Summer 2024

tulip leaf summer

Arboretum Archive


North End Map

Calvert Vaux Park

View current page
...more recent posts

Oct 21, 2000


[link] [1 ref]

Oct 09, 2000

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a confused Holiday, but an important one.
It's the New World Holiday.
It's not Traditional, but it honors the idea of Tradition, by connecting us with our ancestors. It commemorates the arrival of Europeans in America, at least in theory. Here in New York, it functions largely as a celebration of Italian ethnicity, disregarding the fact that Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag, and Italian power waned as the New World opened. The Pope presided over the division of South America between Spain and Portugal, but there were no Italian colonies in the West. Come to think of it, there was no Italy. The creation of the nation, and the flow of emigrants to America, were both 19th Century phenomena. In the meantime, the "Age of Exploration," of which Columbus is an exemplar, rendered the great port of Venice increasingly irrelevant. His voyages coincided with Italian decline, but our memories are short, and it doesn't seem to bother the paraders of today.

Not so sanguine are the so-called Native Americans, for whom this date marks not just decline, but decimation. Their story deserves to be told, but I have not the viewpoint to do so. My heritage is bound up with the conquering Europeans, though really with those from the North, not the Mediterranean. They came a century after Columbus, and their deeds were no less shameful than the Latins', but the true history of the peoples that they found here remains obscure. No one is really native to America, and controversy surrounds the debate over who came here, and how and when. We do know that Columbus was not even the first European, the Vikings having made it to Newfoundland five hundred years earlier. That knowledge was lost, or relegated to legend, like the history of the "Indians" (or "Skraelings," as the Norse called them) who wondered at the coming of the strangers.
We have only grown stranger since then.

We tend to think more about our Americanness than our Old World ancestry. This is not unfitting, but it may be incomplete. Incompletion is basic to the American identity, which holds out the promise of a dream yet to be realized. We are a people unsure of who we are, yet hoping still to become something more.
In this we embody the Mystery of Being as forcefully as any humans ever have.

The Land does not belong to us.
But by living on it,
and loving it,
we forge a bond that makes it ours in spirit.
Just as we belong to it.
Always it has new secrets to divulge,
teaching a Tradition of discovery.
The edge of the World is here.
[link] [2 refs]

Oct 06, 2000

Tutti Frutti

[link] [1 ref]

Sep 29, 2000

Passing Unseen

Iíll have to ask for forgiveness.
I came in a little short of twelve hours for the Equinox,
but the DMTree feast was waiting, and instructions had been issued.
And it was raining.
Not a hard rain, but a fine mist permeated the afternoon. Morning wasnít much drier, just not quite coalesced.
Not a glimpse of Sun the whole day.

Youíd like to see some Sun on the Equinox, just to know the difference between the twelve hours of day, and the twelve hours of night. This was twenty four hours of gray.

It was a day like a Catbird, which is also gray, and which was found throughout the Park. But the day was gray and quiet, while the Catbirds were gray and loud, mewing their feline calls in defiance of the sound dampening dampness.
Catbirds are common enough. They breed in the Park, but numbers must be moving through on migration just now. They were ubiquitous.

For all itís familiarity, the Catbird has a hidden feature seldom seen: itís got a red rear. The undertail coverts, (to put it technically), are rusty red like a Robinís breast. The area is generally shadowed by the tail, and the bird skulks in the brush, supplying few ventral views. You know the red is there, but itís rare to get a good look at it.

That was the Sun, on the first full day of Fall; a Catbirdís butt; somewhere behind the clouds, but never showing. Slipping out the back door with Summer; off to Southern lands, leaving the burden of yellow to the Goldenrods in the Meadow.

Color without fire,
Fall without precipice.
Under the overcast,
seasons in passing


Sep 22, 2000

Autumnal Equinox

This day is the last of Summer, and the first of Fall.
Autumn is Traditionally the season of consolidation, of harvest, and preparation for the hardships of Winter. We have made of it something different, another kind of New Year. Back to school and business; the new season of television; even the Federal Fiscal Year, turning over on the 30th. Actually, the fiscal year goes back to a time when harvest meant more than it does today, and accounts were settled in the Fall. Now it's just another incongruity in a world of overlapping systems.

