This sunset photo looking skyward at a lone tree is a bit of a cliché, but still, filled with symbolism for the end of the year 2020. We can all hope for a sunrise on a New Year promising an end to the pandemic, a burgeoning economy, healthcare for everyone and reasonably priced education that every student can afford without sustaining overwhelmingly burdensome debt.
Not a terribly scenic photo, but it is a sign of horrible economic times in south Alabama. All Gulf Coast beaches have been closed since March 27. Most businesses have closed and tourist rentals stand vacant. There were no spring breakers, no Snowbirds and the Hangout music festival has been cancelled. This portable sign sits at the edge of the Foley Beach Express about ten miles north of the Gulf of Mexico beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Light in October is different than in June or February. The trees, the fence, the little trailer; they all plead, beg…like me…to hold on to the warmth even after the sun goes down. There’s no need for begging in June – the warmth will hold on. In February, there’s just no point in begging. But in October, in the deep south, leaves are still mostly green, the light is warm in every sense, but after the sun drops below the horizon…
…Then what should we work for?
Only this: proper understanding, unselfish action; truthful speech. A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.
Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations” translated by Gregory Hays
I remember hunting whitetail deer with this .357 magnum many, many years ago. After two seasons of sitting in the snow, getting cold, bored and never seeing anything to shoot at, I gave up. Deer hunting was one of the least interesting activities in which I have ever engaged. Retrospectly, I’m glad I never had the opportunity to kill a deer. While I’ve shot squirrels, rabbits, partridge and a few other small game animals, I never derived any great pleasure or satisfaction from the killing sports. On the other hand, I do remember some fine meals of rabbit stew, roasted partridge, and pheasant pie.
I still keep a collection of firearms, and even fire them occasionally – rarely, but only at paper targets. The cartridges in this holster belt have somewhat corroded and have over the years, undoubtedly, lost some of their explosive power. Soon, I will take them out, polish them up and replace them in those same loops, maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, the guns sit in a cabinet holding on to memories of times long past.
Thick fog muffled outdoor sounds in the late night. No one heard the wrecker pull in and park behind the Mercedes sedan. The operator worked quickly, quietly. He jacked up the car, removed the mag alloy wheels, set the car down on cement blocks, and silently drove away.
The following day, a neighbor came home for lunch; saw the expensive, violated car sitting on blocks, knocked on his neighbors door and wondered whether anyone noticed the theft of their neighbors wheels. “What kind of neighborhood are we living in that something like this could happen?” It was near noon. He knocked on the owner’s door. She was shocked, but not entirely surprised to see her car sitting as it was.
Several months earlier, she financed the expensive wheels and tires, but failed to make payments. After many unsuccessful attempts to collect, the finance company repossessed their property.
The car owner shrugged her shoulders, “I didn’t make my payments, so they came and got ‘em. I’m getting them back, I just have to go down and make a payment.”
Dark nights still bring in thick fog, the atmosphere is still eerily quiet, and there is no vigilante group to keep watch for furtive thieves. The Mercedes owner has her wheels back and all is as it should be in the Deep South neighborhood.
Along the Bon Secour River, which flows into Mobile Bay in southern Alabama, there is a large fleet of deserted shrimp boats. Some are huge, some rather small, but they all have been abandoned. Hurricanes or tropical storms have severly damaged most of them. Speculation is that they are too damaged to repair (repairs will cost more than the boat is worth). Other possible reasons are that the shrimp fishery is too depleted and competition too intense, the boats have paid for themselves and owners are no longer interested in the grueling work of shrimping, but then who knows.
Regardless, The Alabama Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Fund, established June 2018 and managed by the Secretary of the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency, is for payment of the seizure, removal, transportation, preservation, storage, advertisement, appraisal, and disposal of a derelict vessel. Effective June 1, 2018 Act 2018-179 relating to derelict and abandoned vessels, authorizes the removal of a vessel from the waters of Alabama under certain conditions by a law enforcement officer or a private property owner. Previously, a property owner was responsible for legal fees, and litigation required to remove a derelict vessel from his dock. The costs were prohibitive.
Lightening struck and knocked down a utility pole during the late evening hours Tuesday causing widespread power outage to a farm just west of Richmond, Illinois. Richmond is a small town about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.
Both lanes of Illinois route 173 were closed nearly three hours while a utility crew cleared downed power lines. Early morning traffic was backed up nearly an eighth of a mile in either direction. As of 2:30 this afternoon power still has not been restored to the affected farm, although crews are on site working to repair the damage.
As a result of this disastrous electrical outage residents on the farm have been deprived of highly informative radio and TV political advertising campaigns more than 12 hours, just days before the critical mid-term elections. This is not “Fake News,” however, despite the far reaching implications of this natural disaster; the white house thus far has failed to respond.
Residents of the farm have returned to their fields to resume the fall harvest and have been unavailable for comment.
Life Forms Evolve
Greed, Power, Money
Godot Defined for one species
Knowledge Shared Among Machines
Opposable Thumbs Irrelevant
Artificial Intelligence Evolves
Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication
Higher Knowledge Unnecessary
Life Forms Irrelevant
Silicon Chips Disintegrate
After several days of heavy rain, Twisters Ice Cream shop in Montague is bounded by standing water to the south across the bicycle trail.
Butternut Creek rises with the rain, but quickly drains into the White River, which empties into White Lake. The water level in the Lake is 3 to 4 feet higher than it was two years ago. The beach on Lake Michigan, about 7 miles to the west, is almost non-existent.
A place on the White River near Hesperia, Michigan, just upstream from the M-20 Bridge; it’s an easy place to get in the water and looks as if there would be lots of trout, but I’ve never done very well here. The well-worn path through the woods indicates that more than a few fishermen wade this stream. Maybe they’ve already taken all the trout.
Another side of the story is that it’s a quiet, beautiful place to spend a summer afternoon just being.