That cold north wind

Where I live in the San Francisco Bay area, the wind blows in from the Pacific Ocean.  Either the wind blows straight in through the Golden Gate and heads east, or it comes up from Monterey bringing rain from the southwest, and heads north-east. 

On rare occasions like tonight, the wind blows down out of the north. 

Tonight is colder, dryer. 

The wind beats against the house making unaccustomed noises. 

Since the wind almost always blows from within about 30 degrees of the compass, all the local trees take a landward set to the limbs.  Strong winds from the Pacific merely bow the trees the usual way.  When these cold north winds come through, they open up the trees and spread the limbs in wild and angry ways.  The trees seem to be shaking and threatening with every gesture. 

Casa Crowndot has not actually been uprooted yet.  But the sound of the angry trees makes me think they and the wind have a plan. 


A father's heart

However it is that we store up memories from the past, the result of the process (if not the process itself) seems as unique as each individual doing the remembering. 

I have seen articles about brain research that describe connections among neurons in the brain.  One thing that seems to be coming to light is that repeated patterns of thought create wider and more interconnected neural pathways. 

In the quiet of the rocking chair a nursing mother may have time to "store up all these things in her heart" in a way that fathers never do.  During the ensuing years, does the mother have time to revisit and keep strong these treasures of the heart?  Probably depends on the mother, doesn't it?

The way a father experiences his child is different.  Think cinema:  mother and child is soft lighting and a camera slowly panning around from a discrete distance with romantic musical score;  dad and kid is stroboscopic short cuts from an action movie with heavy metal.  That's the way it gets engraved in the brain. 

The way a father revisits his memories is different.  Fewer repetitions perhaps.  Less time per visit.  Mixing in of current circumstances. 

There is / were probably good evolutionary reasons for these differences, and given enough time I could probably come up with a story.  But that's not what I want to talk about.  (This is the part where your curmudgeonly host reveals his hidden nature.  Aw...)

My memories of my children are less visual ("I remember just how he looked..."), less verbal ("I remember thinking..."), than they are other-sensory.  I remember the feel of the muscles on my first son's back; I remember the feel of number two son's curly hair -- and the impossibly fine feel of my daughter's hair.  And I remember (and recognize to this day) the smell of the crowns of their heads.  I am confident I could have picked out my babies in the dark by scent alone. 

Recently I was given a scanned picture of my daughter, age four, in a smocked dress.  I honestly can't say I remember the day the picture was taken.  I remember the picture.  But what I want to point out is what the picture evokes:  a scent (calling it "apples and some kind of spice" hints at but does not define it).  I have -- stored up and treasured in my heart -- the texture, the sense-print, and I hope I will never lose it. 

I believe in the resurrection of the dead.  In the body.  A new body.  Not disembodied spirit.  Calling the dead "souls" is a euphemism only; if they don't have some kind of body, they're pretty much out of business.  I trust I will be able to recognize my children, by sense data, in the next life.  That is my hope. 


This changing world

I don't know whether I wish I cared or had the time to figure out what is going on with google+ and youtube et al

Such as, why would anyone in their right mind want to buy stock in LinkedIn?


Panama Independence [sic] Day

First Panama belonged to, well, whoever.

Then to Spain.

Then Panama voluntarily aligned with Columbia.

Then after a bit of global unpleasantness that involved, if I recall correctly, the Rough Riders and some Gatling guns, Panama became the enslaved chattel of the evil imperialist capitalist was recognized as an independent entity by the United States.

On this day in 1903, the USA recognized the independence of Panama, leading to the signing of the treaty that made the Panama Canal possible.  It turned out that having that little aquatic turnstile on the premises was a positive for the little economy whose major export had previously been malaria mosquitoes.

Here is a picture of a tiny piece of the impoverished victim of imperialist aggression:


Of course later on Jimmy Carter gave away our share of the proceeds, paving the way for the Panamanians to become (arguably) chattel of the China Ocean Shipping Company. 


USS Alcedo sunk 5 November 1917

The terrain of human history seems an increasingly featureless as our viewpoint in time and space becomes more distant. 

Zoom in on one distant terrain feature, the first U.S. vessel sunk in World War One:

"Alcedo, a 981 gross ton steam yacht built in 1895 at Glasgow, Scotland, was purchased by the U.S. Navy in June 1917 and placed in commission as USS Alcedo (SP-166) late in July. She crossed the Atlantic the next month to join the patrol forces fighting enemy U-boats in the waters off western Europe. In the early hours of 5 November 1917, while she was escorting a convoy en route to Brest, France, Alcedo was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-71. Twenty-one of her crew were lost with their ship."