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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Faces

A proper post about Winter Faces should begin with a sundial face. This one is in Norma's garden. She went out early and Normaphotoed it cold and covered with frost --so was the sundial.  I can't see it very well with all its ice but calculate it reads about a million o'clock in the morning, which is earlier than anything should be up or about. In fact, on winter nights especially, the whole world, populations, oceans and landmasses, should be brought indoors by sundown. 

And yet, there is some charm in finding a face in rose leaves. Its frosty beard and brow remind me of a favorite childhood relative...
...who never tried to pinch my cheeks or kiss me like other aunts did --who just liked me and played checkers, took walks and said things that made me think. 

On cold days I often think I'll go inside and see what the smell is. Sometimes it is a gingerbread man or, historically, an homunculus --a tiny but fully formed being from which a human is believed to develop. The idea took hold of theology after scriptural editing of the Septuagint (or, for argument's sake, Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα) off which text the following snippet was snipped from Genesis as the archetypal  humans were being created: 

Passing angel to God: "Well, You seem to know what You're doing!"
God: "Whatever gave you that idea?"

Which brings us to the closing enigma of spontaneous generation.  We see this most commonly when rainfall creates earthworms on sidewalks. We step carefully lest we demolish miracles. But in California, after 8 years of drought, we find this enigma elevated to the top shelf of the barn. That is where I keep boxes of old VW engine parts, all dark gray in color, and have noticed life-forms emerging from among them. Observe:
They grow fur and stare back at us with the implied question: "I am some old car parts you'll never miss that have transmogrified into a barncat, problem?"

Norma takes her photo. I grant this miracle hunting rights on our property. It does not say thank you. Miracles are like that. Yes they are!


Thursday, December 8, 2016


Some enigmas defy analysis. They occur repeatedly and settle. We say, "There."  Here is one I discovered many years ago. It consumes seven seconds of video and the only comment I make (if you have the sound on) when it occurs is, "There."  Such is the mind in action. Norma kindly photoed a clip at our kitchen table:
(Link to video clip)

It consists of two coins, both held in the right hand. When turned over, one coin travels under the left hand while the other stays put. This is fundamental mechanical physics involving fictitious forces which, if performed in front of the right government agencies, will attract lucrative research grants. However, we must here ask what precisely we are looking for.

Examination of enigmas is also a search for truth. Thomas Paine offered this rare, sober observation of its character: "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." The conclusion seems inescapable, especially when we seek truth in the mirror. I have reached an age at which I look in the mirror and say, "Well, whatever", then must admit that's what I've always said  --even since childhood.  This week, Norma took a photo of what I look like in the mirror (I wear a hat on windy days):
So, in our examination of enigmatic truth, we must defer to opinion, and the better mind of Herbert Spencer who thought opinions were ultimately determined by feelings, not intellect. Personally, I don't believe those two aspects of mind can be so far apart as to avoid each others influence, but will couch my doubt in a question. Which mental gesture best indicates we are in the presence of truth, one which causes us to say "There" or another causing us to say 'Well whatever"?

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Having examined three years that were historically important to me, 1510, 1892, and 1964 , I considered it only fair to examine 1962.

I don't know why I chose 1962 except fair, yes, maybe because there was  a World's Fair in Seattle that year. Here is a memory-photo of The Space Needle under construction. For some reason, or not, I always imagined they started it at the top and built downward with steel and prestressed concrete legs. This is how it looked in in my brain:

There was a restaurant up there in the saucer that rotated so diners could get a good look at the city. However, when we drove up from California, the line to get a table extended halfway to Oregon. It is now 54 years later and I'm pretty sure some of those people haven't been seated yet.

We stayed on the ground and had sodas and hot dogs that didn't agree with each others company, then got on the monorail which aggravated the argument. But we were kids, and kids are like hearts; they rest between beats and recover. We ignored our stomachs and rode an elevated  train that swung around on one rail. It was very futuristic.  Since then I have participated in many futures and learned to know when I am in one. They still make me queasy sometimes.

We are in a future right now. Best I can suggest is concentrate on some fixed point, like a mountain or big idea, or a pretty little rock and draw a doodle of it:
Settles the jumps right down; welcomes us all into December --a time of renewal and good will. I shall turn 67 this month and part of me remains in 1962. It seeks astonishment in a world's fairest dreams.