Saturday, February 28, 2009

Desperately Seeking Seclusion

At one time I was a student of the forests. I’m sure I mentioned that somewhere. For nearly four years, I spent every other day in a Cypress-Tupelo swamp by myself measuring trees, listening to the wind in the branches and the barred owls calling to one another, avoiding copperheads, and gazing in wonder at a world that few get to see. I didn’t have to talk to anyone or see anyone or interact with anyone for 8 hours at a time. I delighted in Uvularia and Laportea and Botrychium and Dicentra, as well as hundreds of other wildflowers. I felt like the herbalist in “The Harvester”. When it rained I got wet, and when the sun came out I got hot, but it was never terribly trying ... well … maybe the mosquitoes were. I was periodically surprised by Great Blue Heron coming home to the rookery, or the sweet licorice fragrance of Ozmorhiza, or a covey of Woodcocks bursting from the brush as I made my way along the transition zones. I saw grapevines as old as oaks, and fawn still wet from being born not an hour before. I had a taste of what I thought paradise was like.

I’m an introvert. And sometimes I miss home.

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
Gene Stratton Porter, The Harvester
John Muir, Into the Wilderness
Franz Schubert, “Unfinished” Symphony
Jonn Serrie, Planetary Chronicles Vol.2

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I’m watching the rhetoric heat up over the 800-billion dollar stimulus package being promoted by some of our illustrious representatives. In one report it was said that the President has been compelled to remind Congress who won the election in November.

It humors me to see those who rode a wave of adulation into public office now get to work with the reality of a wisely crafted representative system. Winning an election to public office in the United States does not mean that one has now been given a mandate for the exercise of power. A President is not a king, but the chairman of the committee. A senator is not a Lord, but a State’s representative ostensibly promoting the interests of that state. A representative in the House is not a nobleman, but a messenger of the regional concerns. Election to office means that one has been trusted as a public servant. And the public has a mixed notion of what it deems suitable … hence the battle of ideas and intentions and language in getting a bill passed.

Our founding fathers observed first hand man’s inclinations toward totalitarian power. They built a system that would immediately grind to a halt if there was fundamental disagreement about why a law is needed or how it should be structured. And if some in office choose to be an obstacle for others in office because there is a disparity of conviction, then I’m all for it. There is safety in gridlock.

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
Founding Fathers, The Declaration of Independence
Constitutional Convention, The Constitution of the United States
Constitutional Convention, The Bill of Rights
Samuel Barber, Essays for Orchestra
Aaron Copeland, Appalachian Spring
Tony Rice, Backwater