It would be nice to forget
about the world while walking
back country roads.
Some days it is more possible than others. Today was a particularly beautiful day. There is a bank of oak trees set against a nearby hillside whose burnt orange leaves remind me of these opening lines in John Keats's poem Endymion: ``A thing of beauty is a joy fore ever:/Its loveliness increases; it will never/ Pass into nothingness.’’ Of course, the leaves will eventually fall to the ground, leaving the branches bare until next spring.
But I think what Keats means is that the tree’s loss is our gain. The image remains in memory and can never be erased. In fact, it gains in beauty and significance over time. It will be helped by the few acorns that I picked up, slipped into my jacket pocket, and which now sit atop my study windowsill.
As I sauntered down the road a red-tailed hawk soared in ever widening concentric circles above me and I was reminded again of the infinite array of wonders this beautiful earth offers up to us, no questions asked.
Unfortunately, an insistent voice inside that I could not quell started listing some of the more unpleasant indignities against the planet that our species has managed to commit. The worst part of it is that we seem hell bent on doing these things despite incontrovertible evidence that clearly points out the inescapable consequences of our actions. But that should not be much of a surprise, since consequences have never seemed to matter much when it comes to sating our thirst for more and more things.
The debate over natural gas drilling is a case in point. Most of the discussion surrounding this volatile issue focuses on the process. How can it be done safely? How can we protect our wells, aquifers, lakes, and streams from chemical pollution? What safeguards can be put in place to safeguard the public’s health and well being?
How can we treat the millions of gallons of toxic wastewater so it can be safely disposed of (if that is possible; the bad stuff has to go somewhere?) What about damage to infrastructure, noise pollution, etc.?
The questions are many and the answers are varied, often confusing, and certainly complicated.
But my question is this: why are we not talking about conservation, about ways in which each of us can reduce our energy needs so that these invasions of the earth’s crust need not occur in the first place. Unlike some of my environmentally conscious friends, I expect that drilling will take place and that the best we can hope for is the establishment of procedures and regulations that answer the questions I have posed and the countless others.
The driving force, as always, is our incessant thirst for more and more energy, no matter the environmental, aesthetic, or moral consequences. As I have pointed out elsewhere, what is needed is a new cultural paradigm in this country, one that privileges conservation rather than consumption.
There is reason to be hopeful. There is a lot of good work going on, both at the individual and the federal level. We just need more of it. My hope is that over not too long a swath of time the paradigm shift required will occur.
There was a time when there would be no reason to question the perpetual existence of the beautiful.
Even that will be in doubt unless we are willing to change our ways. The promise of enduring joy is in our hands.
It would be nice to forget
about the world while walking
back country roads.
Taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone
I never thought that I would be trapped in so many whirlwinds of stressful thoughts about where I'm taking my life. There are so many different options to choose from, and so many decisions that have to be made. I feel like I am falling into an endless pit, awaiting my final decision that will inevitably lead me into the unknown that is my future.Continued ...
Denmark meeting expectations
Hej! My name is Max Ofer, and I am in Denmark through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. I live in a small town called Hjallerup, consisting of 3000 people, in the northern part of Jutland, the main peninsula of Denmark.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around The Globe: Settling in and having a smooth transition
Oi! I'm spending my junior year as a Rotary Exchange student in Brazil.Continued ...
Teen Talk: Getting working experience has had its bumps in the road
Stepping into the working world has proven to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.Continued ...
Getting to attend a journalism and media conference
What has social media got to do with journalism? Why does the media focus on the topics it does, and how does that shape public opinion?Continued ...
Local Voice From Around the Globe:Thinking, 'How can this be?' all over again
I have at last bid farewell to India, and come home. However, the thread of my story did not stop at the departure gate, but continues on uninhibited, having only changed course.Continued ...
There is good, there is bad and then there is high school
Looking back at all my endeavors since freshmen year in high school, I realize that life moves on in a blink of an eye.Continued ...
Getting to know a man called 'Ee-yah'
Hughie Jennings died in 1928, but I feel like I know him well.Continued ...
Local Voice From Around the Globe: Keeping Thai while re-entering America
As I've begun my American life again, spending time with friends, holding up a job, etc, I've been able to stay above the tide of reverse culture shock and the sort of post-exchange despair that is common at this time for exchange students by meditating on some Thai-inspired thoughts.Continued ...
A new kind of racing is turning a dream into reality
There are really no words to describe getting on a race horse, getting behind the starting gate and taking off full speed at a trot. All I can say is it is a bumpy ride that gets the cheeks bouncing and your helmet pushing back in the wind.Continued ...
Fight to keep chicken alive has taken several attempts
I agree with the narrator of Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" that good fences make good neighbors - most of the time.Continued ...
'Read My Lips' may not be a memoir for everyone
Sometimes an actor or actress can be defined by a singular performance. Everyone remembers Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind," but most people would be hard pressed to name any of her other films (I can name one, "Caesar & Cleopatra," only because I saw it for a class in college).Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: It's been a year of inexplicable joy, struggle, hilarity and triumph
Recently I went with my host mother to travel through a central province of Thailand called Kanchanaburi. Here, I was able to sit among and pet sleeping tigers at a temple that serves as a tiger reserve/zoo.Continued ...
Attack on Sacket's Harbor
Sacket's Harbor, near the beginning of the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario, was the principal American naval base on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812.Continued ...
Once again, hope springs eternal ...
We are happy to report that although Mother Nature did her best to thwart the annual Upper Pioneer Street Block Party, she was not successful.Continued ...
Local performs costumed recitations of Casey at the Bat
Since 1996, I have had the privilege of doing costumed recitations of Casey at the Bat as part of my job at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Iâ€™ve performed the poem an estimated 2,000 times in 22 states, at ballparks, conferences, classrooms, Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies, weddings and other events.Continued ...
E-readers come in handy when traveling
I recently took a trip to California and it was the perfect time to make use of my e-reader. While I'm still devoted to actual books, I must admit that traveling with a thin, lightweight computerized device beats dragging along one or two bulky hard copy titles. The only issue is finding the right e-books to take on the airplaneContinued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Arriving at the last bend in the River
The month of May is the height of the summer in India, a time best spent indoors with a good book and a sliced mango for company.Continued ...
Cooperstown election and law
On Tuesday the 18th inst. [May], the following persons were elected officers for this village for the ensuing year: --Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Exchange has taught me to love my flaws
Hello from Germany! I'm currently on my second Euro Tour visiting and exploring most of Europe.Continued ...
- Taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone