6.11.2021 – as it gave great hope

as it gave great hope
return to ease of normal life
healing to have this

I was struck by the last paragraph of the this story this morning in I left New York for a 4-night trip to Savannah, Georgia by Katie Nave about her first trip outside of New York City and the lockdown rules there.

The paragraph reads:

The mental health benefits of this trip were much greater than any vacation I’ve ever taken, as it gave me great hope that, at some point, we’ll fully return to the ease of normal life. It was healing to have this experience with the person that I love and, thanks to science, I’d do it all again.

I grew up in West Michigan and late in life my job moved me to Atlanta.

While there, my wife and I discovered the city of Savannah and the “low country” or “Gullah-Geechee Corridor” that runs along the east coast from North Carolina to Florida.

Much to my surprise after another job change and we find ourselves living here.

There is much to enjoy and we enjoy it very much.

I now wear a Savannah Banana’s Baseball cap.

It was fun to come across this article about our adopted location.

It was fun to read about things we are accustomed to through the words of someone who was seeing these things for the first time.

But it was awful, truly awful to read and think about the awful impact of this awful virus.

People like to use the term, Game Changer.

Covid is the GAME CHANGER of this age.

Will its impact ever be understood?

Will it impact ever be overcome?

I love that last line.

” … great hope that, at some point, we’ll fully return to the ease of normal life.

Great hope.

Return to ease of normal life.

It is healing to have this.

The start of the healing.

Come visit Savannah.

2.23.2021 -low down mind messin

low down mind messin
and steadily depressin’
covid nineteen blues

Based on Jim Croce’s Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues.

According to Wikipedia, “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues” is a 1974 single written and recorded by Jim Croce. It was the third single released from his album I Got a Name. It reached a peak of #32 in July 1974 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is Croce’s last Top 40 hit to date. It was also the fourth single released (including Christmas-themed release “It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way”) after Jim Croce’s passing in September 1973.

Croce explained he came up with the idea for the song while in the military at Fort Jackson running telephone cables on poles and thinking he should be doing something else.

Fort Jackson is about 40 miles from where I am right.

Covid Ninetime Blue is what I am right now.

Not exactly anything to complain about.

I am not sick.

I do have a great job.

I work from home.

I work from home at my desk.

My desk is between my bed and a window.

I sleep 8 hours.

I work 8 hours.

I spend 16 hours a day in an area about the size of my car.

But I am not living in my car.

I have heat, water and food.

Not complaining.

Just covid nineteen blue.

1.23.2021 – best lack conviction, while

best lack conviction, while
passionate intensity
the worst are full of

Adapted from The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats.

Surely some revelation must be at hand.

Mr. Yeats wrote this back in 1919 just after World War 1.

The world recovered from that war and the Spanish Flu.

Maybe …

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethleem to be born?

10.13.2020 – A dark confused world

A dark confused world
kingdom of God may yet reign
in the hearts of men

Based on the closing lines of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964.

Dr. King said:

But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities.

It can spell either salvation or doom.

In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.

Salvation or doom.

Life or death.

Right or wrong.

Good or evil.

Stark differences.

Stark choices.

The kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men.

Dr. King in this Speech also said:

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind.

I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him.

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

Anyone today with with an abiding faith in America will be sorely tried.

Refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

10.6.2020 – if prophet told you

if prophet told you
do some great thing, you would have –
how much rather then

It is often little things.

When Doctors like Walter Reed and William Gorgas entered the fight against yellow fever they had a tough time convincing others that the enemy was the mosquito and pools of standing water where mosquitos could lay eggs.

Dr. Reed walked into one yellow fever ward in a hospital in Cuba and was stunned to find the screen less windows open to let in the fresh healing air along with mosquitos.

Dr. Reed also saw that each of the four legs of each hospital bed was standing in a small bowl of water to keep ants from climbing up into the beds.

It is often little things.

I remember an essay on world health where the author, PJ O’Rouke or Bill Bryson, I can’t remember which, interviewed an official with the World Health Organization and asked what might make the biggest impact on world health in general and what would it cost?

The official open a desk drawer and took out some small packets, the size of the extra seasoning packets at Papa John’s Pizza and tossed them over.

The salts in those packets kill the bacteria that caused chronic diarrhea and cholera.

The official told the author that for pennies, these packets could be shipped around the world to places where the water supplies were bad and chronic diarrhea could be stopped.

