Archive for Monday, February 3, 2014

Musings/0206

February 3, 2014

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. ll the rest have 31, save February we 28 assign, till Leap Year brings it 29.

In my column regarding the large gap between “the haves and have nots,” I made an error. The correction I sent in did not make the paper. I wrote the “alphabet soup of helpful agencies (WPA, CCC, etc.) created by President Lyndon Johnson” -- of course, it should have been FDR, President Roosevelt. Mea Culpa!

Heard here, there and about town. Several people spoke to me about my column in Baldwin City Market. A friend told me when her propane was delivered the man said that he hoped he could bring it the next time she ordered. He said propane was in short supply due to agricultural demand. She thought they might be using it to dry corn, combined with the intense cold perhaps creating a shortage. Later I heard on National Public Radio they were concerned about price gauging. I mentioned this when I stopped to chat a moment. She was not the least concerned because they burned wood for heat. The next person to whom I spoke was not worried about a shortage of propane, because they also used a woodburning stove for heat. I was astonished! I never knew anyone who used wood for heat. Both had accessibility to wood lots and cut their own wood. Twice warmed: once while cutting and again by burning. If they had to buy wood, it would be very expensive heat!

In Smithsonian magazine, well-regarded scientist Stephen Hawking, states that 1.2 million acres of woodlands in the USA burn each year. Should we ban open campfires in all woodlands? Last week, a large fire burned west of Baldwin. Trees purify the air, provide food for wildlife and add cooling shade in summer. A shaded rooftop reduces air-conditioning bills and also saves energy. Well-selected and placed trees add value to your property.

Jim the walker was lakeside last week on our coldest day. The wind was blowing fiercely. He saw a few white trumpeter swans on the lake. He said the ice moaned, waved and made strange sounds. He was completely alone and was astounded by the experience of being surrounded by nature’s strange unexpected gift. I have never heard those sounds. We are involved with the hustle and bustle of our electronic lives. How often do we commune alone in silence with nature? The book “Last Child in the Woods” says children miss and need nature’s silent touch. A recent study revealed that children spend less than nine minutes a day just being “outdoors”: not engaged in sports or other regulated activities.

In winter I do not pull down the heavy curtains to cover my large picture windows. It would save money on the heating bill but I need to keep contact with nature.

I need to see the trees wave and dance, or whip wildly in the wind. The beauty of snow, a flock of white clouds shepherded by winds, v-shaped wedges of geese, all delight the eye. In summer, I try to walk every day. Formerly I roamed the woods at will. I no longer wander in pathless woodlands. I still need nature’s gentle touch. We are fortunate to have the largest tract of original oak, hickory forestland -- the edge of the eastern woodlands -- right outside of Baldwin.

My column is printed only with help from many people. Mike Davis has come to my rescue many times when my computer remembers when it was not entirely an inanimate object and vents its resentment by tormenting me. If not for the help of Dee Schneck of Baker University's astounding computer department, the column would never appear in the newspaper. Many others help by telling me interesting facts and incidents about town. A heart felt “THANK YOU “ to all those who encourage me to continue writing.

A special “Thank You” to Baker President Pat Long, who sent me a kind note about my column. We all will miss her gracious presence on campus. Looking forward to SPRING!

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