Letter From Claverack August 26, 2017 Keeping sunlight in everyday life…


To comfortably sit out on the deck this evening, I had to go inside and put on long slacks and pull on a sweatshirt as there is a chill in the early evening air.  That done, I’m comfortable.

The cottage is interestingly quiet; no music plays, the only sound is that of the buzzing of insects and the chirping of birds.  The dogs next door are quiet; usually they are frolicking in the yard.

It is getting to be the end of summer and the number of days I will be able to sit here in the midst of green glory are dwindling.

My infernal and eternal clumsiness ruined another laptop and so I am here, back up again, thanks to Jonathan’s Computers in Hudson after 48 frustrating hours of having only my phone for communication.  Though, when it happened I thought: at least it’s not my PHONE.  Jonathan finds me, I suspect, curious as his office becomes littered with my dead laptops.  His patience was rewarded today with a bottle of Moet & Chandon.

Yesterday, I phoned my friend Mary Clare Eros to check on their son, Michael, who lives in Houston.  He was safely away, attending the Burning Man festival.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

As the storm bore down on Texas, officials asked those who chose to stay and “ride it out” to put their name and social security number on their forearms so that if they didn’t make the riding out thing work, rescuers could identify their bodies easily.

It is Saturday night and Hurricane Harvey reached Texas and is pelting the state with water.   Move to higher ground was the general warning in Houston.  Places inland are predicted to get as much as forty inches of rain, precipitating enormous flooding.  It is becoming a “deadly inland event.”  Places will be left uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Those kind of words and warnings hark to the horror that was Katrina.

Tonight, while Texans may be fighting for their lives, Floyd Mayweather and Conor MacGregor will be fighting in Vegas.  The hype that surrounds the event is huge and both contenders, as I read it today, will walk away with about a hundred million dollars each.  Think about that.

It is all about the money.  “Money Mayweather” is also giving the finger to HBO, a long-time adversary because it wouldn’t give him the money he felt he deserved for a match.  HBO has a fight coming up in September and can’t seem to get anyone to listen to their PR pitches because of all the noise about Mayweather/MacGregor, who is a martial arts fighter, not a boxer.

Mayweather is smart, probably the smartest of the boxers in our lifetimes when it comes to making money.

And the fact that this story is almost as big a story as Hurricane Harvey is a reflection on society.  It’s not new.  I’m sure there was more noise about a couple of good gladiators going at in the Coliseum in Rome than there was about how Marcus Aurelius was doing against the Germanic tribes that were breathing down the neck of the Empire.

It’s the way we are.  Most of us.

Today I watched a haunting ad on YouTube about lynching in America.  You can see it here.  In one of the photos was a handsome young man, someone I might want to have dated, just based on appearance and he was smiling into the camera after having witnessed a lynching.

We choose to ignore what has happened in this country with people of color.  We do.

Read Doug Blackmon’s book, “Slavery by Another Name.”  It has helped me understand what is going on about all the Confederate statues.  They were erected in a couple of waves, when whites were exerting their “superiority” over blacks.

The first wave was during the rise of “Jim Crow” and the second was after WWII, when African Americans were beginning their march to civil rights.

Throughout history we have had a problem with statues.  Pharaoh after Pharaoh destroyed the statues of the Pharaoh before them if they didn’t like them.  We lost a lot of great Greek and Roman statuary to “political correctness” in those times.   It’s almost a wonder we have any statues of Julius Caesar.

Statues have been a flash point all through history.

And, as Hurricane Harvey barreled down on Texas, President Trump pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  How not surprising is that?

It is now dark.  And not that late.  We are losing about three minutes of daylight a day this time of year.

Let us hope that we don’t lose daylight in our everyday lives.



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