Thursday, November 4, 2010
Thoughts Without a Theme
My mind is as steady and directed as the leaves that blow in the wind, and I’ve decided to take a break from sharp focus, not even trying to gather today’s images into a single subject. This is how my world looks these days. This is where my thoughts have been wandering, too.
Without yet writing a post on David R. Montgomery’s enlightening Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, I’m already halfway through another book on agriculture, Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, by Lisa M. Hamilton. Recently David and I watched a documentary film called “The Future of Food,” and we’re planning to see “Colony” this coming Monday at the State Theatre in Traverse City. Conservation of topsoil, the kind of farming that provides decent lives for both farmers and livestock, continued existence of viable seeds that can be saved from one harvest to plan the following year, and the survival of bees to pollinate green plants, wild and domestic alike, are issues that will decide the future of the human race. My soapbox statement of the day: Agriculture, like economics, is a subject that should concern everyone.
Because someone heard about it on NPR and wanted to read the book, I ordered The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene. Touted as this age’s version of Machiavelli, the laws are about what you would expect—hide your feelings, get others to do the work while you take the credit, keep others dependent, don’t trust anyone, etc. Last night as we were watching the second and third episodes of “The Jewel in the Crown,” a film version of Paul Scott’s first novel in The Raj Quartet, it struck me that the police officer, Ronald Merrick, was a practitioner of the laws of power. Sad, sad man! (So far—will he change in the months and years ahead? We’ll see.) I understand that psychopaths follow these rules naturally, without having to read about them, but it baffles me that a normal human being would make the choice to live his or her one life on earth in this manner. And how heart-breaking it would be to have a parent or a spouse or a child who lived life in this manner!
Here’s another question that’s always baffled me. It’s not directly related to my wonderings about power, but then, I’ve already admitted that I have no central theme today, so here goes: Why, if someone finds life meaningless because it ends in death, would that person have any reason to see meaning in eternal life (immortality)? If you think that mortal life is meaningless, why wouldn’t you see immortality as endless meaninglessness? I’m not arguing here that there is or is not eternal life, you understand. All I want to know is why anyone would think that life’s meaning would be tied to immortality. There’s a seriously huge missing premise there....
We may get snow today, mixed with the predicted rain. There were snowflakes in the air one day not long ago, but white stuff on the grass has so far been limited to frost. Along with the named creeks, I love the little no-name streams of our riverless township. Little jewels they are, hidden from view most of the year, now peeking out at the sky.
“If we don’t go to Florida this winter, can we get chickens?” I asked David, after showing him the beautiful black Australorps a friend has down by Cedar. My heart leaped up when he said yes! But what are the odds? Someone at a party last Saturday brought up the subject of planning (“planning ahead” is really redundant, isn’t it?), and I said I can only look forward one month at a time. Sufficient unto the next day are the worries attached! I woke up in the dark this morning fretting about foxes and coyotes killing the chickens I don’t yet have! But how ya gonna guard against the worst-case scenario if ya don’t imagine it first?
But January is still two months away. So far this month (the month I’ve been planning, the month I’m living in) I’m committed to having a children’s Story Hour at Dog Ears Books on Saturday, November 27 (Thanksgiving weekend), from 2:30 to 3:30. That’s the day the Christmas tree lights will go on in Northport, so various other celebratory observances are also being planned, and so maybe I’ll plan to put up my tree in the bookstore that Friday. Yes, that’s a good plan.
The following Saturday is the “Best for Kids” bake sale at the Willowbrook, with arts and crafts and other goods also on sale. I’ll be there with books. Twenty percent of sales dollars from vendors will be going to the Children’s Center. The difficulty for me is that I don’t want to have my bookstore closed that day, but perhaps if I ask David very sweetly....
Sorry, can’t chat longer. Need to work on book order list for holidays. Special orders always welcome, too, but don’t wait until the last minute. At the last minute, your selection will be potluck! And I’ll probably have the do-it-yourself gift wrapping table set up, too. But that’s not until December, and I really can’t think (or worry) that far ahead.