Firmly Middle

Monday

Ho hum, just another pleasant view on another normal day, nothing to be excited about, unless I am alive.
  • “Jack of all trades, master of none” is the pejorative version of “renaissance man” who is, presumably, master of everything.   A renaissance person is now conceptually impossible even for an immortal _ who could possibly know nor use all the knowledge that has accumulated over time?  We could, of course, select categories _ a master flute player who is also a Nobel physicist and industrial tycoon _ but even the most outrageous of such fantasies ignore all the rest of human possibility. 
  • So the common wisdom is to give up breadth and simply be the best at some specialization and let everything else fall as it will.  I think this is a disease of our culture, not merely in careers but also in daily life.  Folks who narrow themselves into pure categories to fully enjoy the essence of perfection are giving up a large part of the simple joy of being.  It is possible, for example, to enjoy wine or food without becoming a connoisseur of vintage and cuisine. 
  • Perhaps time spent in carefully cultivating nuance could be better utilized for modest appreciation of other worldly miracles.  We resist this thought because then we would simply be one of the crowd, like everyone else, and this culture pushes hard to terrorize us about not being uniquely worthwhile.

Tuesday

Rose of Sharon, like goldenrod, is an early reminder that summer is slipping away quickly.
  • Darwinism has been twisted into all kinds of pretzels to explain and justify almost anything.  “Survival of the fittest,” which is a perversion of “natural selection” attains the status of holy writ.  We automatically think of “biggest” “best” “most agile” “best adapted.”  Of course, most of the really specialized magnificently focused species are evolutionary dead ends, and die when their environment changes.  Like some job categories these days.
  • Consider our most successful evolved companions _ mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats, bacteria, fungi.  Hardly specialized.  Mosquitoes are pretty pesky things and seem not to care too much about which blood they feast on.  If a particular bird species dies out, mosquitoes don’t starve.  We should recognize that like them, we are happy generalists, and it is our lack of specialization _ not our ability to focus narrowly on problems _ that provides us true freedom.  

Wednesday

Under billowing overcast skies, water grasses dance delicately amidst reflections and shadows.
  • Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  • But perhaps “well” should be defined as “just good enough.”

Thursday

Abstract light and dark form phantom compositions only my mind might notice.
  • Everybody wants to be special, we are told.  It’s a pillar of social control.  Blue bloods always preach that they are in charge for a reason, even if that reason is simply that god or fate has been on their side.  Lately they claim they are smarter.  It’s always a justification for why they have more and everyone else has less.  Once upon a time their needs were insatiable, but now there is a bit a trouble as all needs have generally been overfilled.
  • At this point, elites sprouting ever more plumage look like sickly extremes of a genetic bell curve.  How many pretty (expensive) tail feathers can they display?  How does that make them more fit? 
  • Humans do not generate peacock feathers or saber-tooth fangs.  Our singular adaptability for survival is our individual mind and our social skills, which we can adjust internally.  Being happy with what we have, at least in an affluent society, may be a better survival strategy than frantically and neurotically racing to be at the head of the pack.  

Friday

Vegetation reaches its peak, in this greenest summer in memory.
  • Seagulls seem to be among the least specialized birds, or perhaps they are simply the best adapted to human environments.  When other avian species that none of us ever encounter vanish, seagulls will still be around.  Like most animals that exist near humans, their specialization is that they have none.
  • As our current culture evolves, I believe our current high-strung never-sleep desperate patterns will self-destruct in either chaos or burnout.  As machines replace all the necessary slavery of the agricultural age, the apparatus of that era _ which has now run amok _ becomes useless.
  • I like to believe that our descendants, if any, will be more like sea
    gulls than cockroaches.  Flying free, always finding enough, enjoying mock crises, and strutting independently or riding tides peacefully however and whenever they wish.

Saturday

Colors hinting at autumn are beginning to creep into leaves here and there.
“Lurk, you’re looking a bit thin these days.”
“Yeah, Vlad, I know.  The trouble is I think I’ve developed a bit too fine a palate.”
“Not sure what you mean,” whines Vlad, hovering as he scents the air for stray carbon dioxide trails.
“Suckella dragged me into a fine blood tasting event, last week, and I discovered I was able to tell the difference between various samples.  Fish, for example, is awful, and bird’s just cheap.  Humans vary an awful lot but a few are simply delicious.”
“Ok, but what …”
Lurk holds up a few of his six legs.  “Hear me out … The fact is the only food I can stand right now belongs to that sweet littlest child that comes out only once in a while.  I’ve been waiting for days now, but I’m still not hungry enough to go back to _ ycch _ bird.”
“But there’s a big guy now!” yells Vlad, whirring in excitement.  “He won’t even notice me under his knee until I’ve  finished the feast.  Why don’t you try his forehead?”
“No, no,” sniffs Lurk, pretentiously.  “Common sour stuff.  I’ve tried it before.  No, I will just wait and hope.”
“Suit yourself,” says Vlad, zipping off, as Lurk alights on a nearby hemlock needle.

Neither could comprehend the big human when he called to his mate “I hope little Sue Ellen has a great vacation upstate.”   It’s doubtful Lurk will survive the week.

Sunday

Flooded marshes gradually recover from centuries of being channeled, drained, and harvested.
Middle is infinite.
Around, below, above, within, without
Extend endlessly.
The farthest is too far.
Deepest is too deep.
All directions are pursued futilely.

Middle is perfect.

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