Sometimes the weather shouts at you, but when summer comes it more like it has sneaked up on you. The air stops moving, the heat and humidity descend and squeeze the energy out of you. The South's famous gardeners all have one thing in common. They must be able to rise with the sun and work before the heat penetrates the cool morning air.
The watering of my yard is almost done, and I've already tied up the tomato plants again in preparation for another spurt of growth. They've been blooming for a while, but I am beginning to worry that our trees have gotten so large that they don't get enough sunshine. We'll know this year if that is the case.
When I went out to tie the tomatoes up, I didn't bother with my Birkenstocks. I went with bare feet which is how we used to face summer in the south as children. I can remember the time that we toughened our feet for the summer. I still enjoy the feel of cool grass on my feet. I suspect very few children today get to experience how a morning cool lawn of Bluegrass can revive the human spirit and remind us how close to the earth we used to be before we retreated into our climated controlled homes, offices, and cars.
Our society rarely relaxes, and it's almost impossible to forget even for a moment about all our societal concerns. They range from Social Security, the war in Iraq, global warming, health care, to job security and will our children have a chance to see a better or a declining standard of living?
As I hung our flag out and confirmed the stillness of the summer air, my mind went back to the American revolution. There were many people before and many after who fought for our country's liberty.
We owe it to them to never let down our guard. Those who seek to change our government and lull us into a false sense of security can do massive damage as the few good politicians flee a typical Washington summer.
Even as we enter this season of suspended animation where we often seek relaxation through summer blockbuster movies or books on the beach, we cannot allow the debate about the future of our country to be stifled by claims of national security.
We live in an amazing country, one for which people are willing to die just for the opportunity to live here. As the hazy days of summer hide the beautiful morning sunrises that are such a part of my life, I hope we take the time this summer to resolve that we're going to take back our country from the special interests and politicians who seek to profit from their "public" service.
As I remember my own time as a child of the fifties, my hope would be are still many generations of American kids who will have even a brief chance to run with bare feet in Bluegrass while enjoying the heat and humidity of summer.
These roses are descended from plants that my mother grew on our home place at 347 West Pine Street, Mount Airy, NC. I know there were many summer mornings that she enjoyed working in the garden before the heat saturated the air.
As we tend our gardens, so also do we need to tend the garden of American where freedom has been growing for many a hot summer.
I'll have to disagree this morning with the NY Times article, "Remembering and Forgetting." I can be serious in the summer, even if it is just about tomato plants.
Stand where someone from an old war is lying, a veteran of the Civil War perhaps. For a moment, you may wonder how that person died. But what you'll really find yourself wondering is how he lived and what he knew.
We will all be forgotten in time, and our graves will vanish. That doesn't sound like a May thought. But that knowledge comes along with us to the graveyard, and the effect is not as somber as you might imagine. The day is too bright, the sun too warm, the shadows too deep and green. Memorial Day may be hazy with memory, but it is also drowsy with life. Summer is in the next block, just around the corner, and summer is a season almost completely lacking in gravity. It is meant for living in the oblivion of the present.
I guess the Times missed the trend for us all to work more and vacation less.
Well summer is here for some of us. During the next three days in Roanoke, the temperatures are going to approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We're short of moisture so that will make it hard on the yards, pastures, and plants. It will, however, be much easier to jump into those outdoor swimming pools in a day or two.
Global warming might be hitting us, but there might be a safe refuge up in Nova Scotia. Halifax might hit 70 degrees or a little better today except along the coast where the temperatures will struggle to get to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. That just might give you a clue that the water temperatures up there are more suitable for Lobsters and Labrador Retrievers than humans.
When we lived in Canada, our kids thought turning blue was just part of going to the beach. They were a little amazed on their first trip south when the sand was almost too hot for their feet.
We might be needing some of that Canadian cool by July, but right now my tomato plants and I are going to enjoy the heat.
Summer has finally gotten to the Roanoke Valley. Along with enjoying the warm summer like weather, we should rejoice in a small victory.
The world of blogs and websites didn't fall victim to Apple Computer's heavy handed attempt to get at their own loose lipped employees. Those employees chose to violate their signed agreements to keep company information confidential.
In a unanimous ruling, Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for a three-member panel that the courts should not be in the business of distinguishing different types of media when determining journalistic protections under federal and state laws.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented bloggers in the case, immediately hailed the ruling as a ``huge win'' for online journalists.
