Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Winter Pictures I

I haven't resorted to the pictures option for a while. Given my dismal rate of posting recently, I feel that inner urgency to slap something up here. February is always a slow month. Last year I think I got 3 posts up the whole month, and that was in a leap year. The combination of the missing days, the cold office, and the of late annual trip to Florida makes for not much writing.

I am not, by the way, the first to break out the cold weather excuse to try to justify failure. You will remember that before he was able to finish Paradise Lost, Milton lamented for many years that the damp and unsunny climate of England appeared to be unsuitable for epic poetry and such other glorious achievements as the Mediterrenean world had produced.Christmas was great, but Ted Williams did not survive the holidays intact. Not only did he lose his head, but most of his bat is gone too. You can see the little hands on the left still cannot leave the man be even long enough to snap the picture. Of course in real life Ted Williams's head was removed from the rest of his corpse and is currently in a deep freeze in some cyborgenic facility anticipating reincarnation (not his idea, by the way), so the situation pictured here has that much more poignancy.

It was actually only -4 the morning I took this picture, but I thought the light had a somewhat Siberian appearance about it. Aided greatly by the total absence of any economic or cultural vibrancy in the neighborhood, no doubt.

We are trying to take up skating and other winter activities. You can never have too many physical skills or become enough accustomed to all variety of weather and temperature. People love vigor, especially in the young. I certainly do not espouse the kind of sports fanaticism that we see some parents adopting, but I would like to cultivate something of a Byronic attitude towards both mental and physical experience, which is also controversial because Byron and his followers tended to die young, and we seem to prefer that people have no personality at all and live to be 80 than that they live like men and possibly die in the prime of life. But I was just recently reading about when Byron was 22 and travelling in Turkey, and he and a friend came to the point on the shore of the Dardenelles where it was traditionally held that Leander had swum the 4 miles across the straits every night to lie with Hero, and Byron's immediate instinct was that he and his friend ought to swim the passage as Leander did. Granted, he caught the ague on this adventure and nearly died, but, I thought at once, this is exactly the kind of response a 22-year old man of a properly developed spirit and an acceptable amount of humanistic education ought to have when presented with such a situation. And it was not one that I would have had, to undertake a physical feat from Greek mythology. It would never have occurred to me.

I prefer to go light on the overly heart-tugging stuff, but we need to get the baby in here. Back to the ice rink crowd, the hardcore hockey and skating people are a pretty intense subculture in these northern towns that I had not fully appreciated because I had not done any of those things until now. And there really are a lot of girls with that upswept and pulled back hanging-out-at-the-hockey-rink Sarah Palin hairstyle. They look pretty good though.

Preserve America. Welcome to Brattleboro. I guess Preserve America is one of those organizations like the Main Street Communities group that sponsors old cities and tries to keep them from bulldozing their historic old centers. If you were familiar with Brattleboro, you would probably find the rather fusty Preserve America message to be ironic. Brattleboro is one of those towns where the city council passed a ordinance that Bush and Cheney, should they ever happen to pass through town, are to be arrested for crimes against humanity. The community theater's hot play this autumn was about Karl Marx, and the singer Paul from the group Peter, Paul and Mary was due to come to town recently for, as the posters said, an evening of music, politics and humor (I'm a lefty sympathizer, but the prospect of having to endure this sent a chill even into my bones). The local progressive book store has stacks of "Fascism Sucks" and Che Guevara t-shirts beside the cash register. No, I'm not making that up. I'll have to take a picture next time I'm there, though I suspect the progressive people who work and hang out there won't like it. I still like hanging out there, and I still kind of like them, even though I think they go somewhat overboard with the militant posturing, but I don't think they get that.

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