete button's new location, because it is a button I use a great deal.

       These are I guess distractions from what I had hoped to achieve this morning. And on reflection it is entirely possible that  trying to remember whether it was a hen that jumped over a lazy brown fox, makes for a more interesting diversion than that discourse upon 'geographic tongue', spicy food and taste bud testing techniques that I had planned.  The old keyboard will of course remain a Ladybird sanctuary and when the weather improves I'll take it outside.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


      Seasonal angst, or poor memory, puts the January bloom of a Daffodil into the category of  "what's wrong!" Then there is that red or purple haze in woodland that I might have thought was the end of February.  Even more worrisome are Frog eyes peering from what some brave souls call a water feature, others call a pond. But most telling, are voluntary visits from the gas delivery tanker. Or maybe we're all just wearing more layers and claiming the colder the healthier, and this includes Daffodil.
       One thing's for certain, Asparagus, down there in their crowns, will be reading the sign.  And they've not been there long, so I suspect they believe the boast of the mail order catalogue, early, succulent and all the same gender, which might suggest to some their language will never include caution.  Peak bloom for Forsythia in 2010 was March 28th.  Last year it was March 22nd.  And it's fun to ramble, demonstrate an ability to at least pretend to keep records. However, where I live, ten years ago we were 6A and today we are 6B. Still some distance from the sub-tropical 9's, but getting there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


     When alarmed a Possum does not always play dead. The behavior is apparently a physiological reaction, similar to fainting in our own species. And when 'playing dead,' a Possum will produce a smell that mimics diseased or rotten flesh. As well, Possums are apparently able to produce sounds. They can  'hiss' and 'squawk'. Their children, when lost, 'sneeze'. Males, when attempting seduction, make a clicking 'smack' noise which, I am told, they produce from the side of the mouth and which I recognize as a tactic employed sometimes by young men from my own species as they wander through shopping centers or wait for buses.

       But here where I live, the community of  Possum must have diverged from the mainstream of Possum. Playing dead for them is I suspect considered  'wimpy,'  and deliberately emitting  body odors quite unnecessary unless in the course of jest or perhaps political debate. I suspect this because our Possums see time spent in a trap as a chance to properly digest, take a short nap and then, as the sun rises, tidy up a little, so as to be presentable when it's time for the often entertaining journey to the far corner of the field.  And during the romantic season, I hope boy Possums here where I live, have also been told to avoid noises of any kind from the side of their mouth.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Giant Blue Smurf

     I have been subject to many managerial strategies designed to motivate, and some of them I have succumbed to.  In times of economic stress fear is of course key. In times of plenty promising more for less is required in order to keep the employee from straying. Then there is the bridging strategy for engendering enthusiasm by promoting shared goals and team work with things like bonus questions, pats on the back from cheerful managers and door prizes.  
       I guess it was a consequence of this bridging strategy that once found me heading home after work with a giant blue Smurf.  I walked with it under my arm for two and a half miles, through streets not known for grasping performance art. There was a great deal of giggling and lewdness from school children who themselves were on their way home.  I still get the shivers thinking about it.

Monday, January 23, 2012


      This time three years ago I threatened to run pipes through the Vegetable Garden that would reduce irritability during those hours and hours of summer spent watering.  It's a trenching operation some might perform in the Autumn days.  The ground then is usually drier and still warm enough to feel.  A mind can sense tilth, it can see a crumble in the earth, and it can look smugly across at the compost piles.  And the body, usually at that time of a year, is still capable of lifting a shovel.

        But something strange happens in the November, December months. It's as though Pixies from the north place needles in that part of mind that should be devoted to the tomorrow. From bitter experience I can tell you it is an error to think of these Pixies as lobbyists for the winter habits of Bears or Salamander. Better to think of them as representatives from gardens demanding independence from gardeners. Then, around now, the ground too is sulking. It's cold and it's wet, it's dazed by frosts, it clings to boots, and when it follows a person indoors it's a definite sign of forgiveness.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


     I am one of those who recall a microfiche projector surrounded by excited librarians. I was in the old library,  the machine had just been installed.  I was wandering through the card index, trying to find a book on Offa's Dyke by someone who's name I might be able to recall were I blessed with an eidetic memory.

