Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thoughts while waiting for fall colors.

The thoughts are metastasizing.  Need to eat dinner before I can bring them under control. 5:13 p.m.

It's now 6:10, and my thoughts are now fueled by organic tomato soup and bread from a local artisan (fancy!) bakery. 

The above photo was taken in front of my son Greg's house on Bell Lane.  It's the seed capsule of a fascinating plant in the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.  It's sometimes called Love in a mist.  But also called Ragged Lady and Devil in the Bush.  These names reflect our ambivalence about such things as love and the devil.  To add to the mystique of this plant, the scientific name is Nigella damascena.  It's a native of southern Europe and the Middle East, the specific epithet referring to Damascus, Syria.  The name Nigella reminds me of Nutella (r) which is another sort of etymology challenge.  And thoughts of Syria bring me to Muslims and Dr. Ben Carson.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Wait!  What in heck does that mean? 

The Nutella folks want it to be pronounced new-tella, but who can resist a nut?  Go to their website and you'd think it's a healthy combination of hazelnuts and a little bit of chocolate.  Go to other sources, maybe even the product label (I haven't looked) and you'll find the main two ingredients are sugar and "modified" palm oil.  Oh, oh.  Do we have a "health food" product here?  Turns out this brand is produced in many places, and the formula varies from place to place.  Sometimes contains soy products.  They promise no peanuts.  In any case, I don't trust it.

As for Ben Carson, who was evidently very good at brain surgery, he recently said no Muslim should be elected President of the United States.  That's because Sharia Law basically says one must live his religion at all times and in all places, so if we had a Muslim president, that would conflict with our Constitutionally guaranteed "separation of church and state."  In fact, he said, due to our history, we should obviously elect a president who "would swear on a stack of Bibles to uphold our Constitution."  Go figure!  And why a stack of Bibles.  Isn't one sufficient?  By the way, God is not mentioned in our Constitution, and the oath of office, which is mentioned, does not contain the word God.  George Washington added it during his inauguration and it's now one of our main memes. 
These big, black ants, like many black birds, are terribly misunderstood and under appreciated.  Henry Thoreau and I, along with the great E. O. Wilson, have spent a lot of time watching ants.  They really seem to "know" what they are doing.  They do a lot of very important work.  Some species love to invade households that are careless with food.  If you can read Chris Van Allsburg's Two Bad Ants without falling in love with ants, I feel sorry for you.  I guess the ant theme crept into this verbal adventure because my classes have been reading J. Drew Lanham's "Birding While Black" and "9 Rules for the Black Bird Watcher."  Black birds and black people are often treated just as badly as black ants simply for being black.  Sick.
The above quote from Jon Stewart nicely sums up Dr. Ben Carson's problem.  Fundamentalist religion can render people incapable of understanding the Constitution's intention regarding religion.  Worse: it can render them unwilling to try to understand.
So, I have to end this adventure on a positive note - although what I've already said here can be seen as positive in the sense of shedding light where it needs to be shed.  So, I drove down Jackson Street early this morning, knowing I wanted this blog post to end with this photo, and got several pictures showing that the Autumn Crocus is very beautiful even while dying.  The stems have collapsed, and they and their petals will soon dissolve and become a part of the soil along with the pine needles and leaves nearby.  The bulbs will have a nice winter beneath the surface and greet us early in the spring with green leaves.  That's my hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment