Tuesday, September 26, 2017


You do not appreciate calm if you do not occasionally tussle with it. Today dawned cloudy but calm. How grand is that!

In the late hours of the night I had been reading a book out of my newest mystery series craze. It's written from the perspective of a village chief of police in rural France. He is the kind of guy you love for his wisdom, strength, and kindness to the disenfranchised, and, too, for his appreciation for good food and honest wines. (In the series, he lives in the Perigord region -- plenty of duck fat and Bergerac wine appears in the storyline.) But at the beginning of one chapter, the author -- the very talented Martin Walker -- has the police chief speculating on how it would be if he really was as calm, learned, fair and hardworking as he appeared to be. He had mastered the appearance of virtue even as he thought himself to be less than hardworking and sometimes quite biased and too easily flustered.

I thought about Ocean then: in my repetitive search for calm, do I mean to suggest that I have mastered its challenges? Of course not. I am reminded here of a quote from the Vietnam series now airing on PBS, where one American Army combatant and platoon leader tells us that the war had the capacity to turn good, honest young men, who back home would help an old lady across the street, into men of rage (and worse).

We're not programmed to be calm and there is much in this world that can fuel our rage. I want to steer clear of that kind of provocation. Calm, as a goal, is a far far nicer partner in life than rage or fury (especially of the type that, in the words of Macbeth, signifies nothing).

The morning is still warm, but not so warm as in the previous days. Perfect for a leisurely breakfast on the porch.

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I suggest that we take a walk along the rural roads. You'll see the same prairie here that I passed a few days ago! Still lovely, even in these last days of September...

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I am reminded of a song about a peaceful prairie. It's a French song that I listened to decades ago. Back then, if you heard something oh, say in France, on the radio, the path to bringing it home, to your own record player (or later CD player) was a long one and success was not guaranteed. How things have changed! YouTube, iTunes, Google -- they'll bring it up on your device or computer within seconds.

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Yeah, change: that phenomenon that disrupts, displaces and leaves some wealthy and others angry. I ask Ed -- what will be the next great disruptor?
Oh, artificial intelligence for sure...

We'll see if something else doesn't surprise us first.

I pick up Snowdrop at her school playground. She slept! Oh, don't I know it - she is spirited and happy.

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Let's go to the park, grandma...

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(At the park...)

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On the way to the farmette, we are surprised: two sandhill cranes are still with us, seeking feed in the fields across the road from us. Snowdrop is delighted!
They're here to say goodbye before they fly south -- I tell her.
She is enthralled.

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And so am I.

Tomorrow autumnal cool returns. And that's a good thing. We're ready for it.