        Interesting to know that in the United States it has been estimated that to find eight thousand engineers to guide two hundred thousand assembly workers through the ordeals of producing a new technical device, would probably require a harmonious nine months.  In China, it took fifteen days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


         Hickory tree near Robina Wood.  Or at least a photograph of a Hickory Tree near Robina Wood.

        The tree itself was nut-less last year. And maybe it'll find purpose by finding me guilty of a copyright infringement.  

Friday, January 20, 2012


       Recently I adjusted my attitude so as to enter the encyclopedia with an eye to a better understanding of  the word 'redemption.'  It was a studious moment, I had pencil, pencil sharpener and paper with no lines on.

      Why? Because the word 'redemption' is so much bandied around by this or that presidential candidate, and apparently because of it, I can pretty much do anything I want so long as 'redemption' is in my future.

      On the earliest view, 'redemption' was deliverance by payment. Which I suspect is what law enforcement  might call kidnapping. And quite understandable that god should sometimes employ such a useful tactic to rein in the flock. 

      But on I struggled, through the more recent anthropomorphic arguments where god is a summary of all that is good in us people.  And here the word 'redemption' suddenly disappeared as I heard the ancients whisper "the greatest god resembles man in neither form or mind."

Thursday, January 19, 2012


      There are some who will see in "gather ye rosebuds while ye may," a call to activity before time flies because  "this fair flower that blooms today tomorrow will be dying."

      But these shorter days, for those of us who find ourselves in bed by seven thirty and still in bed twelve hours later, accrue benefits I'll call "well-rested."  A condition which is I agree thoroughly subjective, until one realizes a full throated cardiac exercise by climbing stairs. And it is a condition, I will suggest, the more moral amongst us are unable to appreciate except through worry.

      Which I guess is why the "rosebud gathering crowd" see in the expression "well-rested" that sort of bone idleness that leads to graffiti and wanton acts of shopping for seeds through the mail order internet.  

     I, however, like to think of "well-rested" as a  "time for contemplation".  And while I accept the thin line between "wantonness" and "contemplation" I will insist that "well-rested" is a discipline which in order to master requires a twenty or thirty year learning curve and should therefore, be without sin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Meek

      Discussion of property rights are better conducted within the context of  'territory'.  And here if territory is defined in emotional terms I begin to understand Robert Ardrey's idea of "Territorial Imperative."  It's not stuff being wants, rather it's security and status, which stuff sometimes substitutes for as long as there's is an endless supply of it in both the ether and hardware store.

     The internet will one day be owned by the least secure amongst us because the least secure amongst us eventually own everything, and when they do they look to the stars and build rocket ships.  It's clearly a huge error to hope that security and status might belong to us all, which is why I look to the beatitudes and wish I could believe the meek will inherit the earth.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Archeological Mystery

      Warmer today, with black clouds, the threat of rain and spotty internet.  But the technical gurus who know about these things will say that wind, rain and black clouds have no effect upon the speed of an internet connection.  Then, quite smugly they will add, it's more likely a fault at our end of the telephone line.
    I know there was a time when the connection to the world beyond was managed less instantly. And I understand the blessings of technical progress. But in moments of frustration there is comfort from hoping that one day the internet will belong to an archeological mystery.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Running Bean

     It smelled like damp springtime outside, and a Turkey agreed. But we are both delusional. He with his mind on girl Turkey and me with my mind on Running Beans.

