Queen Anne’s Lace weaving baskets along the roadside, as clouds suggest welcome moisture arriving soon. For those who like to worry, there is always something to worry about _ too much rain, too little, too hot, too cold, too many insects, too few, and if all the external world does not provide enough conflict “am I doing the right thing,” and “what should I do next.” Some of them even worry that they are worrying. The flower genus has been through it all before, and manages the days substantially well.
Older people like me are fortunate. We have enough of our lives in the bank that we do not have to concern ourselves with how we will change the world (rather we can waste such thoughts convincing ourselves and each other that in fact we have adequately done so already.) The wisest of us sit back and finally enjoy all the wonders of this grand universe in a season of serenity and lassitude.
Near clear morning after storms. Sometimes nature is so dramatic _ of course we see it all the time in sunsets and sunrises _ that if we weren’t experiencing it, we’d assume it was fake. The thing that always strikes me is how different the types of ambient lighting are when the air is saturated with water or, like this morning, from a heavy mistiness that once in a while condenses out into light drizzle.
People in hermetically sealed environments and minds _ inhabiting cars, offices, malls, and sports stadiums, for example, or possibly buried or submerged arcologies in the future _ will miss all of this. They may claim that their own spectacular effects make up for the loss. I simply pity them.
The big hoist at the boat yard is as quiet as it ever gets. All the yachts that are going in the water this year are already there, and none that are in the water are nearly ready to come out. The marina staff is all busily engaged keeping the folks tied up at the floating docks happy. Or at least willing to keep paying the high fees.
It is when you see incredible huge machinery like this sitting idly by at an obscure marina, one of countless others around the world, that you appreciate the massive ubiquity of industrial civilization. One device like this would have been a wonder of the ancient world, even a wonder in the relatively recent high point of the Venetian Arsenal boatyards. Yet this is a trivial bit of flotsam among our mighty machinery. I am never sure whether to be proud, or scared, or both.
It’s easy enough to understand why we try to beautify bleak surroundings like city courtyards with colorful flowers and other ornaments. Yet our desire to add interest extends to views that are fully magnificent on their own. Lonely cabins looking over endless mountain vistas often have a patch of flowers nearby, and here on a beach with all the ingredients needed for an endless visual feast are beds of marigolds adding brilliance.
I think it is wonderful that we do this. I refuse to be a purist and claim there is anything so perfect that it might not be enhanced with a flower border or a fountain or even a small shrine. Maybe I am just a Philistine unable to cope with the natural world. But I sure have a lot of companions.
I’ve walked over here every week for over twenty years now, and never noticed that the tree next to the harbor produced apples. It was kind of a shock to suddenly see them hanging there. Another example of how we never fully know even what we think we know, because the world is just too intricate for us to fully comprehend.
Perhaps I should throw in some clever biblical reference to the tree of knowledge, but even as a metaphor I have always found that story particularly ignorant and in its own way evil. If we have been blessed with senses and brains and all the many wonders of thought, wasting them following dry words by rote instead of exploring and experiencing and enjoying all the miracles about us is one of the greatest sins against god and nature of which I can conceive.
The hard-to-make-out starfish in the lower foreground here were probably dumped on this sand by some fisherman beaching his dingy. Starfish, eating the clams still harvested in these waters, are not welcomed by the local commercial baymen. Children delight in them, of course, and they intrigue us all being so different from everything we find familiar, but that does not prevent them from being pests. After all, mosquitoes are quite uniquely fascinating as well, in the abstract.
Like many other bottom dwellers, starfish are rarely in our thoughts unless hauled out and shoved under our noses. We assume the water under the surface is somehow still and clear, very like a big tank of tap water, with maybe a cute goldfish swimming here or there. Instead, of course, it is a dense soup of every organism imaginable, from the smallest to the largest, and the fiercest of nature’s ongoing laboratories. None of us lords of creation could live down there, naked, very long. Such thoughts should probably humble us, but we are lords of creation precisely because nothing can.
Verdant green leaves with just a glimpse of promised shoreline beyond. Unwary children would plunge right through. But we quickly learn that nature has teeth, and poison ivy is something best left alone when possible. Pretty, shiny, lovely, but … Not quite a trap, I am sure, but certainly a possible bad surprise.
You wonder, if humanity grows up and manages to survive and control their world, whether pests such as mosquitoes and poison ivy _ to say nothing of smallpox and flu viruses _ will be granted a place in it. I would not miss mosquitoes ruining my outdoor evenings, and my memories of horrible bouts with poison ivy on extremities could be abandoned without a second thought. And yet, those are all part of what is, and surely even their permanent loss or exile would diminish our experience of existence. Glad that it is not to be my decision.