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April 13th, 2007



This weekend the Heard Natural Science Center native plant sale takes place. We try to attend each of these sales, and to plant our yard in native flowers. The natives always seem to do better in our yard than more exotic things.

Texas is all about the wildflowers. The same things that makes trees largely a riparian experience (other than in folks' over-watered lawns) makes grasses and flowers thrive. Last year we had a winter so temperate that very little rain fell and it was all largely like living Summer all year long, but for a day or two excepted. The flower bloom proved disappointing. This year has been a harvest of wildflower by comparison.

Lately I ponder how we are within a couple of years of five dollars a gallon gasoline. I suspect that expensive gasoline will do wonders for conservation. I'm a little sad that not much pre-planning is taking place, when the hand-writing is on the wall. I suppose, though, that I should refurbish my bicycle, and begin focusing on how to find leisure things to do within very short distances of my home. It's always easier to lament large issues of policy than to make small changes in one's own life.

Let's take "condensed fluorescent bulbs". There seems to be a broad consensus that these are one way to reduce one's power consumption "footprint" to a dainty step. Yet I have not installed any of these bulbs as yet. Perhaps this will be the weekend to begin.

I went yesterday to a greenbelt trail near my work and stood on a little culvert bridge which forded a creek. I loved listening to the water flowing through the culverts--it had a purity in its sound which belied its rather artificial concrete appearance.

I am glad to see the national mood changing on "outrageous" media personalities. I tend to be of two minds about such things, because I am a big fan of "freedom of speech", whether used in its "legal" sense as in the First Amendment, or used in its colloquial sense, as in folks having the right to speak out in private settings such as workplaces or on private media. I believe, though, that satire exists to "speak truth to power" more than to denigrate the relatively powerless. I am not a fan of the steady diet of "shock" media, whether it be disk jockeys, opinion flack hacks, would-be "cutting edge" comics, or true-crime-is-a-salacious-heroin-fix "documentaries". I am glad that there are subtle signs that this form of media will fade a bit eventually.

The weather has been in the 70s this week, but tomorrow is to return to the 50s. It's hard to complain about the 50s, which is, after all, a perfectly workable sort of weather. Yet I'd still like to have a dry, warm Saturday return, so that I can go on a long hike on Trinity Trail without it being chlly or wet. I cannot complain, though, as I know that August will offer me both dry and
quite hot. It's important to me to savor each season for its own virtues.

Randy (a poem by Ken Munro)

People get astray in so many understandable ways, through such an array of diverse fortunes, misfortunes and mis-judgments that the telling of all the ways would take either endless volumes, or three all-too-general lines.

I've met people who faced challenges at the Salvation Army, on the streets of Los Angeles, on the streets of small towns, among relatives, among friends, among colleagues, among strangers. I've seen redemptions and also, rather different, gradual edging back from the brink. I've attended funerals, at which people sang the gospel about people for whom the songs were not enough. I've come to learn that we all need all the understanding people can muster, because when the thin veneer wears off, what's beneath is blood and bone. My personal religion is flawed and ineffectual, but it involves something about how we are all here to bandage one another.

A Canadian poet named Ken Munro wrote a prose poem I particularly admire about a man named "Randy".
I want to share it with each of you, in a musical setting I created. Here is a video I made, using Creative Commons samples from flickr.com:





If you are more the "audio" type, then you can hear the song by clicking:

right here, and using the stream or the flash player at the site there.

My original song was called "Driving in Rural Texas on Sunday", about one of my most pleasant memories, the way I whiled away my twenties when I did not while them away at the office. Yet I'm glad this song can serve as a way to share this poem.