    Not a big fan of Running Beans. They are demanding and secretive and spend much of their time wandering around looking for things to cling to.  The result is a series of Rabbit hutches in the garden that look like teepees. Which is ornamental for Rabbit I suppose, until the wind blows, or there is something like a tornado.  And too, I am suspicious of pyramidal shapes, because I was once told they can sharpen razor blades, or perhaps improve memory, or maybe reduce gestation times.  Either way, here where I live, Super Rabbit we already have.

    The Artist, for reasons I am sure she has explained, has waxed upon a variety of Running Bean, which is of Italian origin, fashionable amongst the dainty, and has myriad links within the internet which I have made the mistake of visiting.  This Running Bean, if given a chance and purchased by the kilogram, would apparently feed cities, it is almost completely immune to drought, requires no special care, is bountiful if picked regularly, string-less if picked young, and Bean Beetle are terrified of it. It has a green pod and black seeds and what is called 'excellent flavor.' 

     But I am sure, before this pest finds its way into the Kingdom, there will be critical thinking and at least some attempt at that dourness so necessary for an emotionally successful  gardening season.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


    I think Tribbles were my favorite creature from the minds that wrote Star Trek.  They were soft and furry, they purred, they disliked Klingons and very sad when so many of them died from eating poisoned grains.  In those days the television was black and white, the screen almost round, and rather than having a reset button to remind it of purpose, a recognized procedure was to give the television set a bit of a thump. Sounds a little primitive I know, but thumbing the television was an assigned task, not everyone had the touch.

     Back then too, the placebo effect was becoming lore in the medical profession.  Sometimes people just got better for no apparent reason, which I guess was an idea reckoned dangerous to commerce and consequently given to the ethics department so it might be declared wrong. Which I guess is why when someone's sick we no longer dance to make them well again. And worth remembering the Trulanic Synod of 692 which prohibited Christians from being treated by Jewish doctors.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fair Trial

      Trial by frozen pipe is always to be expected at this time of the year. I would like to think of it as an existential matter and as such an opportunity to become soothed by the nature of being. But when it happens something else takes over. A mind becomes intoxicated by  "perhaps if I had a blow torch," and it wriggles around in the attic feeling for cold spots while it considers the origin of miracles.
    I could try to understand it as a consequence of being caught poaching. I could see myself in the court room asking who the jury might be.  Among the faces I could see representatives from the insulation industry and conglomerates that own hardware stores.  And I could wonder if there might ever be a time when I could reckon upon a fair trial.

Friday, January 13, 2012


      During the Triassic Period, where I am now would have been considerably closer to where I was born, and no days of the week.  There probably was no ice at either the north or south poles, and here in Kentucky it was most likely dry with occasional rain and clear nights.  We'd have to wait a couple more million years before we saw swamps and tropical down pours. And a few more million years for an ice age.

    Back then of course we'd have had Gingkoes.  As well there would have been conifers and trees that look like palm trees and there might even have been seed bearing ferns.  As mammals we would have been few, or world dominated by reptiles. But there is no reason to assume we'd have known frost or snow. Most wonderful would have been the sight of the very first creatures with backbones that could fly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Physics And Being

      The 'nature of being' as an academic discipline goes under the title of 'ontology.'  Long ago it might have been called 'metaphysics.'  And I say this, because I suspect that long ago we people attributed 'being' to much more than just ourselves, or to 'the higher primates' or perhaps to Crows.   The word 'metaphysics' comes from the title of the book Aristotle wrote after the work he called 'Physics,' and in the old Greek 'metaphysics' literally means 'after physics.'  And it was after his 'Physics' that Aristotle addressed the nagging questions in those areas of thinking that appear not to respond to scientific observation, to analysis, to disciplined experiment or to prefects and detention rooms.

     I would argue that at one point on the infinite line we saw in both plants and animals, not so much a creation of unknownable origin, rather as 'beings' in and of themselves with attributable powers, or presence or existence and motive.  An attitude which these days is generally considered perverse, and which means for example that talking to your vegetables is thought of as happily eccentric rather than any thing remotely connected to an actual communion.  I could say, "wouldn't it be fun if one day physics took us back to that point."  But I won't.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


     Agitation, foul temper and pacing around dominate when technical devices fail to react in a civilized, or expected manner.  

    Here where we are, deep in the rural, research has suggested our thought patterns belong to slow thinking and calm. A frame of mind, made possible by seasons and things that grow or hop around chewing on Turnips. This argument suggests city life requires such a constant reaction to stimuli that there is no longer mental space available for a brain to get its chance to potter around in the mental equivalent of a winter vegetable garden. Instead it twitches in the Now, finds exercise in competition and goes to bed exhausted.

    I can tell you this, those mind reading machines and their attendant white coats have absolutely no idea what it's like out here.  The burdens placed upon those of us more isolated may indeed seem trivial when compared to being shoved onto an underground train. The assumption that we smile out at the world while serene from the safety of bushes is just so much codswallop.  I can only assume that sample of rural minds called into the laboratory were either victims of lobotomy or intoxication.

     The wireless internet, too is suspect.  It needs its password remembered and out here pencils can be hard to find.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


      I am beginning to believe the Close Mockingbird has realigned his allegiances  No longer is the Alatus his center of preoccupation. Those red berries too withered and dried up when put beside this years crop from Privet, which here is an ornamental, not hedging.  It blooms beautifully around the same time as Lilly of the Valley in other gardens I have worked for. Call it sometime in May, I think.

     Yet in the morning the Close Mockingbird still likes to start his day with a chirp or two from the Alatus. From there he'll watch the sun rise, a moment of peace, I guess. His equivalent to coffee or a cigarette. Then it's off on his rounds, which this winter reach considerably further than I thought possible.  Around nine o'clock, he's right over there where the lane turns.  A minute later he's dusting Cardinals off Privet behind the kitchen.

Monday, January 9, 2012


    Girl and boy Mockingbird's look alike.  And yesterday, outside with fresh air and something called sunshine, I had what I believed to be revelation.  Girl Mockingbirds are more thinking in their actions and movements, boy Mockingbirds less so. 
    But such inklings are never to be trusted. An inkling should first be confined in a closed space and then threatened with sticks. An understanding I believe girl Mockingbirds have a better grasp of than boy Mockingbirds.

    In a world of sameness visual clues to identity are based upon observation of movement and attitude as expressed by movement. The one face that smiles, the vehicle without its muffler, all of them inklings. 

     However, when giving qualities to Mockingbird movements it is insufficient to define an inkling as a vague understanding, better to think of an inkling as a conviction that suddenly disappears.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Creeping Grass

      Meanwhile, somewhere six hundred miles due south of us there is another name for Creeping Grass.  It's called Wiregrass, and apparently they are so completely at home with this scourge the region has a Wiregrass Mall, a Wiregrass Humane Society, a Wiregrass Art League and a Wiregrass Museum.

      The Museum should be an interesting place, and I wonder if shriveled gardeners will be expected to pay an entry fee.  I say this because to celebrate February the Seventh 2012 The Artist has offered to take me to see the Arboretum in Dothan Alabama, which she tells me is the Wiregrass Hub. I will however continue with the name Creeping Grass.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flight of Memory


     Towhee in January around the domicile, and the Grey Cat long gone to the Peaceable Kingdom, where he is probably bored beyond repair.  But I am told there is no wind up there, no freezing temperatures, just windows of warm sun to lie in. So probably his nails are long, his teeth good, his whiskers without spider webs. And always he'll have glory days to dream about.

     This winter, Carolina Wren are a constant presence around the house.  There's a Mrs. on the front porch who might remember the Grey Cat, and maybe sometimes when she sees me move, she'll gain a flight of memory that sends shivers down her back and causes her to cry out in pain. And sometimes too, I wish the Close Mockingbird would notice me enough to at least say "mind your business."