It’s Me Again (Part 9)

March 31

Look around you. Soak up the atmosphere of things. That’s the purpose of life. ~ Colette

What is man? Storyteller, mythmaker, and destroyer of the living world. Thinking with a gabble of reason, emotion, and religion. Lucky accident of primary evolution during the late Pleistocene. Mind of the biosphere. Magnificent in imaginative power and exploratory drive, yet yearning to be more master than steward of a declining planet. Born with the capacity to survive and evolve forever, able to render the biosphere eternal also. Yet arrogant, reckless, lethally predisposed to favor self, tribe, and short-term futures. Obsequious to imagine higher beings, contemptuous toward lower forms of life. ~ Edward O. Wilson

January 22

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

If you are lonely when you are alone, then you are in bad company. ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

[The plight of the lonely icicle . . . ]

Leading to a winter wonderland . . .

Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[When the morning light appeared . . . ]

Advice is like the snow. The softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon and the deeper it sinks into the mind. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea. ~ Dylan Thomas

The smallest snowstorm on record took place an hour ago in my back yard. It was approximately two flakes. I waited for more to fall, but that was it. ~ Richard Brautigan

It was the kind of snow that brought children running out their doors, made them turn their faces skyward, and spin in circles with their arms outstretched. ~ Eowyn Ivey

The world was furred with late spring snow. It was the soft, thick stuff that excites you unless you are driving or half dead, packing snow already falling in caterpillars off the greening branches. ~ Marian Engel

At the winter solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare, and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow. ~ Gary Zukav

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez

The hard soil and four months of snow make the inhabitants of the northern temperate zone wiser and abler than his fellow who enjoys the fixed smile of the tropics. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers. ~ Kahlil Gibran

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold. ~ Aristotle

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different. ~ J.B. Priestley

The wind crooned softly as it dusted the snow against the windows, wrapping them in a thick and fluffy cotton blanket. ~ Soheir Khashoggi

When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on clouds. ~ Takayuki Ikkaku

January 23

Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else. ~ Ogden Nash

[After CommEd movies (every other Monday), a variable group of attendees matriculates to Longtrees Woodfire Grill for the evening’s repast . . . ]

Me to 99.99 percent of men: Please speak to me like an intelligent adult. Me to my financial advisor: Please speak to me like I’m the dumbest person ever to live on this planet. ~ Sophie Vershbow

The art of love is largely the art of persistence. ~ Albert Ellis

January 25

The fact that man is capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected from him, that he is able to perform what is infinitely improbable. ~ Hannah Arendt

[Throwing in little family for fun. Brother Cam and sister-in-law Karen from Mounds View (middle) visited relatives in Colorado . . . ]

The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets. ~ Mark Twain

[That Dad’s sister, Aunt Pearl, with Cam . . . ]

A luxury, once enjoyed, becomes a necessity. ~ C. Northcote Parkinson

[Another evening of Wednesday night fine dining at Lure Lakebar . . . ]

You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy. ~ Singer Nightbirde

[The group varies from 8 to 18 depending upon individual availability . . . ]

Hollywood is like high school with money. ~ Michael Ovitz

January 26

Geologists divide the Cenozoic Era into seven epochs, each defined by its combination of distinctive environments and the kind of plants and animals living in them. ~ Edward O. Wilson

[Meanwhile, back at the next winter semester session of senior college, emeritus professor Roger Schultz leads A Travelogue of Western Drama and Theatre . . . ]

First in time was the Paleocene Epoch, an interval of 10 million years during which the diversity of life rebounded through evolution from the end-of-Mesozoic catastrophe. ~ Edward O. Wilson

[In this session, we “students” acted in a play narrated by Roger . . . ]

Then came in succession the Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene Epochs. The sixth epoch in the progression was the Pleistocene, a time of advancing and retreating continental glaciers. ~ Edward O. Wilson

[Here, as noted, the Characteristics of Romanticism . . . ]

The final epoch, formally recognized by geologists and the one in which we live, is the Holocene. Begun 11,700 years ago, when the latest of the continental glaciers began to retreat [i.e., Lake Superior is only 10,000 years old], it brought a milder climate and what may have been briefly the highest peak in numbers of species in the history of life. ~ Earl O. Wilson

[Featured here are students Kevin, Dave, Alice, and John, whose royalty checks may, or may not, be in the mail . . . ]

The dawn of the Holocene also found humanity newly settled throughout almost all of Earth’s habitable land. ~ Edward O. Wilson

Extinction events are not especially rare in geological time. They have occurred in randomly varying magnitude throughout the history of life. Those that are truly apocalyptic, however, have occurred at only about hundred-million-year intervals. ~ Edward O. Wilson

There have been five such peaks of destruction of which we have record, the latest being Chicxulub. Earth required roughly ten million years to recover from each. This is the reason that the peak of destruction that humanity has initiated is often called the Sixth Extinction. ~ Edward O. Wilson

Many authors have suggested that Earth is already different enough to recognize the end of the Holocene and replace it with a new geological epoch. The new favored name . . . is the Anthropocene, the Epoch of Man. ~ Edward O. Wilson

[The irrepressible Dave . . . ]

“The Anthropocene,” far-distant geologists might say,”unfortunately married swift technological progress with the worst of human nature. What a terrible time it was for people, and for the rest of life.” ~ Edward O. Wilson

[A local couple of note . . . ]

The biosphere, compared to the immense bulk of the planet as a whole, is razor-thin and negligible in weight. Plastered on the surface like a membrane, it cannot be seen sideways with unaided vision from a vehicle orbiting outside Earth’s atmosphere. ~ Edward O. Wilson

We remain organisms absolutely dependent on other organisms. People can live unaided by our artifacts only in bits and slivers of the biosphere, and even there we are severely constrained. ~ Edward O. Wilson

[And here are Van, Esther, (I’m sorry), and Dave . . . ]

We obey the Rule of Threes used by the military and others in survival training: You can live for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter or proper clothing in freezing cold, three days without water, and three weeks without food. ~ Edward O. Wilson

A small percentage of invasive species cause major damage, with the potential of reaching catastrophic levels. They include species whose destructiveness has made them household names. Their swiftly growing roster includes the imported fire ant, Asian termite (“the termite that ate New Orleans”), gypsy moth, emerald elm beetle, zebra mussel, Asian carp, snakehead, two species of python, and the West Nile virus. ~ Edward O. Wilson

Human beings are not exempt from the iron law of species interdependency. We were not inserted as ready-made invasives into an edenic world. Nor were we intended by providence ro rule that world. The biosphere does not belong to us; we belong to it. ~ Edward O. Wilson

I am convinced that only by setting aside half the planet in reserve, or more, can we save the living part of the environment and achieve the stabilization required for our own survival. ~ Edward O. Wilson

You know it’s bad when a former president announces that he’s going to be arrested and the general response is, ‘For which crime?’ ~ James Corden

You’ve got to give it to him. It’s not often that everyone sends out a save-the-date for their own arrest. ~ Jimmy Fallon

It’s the calm before the Stormy. ~ Jimmy Kimmel

Up Next: Even more of the same – still trying to catch up . . .

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