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Rumilluminations October and November, 2017
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Mon, October 02 2017 - 9:43 pm

November 28, 2017
Madison, IN

The current obsession with sexual abuse is driving me batty. Not because it is an unworthy concern, but because it equalises vastly different behaviors.

A man who is overly aggressive in kissing another adult while acting in a skit and touches women on their hips during the taking of a photograph, while obnoxious, is not to be conflated with one who partially disrobes a fourteen-year-old, touching her inappropriately, and attempts to rape another teenager.

The behaviors listed, while both residing on the continuum of sexual harassment, are hardly comparable offenses.

If there was ever a time for women to pick their battles, this is it. The use of power to abuse younger, less powerful and more vulnerable individuals who might suffer years of psychological damage should not be confused with behavior that someone merely dislikes, or that makes her angry.

Let's prosecute those that deserve prosecution and set the others straight as to how little we appreciate their attentions. If more women would be more forthright when they are offended, fewer of us would have to suffer the minor indignities.

As for more serious offenders - lock them up!

November 27, 2017
Madison IN

My partner and I came home yesterday via Athens, Ohio where my parents went to college. Athens has a great downtown with brick streets and varied businesses.

We're thinking that Madison, though charming, does not realize how much Main Street also being a highway ruins the ambience. I wish the town would work on this issue, because the through traffic also is way too fast.That includes semi trucks.

The weather, however, continues to be relatively balmy. Late November and it could be late September - at least judging by sunny breezy days.

At this rate, my partner will still be wearing shorts on Christmas Day!

November 24, 2017
Muncy Valley, PA

Yesterday we hiked and ate, hiked and ate. Quite a wonderful day!
Today we baked bread and, later in the day, banana bread despite delays and obstacles.

We also saw Eagle's Mere, a lovely little community by a lake. It boasts an admirable book store and perfect shop for gift buying. We indulged in a little shopping despite our intention not to shop on Black Friday.

Well, even if you are not a miner it might be a good idea to snag a big diamond you run across in a parking lot!

November 22, 2017
Muncy Valley, PA

Enjoyed driving into this beautiful part of Pennsylvania. We spent a few hours in Williamsport shopping at Kohls and a lovely bookstore called Otto where the very helpful and friendly staff giftwrapped our selections.

We lunched at a lively Italian place on Fourth Street that served pizza slices and salads to us, but also offered sandwiches - there was a line for those.

I guess some people would call the surrounding countryside hills, but they seem like mountains to me. At some point on I80 today we hit the highest point on the road east of the Mississippi, but if there was a physical marker there we bypassed it without noticing.

The rivers and creeks (which would also be considered rivers in New Mexico) are spectacularly beautiful.

November 21, 2017
Clarion, PA

After a drive in sunny late fall weather with minimal stops, we are ensconced in what used to be a Microtel where our GPS brought us, the Monroe Hotel. Their luck, and ours too, I guess, since we are paying at least twenty dollars per night less - almost enough to pay for our two-for-twenty dinner at Applebee's.

I have written harshly about this chain and hadn't eaten there for years, but I must say that the service as performed by our waitperson Amy was exemplary and the food was good.

The hills in northern Ohio and Pennsylvania are russet and golden brown now, and still beautiful. In spite of Interstate traffic it was a beautiful drive. Tomorrow is supposed to be much colder.

At one rest stop we saw acorns, hickory and beech nuts, and buckeyes. I hope it is part of attempts to create contiguous woodlands. I must say some of the rest stops in Ohio have very pleasant walking areas, circumscribed as they are.

Tomorrow we reach our Thanksgiving destination! There we should have the time for some real hiking.

November 20, 2017
Madison IN

November 20, and yesterday on my walk I saw that the crabapple trees and thrown out a few sprays of bloom.

Two honeybees were hanging around the chrysanthemums along the walk near the south side of our apartment building.

Today I saw bread-and-butter flowers lingering on a plant that has been blooming for months now.

Three days away from Thanksgiving and we in southern Indiana have had, weatherwise, more than usual for which to be thankful.

One month from now the light begins to return. Because of the warm and unusually sunny weather, I had hardly noticed it was so seasonally gone.

November 19, 2017
Madison IN

Vibes exist. Don't believe in them? I do, and if you believe in them, then you believe anything is possible.

