APPLE PICKING

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Oh beautiful! Oh Beautiful! God shed
His grace on me, though I was sulking
Mightily, and full of self-pity. Said
I to self, “Self, stop this milking
Pity from the stones. It’s such a crime
And waste of time to make such moans and groans.”

Oh beautiful! Oh Beautiful! The time
Was gray each day, but I knew in my bones,
Deep down, the sun would free its ray; and skies
Of blue and apples red would waken hope
In me, as on the upland slope there lies
A sung eternity. “Self, remove the rope
You make that binds creation’s song,
For nothing God’s made worldly’s really wrong.”

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(P.S:  In case you missed the rhythm of the sonnet, it is basically to the tune of “America, The Beautiful”, and outside of the sonnet-form could be written like this:

Oh beautiful! Oh Beautiful!
God shed His grace on me.
Though I was sulking mightily
And full of self-pity.
Said I to self, “Self stop this milking
Pity from the stones.
It’s such a crime and waste of time
To make such moans and groans.”

Oh beautiful! Oh Beautiful!
The time was gray each day,
But I knew in my bones, deep down,
The sun would free its ray,
And skies of blue and apples red
Would waken hope in me,
As on the upland slopes their lies
A sung eternity.

“Self, remove the rope you make
That binds creation’s song,
For nothing God’s made worldly’s
Ever really wrong.”

After a lot of agonizing I left the word “ever” out of the final line of the sonnet form, as a sonnet’s coda requires an abrupt punch. However the word “ever” does belong in the lyrical version.

Sometimes I have to twist people’s arms a bit, but, when I hide a poem in a sonnet in this manner, it is fun to get people to read it aloud. Some catch the rhythm right away,  while to others it is utterly invisible.

 

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SILVER DAWN

Hoarfrost 1

How like consolation is the hoarfrost
Cast like tiny white petals to amaze
The ruins of the autumn. All was lost
But now a silver lining starts my day’s
Trek across the wasteland. Let others see death
In the growing dark of shortened daylight.
I see silver shining; even my breath
Hangs silver in the silver dawn. No fright
Creeps behind the stonewalls this Halloween.
Shadows can’t stand up to light. Like a child
Gazing ahead into the dark Unseen
With their young, innocent heart running wild,
I feel a warm hand of silver, older
Than earth, kindly patting my shoulder.

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Hoarfrost 2 IMG_7658

FORGOTTEN HEROES

I’ve been going through my notes from my drifter days, trying to figure out how to describe the sense I got at times that I was part of something bigger than I could conceive.

At that time nothing was going according to the script I had written for my own life, which was a sort of Horatio Alger tale of small poet who makes it big, becomes filthy rich, marries a beautiful blond, and lives happily ever after.  In actual fact I was unknown, destitute, and my romantic life made a train wreck look pretty. But, despite my apparent lack of success, I felt I had an importance all out of proportion to what anyone could see. Nor was it merely me who had this importance. You also were important. You too would, if you only knew how important you were, be able to swell your chest in an attitude of grandiose magnificence.

The best way I can think to describe what I glimpsed would be to contemplate a small ball bearing in the palm of your hand. While a ball bearing might seem like an insignificant bead, without it mighty machinery can grind to smoldering ruins.

We each have an important part to play in the scheme of things, and it is sheer foolishness to think one is raised at all by becoming a so-called “star”.  Many in Hollywood think, in their vanity, that they are more important than humble bumpkins, but in actual fact the part they play is evil. They represent vanity, a tool of Ignorance, (or “Maya”, or “Satan”.) They currently like to plaster their Maserati-bumpers with “Resist!”, as if their political vanity proclaims they represent Truth,  when in fact it proclaims they are vain. A truer “resistance” resists the seductions of fame and fashion and fad and popularity, and accepts humble positions, and is willing to be a bumpkin and be called “a deplorable”, while simply performing the work of a ball bearing, which is to “do your job”, which is to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your Lord”.

I had a hard time being humble at that time, for two reasons. The first was that, to be honest, I very much wanted to be seduced by fame and fashion and fad and popularity, and be absurdly wealthy, and drive a Maserati, and walk with a buxom babe at either elbow.  As a poet, I figured I’d die young, but at times it seemed to me better to die of a cocaine overdose, than of starvation. But, as I said earlier, my life was not unfolding according to my script. (Thank God.)

The second reason I found it hard to be humble was that, when I glimpsed the part mere bumpkins played in the scheme of things, I wanted to screech from the rooftops how divine and exalted they were. They were the true heroes, the Atlas holding up the world on their shoulders. They were the ones who were the good guys, as Hollywood stars played the role of the bad guys. What was wrong with everyone? Was humanity blind?

I felt I had important news to share with my fellow man, concerning how exalted bumpkins were and how stupid Hollywood was. Of course, this news is deemed politically incorrect by Hollywood Agents, and also Gatekeeper Publishers, and in fact if you want to get ahead in Hollywood it is likely unwise to call Hollywood evil, which is probably part of the reason I wound up destitute in a desert campground.

I am fairly certain I deserved the destitution I ended up with. But, if I say that, then I also must have deserved the people who showed up at that campground, and made my life a pleasure. I found myself within inexplicably joyous periods of time where I actually raised my eyes to the sky and thanked God. Such times were like the kindness of spring after a hard winter, or the kindness of healing after a hangover you know you darn well deserve. I felt I hadn’t done half as much as it would take, to earn myself such compassion, but I couldn’t stop the dawn from ending my night. Often the dawn was the arrival of inconsequential fellow-Americans, at an obscure campground.

One fellow had worked hard and kept a steady job for years, as I had spent my years avoiding steady work and being a poet. He was a quarter century older than I, and had scraped together enough for a modest retirement, whereas I had slim prospects of scraping together enough to feed myself more than rice and beans the following day. You might think we were opposites, but we both liked salt-water fishing, and I shared a couple beers from a cheap six-pack I’d bought with the $20.00 I’d made with that day’s spot-labor, and we enjoyed an evening by a campfire at an altitude of 7000 feet, talking about the ocean far away.  The next day he headed off in his camper to Mexico, to fish off Baja California, as I headed off to see if I could make enough with day-labor to buy chicken wings.

Around two weeks later the same fellow returned from Baja California, and sought me out.  I was late returning to the campground that night, after a discouraging day when I didn’t make enough to buy chicken wings. I was expecting to prepare a dinner of rice and beans, but instead enjoyed all sorts of Baja California fish the fellow had smoked and brought back.  We had a fish-fry party, with other campers joining and contributing both food and liquor. It was not what I expected, after a discouraging day.