But, said the official, name a celebrity that will wear a ‘brown ribbon’ to stop global diarrhea.*

It is often little things.

In the Bible, in the book of 2 Kings, (2nd Kings, BTW, not TWO KINGS), Chapter 5, a man named Naaman, a commander of the army of Syria, comes down with leprosy

Desperate for a cure Naaman is ready to try anything.

In Naaman’s household was a slave girl, captured from Israel, who told Naaman’s wife that back home was a prophet of God who could help.

Naaman sent off letters and was directed to the prophet Elisha.

As a quick aside Elisha was a student of the prophet Elijah.

Elijah and Elisha.

Elisha is spelled with the letter S.

Elisha was second.

Naaman goes off to see the great prophet.

Naaman is met by a servant sent by a Elisha with a message.

The message is, Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.

Naaman just blows up and loses it.

This is the great advice from the great prophet from the great God of Israel?

Take a bath?

Take a bath 7 times?

Take a bath 7 times and he will be cured?

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Sure.

The Bible records that Naaman “turned and went off in a rage.”

But another more thoughtful servant (how many times in literature are folks rescued by a ‘more thoughtful’ servant) ran after Naaman and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

And what happens?

I am happy to tell you Mr. Naaman went and bathed in that river.

Mr. Naaman went and bathed in the river not once, but seven times.

And the Bible says, ” his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

It is often little things.

Not some GREAT THING, but the little things.

In another book in my mind the feller asks God to be forgiven.

To be forgiven, not for his sin.

To be forgiven for his lack of faith.

It is often little things.

*According to the CDC Website:

Diarrhea kills 2,195 children every day—more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

Diarrheal diseases account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide, making diarrhea the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 5. For children with HIV, diarrhea is even more deadly; the death rate for these children is 11 times higher than the rate for children without HIV 2. Despite these sobering statistics, strides made over the last 20 years have shown that, in addition to rotavirus vaccination and breastfeeding, diarrhea prevention focused on safe water and improved hygiene and sanitation is not only possible, but cost effective: every $1 invested yields an average return of $25.50 

9.18.2020 – not like in the states

not like in the states
the athletic rivalry …
here its academics

Forever and ago I was in the wonderful city of Toronto for a weekend.

My friend Scott and I went up for the bookstores and the ambience of being in a big city that you could walk downtown at 1AM and the biggest problem was that Canada closed around 6.

If you can remember the Toronto of the ’80s and ’90s you have to remember the WORLD BIGGEST BOOKSTORE which I think was 4 or 5 floors and each floor the size of a football field.

FI-BIGGEST For story on the World’s Biggest Bookstore at 20 Edward st. which may be closing next year when lease expires June 20, 2012 DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR

I thought this was where I would go when I died.

And so many of the books were from European Publishers I had never heard of.

I was told that due to tariffs, it was cheaper to ship books from Britain that to order them from the United States.

We also went to the fabulous Ontario Science Center.

Pre WORLD WIDE WEB technology but who knew.

You could test the stress on a bridge beam.

You could land a moon lander.

And you could use an Electron Microscope.

Scott and I stayed in that exhibit for quite a while.

It might have had something to do with the electron miscroscope.

It also might have had something to do with the very cute young lady who was running the exhibet.

We engaged her in engaging conversation.

Mostly us making derogatory comments about the other to the young lady.

But she found us engaging – maybe even enduring – and she endured our comments and we talked for some time.

She told us she was from Toronto.

She told us she went to the University of Toronto.

She told us that had created ‘quite the little scandel’ in her family as her family all went to York University.

She had a sister right now enrolled at York she said.

It was ‘quite the rivalry’ you know she said.

Then she stopped.

Then she said its not like the in the states.

You know with your athletic rivalries.

Here its a rivalry based on academics.

Scott and I both assured her that as Michigan Grads, we knew just what she meant when talking about academics over athletics.

Oh yes, we knew.

We knew all about that.

But she went.

You in the states, your atheltics.

I just don’t know.

I mean there was a band here just recently for a concert at UT.

She smiled and shook her head, ‘They told us that over 100,000 people go to their football games.”

Oh yes, we knew.

We knew all about that.

Yep, lined us right up with the wrong side of the argument.

And to prove the point how thick we were, when she asked if we had had lunch, we blurted out that we had just eaten.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP.

Sometimes you hit a road not taken and its so dark you never even knew it.

But here I am in Georgia.

I wear I mask.