After all, if there are particles at the far ends of the universe that correlate with what's happening with every particle right here, well, there may be an infinite number of universes. Semantically impossible.

But is it impossible in reality?

If you (or I) can believe the truth in the words of the wife of a serial molester like Roy Moore, then she is living in a different universe than I am.

Which of course, she is. As are you.

We are, each of us, living in a different universe, so billions of universes exist. Really.

Mind-blowing, isn't it?

November 17, 2017
Madison IN

My partner said when he fails at something he works out what he did wrong, and tries to control it so it works better the next time.

I go outside.

When my parental home got too tense and the silence got too murderous, I would go outside.

Many young people are taught about the dangers of the world. Our parents sent us outside.

If I get overwhelmed by household responsibilities, I go outside.

If I get overwhelmed by inner conflicts, I go outside.

Now that I have a living situation that is not emotionally dire, I still go outside; and I have to tell you, I enjoy it even more.

The other night at a book club meeting I delivered my formula for dealing with -everything -and a little later when I expressed frustration at something, one of the members commanded, "Go outside!"

We all laughed, but the really funny thing is - I almost did!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

November 14, 2017
Madison IN

The weather stays beautiful and warm enough to enjoy outdoors. On my walk yesterday, though, I sadly encountered more roadkill than usual: a big fat squirrel and a hefty raccoon right in the middle of Main Street.

It just goes to show you, good fortune can have its hazardous consequences. Fat cats of all species might do well to consider that too much wealth can weigh you down.

Yesterday, I heard on the news that a group of four hundred millionaires and billionaires have written a letter to Congress saying they want no more tax breaks, thank you anyway. They don't want the government to do anything that exacerbates the inequality already existing in the U.S.

This is a smart move on top of (hopefully) being altruistic.

At least some of the very rich know when they have it good. Now they just have to stay nimble!

November 13, 2017
Madison IN

Ha, ha, now the whole CIA knows how it feels to be a woman!

As for Trump's attitude that it is a good thing for him to have a close relationship with the leader of a hostile foreign power, there is at least one example in history that even if the relationship is with a friendly power, it can be unfortunate for the American people.

Scott Nations, in A History of the United States in Five Crashes, describes a friendship between the head of the Federal Reserve and England's comparable governmental body which resulted, ultimately, in contributing substantially to the Great Depression of the nineteen-twenties! (It all had to do with the movement of gold.)

That was the result of a personal relationship between two people with positions of responsibility in two friendly powers!

November 12, 2017
Madison IN

Last week I made a quick soda bread, so today I did something a little more complicated - jalapeno cheese. It has been a long time since I made it, and though some slices broke apart I think it was just too hot.

Meanwhile my partner has been making cake every week with much success! The kitchen smells good, and now that it's getting so cool outside, the baking just makes our apartment cosier.

Weather that isn't prohibitively hot allows me to go out whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I even run for no reason at all. That never happens in the ennervating heat.

Makes me wonder if that is why Northern football teams are getting pounded in the South lately. It's too hot to move so quickly!

What? Am I really talking sports?

Nope. Not at all. I'm talking temperature.  Grateful when that number is under 80F and over forty.

November 11, 2017
Madison IN

I'm beginning to realize that the reason I have trouble with very in-depth intellectual arguments about pretty much anything is that we don't really know enough about any of it to make them meaningful.

In other words they're boring.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

(I thought we were supposed to get more studious and serious with the onset of short days and cold weather.

I guess I have shaken off old ways and bad habits.)

November 9, 2017
Madison IN

Yesterday we took a drive through bottom farmlands downstream. The road was spooky underwheel at times, the fall colors were gloriously yellow, and we saw the biggest wild turkeys I have ever seen.

They have had a long, long growing season in w which to feast to their heart's content. They should have enough fat to get through the winter, but I don't know if their size will afford any defense against predators. 

I'm inclined to think it might work against them. If I lived in the neighborhood I might be tempted to have wild turkey for Thanksgiving. As it is we are planning our menu around smoked turkey.

Pretty exciting!

November 5, 2017
Madison IN

A Facebook friend suggested, in this month of Thanksgiving, that we write something down every day that we are grateful for.

