December 16th, 2003

abstract butterfly

pot luck

“To throw oneself to the side of the oppressed. is the only dignified thing to do in life.”. Edwin Markham

I remember as a kid going to pot luck dinners in which folks would bring home-fried chicken that tasted like Heaven. It's too easy to draw some broad metaphor about what folks can do when they work together, but in hindsight, those community efforts frequently resulted in incredible meal combinations.

I like that Gandhi-esque notion that each person can make an individual difference in making progress, and that a revolution requires only one revolutionary. But I'm attracted by the idea of how much people can do working together. Mrs. Thatcher's phrase (perhaps one of her few fortunate phrases) about the "thin veneer of civilization" has a point, but that veneer, surface though it may sometimes be, can be so important.

This week the national media takes the Saturday capture of Mr. Hussein, a villain worth capturing, and renders the triumph banal through repetition. I suppose that some fervor is in order, but I must confess that the nature of the coverage in newspapers and cable networks merely reminds me how conservative mainstream corporate media has become. I reach the point, though, in which I worry less about whether one wishes for more government or less government, and more about what can one do to make things better.

I lose faith in government, in churches, in schools and in other institutions as agents of progressive change. It all begins with "We the People" but somehow ends with "How will the stock market be affected by the Capture?".

I have faith in things like pot luck dinners, the local trail maintenance society, the fellow down the street who donated our little business a Christmas tree, and well-written novels. Sometimes I find hope in the smallest worthwhile things.

I begin to wonder what I can do to help "do the right thing", just me, just doing, just right.
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holiday work cheer

My goodness but this has been a vividly busy December. I'm leaving the office now after yet another long drafting session. I'm sometimes intrigued by how many things I can do in a week. I'll enjoy the days off near Christmas, but I'll also make the most of each day until I take time off.

I like the magpie quality of ideas. I immerse myself in a fountain of toxic waste here. I visualize the demise of an insurance company there. One 2001 arbitration dealt with a rural Texas mobile home installation, while a trial a month later dealt with damages to a wholesale exotic florist in California.
An array of facts, of issues, and of ideas, all divergent, all related, all united in one massive, pleasing gestalt in my mind.

I like that sense that ideas matter, and that the application of the conceptual to the factual results in a resolution. I settle far more cases than I try, but in trial or in settlement, there is almost always that incessant play of ideas and facts. The best skill I have is seeing forests in masses of trees. I love that feeling when a case is its own construct in my mind, an array of connected facts and legal principles and human interaction and raw, unfettered, ecstatic intuition. I do not use controlled substances, but I am frequently quite uplifted by channeled intuition.

Tomorrow I pick up the gauntlet again, and begin preparing for the next deadline. The deadlines never stop. They are incessant, in the ways that days are incessant. It's no use worrying about them, anymore than about sunrises.
They're things to be met, and weathered, and rested from, and then another day begins.

I have seen, without an inward eye, the idea hovering within, in places I know but do not examine. It's elusive, but it's mine, and I watch it shimmer.
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the incomparable traits of comparison

"We knew it was a time for a change,
a time to think you said that night,
and I lied and said all right,
I left you in the morning,
I watched you in the window,
and Mexico will never be the same"--old Bonnie Raitt song.

"A red red rose saw a big pig pose
On the edge of a silver dollar
The end of his tail
Was a long-necked nail
And in place of his face was a scholar"--old Residents song

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