Looking for an underlying system, I will spend the twelve daylight hours in the Park. At least I'll do so tomorrow, as I cannot take today off. The day should be more agreeable than the one I spent on the Vernal Equinox. It's a matter of thermodynamics: the heat of Summer lingers, even as it dissipates into the Fall, but Spring must bask in lengthening days before it fully warms. Sustained by the prospect of a fairer future, I made it through that day in March. Tomorrow should be nicer, yet it looks ahead to colder climes. Such is the balance of the year.

Maintaining balance is the goal.
A goal, anyway.
To balance is to center, or to offset.
The first works with, the other works against.
However built, a place of rest.

We need a balance point so that we will have someplace to take off from.
Like the Flycatcher, haunting a leafless snag, sallying forth to catch a bug, returning repeatedly to the same perch, we, in search of that which feeds our spirit, will go beyond balance, to a place where, unsupported, we must fall or soar.
And even soaring,
We need somewhere to return to.

Tradition provides this perch, and Tradition is a kind of ritual: ritual expanded to a way of life. In our fractured World, we need to rebuild our Traditions, and rituals are a beginning. The ritual of daylight, in honor of the Equinox, this I have learned simply by being in the Park. It balances the Year, between two equal spheres of dark and light.
And thatís a place to start.

With a place to start from, and to return to, we are in position to learn other, transient, rituals, ways of addressing Lifeís vicissitudes, subjecting them to the balm of pattern. That, I think, is what happened to me at Point Pelee, and why I went there, though I did not know it.
To do a proper thing, and to do it unselfconsciously,
is to be in balance.
Half way between the poles,
this is the Wisdom of the Equinox.


Well, I see the weather forecast is deteriorating. Sixty percent chance of showers. Showers I can put up with. A certain amount of rain, in fact, can be beautiful on a misty, moisty morning. Being soaked for twelve hours, however, is not on my agenda. Iím dedicated, but not crazy. Iíve seen a lot of days turn out better than predicted, so we shall see. If we have to cut to the DMTree wine and food ritual, that shouldnít offend any gods I know of.

(Late update: Forecast now looking a bit better, chance of rain down to 30%, here's hoping...)
[link] [1 ref]

Sep 18, 2000

The Late Summer

Ah yes, reassembly.
I'm slowly returning to what passes for equilibrium, but there's precious little Summer left to piece back together. August took with it most of Summer's hopes. One fine day that I wrote of a month ago turned out to be the only one falling on a weekend during the entire month. Last year: drought, and the "hottest summer on record". This year: persistent rain, and consistently below average temperatures. I suppose "average" is the operative word. Put the two years together, average them out, and all looks perfectly normal. That's not much consolation when you have to live with the particulars of time and place.

Still, persistence does pay off. I've been in the right place at the right time to have seen most of the season's best days, as well as some less pleasant. I will not, however, call any of them bad days. That's for psychological projection. I'm trying, rather, to receive. My only projection is the project you are currently reading.

I receive signs that augur Autumn. The sunlit hours are contracting; the rays arrive at a declining angle, draping morning and evening with a golden haze. Change is in the air. Fall begins on Friday, and many a year I would be glad, wiping the grimy sweat from my brow, welcoming a crisp new wind from the North. But not so now, at least not quite yet. Let me float for one more moment on the receding sea of Summer. And if Summer is an Ocean, Autumn is a froth of surf that crashes on the Winter shore.

I lost my focus,
but that's what Summer's for.
Unfocused, or focusing too closely, one knows not what one sees, nor who sees you.
Girls were observed, sunbathing topless on the margin of the Meadow. I didn't mean to look at them, but when you're looking closely you sometimes see things not meant for your discernment. I suppose these young women knew what they were risking, but I couldn't help feeling a twinge of embarrassment.
I'm not sure if it was on their behalf, or mine.
Nevertheless, I kept looking.
A similar feeling arises when I look into a bird's nest. There is something naked and fragile about the chicks, all straining necks and gaping beaks.
Wanting, asking, waiting,
till finally they receiveÖ
what? Regurgitated bugs and worms.
An easy life, at first, but they must learn
to find their own food.

