Wednesday, June 16, 2021

I'm Glad I Don't Live In Texas

 Last February years of hybrid incompetence - hybrid because it took both government and the private sector to pull it off - most Texans looked freezing to death squarely in the face.

The electric grid froze up and as the worst cold spell in recent memory descended upon the state the electric grid shut down along with civilization as we know it.

There was lots of blame to go around but decades of underinvestment in the grid and the proudly xenophobic decision to not connect the state grid to the national grid were high on the blame tree.

Since all of that blame came from the state government and one of its bastard stepchildren - ERCOT -  the grid manager, one would have expected, the 2021 Texas Legislature to get crackin' and fix the situation.

But no.

Nobody said anything about fixing the situation.

But they did pass a law allowing anybody, as long as they are breathing, to carry a gun.

And they passed another one outlawing abortion at six weeks or less and instituting a massive fine for anybody who is aware of someone considering an abortion.

And they tried to pass a voter suppression law even more suppressive than Georgia's.

Then they then went home.

Texas currently is in the midst of the heat driven alter ego of last winter's freeze out.

Apparently the same catastrophic power outages are occurring as occurred last winter only now it's summer.

I guess that makes it different.

Dying of heat stroke is different than freezing to death.

The good news is the rate payers are being given the opportunity to pay massive power bills to get things back to zero.

What's Your F Stop? Or Do You Go Auto?

 I know some stuff about photography.

My first camera was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic.

I wandered around Saigon on days off from the war effort taking lots of pictures.



To get those images I needed to make shutter speed, ASA, and F Stop decisions, but, using the "spot" I could dial in the focus.

It was challenging and fun.

I still have the Pentax, but haven't used it for decades.

When I want to get back to film and decisions I use a Leica M3 that I inherited.

On that camera you need to make pretty much all the settings decisions.

In advance.

There is a rangefinder that always takes me hours to figure out again what it does and how it does it, so I can't say anything about it's function here.

The Leica is pretty manual.

But fun.

****************************************************

What got me thinking about all of that is that this image just got served by screen saver.


It was taken with my Sony AR7 II.

And I remember the day and circumstances of taking it.

With a fully automatic camera one would think that images like this would be the norm.

All you need to do is point and shoot.

But if you want best of breed depth of field, focus, and background lighting you better have done film with a Leica or a Spotmatic.

I put the Sony in manual mode and shot twenty or more images before I got the combination right.

I was in front of a neighbor's house and was beginning to worry about being arrested for loitering.

*************************************************

After contemplating all of this after seeing this image pop up I had to laugh.

That flower wasn't moving, and loitering aside, I had all the time in the world to get things refined to the nth degree.

And I could look at each image as it was taken, evaluate it and and keep making refining decisions.

When out in the wild I make a couple settings decisions and let semi-automatic mode do the rest.

On moving subjects I get mixed results.




Monday, June 14, 2021

"Competent" Doesn't Mean I Agree With Them, And Morons Are Forever

 Joe Biden is doing exactly what I would have hoped that he would be doing on his first foreign sojourn.

And the world leaders he is doing it with are quite happy with what he is doing.

I think "competence" might be the word they would offer if asked to typify a quality of the new president of the United States.

If forced to choose one word for Obama I believe they would have chosen the same word.

Even W probably would have gotten the same word applied, if not to him, at least to his entourage.

And that word would certainly stretch back across time at least to Woodrow Wilson - Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize even farther back.

I am just a person, citizen, reader of history and stater of opinions.

There are some in that cavalcade of presidents with whom I probably would have, or did have, or do have differences of opinion on foreign affairs and policy.

And that is the way life and the world work.

Decades of  essentially competent administrations were able to build a durable America centric world order.

So it is mind boggling how much damage that fucking moron did in a mere four years.

And he just got away with it.

Fade to 12 Monkeys featuring Jim Jordan.

