Saturday, August 12, 2023

August is an august transition between our fascination with July and whatever is to come...


    Of course the title makes little sense but it does fill in some time until we can really come to grips with a new month, the harbinger of the future when schools are back in session and Congress wrestles with itself and duties to escape or ignore.

    Meanwhile, vacation troops are moving around everywhere - full flights, errant weather,   unreconciled needs. The grizzled man on my left aboard a short stretch ( $371 for 50 minutes of airtime on Southwest, between Buffalo and BWI) complained how he had had a bad accident recently and how it took several months to get recompense. He lived in Florida, was returning from what I took to be a family visit. He seemed to want me to know why he was bent over, awaiting the wheelchair to speed him onward. On my right was a woman from South Carolina returning from a visit with family  up north where she previously lived and so had been immersed in doctor checkups, with former stalwart helpers. Lupus, she said - and there are two strains. She had great-granddaughters presumably scattered around. A five hour airport stay awaited her until her connection. "Last time I just ate crab cake." Now just why strangers felt the need to dwell on their miseries but I dared assume that each was fully engrossed in his/her physical health to the less interesting subject of the wellbeing of the country at large.

Of struggles elsewhere, a portion of my sympathy goes to the city of New York facing criticism from so many ends. The New York Times recently devoted an entire editorial asking for, it would seem in their word, a 'resurrection of the greatest city in the world.' It opts for 'grit and ingenuity,' two qualities I would guess are the ones most often in short supply. Especially in the summer's heat madness, where escape from the immediate environment is more pressing. So go back to the drawing board, you leaders and developers. We NYC lovers are helpless except to cheer you on.

And back at the ranch figuratively speaking: where I am part of the month is suburbia Montana,  far from the fabled mountain surround, where some residential communities are landscaped with a mix of real grass and stones, pines and aspens, picture perfect. Where the houses all seem constructed of similar materials in a different design but somehow can all seem similar. What unites them is a stone pillar by the curb within which is the mailbox erected just-so to allow a postal truck driver (likely out of the familiar uniform) need not get outside to deliver the paper goods. And the giant trash pickup conveyance has similar  restrictions: cans of uniform size and height that allow the single driver to control a huge mechanical arm to reach up, out, down, around and over dumping contents from the comfort of his seat.

Ah but rural suburbia can be different in so many ways. Conversation styles vary but the custom is to acknowledge strangers while walking or biking on paths built by the town for outdoor exercise. Drivers exercise restraint when backed up in what is considered heavy traffic:  no or little horn beeping. Patience wins the day where, of course, the views are fine so why complain. A 'town ranch' is no surprise to see in those burbs, little or big. Horses grazing in a sublimely wide grassy field. And on some days of mottled weather a mountain can resemble a cloud and vice versa.

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