The next day all my new friends left, which is to be expected, when you befriend people at a campground. Those friendships reminded me of hitchhiking nearly twenty years earlier. You meet people, have amazing conversations, and never see them again.

But one old fellow did want to see me again. I’m not sure why. Maybe something about the amazing conversation of the night before convinced him to hang around the campground an extra day. I know he didn’t ask me permission.

Meanwhile I was having a far better day seeking spot-labor. Minimum wage back then was stuck at $3.35/hour, and a good day was to work 8 hours and return to the campground with $26.80 (rent was $25.00/week), but on this day I’d made $5.00/hour and worked ten hours, and had a whopping $50.00.  I not only paid the next week’s rent, and not only had money to buy some food and do my clothes at the campground laundromat, but also had extra money for cigarettes, coffee and beer. I was looking forward to a quiet time writing at my picnic table all alone. The last thing I wanted to see was a grizzled old man sitting at my table, as I came puttering up to my pup tent in my tiny, battered, brown, 1974 Toyota Corolla. But what could I do? One must be a good host.

Dinner that night was a chowder made from smoked fish from Baja California, which was a pretty classy meal, for a bum in a New Mexico campground. I had a huge box of powdered milk for my coffee, and several bags of free smoked fish which wouldn’t rot in the heat, so all I needed for a chowder was a couple onions and potatoes, which I’d bought on my way home to the campground.  My fuel was half-burned logs I scrounged from other camper’s hearths after they left in the morning. My kitchen held a coffee pot, a pan, and a kettle, and my utensils were a spatula, a large spoon, and a jackknife.  The desert sky was brilliant blue, and the crimson setting sun was lighting up the towering, orange-sandstone bluffs surrounding the campground. Life seemed good to me, and I offered my guest a beer. He offered me some whisky, which I gestured for him to dump into my coffee. Life was seeming even better.

My guest was a retired aeronautical engineer. At first he struck me as a bit boring, seeming like a person who had worked for years at drafting tables with slide-rules and inky fingers, but as I questioned him I soon understood he’d seen the start of the Cold War, which was a war without front lines, fought largely behind the scenes.

I told him a few tales about a nearby cavalry post called Fort Wingate. After soldiers stopped galloping about on splendid horses it had become an ammunition dump in World War Two, and for a brief time after the war people hadn’t guarded it very well, because people thought the Russians were our allies, and all wars were over and done with, and there was no need to guard ammunition dumps any more. Rumor had it that local Navajo and Ranchers had wound up with bazookas, though I’d never seen one. Then it turned out Stalin didn’t want to be friends, and the ammunition dump was guarded more carefully.

The old man laughed, and told me he’d known a few ranchers who “liberated” surprising weapons from army-surplus stockpiles after the war, including a tank. We talked a while about how men like to blow stuff up, and about tremendous booms heard in the desert on July the Fourth. As the man rambled on about his past I studied his face in the firelight, and decided he didn’t look entirely like a draftsman; his complexion had rancher-wrinkles gifted by wind and sun.

He became more interesting to me the more he talked. Partly this was due to the whisky, but also I just have a habit of being nosy. I mind my own business if other people mind theirs, but if I am stuck with someone I figure I might as well get to know them.  Few people are actually as dull as they appear. Even though 99% of life may be dull, God lets few of us off Scot free, and most have been through trials and troubles. Even dull people don’t mind telling you about the adventure of surviving, if you know how to ask.

This particular fellow kept veering away from the subject of post-war aeronautical engineering, and when I pointed out that he was avoiding the subject (whisky allows such frankness) he replied some of what he’d done was still classified.  I was amazed technology from 1946 was still secret, and he simply shrugged. Then I became a pest, asking if he could at least tell me what general subject was still secret, without leaking the actual details.

He looked at me thoughtfully, and then I was surprised to see anger creep into his expression, and he said, “I suppose I can, considering the asshole president was such a big blabbermouth.”

I agreed (being a democrat at that time) that President Reagan was an asshole, and the fellow replied “I was referring to President Carter.” Things were awkward for a bit, and I endured a bit of a lecture about my naivete, but the fellow was gracious in a gruff way, and forgave me for being liberal, leaving me with some version of the John Adams quip to Thomas Jefferson, “A boy of 15 who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at 20.” (Churchill read Jefferson’s account, and revised it.)

Churchill quote liberal heart no brain cd4da4fabffccd3866cae3620de356b7

The old engineer was of the opinion President Carter had no brain, for he had publicly bragged our air force had a bomber which radar couldn’t see, at a time when the information was top secret. He was referring to the “stealth bomber”.

Stealth Bomber download

The old engineer told me there are all sorts of difficulties with the design of “flying wings”, which were originally designed because they could fly farther than conventional bombers due to increased “lift.”  They could fly for 10,000 miles.

Flying wing prop Northrop-XB35-Flying-Wing-Bomber-Title

Despite all the efforts to keep the flying wing secret, there were spies in the desert, reporting to Stalin, who was able to tell President Truman he knew of the first explosion of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 at the Potsdam conference only a few days later.

Truman Potsdam Trumanstalin

Therefore Truman was aware Stalin likely knew about the crash of the flying-wing (jet version) on June 5, 1948. This may explain why Truman had a different flying wing roar over the White House not far above the rooftops in mid-February 1949. He not only wanted to see it himself; he wanted the Russians to see it from their embassy.

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It is typical of the Cold War that Truman would want Stalin to see the success without leaking the secret of the troubles. This might get Russia working on its own version without knowing of the problems they’d run into, (which eventually led to the abandonment of the flying wing).  In a sense it would send the Russians off onto a wild goose chase, and waste a lot of money. It was vast military expenditures that eventually led to the Soviet Union’s downfall;  In the end the Cold War was won by battling pocketbooks, like old ladies fighting at a sale.

Washington D.C. was a swamp back then, just as it is now, and the designer of the flying wing, Jack Northrop, stated a reason for the failure of his project was that the Secretary of the Air Force, Stuart Symington, was in cahoots with Northrup’s competitor Conair. (When the Democrats lost power Symington became president of Conair.) (There may have even been industrial sabotage involved, as one flying wing nearly crashed because someone “forgot to change the oil.”)

Jack Northrop was bitterly disappointed when his pet project lost the necessary funding from Washington, but at the very end of his life in 1980, in a wheelchair and unable to speak, he was taken to see a top-secret Stealth Bomber. After seeing the reincarnation of his pet project, he reportedly scribbled onto a pad of paper, “Now I know why God has kept me alive the past 35 years.”

The old aeronautical engineer I talked with in 1985 didn’t go into any detail about the “secrets” discovered by the early flying wings, which were utilized in the stealth bomber. I suspect the most important one was discovered by sheer accident. While the emphasis was on flying wings being able to stay aloft longer than conventional aircraft, it was noted that they presented a very small “cross section” on the radar screen.