Under The Arch To Serfdom

 I guess it's today or tomorrow that the first four republican controlled states start shunting their workers back to their low paying jobs or into homelessness - the workers can choose which - those states after all, are democracies, and choice is a basic tenet of democracy.

I think I have heard that four million workers will be involved in this impending choice.

That's a lot of voters.

If that many were to vote their interests (real jobs rather than serfdom) in 2022 they might flip four states.

But their republican masters have no need to worry: they have already passed laws that disenfranchise the serf demographic.

Expect the same dynamic as the other twenty one follow suit over the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Screen Saver Excerpt III

 I had a little sister.

She was less than two years younger than me.

And I loved her.

And I think she loved me.

That was a simpler time, the early mid Twentieth Century.

But she died when I was nine or so years old.

And I don't think I have ever come back from that.

I wrote about it in Screen Saver, so, since I seem to have been posting excerpts from that book recently, I am here posting another one.

"Annie’s death had been a great deal closer to my heart.  She was a year and a half younger than I was.  We were the typical mixed gender, close in age siblings.  We cared deeply about one another when we weren’t fighting or trying to kill one another. She was expert at getting me in trouble with my mother.  I was expert at stumbling into her snares and artifices that got me into trouble.  All in all it was a satisfying and loving relationship.  

"After we had moved to Portland and after my parents had divorced my mother and Annie and I moved to a court apartment on North Ainsworth Street.  Annie and I had shared a bedroom.  That Christmas we each got a new Schwinn bike.  Annie’s was blue.  Blue was her favorite color.  Mine was red.   Red was my favorite color.  Neither of us had known how to ride a bike.  Learning to ride was to be the major non-scholastic project of the coming year – once the weather improved enough to allow us to take our shiny new bikes out without getting them wet and muddy.

"One day not long after Christmas Annie had looked at my mother and my mother had seen one of Annie’s eyes cross.  My mother took Annie to the doctor.  The doctor had been taking care of Annie and me since we had moved to Portland which by this time was half of Annie’s life.  He took one look at Annie and referred her to a well-known brain surgeon.  The well-known brain surgeon took one look at Annie and said some things that really upset my mother.  It must have scared the hell out of Annie.  I never knew, because she and I never got to talk about these events.  In almost no time at all Annie had undergone brain surgery.  They had shaved off all of her beautiful dark blond hair and drilled a couple of holes in her head.  What this was supposed to have accomplished I would never know.  Whatever it was, it didn’t.  Apparently it was hopeless because what we did next could only have been done in a medically hopeless situation.

"As it happened, we never took them out together, that year or ever.  That is because “we” had become “I” before the new year was out.  Although “I” ultimately did learn to ride my bike Annie never got to touch hers.  There never was a “we” happily careening around the neighborhood.

"My grandparents - my mother’s parents - occasionally used the services of a chiropractor.  He was a large, bald, rather loud man who had lots of opinions.  His name was Bob.  One of his opinions was that somehow a daily regimen of chiropractic adjustments would cure whatever it was that was afflicting my sister.  

"My mother, Annie and I moved to Seattle to live with my grandparents to submit Annie to this regimen. 

"As Annie continued to worsen – she went from eating with the family at meals to being served in bed, and from being able to sort of talk to not being able, or perhaps being willing, to talk – we added a daily novena to the chiropractic regimen. Life seemed to stabilize into a daily routine of visits from Bob the chiropractor and my mother and my grandparents and me gathering on our knees in the back bedroom around the bed of the presence that had once been my little sister. We mumbled the various Catholic incantations that were required by the novena.  Annie didn’t improve; Annie didn’t worsen; Annie was in suspended in some state of not being quite fully alive, but not dead.

"None of this seemed ominous to me.  Nor did it seem odd.  It was just what one did until a bad situation turned for the better.  It had never occurred to me that Annie wouldn’t get better.  She was my little sister, not a frog or a caterpillar – or even my mother’s best friend, favorite entertainer or favorite baseball player.  Little sisters didn’t die; they got better.  But Annie didn’t get better.  One morning early in the summer she went into convulsions. I saw my mother on the bed straddling her and pushing on her chest.  The back bedroom was a scene of chaos. I was hustled out of the house to my friend Dickey’s house for the day.  My belief remained unshakable that this was just one more pre-requisite activity on Annie’s ultimate return to being my troublesome and wonderful little sister.  Dickey and I went to the arboretum with kitchen strainers with long sticks attached to them with multiple wraps of string. The attached sticks made the strainers into quite long handled nets. We spent the day gathering creatures from the waters of our favorite frog pond.  In later years that pond would become a Japanese garden, a sad metamorphosis.

"Early in the evening my mother picked me up at my friend’s house.  Although my grandparent’s house was only a block away she had come in the car.  We got in the car and she started driving away from the direction that would have taken us to my grandparents’ house.  After we had turned up the hill that would lead to the lake and had sat in silence to that point I broke the silence.  “How is Annie?”  “Annie died.”  At that instant something happened to me.  Something either entered me, or something left me.  In either case I never knew what it was, but I forever after felt its iron influence.  It was a sense of aloneness; it was a sense of self-preservation; it was a sense on uniqueness; it was a sense of anger; it was a sense of fear.  I never lived without it after the moment I heard the words, “Annie died.” I inhaled the deepest breath of my life and filled the car with my wracking sobs of grief." 


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Another Screen Saver Excerpt

 Toward the end of my Air Force career I was in a holding tank in a sub basement of Headquarters Strategic Air Command in Omaha.

For a "let's go out into the forest and find a little creek with cutthroat trout that we can fish for with dry flies" sort of human being, which was me, Omaha was at best, a penance.

At worst it was a strong argument for suicide.

So when the word came out that somebody was looking for volunteers to go to Japan in support of whatever it was that we thought we might be going to do about the Pueblo Crisis, I volunteered.

I figured I had no chance: some senior officer - I was a First Lieutenant - was going to get that job.

I was wrong; sometime in April 1968 I was on a plane to Tokyo.

By that time MLK had been assassinated.

And on the plane I was reading On the Beach.

With the Omaha Pall still upon me - out there over the Pacific - and with uncertainty in my heart about what it might mean that great black men kept being assassinated, Malcom had preceded MLK by then - there were no positive vibes for my then current state of affairs.

 ******************************************************

The huge advantage of not having to commit suicide because I had to live in Omaha aside, what turned out to be the real advantage of this little Japanese adventure was that I got to become an intimate and important part of what the Air Force did: fly combat missions.

After four years I was suddenly part of a squadron of air craft: RF4s.

The "R" meant that they were reconnaissance aircraft; they took pictures.

They were taking pictures of North Korea.

"Combat Fox" was what it was called.

F4s were two seat - pilot and navigator - supersonic capable (I once watched one, while sitting in the mezzanine bar of the officer's club at Ton Son Nhut take off apparently vertically to  avoid the snipers at the end of the runway) aircraft.

So I got to Itazuke and met one of my staff, a Second Lieutenant named Joe.

Joe was from Erie,

Pennsylvania. 

We hit it off immediately.

That meant that we spent a lot of off duty time in the bar at the officer's club.

One of my favorite memories of those times is an episode in Screen Saver.  

**********************************************

"Joe introduced me to the pilots.  Actually some of them were pilots and some were navigators. The RF4s that the Cotton Pickers flew were two-seaters.  The front seat was for the pilot and the back seat was for the navigator.  Among the men I met were Paul, a pilot and Rocco his navigator.  I remember their names because they both became bar room friends of mine. In my time at Itazuke I was to spend quite a bit of time listening to their life stories and sharing with them mine. Inevitably dreams and aspirations entered the conversation also, as did politics, religion and favorite drinks.  Of course we had to sample in depth all of each other’s favorite drinks. They were perfect friends.