I'm participating, but I'm frustrated. There are too many things to be grateful for! Well, today is Sunday, a good day to indulge in an orgy of gratitude.

I'm grateful for laughter! Yay! It leavens our worst dull and horrendous moments, if we will let it.

I'm grateful for the great people! Not just the ones I have known personally, but also the outside influences who have provoked thought and provided avenues of escape from deep anguish and undue propriety and dignity (faugh!)

Jethro Tull, lyricist and singer and guitar player Ian Anderson in particular! Imagery of the natural world, imaginary wickedness, something to get mad at, you provide it all!

Rob Breszny, philosopher extraordinaire, or, as he was originally introduced to me (through the Santa Fe Reporter (thank you, Santa Fe Reporter!), fantastical astrologer! At first I thought his horoscope a one-time parody, then a weekly comic, then finally realized him for the genius that he is.

Bill Maher, funny truth-teller! You may be crass and at times cruel, but you aren't holding anyone hostage. Bill Maher is the dark chocolate of comics.

I'm grateful in part for my Chrisian upbringing. High standards are wonderful although I could have done without the repression.

But oh, wonder of wonders! The I Ching actually helps with guidance on what to do, and not just what not to do. A word of caution - don't be too literal in your interpretation of this highly and poetic work of ages. For me, the I Ching is The Good Book. The Bible is kind of bad history.

Aesop's Fables!

Oh, I could go on and on - and maybe I will.

November 4, 2017
Madison IN

Decided to take a walk up the Heritage Trail. Had barely crossed the bridge when I heard what sounded like automatic gunfire - two shortish bursts of it. Then isolated shots. I asked two long-haired bearded young men if they knew what it was. They didn't, but they, like me, were a little concerned.

Well, the racket sounded pretty far away, but not more than five minutes later I heard at least two vehicles heading in that direction with sirens blaring. Later on my walk I heard random shots as if someone were hunting - or taking potshots.

Just now I checked the Internet to see if there was any report of an incident. So far, nothing.

Ha, ha! So much for the big Antifascist (Antifa) revolution that the far right-wingers were predicting for today. Sounds like nothing happened. Surprise, surprise.

Coming back through town, Main Street was more crowded than usual with sightseers and shoppers enjoying one of the last fine days of the year.

Viva la revolucion!

November 2, 2017
Madison IN

Turns out we celebrated All Souls' Day with a crappy French film. Ghostbusters might have been preferable. I really cannot say, I have never seen it.

It is colorfall outside today but warm. Strange weather for November. A walk in yellow pink and gold humid temperance. Oh, and maybe now thunder.

A Facebook friend proposed listing something we are thankful for every day of this Thanksgiving month.

So far I have listed supportive people and the Ohio River. This is going to be fun!

November 1, 2017
Madison IN

This is All Saints' Day and to tell the truth, All Saints' Day never meant much to me. We gave a nod to the Saints, but that's it. We knew Halloween was merely the eve of All Saints' Day, but oh well.

Halloween was all! Trying on another role, getting free goodies from people you hardly saw the rest of the year, and running around in the dark with no adult supervision other than the neighbors you saw when you knocked on their doors - this was kid heaven. The evening was pure joy.

Yesterday evening I went on a little walk to Main Street and saw a few trick-or-treaters, mostly with their parents, but a few older kids in twos or threes. It was a slight change from what you normally see on the street at 5:30. Maybe the store giveaways were over and everyone was tired. I saw one dad that was trying to get the kids to settle down in their car to go home. He sounded just about at his wit's end.

As for the children on the streets, I saw precious little happiness, let alone joy.

When I was young (intones the seventy-year-old) quitting time when trick-or-treating was when people ran out of candy, turned off their porch lights, or refused to answer the door. That was the time to take your brown grocery bag home to updump it on the floor and organize the loot and squabble or trade with your siblings.

The next day was nothing.

Now, however, I wonder. Did All Saints Day mean something to my grandparents? Did they visit the graves of family members who had passed? Did they have special dishes or social gatherings that had meaning for them involving emotions of joy or sorrow?

I'll never know. My parental family did nothing, and it is too late to ask them if they had any traditions around the main day itself.

My family did not visit cemeteries inhabited by family members - those burial sites were too far away.