What impressed the engineer most was the courage of the test pilots. Both Forbes and Edwards air force bases were named after test pilots who died in the crash of the flying wing in 1948. They were heroes, for they gathered the information that led to later successes, at the price of their lives.

At this point the old man’s face became very sad in the firelight, as he recalled the death of a test pilot he knew. The old man may have been leaking a secret, for I cannot find any record of the crash he recollected. It involved a much smaller flying wing, more of a fighter than a bomber. During a test flight it flipped upside down, and then the pilot could not get it to flip right side up again. The entire time he strove to right the air-craft he spoke in a calm voice, explaining what he was attempting and how the aircraft was responding, and listening to the suggestions of the engineers on the ground. As the aircraft ran out of fuel he came gliding in upside down, landing with the cockpit downwards, which of course killed him. His death was instantaneous, but the engineer was still in pain forty years later.

I suppose that exploring new frontiers always involves the deaths of pioneers, who show us the dangers, and save many lives through the loss of their own. We now take air travel in jets for granted, oblivious of the forgotten heroes who made such luxury possible. Meanwhile the big-shots in swamps rattle sabers at each other, and thump their gorilla chests with nuclear tests, and fight with pocketbooks like little old ladies.

When I reflect, I think the big are far smaller than they imagine, while the small are far bigger than they dream.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Early Beaufort Freeze–(Or, Orchestrated Imbalance)

The Beaufort Sea is nearly completely skimmed with ice, at a date it was barely half ice-covered two years ago, and only three quarters ice-covered last year.  This is a handy bit of sea-ice trivia I park in a holster, to use when nit-picking with Alarmists. If they insist upon cherry-picking certain data from certain warmer parts of the arctic, I am perfectly capable of counter-cherry-picking right back at them. Anyway, in my book cherry fights are far better than knife fights, (though about as red).

In Alarmist circles, nearly all eyes are focused on surges of Atlantic air, with occasional injections of Pacific air, rushing up to the Pole, and fueling anomalous low pressure I have nicknamed “Ralph”. This creates a definite warm anomaly in the DMI temperature-north-of-80°-latitude graph.

DMI6 1020 meanT_2018

This suggests to some Alarmists that the Pole is warming,  but there are some glitches in their gladness. For one thing, these warm surges have been going on for about as long as I’ve been talking about “Ralph”, and may be due to the “Quiet Sun” being at rock bottom minimum.  The autumns showed above-normal anomalies in both 2016 (left) and 2017 (right).

If warm air surging to the Pole truly resulted in “less ice”, we should see a decrease of ice over the past three years, but we have not seen it, at the sea-ice minimum.  Therefore Alarmists focus at the period after the minimum, where indeed extents are at low levels.

DMI6 1020 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

One should immediately be curious how the extent can be below normal, since we began this post mentioning how there was more ice than in recent years in the Beaufort Sea. The answer is that there is less ice on the Eurasian Side of the Pole. This actually remains a good year for making the Northeast Passage, even as it was a bad year for making the Northwest Passage. The arctic coasts of Eurasia remain ice-free, as the arctic coasts of North America are ice-bound.World Wide Daily Snow and Ice Cover Map

Indeed things seem a bit lopsided in the Arctic, with things for Alarmists to cherry-pick on the Russian side, with counter-cherry-picking available on the Canadian side.  This even includes the yearly increase of snow cover, which is ahead of schedule on the Canadian side but behind schedule on the Siberian side (although there is snow well inland from the Siberian  coast in the above map, it should extend farther south towards China by now.)

There are certain short-term possibilities the current pattern might bring about, that we should be watching for. For example Hudson Bay is completely surrounded by snow, which may hurry its yearly freeze. The fact the Kara and Laptev Seas look like they may remain open later than usual may attract storms to track along the Siberian coast, and also cool the water (which would ordinarily be protected by ice, and allowed to stratify, with colder but fresher floodwaters from rivers like the Lena  over warmer but saltier (thus dencer) sea-water sliding beneath.)

Lastly, if the Atlantic pumps heat north, dislodged northern cold must exit somewhere else, and so far it seems to be exiting east of Alaska, heading straight south through the Canadian Archipelago, across flat prairies and continuing south all the way to Texas.  The “Ice Age Now” site has reported grain farmers in the Great Plains having problems harvesting due to early snows.

https://www.iceagenow.info/harvesting-wheat-in-the-snow/

Though I live far from the arctic, people in these parts do become alarmed to some degree when our food is threatened, depending on our level of awareness. Also worry about potentially cold winters can be upsetting to those poor (and often elderly) who may have to chose between food or fuel. It is little concern to such people if the arctic is “only” -10°C, which is +10° of normal, when the displaced cold air drops temperatures to -20° of normal in Arizona.

https://www.iceagenow.info/record-cold-across-central-united-states/#more-26895

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/17/record-low-temperatures-and-snow-blanket-the-west/

It may well be that the increased sea-ice in the Beaufort Sea is indicative of the sort of nasty winter where a ridge builds up the Pacific coast of North America, bringing south winds to Alaska and pleasing Alarmists up there, but bringing the arctic plunging south, east of the Rocky Mountains.

It is interesting that both NOAA and Weatherbell see the sort of winter that plunges the Southeast USA into cooler weather, but NOAA sees merely “normal” cold in the Southeast, whereas Weatherbell sees nasty cold. (NOAA left, Weatherbell right:)

The above predictions will be a good test of the skill-level between the public sector and the private sector. (I could go off onto a rave at this point, but will save it until after Weatherbell triumphs.  I expect they will, as they do not exist due to the beneficence of moronic socialists like Al Gore, but exist purely due to being better at forecasting than the public sector.) (Sorry. That was a rave, after all, but at least I kept it within parenthesis.)

The above also shows that both socialists and meteorologists are seeing the same thing. They both see the current pattern is heading the same way, and both know that a “current-pattern” has a sort of momentum that extends into the future. However I have seen patterns change, and I’m staying on my toes, watching for signs of an unexpected change. (I find that is the best policy to have, regarding the weather, for only God knows the future with absolute certainty, and is proved correct.) (Alarmists know the future with absolute certainty, but stated the arctic would be ice-free by by 2014.)

What is being seen is a “loopy” pattern,  where warm air  is brought north, dislodging cold air which comes south.  Largely it all balances out. It is a case of six of one or a half dozen of the other. The planet’s temperature is currently less than two tenths of a degree “above normal”,  and Al Gore looks foolish for stating “The planet has a fever!” The average healthy human’s temperature varies more than that, during an average day, without thinking any sort of “fever” is involved.

However I don’t deny things look different than a decade ago. I think we are seeing some changes, (or should be), because of the “Quiet Sun.”

In the short term, it may look like the quieter the sun gets, the warmer it gets:

Unfortunately the above chart fails to show sunspot cycle 19 was much bigger than 21 or 22, (and 18 was also big; bigger than 22 but not 21).  So the start of the above graph is showing a hidden effect. But what is the effect?

We have actually measured an increase in cosmic rays bombarding the earth, as the sun goes quiet, which may increase the cloud cover. However I also noticed there were more La Ninas back when the sun was “noisy”, and more El Ninos now that the sun has gone “quiet”.  It could be coincidence, but I have a hunch the energy of the sun may effect trade winds, making them ever so slightly faster when the sun is “noisy”, and ever so slightly slower when the sun goes quiet.

These very slight differences, immeasurable by our clumsy instruments, have big consequences. (Don’t roll your eyes. I’ve put up with years of Alarmists telling me a tiny change in the amount of a trace gas can have giant consequences, and I’ve been respectful, as I know a small pebble can cause a big avalanche. But, though I have been patient, we have seen no “avalanche”, connected with CO2.  So now it is my turn to suggest a different tiny change can be the “pebble that starts an avalanche”. I expect Alarmists to be as respectful to me as I was to them.) (Unlikely.)

The thing of it is this: The best and most brilliant scientists may look a bit like morons, when it comes to predicting when a La Nina will shift to an El Nino, and vice versa. Whatever brings about the change is a force too small and too subtle to measure with our currently crude computers and currently too-clumsy instruments.  Therefore I fall back on what we do know. And what we do know is that increased trade winds effect the up-welling of cold water that occurs hand-in-hand with La Ninas, and decreased trade winds decrease the upwelling, which goes hand-in-hand with El Ninos’ warmer surface waters.

We also know both El Ninos and La Ninas feed upon themselves up to a certain point, and then become authors of their own demise. La Ninas involve clear skies, which eventually allows the sun to warm waters, which encourages El Ninos.  El Ninos, on the other hand, encourage cloudy skies, which cool waters, which encourages La Ninas.  In other words, it is an oscillation. But why were there more La Ninos when the sun was noisy?  And why are their fewer now the sun is quiet?

I don’t know why. But it seems it happened. I’d like to throw out this idea, which involves counter intuitive thought.

When the sun gets “noisy” the trade winds increase in some slight manner that effects the tipping-point between El Nino and La Nina.  There is more up-welling of cold water, so the planet appears colder even as the sun is hotter. Cooler weather causes the tropical sky to be clearer, and consequently the tropical oceans are absorbing more heat even as the planet appears colder.

Currently the opposite is the case. There is less up-welling of cold water, so the planet appears warmer even as the sun is colder. More warmth increases the clouds in the tropics, so those seas are actually cooling even as they release more heat to make the planet warmer, for they are no longer absorbing so much sunshine.

These contradictions can’t go on forever. The contrary thought involved is too contrary.  Eventually the colder sun will result in a colder planet. A new tipping-point will be reached, and a new swing of a new oscillation will dramatically change things. The oceans will run out of extra heat supplied by the noisy sun of cycles 18 and 19, and some new pattern will appear, and likely blow our minds.

I hope I live long enough to see it happen, because I love to see our Creator surprise us with his Majestic stuff. But in the meantime I’m happy watching the counter intuitive reality which includes the sun getting quiet, but the planet getting warmer.

There is one place where it has gotten colder when the sun is “quiet”. It has been the Pole, when the sun is shining. Summers have been colder at the Pole as the sun has gone quiet.  It is a slight difference, less than a degree Celsius, but quite obvious in the DMI graphs going back to 1958.   It is a cherry Alarmists refuse to pick, preferring to look at the above-normal temperatures apparent at the Pole when the sun doesn’t shine. I suppose you could call cooler-summer-temperatures a choke-cherry, for Alarmists find it distasteful when I pick it as a sort of counter-cherry-picking.

However it is also very significant, I think, outside of the silliness of cherry fights. Because the Arctic Sea is far from the Trade Winds, and, because it remains ice-covered through much of the summer and “upwellings” can’t effect air temperatures until patches of open water are seen in August, it is a sort of labratory where the effects of noisy and quiet suns can be seen without the intrusions of other, busy-body variables. And what do we see? We see the quiet sun is, in fact, cooler.

However this coolness is, in and of itself, a pebble that can trigger another avalanche, involving a different oscillation, different from the oscillation between La Ninas and El Nino’s.  This different oscillation is the switching between a “Zonal” pattern and a “Meridional” (loopy) pattern.

My guess is that when the “quiet sun” makes the Pole colder even as it makes the tropics warmer, it creates an imbalance, and the way the planet ends this imbalance is to shift from a  Zonal pattern to a Meridional (loopy) pattern. The excess warmth in the tropics finds a faster route to the Pole, where it is radiated to outer space. Because this milder air is displaced northward, the cold air that ordinarily resides over the Pole is bumped southward, bringing snow further south and somewhat “accidentally” further cooling the planet, as the albedo of southern snows reflects a lot of sunshine.

At this point my jaw starts to drop, and I stand in awe of the Creator. After all, these two oscillation are but two out of many “variables.”  It is like we are trying to gauge the music of a Beethoven Symphony by watching an oboe and third violin. People who focus on CO2 are trying to measure a symphony by watching a little old man over to the side whose sole job in the majesty of the swelling crescendo is to ding a triangle, once in a while.

Meteorology is a awesome and majestic subject, but I fear we puny mortals are reducing it to complete absurdity, and missing much that is wonderful in the process. It reminds me of a hilarious scene in the French farce, “The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe”.

The entire movie is well worth watching, but you will have to scroll ahead to 41:00 to see the scene that I feel resembles the farce we have made of meteorology.

In a particular French orchestra, a male kettle-drum-player is married to a female harpist, but she is having an affair with the first violinist. If this disharmony wasn’t a bad enough wrench in the works of a group of people supposedly dedicated to making harmony, the first violinist has been mistaken as a foreign spy, because he wore one black shoe and one tan shoe at an airport. (An added disharmony is that the second-in-command of the the French spies is attempting to replace his boss.) In any case, the music which this situation produces is nothing like Mozart intended.

 

I like to think that the reason God doesn’t just sizzle us with a lightning bolt, for our foolishness, is that he is helpless with laughter, because to Him we look like the orchestra in the above movie. We, of course, take ourselves far more seriously, though not even I can match the seriousness of Alarmists.

