Sunday, April 27, 2008

The end of the world

Mud caldron

Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Today’s prompt addresses the end of the world and this poem popped into my head. It was assigned to memorize in Junior High in the days before it was renamed Middle School. There was an alternate poem that was assigned which is the one I learned (since everyone else had picked Frost which was the shorter poem). I was generally determined to go against the flow back in those days. I wound up learning Fire and Ice as well since I had to hear it recited 10 times by my peers.
With my current fears about Global Warming, I wonder if the world will end not in fire or ice, but in liquid water. I used to ponder the fate of California when the San Andreas Fault would give way and send Los Angeles and neighbors back into the ocean. Now I ponder Manhattan, Los Angeles and many other major metropolitan areas underwater, kind of like the scene in Planet of the Apes when the hero finds the Statue of Liberty half buried in sand.
Of course, Global Warming will not end the planet, it will merely reshape it. We humans will migrate north to a warm and temperate inland Alaska, for example. There may be fewer humans and larger deserts but people will survive and continue to spoil our planet. People my age grew up during the Cold war and worried about nuclear weapons pointed at major cities in the U.S. We watched movies and read novels of post-Apocalyptic eras. A similar topic came up in conversation with my older son just a few days ago as he is currently reading Brave New World. He found this story less violent than a nuclear apocalypse but nonetheless representing a frightening future.
Nowadays we have “weapons of mass destruction,” and germ warfare. Anthrax, ricin, smallpox, dynamite and airplanes are wielded in our nightmares. But climate change remains my greatest fear. Perhaps we can defend ourselves against the threats posed by a dangerous, evil, insane few. But the threat our species poses en masse, due to avarice, waste and ignorance, that threat we can and must deal with. Not the end of the world, perhaps. Merely the end of the world as we know and love it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yes, I'm Back

Canon Under Glass

Barring further family disasters, vacations, computer malfunctions (one is still not on-line), and exams, I should be able to get back to posting. This has been a busy month and I need to get back to the blog.
The past week has seen my younger son on vacation and my older son frantically cramming for AP exams, SAT's and finals. High school should not be allowed during childhood. Personally, I just got back my medical board recertification results and passed! Do I consider the $2000 well spent? Not. Especially when I have to recertify in my other board specialty next year and in both on a ten year cycle. Being a doctor is expensive (and don't get me going on malpractice insurance)!
Spring is here, the white throat sparrows are singing like crazy in my back yard, the starlings are building a nest in my new gutters, and the back addition to my house is finished (photos to follow one of these days) which means it is time to try to rebuild the back yard which is now a muddy wasteland.
I'm booking patients into the summer which means I have to start planning the next vacation. This summer's plans need to include college tours. I hope son #1 likes schools in good places to visit in July.
Well, son #2 and I have a date to watch a DVD--I think the menu has Enchanted on it. I'll let you know if it is worth watching.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not photo enabled

I'm typing off a borrowed computer so I can't download my photos. I feel withdrawal pains! I'll be able to post more regularly if I ever get a working computer of my own. I'll tell you, trouble shooting a computer can be challenging. I love the part when you get a message from the system to the tune of: "If nothing you have tried yet works, please contact your IT department." What IT department morons? This is a home computer. I am the IT department. How about giving us better documentation? How about giving us documentation that doesn't require internet access? Hard to fix a broken internet connection when the help function tries to log you onto the net. Sigh.
Lots of work today and then a few days off. I hope this means regular posting soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quick update

Life has been strange of late. I now own two computers without a working internet connection.
We've also had some family sorrows that I can't go into in more detail.
As someone must have said once, "I'll be back."
Suffice to say, I'm alive, well enough and hope to get back to blogging shortly.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Vintage Photo

Who is he and what was he thinking? It is so easy to make assumptions. He looks like any other young boy forced to endure a studio portrait. He is bored, tired, hot and hates the clothes he has to wear. Unlike the children in modern photographs , he is not told to say "cheese." He is expected to look serious so no one tries to divert him or make him laugh. Someone loved him once to make him sit through what was likely a costly session. Someone saved the photo over the years and did not allow it to be lost or destroyed. That someone is now long dead, as is, most likely, the boy. The photo passed from hand to hand until the last person who knew him was gone.
I imagine the photo placed in an old shoe box by someone clearing out an attic or basement or closet. The box is labeled "Lot 1--vintage photographs" with 30 other photos ranging from the pictures of the boy's next of kin to faded 60's snapshots from family vacations and weddings. Now all are a jumble in search of meaning.
An antique dealer picks up the photos for $5 for the lot. He prices them in pencil on the back and tosses them in a shoe box of his own.
Like the ragged teddy bear of some children's tale, he waits to be adopted. And along I come, curious or compulsive, and decide to rescue him. Why not own a small, meaningless piece of someone's history--what the thrift stores refer to as "instant relatives?" Perhaps the stranger's boy is more interesting than my mythical great-great uncle Elmer would have been.
Albert Einstein once said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
I'd like to imagine that this child will live on in the imaginations of those who view his picture if not in the actual memories of his family. If nothing else, it is a nice thought.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Shore Birds

Words still aren't flowing but the birds were. Another assortment of southern birds.


Pelican in flight.


A grey heron with freshly caught dinner.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Owl 2

I have to rush off to work but I thought I'd share another two vacation photos. This photo op really made my day. I've never seen an owl in the wild and this day we saw at least five. But that will have to be another post since I'm in a rush.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Not in the Writing Mood

Katrina Residue

So here's a picture.
From Bay St. Louis, Mississippi--a community nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and now still rebuilding.