Thursday, September 29

Photographically the seasons mutually excel each other. It requires no camera whiz, no staged pose to capture autumn’s portrait. Autumn doesn’t have to say cheese.


The steps


The seed pods


The pasture


The field


The creek

Might we collectively ask autumn to go slowly this year?


Wednesday, September 28

I wrote this blog before. Or one like it. And I’ll write it again, surely.

This morning as I finished coffee I thought ahead to 3:30 PM when I’d heave a sigh settle into my chair in the den and enjoy NOW.  Until then I had to feed the birds and fish, take Joy to work, stop in at Love’s H/AC, buy bug traps at Ace, plant nine pots of gallardia in Benny’s flower garden, clean the car, return a book to the library, file receipts and return downtown for Joy.

Then, long about 10:30 as I was filling a bucket of new compost for use in planting the gallardias, “it dawned on me” that NOW was not yet at 3:30 but right there in the very moment I was in. I paused to sense NOW, to allow myself to enter it.

Instantly I slowed down in walking to and fro my errands. I looked more closely at the near environment and listened to it. As I loaded the pots into the trunk of the car, I sensed I wasn’t anticipating 3:30 PM but rather occupying 10:30 AM. The day stopped being busy; each moment had its own NOW. It was a good day.

Not surprising, 3:30 PM came and went. The clock says 9:57 but I know that it is NOW.



Monday, September 26

Stapelia: genus of about 45 species of perennial succulents from low, hilly, often rocky terrain, mainly in tropical and southern Africa.

Stapelia: a cactus-type plant on the shelf in our dining room

Stapelia: emerging bud in the morning, fourteen-inch bloom by evening




Indiana venture

Saturday, September 24, 2016

We’re home from an informative, enjoyable trip to southwest Indiana with friends.


New Harmony, early utopian settlements


St. Meinrad church, monastery and college


The Ohio River, at a bluff near Leavenworth


Indiana’s early capital building in Corydon


Beck’s Mill near Salem


West Baden Springs Hotel


Courthouse, Paoli


Limestone grave markers, Bedford

A modest four-day trip, punctuated by discovery, learning and appreciation.

Traveling with a historian

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It is our fortune to have them as our friends. Then adding to the fortune, a three-day journey with them. Among their many interests are history and folk culture.

So it was late afternoon when we were in the only surviving Workingmen’s Institute in Indiana, this one located in New Harmony, that he began plying the librarian with esoteric questions that must have quickened her fancy, for what other tourists would be so knowledgeable about New Harmony and its cultural history?

Then at one point he wondered whether she couldn’t direct him to a Jacob Maentel painting. In a minute we were headed into the locked vault to see two landscapes by Maentel.

DSC_0286.jpg“Why” asked my friend, “is this not exhibited in your gallery!”  The librarian jovially responded that they couldn’t yet find a person to pay for the insurance.

Jacob Maentel was born in Kassel, Germany. He was a physician, soldier under Napoleon and itinerant artist and limner. Upon arriving in America he did most of his paintings in Lancaster, York, Dauphin, Berks and Lebanon Counties of Pennsylvania — my home stumping ground, yet I had never heard of his name.

Late in life he moved to New Harmony where he lived to be nearly 100 years of age.

The painting shown in this blog is important, says my friend, because of its landscapes that later became models for other paintings.

Conservative evangelical Christians

Monday, September 19, 2016

A friend alerted me to an article in the International New York Times, written by Thomas B. Edsall, an English professor at Oklahoma Baptist University. He begins with this statement:

Trump has boasted of infidelities, profited off gambling, mocked the handicapped, cheered and offered financial assistance for his supporters  who fight protesters, supported abortion (until his fortuitous change of heart before the election), called for war crimes against innocent people, demonized minorities and immigrants, knowingly played upon racist fears, promoted open racists through social media, promoted conspiracy theories, and crudely treated women. 

One would suppose that conservative, evangelical Christians would look with askance at such conduct, even oppobrium that such a person would aspire to lead the United States, a country many of these same conservative, evangelical Christians would consider a nation especially favored “under God.”

But research has revealed stats that shock me. As of mid-August, a Pew survey found Trump beating Hillary Clinton 63-17 among white religious conservatives.

Edsall cites data from The Public Religion Research Institute. Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants stand out as the only one in which a majority, 53 percent, agree that society has become too soft and feminine.

When people were offered this statement — “It bothers me when I come in contact with immigrants who speak little or no English” — Trump voters and the religious right agree. Compared to backers of all the other candidates, Trump voters expressed the highest level of discomfort, 77 percent. Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants voiced the highest levels of distress, 64 percent, when they find themselves around immigrants who speak little or no English,.

Here is another P.R.R.I. statement: “Today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.” A solid 57 percent majority of white Americans whom P.R.R.I. surveyed agreed, but two groups stood out: Trump supporters at 81 percent and white evangelical Protestants at 68 percent.

P.R.R.I. finds that “no group of Americans is more nostalgic about the 1950s than white evangelical Protestants. Seven in ten (70-29) white evangelical Protestants believe that American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s.”

I personally sense profound disconnects in two religious sets:

The kingdom of God as defined by Jesus.
     The United States of American as defined by the Constitution.

The historic Christian Church dating to Emporer Constantine.
     The conservative evangelical church in America dating to Colonial times.