Meanwhile the symphony of God’s creation is quite capable of proceeding without us. It does not require our understanding to manifest. Currently warm air streams up toward the Pole through the North Atlantic, fueling incarnations of “Ralph” around and over the Pole.

Yet in only 36 hours the transport of all this warmth into the North Atlantic can trigger a North Atlantic gale far larger than hurricane, (but largely unnoticed, as no one lives where  they are centered.)

Even though these huge gales are caused by warm air, they have a completely opposite effect on Europe, as they drag cold air from Fram Strait past Iceland and east across Europe, creating yet another counter-intuitive situation: Warm air coming north can make Europe cold. (Credit to Weatherbell Models, for map seen below.)

Eur5ope 20181020 gfs_t2m_eur_1

Considering weather so often proceeds in a manner that is counter-intuitive, you might wonder why I find any delight in it. I suppose the reason I find delight in it is the same reason I find delight in the music of a master like Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. I think I am following the thread of their music, and can predict where it will go next, but they surprise me by taking off into a rhapsody I never expected. Although they prove me wrong, I delight in what they reveal.

In like manner, weather is constantly taking off into a rhapsody meteorologists didn’t expect. Good meteorologists are grateful for the chance to see something new and learn more. Bad meteorologists take offence.

Most absurd are non-meteorologist Alarmists who not only take offence when the weather proves them wrong, but think they themselves can control the weather. Maybe they don’t throw virgins (or Skeptics) into volcanoes, but they do buy curly light bulbs.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not deny the possibility men can to some degree control the weather, but if it occurred it would likely be more probable to occur if one respected the Creator than if one denied there was any such thing as a Creator.  In other words, if there was such a thing as an Author of the amazing creation we live within, and people failed to see how amazing and how like a miracle ordinary days are, and had the nerve to suggest the everyday miracle could be bettered, the Author might be inclined to favor those who prayed over those who refused to do anything so silly as pray, and instead thought it was wiser to virtue-signal their political correctness by buying curly light-bulbs.

In other words, though I have no scientific proof, I think the person more likely to control the weather might be a small child praying for a white Christmas, whereas an atheist buying curly light bulbs would have no effect whatsoever.

Be that as it may, the weather largely proceeds in a miraculous manner, displaying harmony we but dimly comprehend, obeying laws we have yet to discover. Appreciate it.

Sea-ice thickness, October 19. Last year to left, this year to right:

 

It is interesting to note that last year the Laptev Sea had completely flash-frozen, while this year it is wide open. It is an area to watch, to see if it flash freezes shortly, or remains open. Hudson Bay is another area to watch for a flash freeze.  (Flash freezes are interesting, as the freeze actually releases a lot of heat that was held as latent heat in liquid water.)

The increase in sea-ice along the coast of Alaska does not make up for the missing ice in the Laptev Sea, and this largely explains why the “volume” graph is back to low levels.

Volume 20181019 FullSizeRender

One thing to watch for, in terms of the “volume” of sea-ice, is how often the flow goes the “wrong way” in Fram Strait, as opposed to how often sea-ice is flushed out of the Arctic and down the east coast of Greenland. Last year a “wrong way” flow in late February led to open water north of Greenland as sea-ice was shifted north, but also to increased “volume” as the sea-ice piled up in the Central Arctic.  (Alarmists picked the cherry of open water, and I counter-picked the increased volume, which was typical for cherry fights.) Currently the sea-ice is surging south in Fram Strait due to the enormous Atlantic gale, but this is common in the autumn.

Drift 20181020 FullSizeRender

The sea-ice totals vary greatly, depending on how much is exported south through Fram Strait. 2007 had a low extent due to a large export. Last year had much less export. One thing which affects the export is the positioning of the enormous Atlantic gales. When they are shifted over towards Europe there is more export. Last year the gales tended to slam into Greenland. (So Alarmists picked the cherry of less sea-ice in the Greenland sea, as I counter-picked the increased snows and consequently an increased mass-balance of  ice on Greenland itself.)

Two things I can confidently predict.

First, the cherry fights will continue. Have fun, and don’t let them escalate to knives.

Second, the symphony arctic orchestra will play on, displaying a divine harmony.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

UNEXPECTED KAVANAUGH REPERCUSSION: Getting Over It

I’m certain I’ll offend some by stating this: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s apparent inability to leave a teen-aged affront in her dead past seems a sad testimony of how psychology fails to help people.  The fact she is a “doctor” should indicate some skill at healing,  but the only nursing involved seemed to be the nursing of a grudge.

We all have traumas in our past.  Some are worse than others. As a writer I used to hang around with other “sensitive artists”, and we could become absurdly competitive about which one of us had suffered the most. Then, in California in 1983, I met a Cambodian woman who had been through the nightmare of Pol Pot, and a further nightmare involving pirates, as a “boat person” escaping Indochina’s horror and fleeing to the United States, and, after hearing her tales, the worst traumas I had ever endured paled in comparison. I even felt a little sheepish about ever having called my pains “trauma”.

Yet traumas we have been through, both major and minor, are bound to effect us. This is only natural, for we learn through our experiences: “Once burned, twice shy.” Our successes are only the result of a great many failures. Even as I now write, these words are part of a rough draft I will later go over, and improve upon. It would be a sad thing if the rough draft could not be improved upon, and instead indicated “trauma” that would burden me for the rest of my life.

While I recognize Justice Kavanaugh strenuously asserts Dr. Ford’s recollection is a false memory, and that he never did what she “remembers”, I’ll mention that even if he was guilty of inappropriate groping as a teenager (and many of us were) it should not be held against him for the rest of his life. Nor should Dr. Ford be permanently scarred by the discomfort of unwelcome advances. Considering the society of that time tended to mock abstinence (AIDS didn’t become a major concern until later in the 1980’s), and considering adolescents are not known for a lack of social clumsiness, the goofs of youth should be expected, and forgiven, if not forgotten.

The question then becomes how we “get over” the traumas of our past.

The most natural thing to do is to forget about it. For example, as we learned to walk we experienced the trauma of losing our balance and sitting down hard. After a brief spell of bawling we forgot about it. The lesson was learned,  and became part of our “experience.” This natural process allows us to do many things without thinking. For example, there have been many times I’ve driven long distances with an engaging conversationalist, so engrossed in the conversation I hardly remember the drive at all. The simple fact I didn’t crash into anyone (or a tree) demonstrates that my learned “experience” was able to do the driving, even as my consciousness was elsewhere. In this example the action of driving was “unconscious.”

Psychologists ask the question, “What is driving you?” There is the assumption that our past traumas make up our current identity. The reason that we turn left or turn right in life is that we are avoiding past pains. (Some focus more on pleasure, as a motive, but pleasure can be seen as avoiding-pain.)