A pair of Green Herons nested successfully in a Pin Oak along the upper lobe of the Lake. The little drama was one of Summer's highlights. One egg failed to hatch, but four fuzzy gray balls did emerge, growing faster than we, with our long childhood, can fathom. Now they have left the nest, and, like the parents they will never know again, they have dispersed.
The same for Mocking Birds, and Wrens, Catbirds, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, and others that I may have missed. As for the Swans, four of five cygnets survived. Bigger than their parents now, but still gray, they remain, patrolling the Lake as a family.
They will not linger through the Winter.

I will stay.
When the crisp breeze turns bitter,
I will be here.
I love the land no less in diminution.
Perhaps I love it more.

But first, Fall brings the magic of transition.
Oh, Summer moves, but beneath the level of perception,
or else we are distracted, or just ignore it,
as if the sun were riding high forever.

Just so, Winter seems interminable and static.
The seasonal poles, states of extreme, protest that they are everything,
no in-between, no mixed-up way of being.
But the months that blur and blend bring the wisdom of change,
connecting where we've been,
with where we'll end.

Perhaps itís time to talk of endings.
Much of the vegetation seems tired, withering early, despite, or maybe because of, the wet Summer. Many of the low lying Willows have a fungal disease, bred of the damp conditions. Usually, their green lingers longest of all the trees, but now they are sparse, brown and shriveled.
They are ready to end this cycle,
and try again.
But not all are afflicted.
At the West end of the Pool, a young Willow appears healthy, and next to it, a little Hackberry. These trees have had a better Summer than some, their first in sunshine. They had been shaded by a female Ailanthus, but it fell last year, and now they are released from suppression. The fast growing Willow will surely overtop the twisted Hackberry, in a rush to replace its ever falling fellows. The fall of one tree is the opportunity for anotherís rise.
Another cycle.
Meanwhile, under the woodland eaves, Time seems confused. Thinning foliage allows late blossoms to return to the forest floor. Wood Aster abounds, the white clusters at once a reminder of Springís flowers, and a mirage of snows to come.
Today remains a day in Summer,
but not for long.
[link] [1 ref]

Sep 11, 2000

Turn, and Return

I did get home.
A process of reassemblage.
Reassembling a Self torn asunder by too much caring, too much concern.
These take us out of ourselves, which is the path to ecstasy, but we are tethered to our flesh, and to the facts of Life. Encumbered by the pain that caring costs us, and which being alive guarantees us. The Self is both a shield against this pain, and the focal point for it.
But if we know pain, we also know joy.
These two are but the extreme ends of a continuum of feeling.
To live is to feel it all.
We like to say the joy outweighs the pain.

Somewhere between them, a numbness which also serves us well. Habits of enjoyment that are less than Joy, but better than pain. There the reassembly begins. I listened to a baseball game on the car radio, the broadcast like a beacon, drawing me back across the onion fields of Ontario, back to the tumult of America.
Back to endless noise and news.
Back in New York, I flick on the news,
I fall back into habits,
reluctantly, at first,
but soon relaxing into routine.

You might say the ultimate goal of spiritual practice is to make the routine extreme.
Or vice versa.
Itís another way of saying,
Everything All At Once In One Place Here Now...
the Unique become ubiquitous.
But here Iím reduced to the usual play of opposites.
The true object of spiritual practice does not conform to words.
Easier to forget, falling into routine.
Forgetfulness is the best anesthetic.

It is my goal not to forget.
Not to ignore.
Not to miss the thing thatís right in front of my face
(which has been know to happen,
even in the Park).

My practice in the Park is a sort of hyper-routine.
If we look closely, and consistently, routines reveal irregularities, and auguries of the origin and the ultimate may be found therein.
That is one sort of practice, and easier to follow than the sort I went through at Lake Erie. The penetrating moment, the condensation of spiritual crisis, I suppose that is what Iím asking for, after all, and all the time,
but Life is not really lived that way.

That sort of moment is a vision of something beyond this Life. A glimpse earned more through circumstance than practice. But the circumstance is simply being alive, and practice can help us to manage Lifeís coruscating moments, which are all ecstasies, though we may call them griefs or joys.
Tears are the ecstasy of grief,
and tears Iíve known,
but let them fall in ceremony,
taught by the intersection of Life and Land and Love.

