It’s forty degrees this Tuesday morning, June the ninth. A light, cold rain is falling in the yard and on the streets outside my door. But I am on the safe, warm, dry side of the window that is providing me this weather report.
Yesterday when Robin and I took our exercise walk high up on a ridge overlooking Montrose we were battling yet more wind. There were places where the hiking path runs close to the edge of the escarpment, and I chose my steps carefully to avoid being puffed off into space.
After living in basically quiet air for the first five years here in Paradise, this breezy spring has been a revelation. Something to contend with, actually.
Our new yard sign hasn’t reached us as yet, but we’ve already resolved to send it back. The story here is that Robin originally told me that she wanted to place a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the berm out front. To show solidarity with the Minneapolis protesters, even though we live a long way from my old home town.
In my wisdom, I suggested that perhaps one of those “All Lives Matter” signs might suit our community better since we have so few black citizens in Montrose County. So the order for the sign went in this way.
Shortly after that I became aware that not only was this a poor idea, it was a very very bad idea, and we were about to promote the opposite of what we meant. ALM has come to be the catchphrase of racists, white supremacists, and some of the other ugly varieties of homo sapiens, even though on the surface it seems admirable enough. And once you get into discussions that turn on cultural interpretations of a word or phrase, it can only end in confusion and rancor. One of the drawbacks of living in small town America is that it is easier to miss or be oblivious to those discussions of context.
So mea culpa. BLM it is from here on in. It’s what Robin was going to say until she made the mistake of listening to me. It’s not the first time she’s made that error. I keep trying to tell her … you’d think she’d learn by now.
From The New Yorker
P. Cluck recently made headlines just by walking across the street to church, as shown in this photo taken on the church steps along with some of his hangers-on.
Of course, the news was how he got across that street, which was by gassing and knocking down all of the troublesome people who were in his path.
“Cracking liberal heads is not doing them any harm,” said Cluck. “In fact, a fracture or two might let some sense in.” His staff was noted to nod continuously in agreement, reminiscent of a line of bobble-head dolls. In fact, they began to nod even before Cluck had begun speaking, and continued for an hour after he had stopped.
Camping Report from Vega State Park for the Weekend of June 5-7
It stank. Wind and intermittent rain on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. Enough wind to completely wreck Justin’s tent and tear off a chunk from ours.
Enough wind to make fishing impossible. Enough wind to shrink down the window for safe kayaking/canoeing to about an hour. Enough wind to make hiking and biking nasty as sand particles whistled past (and into) your face at 50+ miles an hour. Enough wind to complicate cooking because your Coleman stove blew over unless you watched it carefully.
Steady winds of at least 30 mph with frequent gusts up to … don’t know for sure … but probably near 60-70 mph? However, on the positive side, we had no problems with insects. They were unable, poor creatures, to fly in such a gale.
As this week we have been watching yet another act in the ongoing tragedy called Being Black and White in America, it helps me to look back to another era of great ferment. James Baldwin was a force in the sixties in our political and cultural life. His books, his essays, and his public speeches all taken together were basically a correspondence course on racism for a young and impressionable young American (like myself, for instance).
He was recorded at Cambridge Union in England where he debated William F. Buckley on whether there was a place in the American Dream for negroes. Mr. Baldwin’s oration was a milestone of a sort. The clarity of his vision and the strength of his intellect shine a light from that day all the way to the events of this past week.
Here is that speech for anyone who has 24 minutes to spare.