"The rest of those that I met in that first encounter were equally hospitable. Unfortunately their names were lost in translation.

"So Joe and I addressed the needs of the moment.  Two double scotch rocks apiece and I felt I was pretty well versed in the intelligence support requirements of the Cotton Pickers.  By then it was later in the afternoon and more of the air crews were drifting in.  I was introduced to all of them, and uniformly welcomed by them.  They bought me drinks; I bought them drinks; Joe bought me drinks; I bought Joe drinks; they bought Joe and me drinks; Joe and I bought them drinks.  And then they started to pour beer on the bar.  It was a long bar and it took quite a lot of beer to wet it down.  “What are they doing?”  I asked Joe.  “Wetting down the bar,” he said.

"Then they got some of the potted candles that were on all the little cocktail tables that were in the vicinity and put them at one end of the bar.  It was the far end of the bar, toward the entrance. At the opposite end of the bar  in an adjoining space there was a large anteroom where there were some dining tables and quite a bit of vacant space.  “What are they doing?”  I asked Joe. “Putting out candles,” he said. “Why are they wetting down the bar and putting out candles?” I said.  “So they can make night landings,” he said.  “What are night landings?” I said.  “Watch” he said.  They turned out the lights in the bar.

"So I watched.

"One of the guys, it was Rocco, went fairly deep into the dining table room end and turned around.  This put him some distance from his end of the beer dripping bar.  By this time everybody else had moved the bar stools into the middle of the fairly narrow bar area so they could stand flush with the bar.  They all had lighted potted candles in their hands. Archie had moved back into the bartender’s area as far as he could get, leaning against the shelf that displayed the various liquors on offer. The lights of the line of men with candles connected with the lights of the line of candles at the end of the bar. This line of bar bordering lights was the only source of illumination in the darkened room.  Rocco was making preparatory sorts of movements in the anteroom.  “Preparatory to what?” I wondered.  I found out quickly.  Rocco took a sort of runners stance and rushed at his end of the wetted bar, jumping airborne at the last minute so that his chest would hit the bar.  The combination of his forward motion and the slippery wetness allowed him to slide down quite a distance.  A cheer went up.  Archie measured the distance from the end of the bar to the tip of Rocco’s head.  Rocco got off the bar and was replaced in the anteroom by another carrier lander.  This went on for quite a time with occasional breaks for wetting down the “carrier deck” or getting refills of drinks.  Naturally I had to try it.  I came close to crashing in the ocean.

"Later I must have had dinner because there was a dining room at the club – not the carrier landing staging area, but a real dining room with creditable food; I never denied myself creditable food.  Sometime after that later assumed act of eating I departed for the BOQ."

******************************************************

A couple of months later I was coming back to our quarters from - somewhere - and I was passing Joe who was sitting on the steps of his lodging.

I said "hi" or some equally vapid acknowledgment of his existence and was in the process of passing by when he spoke.

"They killed Kennedy".

Since I already knew that I was stunned.

Joe was a pretty smart, rational, ironic-tuned sort of human.

Why would he tell me what I already knew?

"Bobby".

I didn't know what to do.

And I never will.

******************************************************

After I returned to Omaha after four glorious months in Japan one day I got the news that Rocco and Paul had been killed in a crash on takeoff back at Kadena.

Somehow the plane inverted as it started its rise and Paul pulled the stick the wrong way.

They crashed back to earth and two important people were removed from my life forever.


Bird Pictures


A Bewick's Wren contemplating life in Saettle

 


An Arctic Tern making a political statement several hundred years late.  Henri is not amused.


I had been trying to get a picture of some parrots in le Jardin des Plantes and had given up and stopped under some trees to contemplate my next move.  I started hearing "crunch, crunch, crunch" above my head; when I looked up the tree was full of parrots eating seeds.  I got a lot of pictures.

This is also in le Jardin des Plantes; I have no idea what it is, but it looks as if it would be good in white wine with a side of wild rice.


A female merle noire; they don't look to be of the same species as the male.


