Archive for May, 2010

Rules of the road

With Wall Street, Appalachia, and now the Gulf of Mexico, there is a related story about rules, or lack of rules, and aspects of American life.

The idea of freedom and the pioneer spirit doesn’t necessarily sit too well with regulations, seeing them not as rules to live by, but as regimentation, largely to be resisted.

It comes down to this: don’t anybody tell me how to live my life, or run my business.

The self-regulated money business, freed from seriously having to be monitored, happily engaged in all kinds of creative stunts, flying in the face of reason, with results that nearly brought the country to its knees, and plunged millions out of house and jobs.

In the coal mines management managed to work around safety regulations — and people died. And out at sea we find that rules were compromised, people died, and a whole region is in jeopardy from the resulting oil spill.

Out here in the west idea of “don’t fence me in” is very much alive. The pioneer spirit is in the local DNA. And it shows up in any number of ways. In Phoenix people were agitating against speed cameras, to the point where the government is considering removing them. Let there be speed —  don’t cramp my style.

But surely untrammeled individualism, like a spirited bronco, can do with a halter. And to mix metaphors, while you can head out on your Harley without headgear, a headstrong head is no match for unyielding tarmac.

This week, in Time magazine, Willie Nelson had something to say about all this. “I like America,” he would have you believe, “when (there’s) no one in control.”

The pity of it all.


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When willows weep

We were happy, nearly four years ago, when this neighbor brought over a sprig from his flourishing globe willow and planted it between his place and ours. His tree is a swaying beauty, gentle in the wind, as if in tune with some piece of Hawaiian music. It turns yellowish and bare to ride out the winter, and is back to its old self again.

Our own willow is getting to look like his; smaller, but taller than I am now, and starting to shade the deck from the slanting evening sun. Big enough, too, to allow us to prune  a sprig to establish a similar bond with the neighbor on the other side of our home.

Her  willow has started to assert itself, with a sway of its own, all three feet of it.  Alas, this neighbor is loading up to leave, moving house this weekend because of problems with a failing mortgage and  consequent arrangement with the bank.

Our transferred willow in her yard will continue to strive, as they seem to do, and will remind us that she’s gone. And the first neighbor is leaving, too —  for different reasons.

His failing eyesight caused him to back his car into a tree in the yard, crashing it. And his wife, stented some years ago, had a close call the other day, prompting a brief stay at the hospital.

A concerned son in Colorado decided they should join him so he could keep an eye on them. They have put up their home for sale, have been visited, and soon, reluctantly, will be heading out, leaving their sighing willow.

We’ll have more than their willow to remember them.

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A different field

I came back to Sweetlime to find an entirely new design. I’ll have to work my way into it and, more to the point, begin again to address the passing days.

Since last I was here I’ve had cataract surgery and I’m due to have a go with  the other eye.

Arizona has become something of a pariah state with its new immigration ruling which gives policemen the right to stop you on suspicion you might be an illegal and, should you fail to show cause, might have to take you in. By this one move our state has also become a Judas goat since other right-minded states are bent on introducing the same kind of legislation.

Meanwhile, in Trinidad, the weather is hot, as is the political climate, with elections due shortly, and the country possibly facing a massive change. From how it looks now the long-running PNM seems likely to fall to a combination of opposition parties. It happened once before — a coalition ousting the rampant PNM — and it might well be the case again.

It will be good for the country.

And I’m reading Nature Cure, Mandala’s Way, and Walcott’s White Egrets. And, waiting in the wings, is The Bridge, Obama’s rise and  rise.

And yes, I’m also doubling as an enumerator. Unlikely development it is true.

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