In spiritual terms the same dynamic can be seen as our frustrated or gratified desires. What are desires? Well, some things attract us and some things repel us, due to “impressions” we gather. Some things impress us positively and some things impress us negatively. (There is actually a word for these impressions: “Sanskaras.” A sanskara is a sort of sub-sub-atomic particle of mind, and collected sanskaras make up sub-atomic particles of energy, which make up material atoms.)

Because psychologists have an awareness we are “driven” by things that we don’t even think about, they have a tendency to root about in the backs of our minds, seeking what motivates us. Our subconscious mind is an interesting place to explore, but unfortunately some investigative psychologists are clumsy, even brutal, and often their efforts to “fix” us are not helpful.

For example, when a person is troubled, some psychologists simply zap the brain.  The idea is that the brain needs to forget, so electricity is used. Such psychologists like to justify their zapping by pointing at what they see as “positive results”, though they have no idea what they are doing. I have always felt that “electric shock therapy” is the equivalent of giving a malfunctioning TV a whack. If the picture improves it does not make the whacker an electrician, (and sometimes the whack breaks the TV).

Drugs are the same sort of thing. More harm than good has come of trying to deal with troubled people with pills, whether the “cure” is doctor-prescribed or self-medication,  although some forms of self-medication, (such as Churchill’s cigars), are not entirely ruinous. (After all, he was over ninety when he retired from politics.)

A third form of foolishness, which I myself was very involved with, involves rooting about in the past, when you should be facing the future by attending to the present. There were times I would have benefited more by simply going out and getting a job, but instead avoided getting a job by thinking deeply about the psychological roots of my dreads and desires (when my desire was to hide in my mother’s basement). In such cases I was seeking in the wrong direction; the cure lay out in the fresh air, but I stayed stuck, thinking the cure lay in “psychology.”

Psychology should free people who are stuck. A great irony is that some psychologists prosper by keeping people stuck on a sort of treadmill of problem-causing thought, because some psychologists stand to gain more by advising people to sign up for fifty-two psychological sessions than they would gain by advising the person to go get a job.

The greatest irony is when a psychologist does this to themselves. I am not saying Dr. Ford did this, but her peer-reviewed paper on self-hypnosis and creating false-memory does suggest the possibility of her being overly inward. (The expressed idea suggests that, if you are controlled by a real memory of a past trauma, you can escape that control by using self-hypnosis to create the new control of a false memory.) The danger of such inwardness is that, rather than going out into the fresh air and interacting with real people in reality, one stays stuck in the musty halls of academia, diddling with old ideas attempting to make something new out of fossils. Rather than the fresh outlooks of another’s view one instead is stuck with their same old mind’s same old views, and one reviews, and re-reviews, and re-re-reviews…

In my own life I called this becoming “ingrown”. I tended to fall prey to it because writers do withdraw a lot, and do look inward a lot. Also I often found other people’s minds very boring, even disgusting, and would want to run away and be a yogi on some mountaintop far away, in a beautiful landscape. However sitting around without the input of other minds gradually made me bored, even disgusted, with my own mind, as I became “ingrown.” Eventually I’d be driven to come down from the hills and rejoin the human race.

Not that I’ve ever completely conformed to the world’s boring ways. In some ways I am still as imaginative as I was in first grade. In first grade I always found “Show-and-Tell” tremendously dull, and would attempt to liven things up a bit with sheer balderdash, (which I suppose could be called an example of “False Memory Syndrome”).

When I was young school was a bore
And so I said, “A dinosaur
Came walking through my yard today.”

The time was “Show and Tell”. I told.
The teacher didn’t have to scold.
My neighbor coughed and scoffed, “He lied!
There was no dinosaur outside!”

“He lied! He lied!” The taunting burned.
“He lied! He lied!” The taunt returned
In midnight flames that made me mad.

So I went mad, and didn’t care.
From the blackboard’s deep despair
The window’s view would lure my eyes
To peek to see how moved my lies.

Did you know angel’s paint the skies?

                                                            (1973)

I wrote the above poem when I was twenty, and deeply involved with “getting in touch with my feelings” through men’s groups and sessions with psychologists. As I recall, I did a lot of weeping and wailing about how teachers abused me and tried to make me sensible, rather than appreciating that I was a sensitive poet.

What did this accomplish? Well, I certainly felt a lot better. Originally no one had wanted to read my poems, so I felt unheard,  but “therapy” let me feel heard.

(Of course, if I had paid people as much to read my poems as I paid the therapist, they might have read my poems. But I didn’t want to pay people, I wanted people to pay me, to read my poems).

In any case, once I felt better I was more likely to stop sulking, and more likely to go out into the world and begin interacting. That was what all the weeping and wailing was good for. It didn’t really accomplish anything, but it put me in the “mood” to accomplish something.

Of course, some therapists didn’t really approve of me feeling so much better, as it would lessen their income if I was “cured”, and some might therefore start saying things that lessened my confidence. When I objected they could then state my “hostility” towards them was a sign of “resistance”, and that more therapy was needed. When I objected further it was a sign of “denial”. The interactions became a sort of downward spiral, and by the time I told the psychologists to “shove it where the sun don’t shine” I stood accused of all sorts of “subconscious sabotage”, no longer felt all that good about myself, and was back to sulking.

Besides wasting a lot of time and money, psychology taught me a lot of jargon I could use to describe the inner workings of my poetic side, and also let me see “feelings” were something more than a sign I was immature wuss. “Feelings” were a sort of sixth sense, able to “feel out” situations, and grasp the “shape” things were in, before the intellect could even begin to find the words to describe the same situation.

In some ways that difference between “feelings” and intellect is the boundary between poetry and prose.  Poetry grapples with indistinct shapes, with gestalts and Jungian symbols, whereas prose is more scientific and precise. Poetry, at its finest, (for example in the case of Shakespeare), has an adroit capacity to comprehend the subconscious that puts an ordinary psychologist to shame. Poetry playfully toys with what psychologists struggle to grasp, and too often mishandle. Once I became aware of this psychology seemed far less interesting to me. To be honest, my psychological knowledge felt more like a ball and chain than like wings. I longed to dismiss it, but it lurked like a post-traumatic ghoul in the back of my mind.

At this point (age twenty-one) I had “got religion”, (though I was not affiliated with any church), and had renounced the hippy concept of free sex and free drugs. I became rabidly anti-drugs , and grimly prudish. I felt that the natural consequence of sex was a baby, and I therefore should not have sex unless I was prepared to support the mother and child.  I did not merely talk the talk, but walked the walk, and women seemed to sense they were “safe” with me. This resulted in situations I did not enjoy at all.

