Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

in Spring-tinged praise of ordinary things

"I'm just an old-timer. The reason I don't play any better than I do is because our family were basically singers. We only used an instrument once in a while. If we needed something to keep us together and on pitch on a windy porch we'd bring out a dulcimer just to have something as a base, to keep us in tune. But nobody ever tried to play in a spectacular way. The song was the important thing and the instrument was just there to do a service for you".--Jean Ritchie

On one portion of my drive to work, bluebonnets, those lupine flowers which are the "state flower", bloom in profusion. They plant bluebonnets along the roads and freeways, although wild flowers are so much a part of north Texas that some would grow even if no seeds were planted. The pink and white evening primrose grow everywhere that things are the slightest bit wild, and the first of many different varieties of susans show their yellow blooms.

This weekend the Heard Natural Science Center native plant sale takes place. I am going to pick out native annuals to plant in our back yard. I read a magazine article in one of those magazines to which we get a free subscription as a boon for some courageous deed like buying car insurance or getting our electricity from an old-fashioned co-op. The article talked about the effort of the author to "stalk" an photograph a rare Texas orchid.

In the great effort to locate and isolate the rare and the unknowable, I must admit that my sympathies lie almost entirely with the dandelion. The dandelion is not exotic or rare--it's a "pest weed". Yet it blooms perfectly workable blooms, and
then creates absolutely fun seeds, ready to be blown into the ether as a wish is made.

I'm therefore going to approach my task from a "will it grow?" perspective rather than looking for something cruel or unusual. I've come to realize that I prefer things to be less complex. I don't want insurance companies to purchase "financial reinsurance", taking credits where credit is not due on the liability side of their balance sheets, when the "credits" are simply illusory accounting transactions. I read with sadness of the latest news of the fall of AIG's chief, apparently a victim of excessive cleverness.

I find that the world is full of clever people, when sometimes what's needed is people who will grow and thrive in bright sunlight and red clay. Although I speak relatively well the language of insurance and reinsurance, at least insofar as an attorney can do so, I'm frankly bored of hothouse flowers and the pursuit of the arcane genus. I like solid conversation and real friends and simple good times.

I've come, for example, to appreciate the simple red cardinal bird. The male is brightly colored, usually non-migratory, stout, and full of life. The female has a winning plain aspect I find adorable. Everyone wants to find a unique species available only on the Discovery Channel, but I am in favor of sturdy birds with good simple coloring.

I think that sometimes it's a problem of expectations. It's perfectly respectable to play a mountain dulcimer one note at a time, using the other strings as drone strings for a nice, full, parlor melody. But everyone has to be Mr. Rundgren's "a wizard, a true star". From such ambitions great complexities are found. But I think sometimes that we all could use a little less complexity, and little more kindness and contentment.

I thought tonight of one of my childhood favorite places, the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. There one rides in huge ampibious trucks, called ducks, into Lake Hamilton.
The ducks are not sleek, and they are incredibly kitschy. You get to choose if you want to ride in a yellow duck or a white duck. But they float, and they chug along in the water, and they make you feel alive and in touch with something you lose in the wake of cubicles and file numbers.

I'm not puzzled at all by this. I like things that are simple and good. I have to remember to seek and savor these things always.

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