Everybody moved far and wide, and the melting pot is bound to burn off a lot of moss.

Hmmm... there is another special day tomorrow - All Souls' Day. Sounds more inclusive and egalitarian than a celebration of only saints and martyrs. Maybe I will think of a tradition to start in celebration of all departed souls.

Maybe I'll make an ectoplasmic-honoring meringue or watch Ghostbusters. 


October 31, 2017


Halloween is the stuff of nightmares, after all - obsession with all things spooky and scary and out-of-control.

I was lying in bed thinking of all the scary things we think about on Halloween and I think one of the scariest is obsession: The heating/cooling system at the grocery store on the next block behind our apartments picks up a new, deeper tone that makes me notice its existence.

I can't relax and stop listening. Oh, no, is it really a new low hum from our air purifier (which we bought to put to rest some of my fears about the cigarette smoke from the next apartment and pollution from smokestacks downriver and upwind from us)? I get out of bed and turn off the air purifier.

Whew. The sound is not my imagination. It is still there. Also, unfortunately, it is hitting me at some gut level that won't let go.

*   *   *

Well, the tone that I imagined imprisoned me has turned off, leaving the normal level of steady, consistent peace-rending that I am used to.

I am now in the grip of an obsession, though.

If scary Halloween characters are a symptom of obsession, then obsession is the scariest thing...

zzz zzz... Obsession is the name of a perfume sponsored by Elizabeth Taylor, but I have never smelled it... I can see on my Kindle and I can hear on my Kindle but the Internet cannot tell me how Obsession smells.

By all rights Obsession ought to stink to high heaven; it has got to be the scariest of Halloween creatures because obviously it must create them all...

zzzzzz... but what creates obsession?  Maybe repression! Repression is really the scariest, because operates between two or more people. Repression is the creator of obsession!

But wait! Repression is obsession with controlling other people. So which is scarier?

And some people want to repress/supress/stomp out Halloween!

We need Halloween! How else are we going to manage our fears of the scary witches and Leprechauns and demons of our lives than by becoming them - or becoming Superheroes and fairy Princesses and angels to fight them?

zzz... We need Halloween! To sort ourselves out and warn ourselves that darkness is upon us!

And then in November we feast like crazy to comfort ourselves and in December we sleep with visions of sugarplums in our heads because salvation is coming in a new dawn.


October 30, 2017
Madison, IN

Witches, historically, were poor, old, undefended women.

Maybe that was true hysterically, also. Reading about witches in Eurrope didn't educate me so much about who their accusers were, but there are enough tales about teenagers and even younger girls imagining witchcraft on the part of old women that I wonder if those girls projected their own fears of aging and powerlessness onto the old, even to the point of reassuring themselves by imagining them as unreasonably and unreasoningly powerful, capable of wreaking great harm on those who incur their ill will.

All unconsciously, of course.

Are ghosts really the projections of our desires? If you think how indifferent or even positively uncaring the objects of their attentions sometimes are, it is kind of hard to believe it. Wouldn't hallucinations on our part reflect a real passion, or at least caring?

I wonder if werewolves were invented post Jekyll and Hyde. If you think an acting out man is bad, how about a man changing into man's best friend gone bad. Possibly even scarier in its absolutely uncontrollable unreasoning savagery.

Vampires are bats crossed with homo sapiens in a really discouraging way.

Some of the supernatural critters are very fuzzy to me. What exactly is a goblin, anyway, and what kind of a prefix is hob? Hobnobbing doesn't seem sinister. Hmm... well, my quickie research tends to tell me hob is not really a prefix at all. It has quite a few meanings which you are quite welcome to look up yourself - it has been a big day.

Zzz... one kind of elf which a hob can be is a sandman... or else I'm getting confused. Maybe the hobgoblin getting you if you don't watch out is a nightmare or a frenzy of obsession with Halloween characters...

Z is for zombie... zzzzzzz...

October 28, 2017
Madison IN

It's sad. Pride of ownership is not what makes me keep my surroundings nice. Nor does the desire for serenity in my surroundings.

In fact, I don't keep my stuff nice. It gets messy It stacks up. I can be serene in spite of the confusion. Compared to having three kids, a little clutter is nothing.

You know what makes me tidy up?


Self-disgust and self-hatred. Those things get me cleaning.

