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Rumilluminations Now
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, June 06 2019 - 5:42 am

July 21, 2019
Madison IN

A few mornings ago my partner and I were sitting on the balcony wondering about the herons. We never see them along the shore of the river any more.

As we were getting up to go inside, a bird came flying right towards us from, it seemed, the little lot toward the river. It was fairly large, and as it passed us I saw the characteristic bent neck and tucked head. Heron, without a doubt.

It was as if it were reassuring us that they were okay.

Later, though, I wondered. It wasn't big enough to be a great blue heron, was it? Was it a youngish specimen? Another species? I will never know.

The moment is gone.

I believe that a shorebird could fly at right angles away from the river and over our apartment building. A kingfisher (would that be considered a shorebird?) did it once. I figure they could be making a beeline for Crooked Creek less than half a mile north of here.

They are all right, herons. They still exist. They're still here.

Just not along the river on my morning walk.

July 18, 2019
Madison IN

This country has gone crazy, I might say, except that as I get older I realize the country has always been crazy. Ditto the world.

I'm tempted to start this day's rumiobfuscation the way we, in the old days, were taught not to start a letter - with apologies for not having written for so long.

But, ha ha, what is that grammatic construction I just erected?

What are these archaic words I have been using?

My mind-blowing technology that I have been using or at least observing since its infancy seems to be aging faster than I.

Am I slowing down? Not faster than the technology I am trying to use. It's not only mine, either. A local librarian tells me their computers have slowed down too.

I could write longhand faster than this.

But I couldn't reach you with my pathetic paper scrawlings, dear readers.

So, news, news. I guess the most amazing thing that has happened here in Madison since I last wrote is that a man in his fifties shot off at least seventeen rounds from an AK automatic rifle from an alley exactly two small-town blocks from where I currently recline.

July 5, when there were hundreds of people in town for the Regatta.

From a location half a block off Main Street between City Hall and the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Ain't life grand.

Now I'm going to try to babystep myself back to sleep.

Hope all is going well with you!  


P.S. We thought the noise was fireworks until I read about his arrest a week later!


June 30, 2019
Madison IN

I cannot believe the year is half over. There are, however, a multitude of other things I can't believe and yet here we all are, in a stew of our own making.

Such a horrific mess as we are experiencing makes me feel a little foolish for complaining about anything minor, but I suspect my latest beef pertains to a large number of people.

In a Bloomberg publication quoted by The Week, someone suggested that credit and borrowing from friends and relatives was equivalent to being able to pay with cash. It had the audacity to even call these resources "cash equivalents."

If you are barely making enough money to survive paycheck to paycheck, how does a credit card compensate for an unexpected expense? It merely buys a little time. 

How is begging for help meeting a necessary obligation equal to having cash of your own?

The writer of that article, I am willing to bet, did not have poor or depression-baby parents.

Since I am retired and still have little inheritance left by my incredibly thrifty mother I can pay with cash or its equivalent (a check) for irregular minor medical expenses. For most of my life, though, I could not. Looking back I am kind of amazed at how rarely my family needed to.

When the need for resources hits, it rarely respects your ability to come up with ready money that won't sink you deeper into financial debt. Fate doesn't check your bank balance and ask your permission to be clobbered over the head.

May the second half of this fast-paced year leave you wallowing in the ready, not its quicksand "equivalent!"

June 21, 2019
Madison IN

The other day I heard a bird sing on one note:  ta ta tada ta ta and immediately I added (in my mind) two other notes - the beginning of a Jethro Tull song from his album.

It reminded me of something I have been meaning to write about for a long time but kept postponing. Jethro Tull has another piece of music that sounds like the triplet of a Carolina Wren. I always meant to track down which album but I kept postponing it because I like Tull loud and we live in an apartment building.

Jethro Tull is really my favorite rock band, partly because Ian Anderson references the natural world a lot. Why not pick up sounds from nature as well as visual imagery?

Mozart wrote that his pet starling picked up the strains from one of his symphonies and would sing them. Heh. Maybe it was the other way around. Supposedly Mozart could compose in his head and write down musical scores fully orchestrated from his room. Sometimes, the story goes, he would hand down pages to a runner as he completed them.

If he really made a habit of composition by aural imagination, when would his starling have heard anything?

I am not meaning to take away from Mozart's genius in any way. He could certainly write a melody!

I'm just saying that birdsong is very inspiring. Maybe way back when it was the birds that taught us to sing!

Ta ta tada ta ta. Ta-da!

June 7, 2019
Madison IN

It looks as if the word "prise" is now archaic. The past several times I've seen it used it has been spelled "prize."

So how will surprise be spelled now? Surprize?

My electronic editor doesn't seem to think so, but maybe it is etymologically mistaken. Surprise originally meant an unexpected seizure or attack. Now it usually is used in a more pleasant sense of a gift or a party. If it is not desirable we are usually forewarned of the fact: an unpleasant surprise may not be uncommon, but a horrible one would probably be called a shock.

Why I bother with talk like this I can't imagine. I enjoy it, but does anyone else care anymore?

I'm trying to get back in the habit of writing, and this little bit of pedantry is what came up.

I last saw "prize" misused in a novel called The Weight of Ink, which I have just begun. Heh - maybe prize weighs more. I shouldn't doubt.

June 6, 2019
Madison IN

A month or two ago my forty-something-year-old daughter, who does not drive, could not fly to Georgia from New Mexico because her state I.D. did not arrive in the mail in time for the flight.

No. She was not trying to fly from Mexico to Russia. She was traveling from the State of New Mexico in the United States of America to the State of Georgia in the United States of America.

The ninety-year-old former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was recently turned away at the polls in that city by people who knew her because she didn't have the proper now legally-required I.D.

I'm sitting here racking my brains trying to think of the other examples of heartless malfunction of our society for no good reason that I have heard about that don't involve our southern borders, because there are hundreds of examples of those in recent years, decades and perhaps a century now. They would fill volumes. Woody Guthrie wrote a song about the problem.

The courts obviously have gone whacko I want to say, but they have been skewed in the favor of one group of people or another based on race or money or religion or region for probably the history of the world.

Now that we can publicize our pettiness and irrationality and greater sins to the world not only in print but in color and action in videos we all haven't responded as I would have expected. Proof of wrongdoing has not shamed us and made us resolve to do better and change our behavior. As far as I can tell, we just shrug our shoulders and like a three-year-old, chant a bratty, "I don't care."

Don't let people tell you we Northern Americans don't deserve Trump.

Oh we do, we do.

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