Monthly Archives: February 2012

Palm Tree on Kauai East Shore

Like a Natural Spring

Kapaa, Kauai

Palm trees are built to feather the wind. In a hurricane they absorb the wind’s energy like a natural spring, releasing it between gusts. In a light breeze each grassy leaf acts independently, cupping and then quickly spilling the wind by pivoting slightly. The effect is to make every puff of the air flowing through the tree distinctly visible, while transmitting almost no energy to the trunk, having little in the way of a rigid branch system to do so anyway. Brilliant.

This morning I watched a mother sandpiper and her two chicks hunt for insects in the sand and dried leaves at this tree’s base. It was as tender a domestic scene as any family outing by any other species.

Woke up this morning hearing magpies calling to each other outside my window. Wikipedia says they are fiercely territorial and very smart. in fact they are the only animal that recognizes itself in a mirror. I’d love to know what a magpie uses this skill for. It seems to be a hardship to most humans.

Island Song

The palm grass asks to be anointed
And lowly stalk becomes a bower
A sleepy sea minds not it’s mounts
Lifting armies to deliver
The requiem smithed from simple tunes
Rolls crescendos ever higher
A broken heart unseen in grieving
Hears heaven’s song in neighbor’s chatter

The Pain of Being a Man

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

–Samuel Johnson

Portland Storm

rain smears the windshield
blurry claymation runners–
leaves and dogs float by

George “Shining Path” Romney

George Romney is a man on a mission from God. Descended from a long line of church leaders, he has worked for years to fulfill his Mormon destiny by becoming President of the USA. A former Mormon stake leader — the equivalent of a cardinal in the Roman catholic church — Romney is the wildly successful religious insurgent who is carrying out the expressed purpose of the church’s founders, namely to literally take political control of the country. The presidency for him is as much a theological post as it is a political one. While the wing nuts worry about Islamic extremists and sharia law infiltrating government, the beast with the fixed gaze of the righteous, taught in the church from birth that lying is OK if it protects the church’s interests, slouches towards the temple. Abraham Lincoln said if the USA were to disintegrate, the threat would not be external, but come from within. Lucky for us the beast has plastic hair, a spinning moral compass and acts like an action figure from Toy Story 3.

Goat Rodeo in Boston

I saw Yoyo Ma’s live broadcast of the Goat Rodeo sessions last night in a local theater. As a string band musician of very modest talent but a huge appreciation for the genuine article, it was a joyous thrill ride through American roots music elevated to high art by great masters, easily on par with Aaron Copeland and others who have mined this rich vein. For an encore they played Bach, including a bowed bass playing an equally challenging melodic line as any other. Incredible. A goat rodeo is a term used by pilots referring a situation where a hundred things have to go right in order to be able to walk away from it. Considering that this felt like a four part, lyrical, aerial ballet by close order jet fighter planes, the title seems appropriate.