Speaking of cousins, this is a pretty colorful chickadee.

English Sparrow in France; I guess they fly back and forth; sort of a Chunnel kind of lifestyle.


Crows like persimmons and posing for dramatic shots. This one is in le Jardin des Plantes, but there are a lot of persimmons in le Jardin du Luxembourg and Parc Montsouris also.


White Crowned Sparrow welcoming the dawn.  Either that or impersonating a rooster.

Song Sparrow.  If he had a light colored lower mandible he would be Fox Sparrow.


When they fly they look to be from that time so long, long ago.

Gold Crowned Sparrow with trademark crown


A Lopez crow wishing we had persimmons.  He's thinking of moving to France and le Jardin des Plantes.  Not sure of quarantine protocols though.


Lopez Bewick's Wren wondering what ever happened to his cousin in Seattle.


The Final Paragraph

 Is too long for an epitaph.

Back a few years I wrote the first of what would become a few books.

The first one I called Screen Saver.

I have always thought that the last paragraph was pretty good.

It took a startling number of pages to get there, though.

Here is is.

"And then everything folds backwards upon itself.  The chestnut blossoms have become recycle days and recycle days have become mountain ash berries.  The time of a clock that appears from nowhere is at hyper speed even as it stands still, even as its hands pass one another intermittently backwards, even as it blurs, even as it disappears. A sense of mortality blends with the realization of boundaries. The dream is not a dream.  The dream is reality.  And reality is a dream.  And the boundaries fade and opportunities lost and achievements unattained loom and overwhelm. Whatever it had been that I had ever thought that I might be or might have been is becoming a neatly wrapped package; it is becoming a sleekly designed capsule.  And then some infinite unseen and unseeable facility or force compresses it all – the hopes, the dreams, the illusions, the achievements, the misses and near misses, the loves, the hates, the intentions good and the attentions bad - into an expendable portion and inserts it into infinity."

Friday, June 11, 2021

Grape Juice As A Cultural Marker

 Several years ago my wife and I were bicycling in Languedoc.

Among the other features of the place that make it a must go to before you die destination are the grapes.


Having all those grapes must mean that they make wine in Languedoc, I thought I heard someone say.

They do.

Among them is corbieres.

I sat one evening in the garden of our lodging with a bottle of  corbiers - first ever bottle of that sort of wine that I had ever drunk - and became gradually aware that that bottle of wine might be the best bottle of wine I had ever drunk.

So we were biking in a wine region.

One of the things that occurred due to that fact was that we often rode on roads that had a stripe of grape juice down the center, having drooled out of the grape trucks taking the fruit to the pressers, or wherever they take grapes in Languedoc.



A few years later we were driving to New Mexico to go on a bike trip around the Taos area.

Somewhere en route in the intermountain west, on a road very similar to those in Languedoc we got behind a truck with a bunch of cows in it.

It was streaming semi liquid cow manure down the center of the road.

If I hadn't had that experience I probably wouldn't have known what that brown stripe down the center of all the rural roads that we were traversing was.

And I might not have drawn a cultural preference: I'll take Languedoc.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Magic Flint In The Tuileries, A Sunset, Thistles, Galeries Lafayette, On The Road To La Grasse And A Crow Looking At Kaki ( Persimmons)

I talked about this in Screen Saver and in A Curious Confluence


On Lopez Island: Navarre Lane


Before I spent years getting rid of them


Christmas time in Paris: magic beyond belief


In Southern France I stopped to take this picture.


In le Jardin des Plantes


Signs In The Sky And On The Skyline

 It started when I was brought up short walking down the Seine one afternoon.

I hadn't been to Paris for a couple of years and there were a lot of new things to see.

Les Berges were completed and beginning to become a new ecological niche on the river.

The highway that had held the priceless real estate that skirts Les Berges had been turned back to foot traffic and food stands.