At that time I held the simplistic view that women sought three things in a man. They wanted financial security, sexual gratification, and the emotional sensitivity of heart-to-heart talks. As a writer I was dirt poor, which was strike one. My spiritual discipline made me avoid sexual gratification, which was strike two.  But my poetic understanding (and complimentary understanding of psychobabble), allowed me to have heart-to-heart talks. With certain women this hit a home-run, for though their husbands were rich and very good in bed, they had the sensitivity of brass knuckles, and their wives had a deep longing to talk about mushy stuff that made their husbands gag. They found me a wonderful adjunct to their lives.

I didn’t like it. I felt like a sort of effeminate hairdresser, a man women felt safe to be close to because he wasn’t as threatening as a vibrant and viral man. In fact at this point in my life various homosexual men (and I knew many, in the world of writers), informed me their “gaydar” told them I was “gay”. I told them I wasn’t, and told them (and a few women) that the one thing I could never understand about women is why on earth such beautiful bodies would want to lay down with something as unlovely as a man.

It was tiresome, but for the most part I could handle women who made me be a sort of adjunct to their marriages to other men. This was largely because these woman also had the sensitivity of brass knuckles, when it came to being the slightest bit sensitive to what men care about. Having heart-to-heart talks with such women made me aware they really weren’t all that attractive. They may have felt heard when we talked, but I felt increasingly unheard and increasingly lonely.

It was when my loneliness was at a crescendo that I met a married woman who could hear me.  It struck me as a most remarkable thing, to be heard, without having to pay the price a psychologist charges.

To cut a long story short, I fell in love with her, which spoiled everything. I couldn’t live up to the high standards of my spiritual discipline, and was fed up with being a hairdresser, but she didn’t want to be more than a friend. Emotionally, it was devastating.

When you had troubles I was there.
When I had troubles, what?
When I was in my direst need
I found your doors were shut.
                                                           1980

Unrequited love is not a healthy situation to remain in, when your constitution cannot withstand it, so I hit the road and never returned.

Was this a trauma? Yes. Did the memory pursue me even as I ran away? Yes. Did it haunt me? Yes. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford does not have a monopoly on the trauma of heartache.

What’s more, whereas Dr. Ford claims she was grievously wounded by a man trying to have his way with her, I assert a man can be just as grievously wounded when he doesn’t have his way. Many women have the sensitivity of brass knuckles, when it comes to unrequited love.

But one more question should be asked: Did I get over it? Yes.

        AX-MAN’S SONG

Ask me why I’ve dropped my ax
And wear the fondest smile.
Ask me why the wood’s unsplit
For just a little while.

I now recall a girl I knew
Who had such lovely ways
That it is like I’m wrapped in warmth
Recalling her these days;
But when we split my mood was dark
For she was not for me
And if there’d been a clipper ship
I would have gone to sea.

Like Frenchmen in their legions far,
Far from friendly homes
I’ve known the skies that lack a star
To guide the man who roams.
Where some may slay a dragon’s wrath
And hope to win the fair
I had no hope; the foe I fought
Was my complete despair.

Without the path that leads one home
Or guiding star above
My only hope in hopelessness
Was, “God made life for love.”
Even though I couldn’t see
Examples this was true,
And wandered on without a dawn
Or midnight moonlight-blue,
And even though I saw all hope
As something of a sham
Like salmon to the springs of birth
My dreaming spirit swam,
And there, by clearest water’s spring,
I saw, when I began,
I had no dreams or hopes on earth.
I simply was a man.

I saw my hope of ownership
Had blinded me to light,
And that to lose that single hope
Had closed the lids of night.
Then, opening my eyes, I saw
Past greed and past desire,
And saw what’s true and beautiful
One always will admire.

Unplucked or picked, the rose must wilt
But beauty it revealed
Will ever be, unless my lids
Know sleep, and all’s concealed.
And that is why my face is softened
With this dreamy smile
Musing on the ways that were
For just a little while.
                                              1986

The ability to smile about something that once made you grimace is a sign you have “gotten over it.”  It involves more than merely erasing a memory, or repressing it. It involves digesting and assimilating experience, and moving from innocence to maturity.

This still doesn’t answer the question, “How does it happen?” The simple answer is to say, “I don’t know how it happens; it just happens.” It is like a cut on your finger. We do not really know how it heals; it just heals.

The confidence that a wound will heal, given time, goes a long way towards relieving the pain, because for many the pain involves a lot of baseless worry that they are forever maimed when they aren’t, especially when they feel worse than they have ever felt before. This confidence is also called “faith”, and even atheist doctors know how important faith can be in the healing process.

But simple answers aren’t enough for me; I’m like a doctor who isn’t satisfied with the knowledge a cut will heal, and who wants to know more about the process, and if there is any way to speed the process. Therefore I am always poking about in my past, and listening to the stories others tell, looking for clues concerning how people “get over” heartaches.  If you are at all inquisitive you can learn surprising things about the most dull-seeming people, and the adversity they have overcome, if you only ask.

Hearing the testimony of people who have survived what you are going through seems important, though it may be the last thing a suffering person wants to hear. When you have just hit your thumb with a hammer it does you little good to hear another say, “I did that once.” It can even make you mad. You are hurting and they aren’t, and you don’t want to hear about how they don’t hurt. That’s flipping obvious, because it your thumb that just got crunched; not theirs. There are times it is wisest for onlookers to simply keep quiet and do nothing, (unless they happen to have some Novocaine handy.)

Just as one may hop about for a while after hitting their thumb, there seems to be a sort of emotional equivalent. To a degree people need to rave, or have a good cry, or shiver with fright, as their emotions “feel out” what they have been through. I suppose at this point it is best for onlookers to reserve judgement, and just sympathetically listen.

Then, just as a day later one may gingerly flex and touch their sore thumb to see how the process of healing is proceeding, people seem to have a need to revive a past trauma. This can get boring, if you have already heard the sad tale thirty-six times, and I suppose one can be forgiven if one stops reserving judgement, at this point. It is at this point your testimony is more likely to be heard, if not accepted and assimilated.

Recently I’ve been going through old notebooks dating from my time as a drifter, looking for times I showed signs of maturing a little. I want to write a book about those times, but don’t want it to be a depressing collection of gripes, for, although those were hard times, I learned a lot, and I now smile, recalling my hardships. I didn’t smile so much back then, for I had no idea better days lay ahead, but one reason the future held better days was because I was well taught by the School Of Hard Knocks.  I have a feeling that, if I was able to testify about how I was taught, the tales might be eagerly read by youth in similar situations today, and they might gain some sort of uplift.

