Friday, May 16, 2014

Mortality and Forestry

“Statistically speaking, you will die having missed almost everything.” – Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes wrote these words in 2011. For Linda this realization was tied to the vast number of books in existence in the world. By her very generous and back of the envelope accounting, a person such disposed could read two books or one really big book a week and accumulate 6,500 books by age 80. Even at that accelerated pace, an individual would be still only read a few books of certain genres and certainly miss the vast majority of the books ever written. The huge swaths of books written to date and the rate of new books published every year would make sure that, as she mentioned in the quote above, the reader would still effectively miss almost everything.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Thinking about Apathy in Nature

Today I awoke to find an article in my inbox that begged me to read it. The topic was one that Tina and I have batted around in a past post, Finding Truth in a False Idyll. The author, Alan Lightman, writes in the article entitled, Our Lonely Home in Nature:
After each disaster, we grieve over the human lives lost, the innocent people drowned or crushed without warning as they slept in their beds, worked in their fields or sat at their office desks. We feel angry at the scientists and policy makers who didn’t foresee the impending calamity or, if forewarned, failed to protect us. Beyond the grieving and anger is a more subtle emotion. We feel betrayed. We feel betrayed by nature.
Aren’t we a part of nature, born in nature, sustained by the food brought forth by nature, warmed by the natural sun? Don’t we have a deep spiritual connection with the wind and the water and the land that Emerson and Wordsworth so lovingly described, that Turner and Constable painted in scenes of serenity and grandeur? How could Mother Nature do this to us, her children?

It seems that prior to nature wrecking havoc on our individual lives we take a default stand that nature is a provider of resources, landscapes, wildlife, and substance. We see the avalanche prone mountains, flood stage rivers, tornado conditions, landslide slopes, fire adapted chaparral, and seismically active regions as the exception to the rule that nature loves and nurtures us. This is an understandable condition given our origin. We, like all life on earth, are a product of this planet. If this rock provided conditions that brought us into being how could it also bring about conditions that destroy homes and wreck lives?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"These are not melodies to hum."

Not much time to talk, but here's a tingle for your spine.

Watching Takeaway Shows on La Blogotheque is always thrilling for me. Organic, single-take (is that the right word?), full of power or vulnerability and usually both. This one from Torres is no exception. Give it a listen, and when you're done, browse the archives: 332 videos and even more songs. My favorites include Yeasayer and Sigur Ros, which came very early on. It's been years since I had time to watch these for hours, but maybe I'll squeeze in a few before it's time to go hiking every day.