Sad, isn't it?

October 26, 2017
Madison IN

Too many American women are lost in Vanityland.

One of our favorite TV announcers is losing the looks that made her distinctive. She is beginning to look just generically gorgeous instead of uniquely gorgeous.

A few months ago I saw a set of before-and-after pictures of entertainment stars and aspiring actresses. One set of photos particularly caught my eye. The dark-haired beauty had a slightly irregular tooth that gave her a wild, outrageously sexy aura. She seemed perfectly nice, but ooo-la-la! Her later, "improved" beauty? Well, ho-perfect-hum. I will not recognize her again.

We don't love people for their looks - at least not for long. Some people get more beautiful all the time, others get uglier. Unusual proportions and slight imperfections are what make us recognizable one from another.

Make-up, beauty aids and surgery are expensive! Give yourself a break.

Take a soul-calming stroll.

Right now.

October 25, 2017
Madison, IN

The Belle of Louisville was here again (did I remember to mention it was here before?) Smaller than some of the other paddlewheels that stop here, with a more delicate look, especially the wheelhouse, it also has an exceptionally excruciatingly out-of-tune calliope that one cannot escape in this apartment.

Luckily my partner wasn't here, and neither were my near neighbors. I found the perfect music to cover the noxious tonette-like racket: Jethro Tull's album The flute arpeggios, the irregular rhythms, and - cranked up loud - the sheer wild noisy abandon of it not only drowned out the nasty calliope, it also inspired me to dance as I have not danced for years.

What fun!

And finally, as of yesterday it finally feels like Fall. The leaves are turning, the air is chill, the sapping heat is banished. New beginnings are in the air.

October 23, 2017
Madison IN

I'm continuing to wonder how are small families in the U.S. are affecting our society. I have read that girls without brothers have a harder time understanding males. The same goes for boys: no sisters equals less understanding of women.

If you consider how many more people have only one or two children, this does not bode well for communication between the sexes. I don't know the official statistics, but if birth sex is random that means relatively few adults have had the kind of sibling experience needed to get along well with the opposite sex.

Even if a child has one sibling of the opposite sex, contrast his or her experience to one who has three or four to deal with!

A woman of my acquaintance who had eight siblings thinks large families create more tolerance in their members. It seems to me this could apply to forbearance within marital relations as well as in society at large.

October 20, 2017
Madison, IN

We are almost one-third of the way through Fall, and who could tell?

Not I.

 In the last few days we have seen shrouds of early morning fog, geese, ducks, and herons, pots and pots of chrysanthemums, and ideal weather for walks at any time of day.

I made an angry phone call to a company that produced a frozen beef dish with 16 grams of sugar per serving (per serving!) which is more sugar than I would expect in a dessert. Tasted nasty, too. I told them that if I were diabetic I would be in the ER in a diabetic coma.

They refunded our money via a store credit, but I am still shaking my head. You shouldn't have to check ingredients for sugar in a beef stew. It was revolting.

One thing I have been meaning to write about, my use of ER reminds me, is the way our language is going these days. More and more people using electronic devices seem to be using acronyms instead of words and phrases. Maybe the future of language is shorthand. Maybe future generations will know what lmfao means without even knowing what the original phrase used to be.

Maybe acronyms are the words of the future, to be followed even further in the future by hand gestures and grunts.

Full circle.


October 17, 2017
Madison IN

People act as if the truth is so horrible. Well, maybe, but not knowing it is worse.

"You can't handle the truth!" is what the guy says who is served and protected by the lies.

People are thought to be crushed by the truth. Well, maybe they seem crushed for a while, but unless the truth is something like, say, a train toppling over on them or global warming they will get over it eventually.

I prefer "The truth will set you free."

Kind of ironic that a lot of people who say that practice belief systems that I have mostly been set free from for decades.

When it comes to religion, the truth has set me free from spending my beautiful Sunday mornings listening to a bunch of blah blah blah preaching.


October 15, 2017
Madison IN

When my then-husband and I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1975, the population was about 50% each Anglo and Hispanic, with a few Native Americans and blacks.

Now that my partner and I are considering another move, I would like to include a little more racial diversity in our criteria.

We have considered moving to Silver City, but what the hell? It is over 88% percent Caucasian! Albuquerque and Santa Fe are also up there in the mid-eighties.

Little Madison, Indiana is less white than that, at not quite 80%.

 I expected Athens, Ohio, a big university town, to have more diversity than Madison, but no! Saturn's Caucasian population is also closer to the mid-eighties.

Of course we are not going to move or not solely based on how non-white prospective communities are. There are all sorts of considerations. This finding is just a surprise.

I remember Hispanics telling me decades ago in Santa Fe that people (mostly Anglos) moving in from California and elsewhere were driving up property values (and consequently taxes) forcing Hispanic and Native American people out of town. It was especially bitter for the Spanish to have this happen, since they are the people who founded the city back in the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Wow. They were not kidding. It diminishes these communities in my eyes, that these populations have become so unbalanced.

There goes a good source of creative tension and cultural diversity.

October 14, 2017
Madison IN

The other day when I was writing about writer's block, I forgot one of the biggest most obvious reasons: depression. Depression can pretty much stop anyone from doing anything. That's always a possibility.

I think busyness is a good candidate too. If you have enough stuff you have to do - especially if you don't particularly want to do it - the only thing you are good for the rest of the time is escapism. And no, obviously, I don't mean business. I mean busyness. People who can stand to do business probably couldn't write at all. No writer's block required.

Ha, ha, yeah, you're right. I'm just being a brat.

Actually I almost didn't write today because this morning I scrubbed floors and then this afternoon I went on a walk and bought soup at Chili, Stew, and Brew (in whatever order) and later went on the every-second-Saturday-of-the-month at 4:00 p.m. expanded tour of the Lanier Mansion.

Now, that is awesome! You get to go up into the bedrooms and cupola and down into the mammoth basement and more! - but I am definitely not going to give away all the surprises and new expanded tour features.

You get a discount if you are over sixty. If you are lucky you will get tour guide Mike Foley. There is supposed to be a ghost (Mrs. Lanier?) who appears in a red gown occasionally but I didn't see her today, nor did anyone else, I think.

I doubt she would grace an unbeliever like myself with her presence.

Curses! The dreaded block has descended upon me - I write no more tonight. 

October 12, 2017
Madison IN

What makes a writer stop writing? Maybe he just starts balking: "I don't feel like writing so I won't." Well, hell, that could just be interpreted as being a perfectly adult way to behave if the only person affected is the writer himself. That's questionable, though; maybe not writing is like smoking. Of course, writing could be like smoking - a self-destructive bad habit.

Maybe a writer starts feeling responsible for possible consequences in a paralyzing way: "Could so-and-so who possibly read my work have done that negative such-and-such?" The possibility that such assumption of influence implies delusions of grandeur is lessened by the ubiquity of the Internet. All it takes is one unbalanced reader. A writer can't simply shrug off possible consequences. Even Stephen King regrets publishing Rage.

Feelings of incompetence and inadequacy could make a person stop writing: "I'm just making a fool of myself." Why, all of a sudden, would a writer care? A recent assumption of the garb of dignity? Couldn't an adjustment of output take care of that?

Guilt about how physically easy writing is? Writing, the way some of us do it anyway, is a breeze. Then again, some writers are not working for visible reward beyond the joy of having a voice. "La la la la la la la." "Do-mi-so-do-so-mi-do."

Maybe some writers quit writing from modesty. Who am I to have the reward of all this attention? This wonderful place in the sun? (Ha, ha, there's the writer's imagination for you!)

Fear of a dearth of readers? If you are writing a journal you want to keep hidden, that is one thing. Nobody who writes on the Internet is trying to do this. Nope.

I used to get hits from Brazil. Almost every day I would get a Brazilian bite. Now, nothing. More recently I could see a hit from China every day or two. Has China's regime weeded out the branch of the Internet I occupy? Well, maybe not. I did get a hit from China yesterday, I see.

In fact, over the course of the last few days while not writing I have gotten a few hits from interesting places.

Maybe I just haven't written because over the weekend I did some heavy Fall cleaning and organizing, then on Monday I got a flu shot that made me sick, and since then my partner has been doing some distracting discombobulating delicious cake-baking.

Maybe I don't have writer's block at all.

Maybe I just have distractions.

