Conversing About…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was CONVERSATION
and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a conversations with you all. Though I guess a blog is more of a monologue. 😉

For the past month the general buzz of conversation here was about the lovely fall we’re having and how long the warm weather has lasted. Or how dry it’s been. Monday morning we woke up to an October wind and night-time temps have been dropping to -5 or -7 C. The water basins I set out had about an inch of ice on top this morning; I dumped them out, and those circles of ice have lain on the ground all day without melting. I refilled them again today but this task will soon be over.

The robins were still here last Friday morning, but must have gotten word that it was time to go. I didn’t see even one Saturday. Good timing on their part. We heard today there was snow coming in from a Colorado low-pressure system, but it seems the precipitation will mostly fall east of us. As I write this a light rain is falling and the ground is actually wet. Every little bit helps to settle the dusty haze we’ve been living with for awhile. We’re supposed to have warmer days again for the weekend, though.

There was a wedding in our congregation last weekend when Pastor Warren’s daughter married a young man from Alberta. A lot of families in the congregation were busy making food and/or hosting visiting guests, which is what we do when there’s an important event to put on. Everyone chips in.

A couple of weeks back an acquaintance called to tell me she had some puzzles for me. The seniors in her building do them, then pass them on–and I take some of ours for them. A profitable exchange. Last Friday we did some shopping in the city and I stopped by her apartment building to pick them up. She had bags and boxes full of puzzles for me–82 puzzles in all, but three were packs with four puzzles in each; one box was a pack of ten. So about 100 puzzles in all! Far more than our seniors at the Villa can put together this winter. I’m looking for homes for the excess now.

Since I’ve been painting I haven’t done any puzzles. One hobby that takes hours is maybe enough? But I’m not painting much lately, either. seem to be in a slump. The evenings are so soon so dark! I’m having a hard time switching my mind to winter mode and working after dark has no appeal. Can’t go to bed at 8 pm, so I mostly read for a couple of hours.

Can I plead that we creative types — writers, poets, artists, musicians. etc — are moody types? Last week I read an article about songwriter Leonard Cohen, including a conversation he had with writer Mikal Gilmore.

“Depression has often been the general background of my daily life,” Cohen told me. “My feeling is that whatever I did was in spite of that, not because of it. It wasn’t the depression that was the engine of my work. . . . That was just the sea I swam in.”

The brokenness was always there, but Leonard Cohen never submitted to it, Gilmore writes in his article, Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness.

I found that thought encouraging. No matter how blue a person may feel at times, we needn’t succumb to it. We need to let a greater purpose motor us through, in spite of the choppy waters.

Morning View

Sunrise

by Edgar Guest

Today I saw the sun come up, like Neptune from the sea;
I saw him light a cliff with gold and wake a distant tree.
I saw him shake his shaggy head and laugh the night away
and toss unto a sleeping world another golden day.

The waves, which had been black and cold, came in with silver crests;
I saw the sunbeams gently wake the song birds in their nests.
The slow-retreating night slipped back and, strewn on field and lawn,
on every blade of grass I saw the jewels of the dawn.

Never was a monarch ushered in with such a cavalcade,
no hero bringing victory home has seen such wealth displayed.
In honor of the coming day the humblest plant and tree
stood on the curbstone of the world in radiant livery.

Pageants of splendor man may plan, with robes of burnished gold;
on horses from Arabia may prance the knight of old;
heralds on silver horns may blow, and kings come riding in,
but I have seen God’s pageantry — I’ve watched a day begin!

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Image by Pexels — Pixabay

Why Mom?

Reading Dale’s response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge has inspired me to have a go at it as well. Like Dale wrote, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. You can read all about the CHALLENGE here, and this is the photo meant to inspire us:

https://crimsonprose.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/ccc122.jpg

And here’s my 150-word true-to-life tale:

“Mom, why’s that duck’s head and front blue? Did somebody dye it?”
“Why doesn’t the other have a blue head, too? Are they different kinds?”
“How come the one’s beak is yellow?”
“Why’s the brown duck’s feathers sticking up like that? Is it mad?”
“If they aren’t mad at each other, why aren’t they swimming together?”
“Why are the ducks only here in summer?”
“What do ducks eat when there’s no popcorn?”
“Where do ducks sleep at night?”
“If they fall asleep in the water, will they drown?”
“Why aren’t there any baby ducks? And why…”

Randi was trying her best to answer Frankie’s many questions as they strolled along the creek, but was feeling rather brain-strained when an older woman approached them on the walk.

The elderly lady gave Frankie a big smile and told Randi, “Someday you’ll think of this as the best time of your life.”

Get Out the Saw, Pa

Contemplating A World Without Sparks

Our temperature has risen! In Saskatoon right now it’s 10 F or -12 C and the thermometer is supposed to climb all the way up to -1 C / 30 F. Balmy breezes, almost! Our cats are enjoying the great outdoors this morning.

Texas residents won’t be nodding at that. I’ve been reading about the dire weather conditions and suffering of the poor Southern folks and they do have my sympathy because I realize they aren’t at all prepared. With our well insulated houses, furnaces and insulated water lines buried deep, we’re prepared for extremes of -50 whereas -0 F is a disaster down there.