I had heard of these things as they were announced and developed: the Mayor of Paris kept us all informed via big tasteful bill boards over the years that the project was brought on stream.

But somebody had sneaked something else in.

I was looking across the river and stopped in my tracks.


Had the Muslims sneaked out of  les banlieues and declared a sharia republic?

Opposing that knee jerk I noticed the crosses.

Then I noticed the flag: the stripes were horizontal, not vertical.

"Russians" I muttered to no one in particular.

I had a flash back to Jonathan Winters proclaiming "we have to get organized here".

At least the Muslims hadn't taken over in my absence.

But it got me imagining.

***************************************************

Constantine saw a cross with some words in the sky: "in hoc signo vinces".

He went on to win a battle and to declare Christianity the official religion of Rome.

I wonder what he would have done if he had been awake this morning early on the east coast of the United States?


This amazing image is by NASA's senior photographer Bill Ingalls. 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Thoughts On Twelve Monkeys

 Every time I watch Brad Pitt's famous jumping and yelling scene in that movie I feel as if I have seen that scene somewhere else.

Tonight I just got it.

Jim Jordan is 12 Monkeys.

The fact that that is the case probably wouldn't surprise the framers of our Constitution: they expected the House of Representatives to have the less educated, more stupid and - I guess I have to say it - likely to be treasonous, members, selected from the general populace.

Jordan exceeds all requirements for that description.

The thing that hangs heavy among us is a question: "how can we continue to continue as a nation with monkeys like Jim Jordan in one of our two legislative bodies"?

He vastly overperforms the less than grand expectations for incompetence and treason that the framers of our Constitution feared.

But he looks a lot like what they figured would probably inhabit that segment of our national legislature.

Ohio went 500,000 or so votes for donnie in 2020.

That's more than Hillary's 250,000 deplorables.

Ohio must be an interesting place to live: two times deplorables; must make taverns hard places for people like me to have a beer and survive.

I wouldn't want to try it,

But god bless america.

Monday, June 7, 2021

There Be Elephants

 I occasionally go to the Paris Zoo.

It's just up the rue from Le Aquarium Tropical where I always go.

The benefit of going to the zoo is that I have a lot of images that Screen Saver finds that I have no memory of.

 This is one of them.

Every time I see this image I feel really sad for him or her and their tribe.



Sceptics As Memes

 This afternoon we are out in a fairground in West Virginia where they are having a pig neutering festival.

This being a major part of West Virginia culture the local health authorities have rolled out a portable COVID vaccine facility to catch West Virginians where they live.

Let's interview a few of the attendees.

"So, I see that you are wearing a MAGA hat; I guess you voted for Trump?"

"You bet, fake press, fake news, fake American, fake, fake, fake, fake fake".

"You don't seem to have a high opinion of the press?!"

"I have a high opinion of the real press - Hannity and Tucker - but not of you fake guys".

"How do you tell a fake"?

"If you're not from Fox or Breitbart".

"So what do you think about vaccines"?

"Bill Gates invented the COVID bacteria" 

"Excuse me, but it's a virus" 

"Whatever; he invented this thing to make us all get a test that inserts a chip in our nose; and Biden stole the election; we know this for certain because Rudy Giulianii says so".

"So are you going to take this vaccine"?

"Never".

"Why Not"?

"Bill Gates and #stop the steal".

"I guess that makes sense to you"?

"Absolutely".

"So how about incessant farting"?

"Now you're talking".

"What are you going to do about it"?

Breitbart and Make MAGA Great Again (MMAGAGA- we had to do 18 pitch to get it on our hats)  have announced a new injection called HUMAWABI: the drug for incessant farting; we're all getting it".

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Eiffel Tower Is Such An Interesting Subject

 The first time I had constant exposure to la tour was in 2005.

That was because I had rented an apartment in an alley spur off of Avenue Rapp.

Avenue Rapp runs right up to Champs de Mars, which is where la tour resides.

When I signed the rental agreement I hadn't know that fact; I didn't realize it until the afternoon of my second day in the apartment.

I was walking somewhere in the neighborhood and it was getting dark and there was a giant lighted up thing that turned out to be the tower.

I took incessant pictures.


I rented that apartment for a couple of years, but then it was taken off the rental market.

In that time I took an amazing number of pictures of the tower.

They were all dramatic, and many were night-time, like the one above.



After losing my 7iem arrondissement apartment, in 2007 I found my current landlord and the apartment that I have rented ever since in my native habitat, the 6iem.

I had to learn a lot of walks to get back to the tower and more pictures.

In the process of learning all the ways one can come at the tower I learned that there were a lot of less dramatic, but a lot more interesting ways to shoot pictures of la Tour Eiffel.









Pale Rider

 This is another of those pictures that I have taken somewhere, sometime; 

but I can't remember where or when.

I think I heard once that the window style in the background was common in the 12th Century.

So maybe that is a clue.

Could it be Cluny?



Friday, June 4, 2021

An Image For I Saw The Big Pool Today

 Cats are magic for those who will let them be.

Cats are perceptive beyond what one would expect;

From a being still pretty wild and certainly being free;

And all the things that others have come to respect;

Among all their fellows and all their enemies;

They just keep cattin' and being what they are

Which is magic in most cases by far and by far.

*****************************************

I saw the Big Pool today.

And I was eleven years old.

And it was late in winter.

And I looked out of the picture window of my grand parents’ house.

You know – the house on the little hill above the little stream.

You know – the stream that wanders out of the woods.

The stream that fills the Big Pool.

The stream that disappears into the culvert that goes under the half-mile long round-smooth-worn-gravel driveway.

You know - the driveway that leads from civilization to magic; the driveway that leads to the turnaround where the Fowlers,when they visit,  park their 1948 Chrysler – the one with the huge external sun visor that shields the windshield of that large navy blue hulk.

That driveway. 

The driveway that terminates at the garage where Grandpa parks his Ford.

You know - the stream that exits the culvert into the lower reaches of the property.

The stream that drops off the property and down a dirt cliff, the place where the slope of the land has been scraped away to the level of the ground below. 

The stream that feeds the alder swamp that spreads across the scraped ground below.

You know – the swamp on the school grounds.

You know - the swamp that is the home to my tadpoles.

I am glad to see the Big Pool because it is the central point of that magic place of stream, swamp, culvert, woods and driveway.

That magic place of my Grand Parents.

And today I saw it.

I was there and I was eleven.

But not really.

I wasn't there.

And it wasn’t there.

And It wasn’t then.

And I wasn’t then.

It was wherever it still may be.

It was whenever it still may be.

And I was here and now.

And the view through the slanting blinds of the bay window of the dining area was my vista today.

It wasn’t that picture window.

And I didn’t see the Big Pool.

I saw cotoneaster berries.

Deeply orange phasing toward red they were clinging tenaciously to dis-spirited looking winter twigs.

The berries each with a crystal drop hanging.

Off-color rubies and diamonds.

That was all I really saw today.

But I did see the Big Pool.

And I know why.

It was the rain

That same rain hung in gray skeins over the Big Pool that day when I was eleven.

And that rain, hanging today like ominous festoons of dark lace over the rubies and the diamonds, washed me back from now to then.

And – I saw the Big Pool today.

***********************************

And then someone came up next me;

And rubbed against my arm;

And chittered like a cheetah;

And it felt comfortable and warm;

And after what seemed forever, he said a couple words;

"I see it also;

"Too bad it's so afterwards."

I rubbed my nose to his nose as he and I often do;

And I said 'Cinq thank god as always, just  for being you;

But also thank god, forever, for the other two.

And he said "I hate that nose rub thing;

"But I know it's good for you".

We both stared into nowhere

And we both saw the big pool too.







Another Homeless In Paris Image

 This one is on the way to Parc Montsourris.

I know not whether the flag is irony or ex-patriotism.