What do you know, by six o'clock this morning I have been long-winded enough to make up for several days of peace and quiet.

I hope these ruminations about writer's block prove helpful to someone.

Happy Day, all!

October 6, 2017
Madison IN

Corporations are desperate for help, they say, but they aren't willing to pay more to get it.

People are dying for work, they say, but they aren't willing to work for slave wages and endure subhuman treatment to have it.

It's an interesting blockage we have in our society.

Meanwhile the stock market is going up.

Jacob's ladder.

October 5, 2017
Madison IN

Dream before waking this a.m.:

All of a sudden a lean mean bald man appears in front of us, pointing a gun straight at us, fires one shot then aims at me.

I start to say, "Go ahead, shoot - we're going to die anyway."

Before I had even finished my sentence, my left leg shot out and kicked the gun out of his hand - bang!

My action was completely involuntary, and with it I woke up.

My partner heard a bang also, but I don't think I could have kicked anything that hard ensconced in a sleeping bag!

With regards to my dream - I do hate age-inappropriate baldness!

Also I'm thinking if I can have a dream like that, our whole nation might be at risk now for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Well, no wonder. Shootings, traumatic weather events and political upsets.

And now, yet another hurricane headed towards the U.S.

October 4, 2017 
Lake Hope State Park, Ohio

A couple of weeks ago we read an article about the most beautiful hikes in each of the fifty states. This inspired my partner to get us accommodations nearby to the one listed in Ohio so we could have an early Fall treat.

Yesterday we took the four-hour drive to Lake Hope State Park and set ourselves up in a little cabin with two bunk-beds, since some glitch in the computer program kept him from reserving space at Hocking Hills State Park, our destination.

This morning our GPS gave us a scenic drive from one state park to the other, where, after a little orientation, we embarked on the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous hike we have experienced in a while. "Gorgeous" partly because the trail goes through a rocky gorge past spectacularly formed rocks, caves, and cliffs.

There are several trails to choose from here, but our aim was Grandma's trail, part of the Buckeye Trail which hikers can take across the state. I had never heard there was a walking trail in Ohio! Now I will have to look that up to see exactly where it goes. We are without wi-fi in our campground so I haven't yet been able to research the Buckeye Trail.

I am too full of enthusiasm for the trail we took this morning. There is an architectural feature on the trail that all by itself makes the hike noteworthy, but one of the place's charms is its variety. While pausing for a moment in one of the most grandiose environments, my eyes just happened upon what looked like a miniature landscape in one cliff wall. There, in the midst of a big gorge lined by caves and rocks, was a charming set of tiny caverns with liverwort lawns. It was difficult to believe it is all completely natural, but I'm sure it is.

The six-mile combo of trails we took led us through rocks, riverbank, woodlands and under and by waterfalls, which must be spectacular in the Spring. As we experienced it, the temperature was perfect, the early Fall weather flawless.

My partner said, "Hmmph! This isn't just the most beautiful place in Ohio - it's one of the top ten in the country!"

Impossible to experience, I can't resist adding, by those who think of Ohio as just a fly-over state.

October 2, 2017
Madison IN

The Chautauqua arts fair, while still my favorite Madison festival, seems to have shrunk this year. I'm afraid the artists and crafts people have had too much trouble making ends meet in the last year or two.

It's especially regrettable because this year the weather was perfect!

I celebrated the weather by walking the bridge on Saturday and the Heritage Trail on Sunday, one- and two-hour hikes respectively. Saw a dozen or so turkeys on Sunday in pretty close proximity to a doe and fawn. I wonder if they have any kind of symbiotic relationship going.

Tomorrow we go to Ohio for a couple of days to experience what is supposed to be one of the most beautiful hikes in that state. We'll be in cabins this time around - the life of luxury.

The worst mass murder by one person in U.S. history in Las Vegas, Nevada actually touched us tangentially even here in the Midwest. Some of my family were visiting there this last weekend. The victims and sufferers in Puerto Rico, Houston, Florida are also much in our thoughts. In many ways the last two months have been horrendous for the U.S.

Maybe this is just lip service, but somehow it seems called for by recent events. I just hope the forests we are going to visit have escaped the decimation of wildlife we have seen too often in the last couple of years. On that pessimistic note I welcome in October, 2017.


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