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

August 25, 2019
Madison, IN

Well, obviously Rumilluminations is running down. Maybe Ruminotions or Illuminashuns are in order, precisely because they may be out of order.

At any rate, let the article stand for now. Who knows, with a change of household schedule Rumilluminations may be reinvigorated.

Maybe my desire to write is dampened by the sad fact that these days news looks more like noose and writing down observations feels more like trying to grope through obfuscations.

These can take many forms: my formative reality has become more and more obfuscated by current reality which seems more and more virtual, in more ways than one.

We are literally looking at a world with less sunlight than when I was young. True? I don't know. Maybe my reading or my fake no-longer-new cataract-free lenses are giving me a different spectrum than many of the rest of you.

Maybe I am not alone. Perhaps so many older people move South to try to recapture the light and warmth and immunity to cold they experienced in their childhoods.

My world looks darker now, though, and I don't think it is merely my age or the lenses I am peering through.

Another thing that seems more virtual is my own reality in the eyes of the young. Maybe older people have always felt this way. I have certainly heard (or read?) the complaint from older folks that they feel invisible. Maybe I feel technology is responsible for this because the young are holding their cellphones while they are looking through me or are driving vehicles through my lawfully permitted share of pavement where I might have been for all they cared.

Maybe I just feel this way because everyone wants everyone else to shut up and stay out of their way.

At any rage, ha ha, I'll let that stand, Four vehicles (three of them big trucks) drove in rapid succession through my legally assigned crosswalk before I felt I could cross the main intersection downtown. I had to stand up to my full height, raise my arm and maybe for a second my middle finger yelling "Duck you! Duck you!" (Ha, ha, I'll let that stand, too it is literally more accurate) before the driver of the fourth vehicle lifted his foot off the accelerator. He still could not stop before crossing my path and why stop after?

So I am the crazy lady. I called the police station the next day to speak with someone in charge of traffic control and left a message (not my story) for a call back. It has been almost a week and I haven't got the call. I guess I will just have to avoid that intersection by walking an avoidance route.

So should I write? Why bother? To me the world seems dimmer and dimmer and interesting the way a game is interesting, or a bad movie.

My rant is done, I must be gone...

That reminds me. Someone tried to commit suicide by driving into the Ohio River a block from us last week. He was rescued and is okay, at least physically.

I am not suicidal. I must (personally) be gone to make our morning coffee.

I merely believe our whole society is suicidal.

No big deal.

August 10, 2019
Madison, IN

I don't know when it finally dawned on me that you have to wait about fifty years - at least! - to find out the real truth about "current" event happenings and "facts" told you by your friends and family about their lives.

At the time I realized this it didn't bother me too much. Oh, sure, it was aggravating, but truth will out. Eventually.

Now that I am seventy-two, however, this bothers me more than it used to. Let's face it, I probably will not be living in 2069 when the real truth about Jeffrey Epstein's death comes out.

The immediate suspicion about the death of this bastard extraordinaire is that he really didn't commit suicide at all, but that he was discontinued for someone else's convenience.

On the other hand, he might have felt that he had had a good run, and the next decades weren't going to be nearly as much fun as his previous had been. Fun for him, that is.

Those of us who are thanking our more humble appetites or perhaps our superior virtues for not suffering his fate - yet - can take only small consolation in the fact that we have a future considering the horrible stories it might hold for us who have had occasion to play the elder card.

Hmm... it just occurred to me that people in the future might have compelling reasons to prevaricate even about events that lie a century and more in the past.

Or should that be called postverication?

Dang. Now I find myself wondering what prevarication could possibly be?

I'm always making more work for myself.

Hmm... having looked up prevaricate I think its meaning is a lot more fuzzy and complicated than the simple word lie is.

I am so happy I looked it up! It will come in very handy - especially since a lot of people won't know what exactly I am saying when I use it.

Hell, I probably won't either!

August 9, 2019
Madison, IN

Yesterday I again decided to walk in the shade as much as possible on my way up the Heritage Trail. This route took me past the John Paul park from which I had seen a hawk fly a week or so before.

This time I saw him in a yard on the other side of the street, fluttering around near the ground, then up on a branch maybe eight feet from the ground. He (or she!) had a beautiful striped tail and spotted breast. He was harassing a squirrel almost his size, who didn't seem nearly as bothered as I would be if he were coming after me!

I mentioned him to a neighbor a few houses down and she said there were four of them around. She reported that his back was red which would make him a red-shouldered hawk, I guess. I didn't detect any red on him myself, but maybe I had neglected to remove my polarized sunglasses.

Pretty wild sighting, but the park borders a playing field which in turn is in close proximity to Crooked Creek which borders the lower part of town to the north and the cemetery farther west.

Great hunting territory for some urban wildlife! I never even made it to the Heritage Trail.

August 7, 2019
Madison, IN

I'm become a racist, all right. An anti-white racist.

How awkward for me.

I'm becoming more and more aware of the fact that the sins of our forefathers are also the sins of our brothers and they are by no means rare or obsolete occurrences, as I used to believe.

So. It's one thing to talk about the swing of the pendulum but it is another thing to experience it in one's own adulthood.

It's more than awkward - it is devastating.

August 1, 2019
Madison, IN

Testing, testing well what do you know. I did what years ago the tech told me to do to speed things up and it worked! Took me too long to remember the trick. No longer do I have to wait two seconds for a letter to appear on my screen.

Last weekend was pretty exciting here in Madison. Three old buildings are getting fixed up for future use and were open for tours. Two will be apartment buildings and one will be a convention center. So wonderful for Madison!

The old cotton mill that is the most obvious landmark as you come across the bridge from Milton all derelict and obviously vacant, is not always as vacant as it looks. Depressing as it has been in recent years, that is about to change, and I for one am pretty excited about it. It is a lovely location to meet, with great views of the river and the hills beyond.

Another big old building on the other end of town will become affordable housing for seniors the equivalent of about a block from the river with lawn and woods in between.. Originally a warehouse for starch made closer to the river, it went through other transformations including use as a tack factory. This building has interesting windows way at the top which will actually provide clerestory illumination for some of the apartments. Exciting!

The future holds promise for people who might want to move here (hint, hint.) Very charming and affordable!

July 31 (?) 2019
Mad... simply mad, perhaps

My bad workmanship I must simply blame on my tools. My poor Kindle is degenerating at a rate faster than I am... I think...

On the other hand, technology tries to correct my "errors" at a rate I cannot keep up with.

e. e. cummings would find this intolerable and quite frankly so do I.

Miracle! I'm not hiding! Just incapable of performing a strip tease to a dirge.

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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