Back then I often camped during the summer, either where there was no fee, or at campgrounds where the fee was small, and one spring, after I moved out to a campground, I saw a spell of terrible luck give way to a period of such beneficence that I looked up at the sky and just said, “Thank You.” It was as if I was being rewarded for getting through the winter.

My routine was simple. If I couldn’t find day-labor I would return to the campground and write, chain-smoking and sipping coffee mixed with thick, powdered milk (which enabled me to avoid the bother of eating), deeply engrossed in my thoughts. For some reason many seemed to find the sight of a man chain-smoking at a typewriter at a picnic table irresistible, and they’d come strolling over and attempt to start a conversation. I usually found them a distraction, and I wasn’t very welcoming.

Often they would ask, “What are you writing?”

I might gruffly reply, “That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

While this did end their nosy interest in my writing, many refused to be discouraged. They would laugh and sit down and change the subject to the weather, or the advantages of their camper over my pup tent, and with a sigh I’d light another cigarette and sit back to see what God had brought to my table.

On a couple of occasions I was somewhat startled by the sequences of fascinating people who appeared out of the blue, day after day. It seemed so contrived that I again glanced up to the sky. If I ever get around to writing a book people will think I am making it all up, especially when it was a sequence of truly kind people, after a winter without many crumbs of kindness in sight.

For now I’ll just describe one kind person, a woman who in some ways uplifted my attitude permanently.

I was not all that happy to see her approaching my table out of the corner of my eye, and tried to look very busy and focused on the page. It was a day I had devoted to writing, after making some decent money (for a bum) with day-labor the day before, and it furthermore was the time of day when I usually did my best writing; mid-morning, when the campground quieted down after many left, and before the day grew hot and the desert winds grew gusty and flapped my papers about. As she arrived at the picnic table she asked, “Do you mind if I join you?”

I gave her my stone-face, and responded, “Looks like you already have.”

“This is true,” she laughed, and sat down across the table, and continued, without much of a pause, “So, what’s your story?”

I did a quick evaluation. She wasn’t looking at the typewriter, so that wasn’t the story she was curious about. She was about my age, and reasonably good looking, considering she wore no make-up and her hair was tousled, yet I had zero sense she was considering any sort of sexual advance. The frankness and friendliness in her eyes was that of a sister I never knew I had, and we quickly fell into a long and comfortable conversation. It was all about me, for when I asked her about herself she deftly steered the talk back to me. I never learned where she was from or where she was going, nor heard even a tale about what she’d experienced in life, yet she struck me as wise. Around lunchtime she walked back to her car (which was already packed) and drove off and I never saw her again. Yet I felt on a different level.

She was blunt, in a disarming way, and seemed to have no fear of asking me if there was some woman behind my destitution. I was equally honest in return, and told her I had a whole harem of women, in my memory, but in real life I had given up on women. I confessed that over the years I’d met three I’d wanted to marry, but they had the good sense to lose me, and I’d concluded I was a complete fool, concerning women, and marriage was now out of the question. I said chasing woman is the normal behavior of a lusty, young man, but once a man passes thirty such behavior increasingly looked like the behavior of a dirty, old man.  I’d had my three chances, and three strikes meant I was out. I was too old.

These were lines I’d spoken so many times to so many strangers that I knew them by rote. She wasn’t buying it. She casually said,  “Oh, you’re not too old,  although I’ll admit…” she looked thoughtfully to the side, pausing before smiling at me and continuing, “….you’d be difficult to train.”

I remember smiling broadly, and shaking my head at her nerve. I admired the way she felt free to make statements people usually waltz around making. Later on she said something I had to scribble down in a notebook, telling her “I’m going to use that in a poem.”

I had been telling her what I fool I was, and how I was completely incapable of telling the difference between a good woman and a facade-witch. She wanted to know what a facade-witch was, and I explained it was a Norse demon that, from the front, resembles a beautiful woman, which always tries to face you, for from the rear it looks like a hollow shell, lacking any heart or guts. I added I’d met a girl like that, who only needed to smile and nod at me, and I was completely convinced she understood and agreed, though she did not agree at all. I continued that I had told the girl I didn’t believe in short-term relationships, and the girl had smiled and nodded when I said there must be “100% commitment.”  I explained I thought I had found my soul-mate. Then I bitterly laughed, “It wasn’t two months before that girl announced, ‘I’m not 100% committed any more.’ ”

“Actually,” the stranger responded from across the picnic table, “You are lucky she left if she loved you so little.”

       WISE WORDS

“You are lucky she left
If she loved you so little.”
So spoke the wise one I met on the trail.

I knew she was right
But my laughter was brittle.
Humor is humble when loving seems frail.

I thought and then answered,
“But she could say this:
‘I’m glad he is gone if he wouldn’t pursue.'”

She cocked her brow
As if I were amiss,
“Which one left whom?”
                                                   “I haven’t a clue.”    1986

Not only did this stranger give me a good first line for a poem, but she also gave me a totally different way of viewing the same situation. I went from “I am the victim of a facade-witch” to “I am lucky.”

Which returns me to an earlier point, which was that one should avoid being too ingrown, and instead should seek the fresh air of other’s views.  That is why we don’t have a single eye like a cyclops. Having two eyes gives us a third view, called “depth perception”.

And perhaps it is when we start to view life with the depth perception we gain from other’s views that we find we are able to “get over it.”

THE OYSTER EXCUSE

An oyster’s surely a clammy creature
Not noted for brains, brilliance, bravery,
Or anything you’d look for a teacher
To have. Think “oyster”, when you look at me.

All of my clutching has left me with hollow fists.
My ivory towers lie in ruin.
I only interest archaeologists
Who poke through old dumps, and scrape with a spoon
Seeking some sense in a wreak.

                                                                        I surmise
They’ve time on their hands, and lots of leisure
And it comes as something of a surprise
When the ruin, in fact, holds a treasure.

A poet’s an oyster. Give one a whirl
For the clammy old creature may give you a pearl.

WHO SPILLED RED PAINT ON THOSE LEAVES?

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With a scolding voice I growled at the children,
“Who spilled red paint on those leaves?” Then said
They’d have to sponge off the bright mess, and then
Put my hands on my hips and shook my head
And asked, “And who knocked those leaves off the branches?”
And told them to get paste and glue back up
The foliage. They rolled eyes and laughed, “He says
Such silly things!” With mirth a brimming cup
And eyes as clear as sky they set me straight,
Explaining changed seasons. Nodding, I heeded,
And secretly wondered how the untaught could state
Such sage weather wisdoms, and conceded,
While I am reluctant to see the leaves fall
That youth doesn’t fear the autumn at all.

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