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23 April 2011

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Redhand

If I may wax philosophical while commenting on the weather and seasonal change, Spring this year has had a hard time getting here. Even today here in NJ we are plagued by bitter cold rain and unseasonably cool weather.

If I am reminded of anything by this, it is just how frail and transitory human life is on this volatile and changeable planet. I also keep thinking of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and tectonic plates, and how humanity is now thought to have evolved and shown staying power precisely because of climate change and environmental chaos.

Natural disasters are one thing, but the disasters we bring on ourselves because of human nature give even more food for thought. Evolution run amok because of human competitiveness and its attendant evils--homicide, oppression, slavery, wars and devil take the hindmost in general--readily invite comparison to the murderous tendencies of chimpanzees, except that we are so much better at it given our "skills."

I do not consider myself particularly religious, but the one thing that does give me hope in this world come every Spring is the Christian message of [at least temporal] salvation through self sacrifice in the service of others. That's probably the main thing I will be mediating on tomorrow when my wife and I venture to Newark Cathedral to observe Easter Mass.

Fiorangela

Thank you for your meditation and good wishes, sister of Patrick. Especially poignant is your wish for enjoyment with family and friends. On holy days like this I think of people who have no friends and family to share a holiday meal.
Cnanneling Redhand, the solution to that isolated status is to engage in Christian service. Jesus was a pretty savvy psychologist - student of human nature.

My favorite springtime poem is by Robert Frost --

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

It reminds me that beautiful projects start out with the best intentions but inevitably, "go down to day." But the spring comes around every year, bringing new hope for new beginnings.

graywolf

Do you know why they moved from NY to Va?
St. Lawrence county winters?

Patrick Lang

graywolf

They did not. I did. They moved to Minnesota, then N. Dakota, then the west coast. We are talking about the Langs. My father joined the Army in 1916 and left the flow. His mother's family was named Bills. They were English Protestants who arrived in New England 1620-1635 but followed much the same trajectory as the Langs in the 19th Century when the two flows met in Minnesota. pl

The Twisted Genius

My family arrived in New England, via Ellis Island, 300 years after yours. My father moved to Fryeburg, Maine from Connecticut when he retired. Connecticut taxes annoyed him more than winter in the Maine woods.

Spring in Virginia is indeed wonderful. The wild redbuds and dogwoods just light up the woods. My youngest son and I just planted four Kwanzan cherry trees behind his new house in Richmond. Even they flowered. Now we have to baby them through the Virginia summer... a season so extreme, it shrivels my New England soul.

Patrick Lang

TTG

Funny thing, far as we can tell nobody in my ancestry was ever drafted and the last into N. America were some Germans from Franconia in 1850. I don't think there was an Ellis Island then. The Irish Langs seemed to have left Ireland because they did not like the land tenure system. Not very dramatic. They were freeholders but they held "three lifetime leases" and no one would sell them land in fee simple, so they said to hell with it, sold their freehold leases and went to St. Lawrence
County where they bought farms. pl

jonst

I buggin you Col, by repeating this....but you GOTTA read this book:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/gergen/march99/gergen_3-15.html

pj

I know a little of the region as my youngest is a junior at a very good liberal arts college there -- www.stlawu.edu.

Curiously,St. lawrence county is one of the poorest counties in New York, while just north of the river, you have a quite prosperous secion of Canada.

Patrick Lang

pj

I guess it was better than Ireland even for "freeholders." pl

different clue

The japanese quince flower photo is very nice too.

I remember a vastly simpler bit of doggerel about gardens :

The sound of the wind for laughter,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.

pj

Likely so. Since you've had a movie column recently and I greatly enjoyed 9th company. Perhaps, I could recommend Frozen River, which is set in the North Country, as they call the New York Counties that border Canada in that region.

By the way, there is a big Remington museum in Ogdensburg.

different clue

Something about my doggerel-sample as remembered left me disatisfied. I went back to the source and it is real verse and better than I remembered.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The joy of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.

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