And now if anyone, ANYONE dares ask me why, I can say, “I suffer from HARBAUGH … and it might be catching.”

9.16.2020 – no peace, no quietness

no peace, no quietness
feel no rest only turmoil
odi et amo

Combining two great texts for one Haiku.

The first two lines are from the Book of Job when Job speaks to his three companions and says,

“I have no peace, no quietness;
    I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Chap 3: 26)

This is after all of his family his health and his worldly wealth has been taken away.

The last line is in latin.

Does it break the rule of the Haiku if I use short latin words that take a lot of english words to get their meaning across?

Does it matter?

Do I care?

That is one the best parts of having my blog is that it is my rules so I say its okay.

Odi et amo.

I hate and I love.

From the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus who wrote:

“Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior”

By one translation:

I hate and I love.

Why I do this, perhaps you ask.

I know not, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.

One online discussion called a declaration of conflicting feelings.

No kidding.

It is a rainy day here in North Georgia.

Hurricane Sally is starting to creep into the area and it is supposed to rain for days.

The extended turmoil, such a perfect word, for the pandemic goes on with no end in sight.

The election now just weeks away but no real resolution in sight.

I never seem to leave this apartment.

I feel no rest.

Friends and family, like Job’s companions, are there to comfort and create angst.

Odi and amo.

sed fieri sentio et excrucior!

I feel it happening and I am tortured.

9.7.2020 – eternal whispers

eternal whispers
glooms, the birth, life, death, unseen
of flowers, thoughts, dreams

Adapted from the lines:

O THOU, whose mighty palace roof doth hang
From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth
Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death
Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness;

From the poem, Endymion, (Book I), by John Keats (1795-1821).

A famous poem in its time and beyond that time but today may be most identifiable by the poem’s first line, A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

That is the line quoted by Willie Wonka or, Gene Wilder any way, when Mr. Wonka leads the troop of tourists up to the WonkaMobile.

I am also told that Julie Andrews, in the role of Mary Poppins, quotes the line after pulling a live potted plant out of her bag.

Endymion is the brain sick shepherd prince who ventures into the underworld in search of his love.

Today Endymion would not need to venture into the underworld to find the place where:

Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death
Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness;

Endymion would find that any where and every where he might travel in and over the world today.

In this time of the extended Month of March that has lasted from March to Labor Day due to the coronavirus, I feel the eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death of not just unseen flowers but of any and almost all thoughts and dreams.

This is the era come back of Jimmy Carter’s Malaise Speech when Mr. Carter said, “all the legislation in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with America. What is lacking is confidence and a sense of community.”

Confidence?

Sense of Community?

Not just lacking but overwhelmed by the eternal whispers of glooms, the birth, life, death.

I am reminded if the old joke,”Why are New Yorkers so gloomy?”

The light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

8.15.2020 – truth will set you free

truth will set you free
but first it, the truth, will make
you miserable

The World Wide Web attributes the quote, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable,” to President James Garfield.

There is no citation to when and where President Garfield said this.

From what little I know of President Garfield, he most likely would have used shall in place of will had he really said this.

But there it is.

The ironic part for President Garfield is the application of this quote to his life.

He was shot in the back.

He lingered for months and finally died.

He died not from the gunshot but from the infection of the wound.

His assassin put forward at his trial that he didn’t kill President Garfield but that his own doctors did.

That was the truth and from what I have read President Garfield’s last weeks were miserable.

Regardless the point fits for today.

C19, Congress, the President, the election … the truth about it just makes me miserable.

Another quote of President Garfield, also without citation is:

There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck or running a business or bringing up a family. The teach the truth by living it.

I am struck by the line, “They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity.

The gift of kindness.

Courage.

Loyalty.

Integrity.

Where are these men and women today?

I know they are out there.

I hope they are.

8.13.2020 – that they moved through time

that they moved through time
changed and changed and stayed the same
there, somewhere in time

Adapted from a passage in the book. Spartina, (1990, Avon Books, New York) by John Casey.

Mr. Casey wrote,

They all got mixed in, they stayed themselves. Permeable, yielding to each other, how could they stay themselves. The notion was as dizzying as the notion that time moved through them, that they moved through time. They changed and changed and stayed the same.

They were here, they were gone, they were somewhere in time. But if there was no time that mattered but the time that was inside them, then they’d be nowhere.

In celebration of 31 years of marriage to my dear friend.

We have changed and changed and stayed the same.

Here, gone, somewhere in time.

Together.

Love you.