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Saturday, June 8, 2013




Saturday,  9:00 AM.  53 degrees F, wind NE, light.  The sky is clear except for some haze in the east.  We had a rain shower last night that left us  about .10".  the humidity is rather high at 82% and the barometer is down, at 29.98", presaging more rain.But for now it is a fine morning.
    We are heading for the Milwaukee area today to visit relatives for the weekend, but I will probably blog anyway since I now have this snazzy new MacPro laptop.
   Flowering crabapple trees are finally blooming.  The Oregon grape holly in the herb garden is in full bloom, as happy as it would be in its native Cascade Mountain habitat.  The female cones on the tamarack look like miniature roses.  The native red elderberry, Sambucus pubens, is covered with umbels of white flowers.  Although it flowers and fruits quite nicely, it has gotten way too big for its britches and will have to be taken down a size or two.
   The scandals blooming daily now in Washington, DC rival all the blossoms of spring in their diversity and extravagance, if not their beauty or their fragrance. The potato field is overrun with thistles, and  we hardly know where to start the hoeing.
   I was talking yesterday with an acquaintance and we concluded that the current condition of the nation is getting pretty close to why our ancestors left the Old Country for these new American shores.  And, it wasn't that long ago, either.
   Our grandparents and great-grandparents  came here from Europe (you can expand that today to Asia, Latin America and other regions) not only because there was some nasty, eccentric old tyrant of a king running the country down and making their lives miserable, although that was sometimes the case.
  More exactly they fled from oppressive, big Hobsian governments: unrepresentative parliaments that taxed them nearly to starvation;  huge bureaucracies that stifled every human initiative with senseless rules and regulations dreamed up by people with not enough work to do;  nameless ministers who poked and prodded into every aspect of their sorry little lives; corruption at every turn; generals that took their sons for cannon fodder, and bishops that took their daughters for nuns; and finally the secret police that spied on their every suspect move and took family members away in the dead of the night, never to return.  We may not be on our way to Siberia or Auschwitz yet but the train is at the station waiting, with a full head of steam. We have only shuffle mutely on board before it leaves.
    The last of the Old World monarchs seldom had either talent or courage in amounts great enough to do much good or much evil, but nonetheless bestrode a vast and rapacious Leviathan that willed all and consumed all, and that they could not control nor even dismount.  Which is about where President Obama sits right now.
    That's why our grandparents left The Old Country, never to return and seldom, if ever to speak of the lands of their birth.  Would that we could conjure their shades, and ask them the questions we all now ask ourselves.

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