Have we become too old?

Storm clouds gathering over our home.I lost yesterday to the eye doctor, who put stuff in my eyes and it turns out the older I get, the more and longer lasting are the effects of things that didn’t bother me in a previous age.

When I should have been writing this column, I found my eyes  – which previously had quickly recovered – did not work. For many hours longer than my memory claims has normally been the case, my eyes refused to focus. There are few conditions more sleep-inducing than eyes which transmit light in patterns the brain proves incapable of organizing.

And then came the assault on the symbol of our government.

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Courthouses and churches

Not perfect, but also not for sale.Churches have steeples pointing to heaven. Take away any signs from in front of the building, and you still know it’s a church; you just don’t know, for certain, the denomination.

Courthouses often have a cupola of some sort atop their roof, with a clock announcing to passers-by the time to draw near and be heard. Without a sign, they might be confused with a library – not a far reach from their purpose as a repository of important information – but never would they be mistaken for, say, an entertainment center.

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Making Christmas

A time of dreams and memories.Christmas, it has been said, is about the gifts we give. One of the great things about living in Adams County is not only so many generous people are willing to pitch in help when it’s needed, but the county still is small enough that we know most of them. At least, we know their names when we hear them, even if we have not actually met them.

Adams Countians have, for instance, contributed more than 80 winter coats and jackets as Christmas gifts to kids who would not otherwise have them.

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Level playing fields

Most playing fields are level, just not with each other.“OK, Boomer.” The phrase is meant to express youthful disdain for us so-called Baby Boomers – we whose parents went off to war, then returned, victorious in battle, to create the boom of babies that resulted in humungous profits for the cookie-cutter housing industry, and a plethora of job opportunities for soldiers returning from war knowing how to follow direction and willing to trade a rifle for a hammer.

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Water, water …

Rain needed, and lots of it!A blanket of golden leaves lies around the Silver maple trunk like the flannel skirt wrapped around the base of a Christmas spruce. The past few days have been excellent for photography. Clear or slightly cloudy skies and a solar studio light turning single trees into huge sparkling lights scattered through the forest.

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Automatic transmissions and radios

When you want relief from politics and Covid ....I am surviving this Covid thing. We are surviving this Covid thing. My partner, best friend and, not coincidentally, spouse, makes note every day. We have been trapped in our home since March and we still love each other. More importantly, we still like each other.

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Second favorite season

After 480 million years, the tor monster still is not done molting.Every year I write at least one column about how Fall is my favorite season. I can’t help it. Well, my second favorite, in truth.

The camp pot is about to start percolating a fresh cup of coffee in time with a song by the Ventures playing in my memory. Outside the kitchen window, the tree I don’t ever remember its name has lost all its foliage, early to bed for the winter season. But the Silver maple, still mostly deep chili green, and the dogwood, in deep chili green and merlot red, are clad in late fall attire.

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We need better notes

It is fall and time to harvest soybeans and other crops.Trees that stopped feeding themselves weeks ago finally are losing their green as they succumb to the reduced sunlight of shortening days.

Funny how many events in nature seem to be well underway long before we notice. The summer solstice, way back in June, actually marked the beginning of days becoming shorter, leading to winter – a phenomenon we humans, with our ever-so-short lifespan, are only beginning to detect three months later. Continue reading We need better notes

A rifle, a leather belt, and a pen

I always imagine standing with Elmer Fudd and that six-pointer.I met Tom – Dr. Eastler, when I was a new student in the first day of Environmental Geoscience class at the University of Maine at Farmington. I had recently completed 20 years of service to my nation and it’s Navy, generally knocking around the globe visiting with folks while intermittently pretending I was ready and willing to shoot at and/or be shot at by some of those same folks. Continue reading A rifle, a leather belt, and a pen

Phrases worth forgetting

Mrs. Knox, my high school English teacher, must be tossing and turning in her grave. Have you ever really listened to some of the phrases used in public speaking? There were only a few things she was really adamant about. A student could get an F on a paper, for instance, for using the phrase “a lot of” instead of something more specific, like “many” or “4,278,522.”

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Memories of ball games past

It was the live crowds that made the game fun.The evening news reports Republicans in the state Assembly want Gov. Wolf to sign a bill into law that allows school districts to decide how many people, if any, to allow in the stands to watch football games. On screen, a legislator declares the individual schools “are in the best position to know” what is best for the players and the fans.

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Water, water everywhere

This hand pump supplied water for dinner and Saturday night baths..As I was reading some stuff about water one morning this week, I was reminded of the water source of my youth – a twenty-foot deep hand-dug well. It sometimes is difficult to believe that we in 2020 are not far separated, measured sometimes by the calendar and sometimes by miles, from having no imagining of conveniences such as computers or water that simply appears at the turn of a knob.

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A little good news

They have to be taught to hate.Readers of a certain age – which is to say, aging baby boomers – likely will remember a song by Anne Murray in which she pleaded to wake up one morning with “A Little Good News” in the headline news.

Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain.

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Squirrels ain’t stoopid

Breakfast Club at Chez Deb's.We have a dogwood tree in the corner garden, and one of its branches finally grew to within Gray Squirrel jumping range of the roof. That was fine for a fairly long time – until one particularly ambitious fellow decided to launch himself at the bird feeder suction cupped to my studio window.

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