No power is a game changer anywhere, though. I appreciate what the folks in Texas are going through on that score. (Assuming you have a furnace) heating fans and water pumps need electricity. Baseboard heaters and stoves are useless. We lived in Quebec during “the ice storm of the century” and know what it’s like to have no power for days with the temp hovering at freezing point.

The only way to operate anything – like the pump that pumped water out of our basement – was with a gas generator. Farmers especially were bringing these in from the US as fast as they could find them. For our dairy farmer neighbours with their bulk milk cooling tanks, a generator’s a must. We did have a wood stove in the basement, thanks be, and waded through ankle-deep water to stoke it. Generally speaking, this is not where modern man wants to go.

A friend and I had a discussion one day; she asked, “What if our power supply was cut off permanently.” I said most of us would die. She said, “If we needed to, we’d just have to find other ways to survive.”

I said, “Ha! We can’t live without power for an extended time. In winter, how would you heat?” She thought we’d have to cut wood.

I asked her to imagine the seniors in her building, in all the apartments on all the floors, trying to burn wood. Someone might burn the place down! “And think the million people in your city all trying to find enough firewood and wood stoves. Or get water – or food? Or drive on completely blacked-out streets? What would happen to stores if the city was blacked out every night? All the factories shut down, people out of work? No, I’m afraid if power was permanently cut, most Canadians living in cities would soon perish.”

She was using the idealistic “We’d all go back to the land” mentality. Everyone would get a little chunk of land to live on (which would denude the countryside.) Big farmers would have to share their land. We’d all survive on raising our own veggies, hauling our water (from where?) and sawing our own firewood. Our lifestyle would keep us healthy. It worked once. Why not again?

Recently I read that President Biden is taking measures to wean the US off oil and gas; I tried to imagine how that will work in the long run. Kind of like Texas now, but nationally? Softie that I am, I hate the idea of wind power because those big turbine blades kill so many birds; perhaps that could be fixed somehow? Giant bird nets? But in Texas now we hear the turbines are all iced up. How would they manage at -30F like we get?

Solar panels may make enough electricity for a home, but for a city water and sewage system? For factories and hospitals? Time will tell, but I foresee The train they call the City of New Orleans coming to a grinding halt with its fifteen cars and twenty-five sacks of mail.

Without oil to run factories, I can picture a time when the US will go back to a farming economy, minus the big equipment. Maybe, like my friend suggested for us, each city family will be given a chunk of land and go with subsistence farming, but I fear those beautiful national forests will go for firewood.

I’d thought Canada could benefit: we could sell our oil to the US if they wouldn’t produce their own. But I see the new President has cancelled the Keystone Pipeline project, meant to carry Alberta oil to Louisiana. Eastern Canada would breathe easier if all those dreadful coal-burning factories in IL & OH were shut down, ending the acid rain now polluting Ontario & Quebec waters.

Oil is currently a necessity to our lifestyle, but bringing in oil from overseas runs the risk of more oil spills and pollution. Building hydro-electric dams costs the environment, too. Ontario found nuclear power an unreliable, expensive, waste-producing alternative. Every solution has side-effects that must be calculated. Or, as someone tersely put it, “The cause of problems is solutions.”

In reality we can’t just go back. Not unless you eliminate 70% of the population and their demands on fuel supply and the power grid. Transportation, international trade, heating, cooling, sewer & water, manufacture, agriculture, construction, health care and more: these depend on a steady stream of power/oil & gas.

Idealism is the luxury of folks who are financially secure or retired in their little estate with a nice nest egg. They can dither to their hearts’ content over solutions for environmental concerns. And we should certainly all do our part to stop consuming, wasting, and polluting. READ: Stop buying CHEAP JUNK. Be willing to pay more for things made in your own country, where pollution controls are in effect.

But the poor senior on pension, the welfare family, or the average Joe/Jill who lives in a big city and has to work for a living – especially in a factory – may have a whole different perspective on the importance of saving the environment. Running out of food before payday weighs more heavily on their minds than thoughts of the world running out of oil in the year 2525.

Dog’s Delight

Image by Dave Francis — Pixabay
Oh wow! Is that a cat?
That clump of fur over there -- 
that long tail I see twitching?
Can I chase it? Huh, Master?
Just for a minute? Oh, heaven!
Please say I can, Master.

Cats are so much fun to chase –
better yet if they go up a tree.
I keep them up there ever so long
glaring and squabbling,
but terrified to come down.
Oh joy! Do I ever love that!
Bark, bark, bark – nya nya nya.
Disgusting, hissy things!

Say yes, Master, let me go!
I'll chase that cat clear into
the next valley. Or if it leaps
on the fence I'll hurl myself at it
with my most ferocious growls.
Oh, wow! Will that ever be fun!
Can I, huh? Can I?
Master, please let me chase it!

Awww… It disappeared.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: WOW!
Word of the Day: SQUABBLE
Your Daily Word Prompt: FEROCIOUS