It's pretty clear to anyone who watches Apple that the company uses secrecy not so much to protect trade secrets but as a marketing tool. Apple has benefited far more from the customer enthusiasm which has been nurtured by websites and Apple rumor mills than it has been harmed. Apple secrecy has actually caused plenty of damage to customers who have often made a buying decisions only to find out that the company is going to make another one hundred eighty degree turn.
I support Apple's right to hold its employees to the agreements they have signed, but I don't support helping Apple by destroying the freedom of the press that we all need so much in these days when it is under attack on a number of fronts. We have a government who doesn't want us to know about secret wire tap programs and secret prisons. Apple is not above leaking information to create excitement about products when it is convenient to them. The government is also not above leaking information to discredit people who are trying to stop what turned out to be an unnecessary war.
Going after journalists shouldn't be the way that Apple or the government fix their problems. I grew up reading books like, "All the King's Men," which taught me that the ends don't necessarily justify the means. It's a lesson that we seem to have lost these days when it is okay to torture people in the fanciful hope that torture is permissible if it has even the slightest chance of saving someone's life.
It is astonishing to me, still, that I should be here today addressing the issue of American cruelty -- or that anyone would ever have to. Our forefathers, who permanently defined our civic values, drafted our Constitution inspired by the belief that law could not create but only recognize certain inalienable rights granted by God -- to every person, not just citizens, and not just here but everywhere. Those rights form a shield that protects core human dignity...
Will we continue to regard the protection and promotion of human dignity as the essence of our national character and purpose, or will we bargain away human and national dignity in return for an additional possible measure of physical security?
I saw an interesting bumper sticker on the way home from work yesterday. The sticker read, "I love my country, but I fear my government." If that's what it has come to, we need to throw the folks out who have let things deteriorate to this point.
Not a very clear California morning here in the valley, but there is still some interesting news in our misty cool valley.
I had two favorites this morning. The first was "Masters of the Universe, Unite!," by James P. Othmer in today's NY Times. In my old life at Apple I actually got to work with some of the "Masters of the Universe" whose mere rumored presence could start limo companies drooling.
I'll never forget the day that Tim Cook, now being suggested as the possible heir to Steve Jobs, decided to drop by the Apple office in Reston. The biggest challenge was getting the giant stretch limo into our parking lot.
You can tell the real masters by the requirements of their travel. They cannot survive without a limo to and from the airport. That's actually one of the first things that aspiring masters try to capture. God forbid that they have to park a car and ride a shuttle bus to the terminal. Of course no real master would make his own reservations, then there would be no one to blame for screw ups.
The other most endearing quality of the masters is their absolute confidence that they can ignore the thirty page briefing document that you and your team labored over for days. I can well remember one master going through the whole day citing as a great Apple customer a government agency that wouldn't even talk to us. Even friendly reminders didn't work when he kicked into his well rehearsed and totally irrelevant customer talk. He continued to stick in the non customer name. Of course it goes without saying that masters only stay at the Willard or the Ritz and eat at the best restaurants.
Othmer has this to say.
This is about the fate of the prickly, unapologetic, rule-averse tough guys like you and me who run this country, not because we're particularly talented or charming, but because we have the gift of arrogance. And, until noon Eastern Standard Time yesterday, we were able to wield it like a sword, a pink slip or a box full of Internet stock options, circa 1997...
Shed no tears this morning for Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Keep your chin up — way up — and as an affirmation of our way, do something to make the most out of our special gift. Rather than giving in and playing along with someone's idea of a code of ethics, may I suggest telling your secretary that you've got to go out for "a very important meeting" and getting an early start on this long weekend, on the company...
....run a tab on the corporate plastic. Do it for capitalism. Do it for America. Do it for Kenny Boy.
Unfortunately catching a couple of these guys isn't going to fix the problem. Most of them are already rich enough to retire everyone in their immediate families forever.
Instead of stationing soldiers along the Mexican border to keep out the illegal immigrants, Bush should deploy the military along the Texas-New Mexico border to keep you high-rollin' Californians from driving into the Lone Star State.
Your typical La La Land dude unloads his 1,500-square-foot home back in California for $1.5 mil. Then he moves to Austin and buys some dump in 78704 for half the price. And pretty soon, only people who would spring for a $95 'rita can afford to live here. Stop this before I scream again.
Certainly if we walled in Texas and California, we would have lots fewer masters of the universe to deal with in very short order.