Such a gift I have learned to elicit, but only through a humble practice,
offering all my attention,
(though I do not ask it)
attention in return.


Back in the Park I notice, for the first time this year, a retraction of the foliage. This is not a projection of my inner state; this is real. The lowering angle of the sunís arc reinforces the sense of change. Iíve been away, and the turn towards Winter has begun.

[link] [1 ref]

Sep 04, 2000

Labor Day

Well, hereís what I have so far. I put it on its own page, as itís a bit on the long side. With more to come, perhaps. Iím pushing it a bit, but Iíll edit later, if need be. I wanted to have a post on this day, late though it is.
And I promise to find a way back home.
You know I wouldnít leave my faithful readers stranded on the shore of Lake Erie.

[link] [1 ref]

Aug 25, 2000

Setting Sail on a Sea of Briars

[link] [1 ref]

August 13, 2000

Looking for the Future Among the Meadow Grasses

Now the Summer is coming to fruition.
The heat is finally in motion.
August upholds the seasonís reputation,
as July did not.

I sweltered through a perfect Summer Saturday, and found it full of Life. Birds that had been reticent while nesting, or simply absent, are now abroad again, the new broods swelling their numbers. Insects abound, despite the pesticides, and herbaceous plants seem to spring up magically, growing by leaps and bounds.

The Wildflower Meadow is coming into its glory, and all of these phenomena are well displayed there.
To hear me speak of the Meadow, you might think thereís more to it than there is. Itís just a small field, a strip, really, on a gentle slope that falls down to the North Woods, and the Loch. The Bridle Path, and a paved transverse road run along the crest of the slope, and there are usually joggers, bikers, and police vehicles going by. Itís not isolated, by any means, but if you look in the right direction, you can certainly get lost in it.

The mown lawn is an oddity of human culture. More than suburban status symbol, grass is linked to our ascendancy: the harvest grains we coaxed from wild grasses were a prerequisite for the expansion of civilization, and urbanism. But let a patch of open ground grow undisturbed, and it wonít resemble a putting green. You may be surprised at what comes up, and how fast.

That's the idea behind the Wildflower Meadow. Historically, the Park has been pruned and manicured, with little left between woodland and lawn, save for some ornamental flower beds and shrubbery. The Meadow has been allowed to grow out, as a transition zone between field and forest. Actually, it's carefully tended, and the native wildflowers and "weeds" have been purposefully planted, to simulate a more "natural" landscape. This effort is not without its ironies. Meadows are indeed transitional, unstable, environments, and what appears to be an overgrown field requires as much attention as any lawn, in order to retain its desired character.

Shifting ideas of Nature have shaped the Park over the years. I'm generally in sympathy with the current management philosophy, which embraces a practical, rather than aesthetic, naturalism. Local plants, and a less manicured (hence wildlife-friendly) landscape are worthy values, though they are sometimes given more lip service than action. The Meadow is the most successful of only a handful of similar projects in the Park. That a ďback-to-natureĒ naturalism should be fashionable is an index of a growing green consciousness, which is rooted in a deeper, essentially spiritual, trend, of which my practice is also a reflection (and reflection is my practice).

In the Meadow, scale changes.
It was just a stretch of hillside in the Winter, without a hilltop. A striated expanse of flattened grasses; a few dry stalks still standing. You could walk across it in two minutes, and think nothing of it. Even in Spring itís slower to recover its verdure than are the surrounding woods. But in the last few weeks itís reached eye level, with stands of Pigweed and Timothy; Pokeweed and Daisy; Asters; Coneflowers; Goldenrods; and others; more than I can name. I try to learn them as I can, which usually means when they flower, and you can pin them down in the field guide.
Just now, itís Joe-Pye Weed leading the way.

When the plants match your own height, you begin to appreciate the bugís-eye view of things. I feel Iím on the verge of entering their world physically, wending among the stems and blossoms, but the voyage can only be undertaken optically. Employing the binocular, you can see deep into the scene, without disturbing it. By changing the focus, one can move among shifting layers of vegetation, seemingly seeing straight through tangles that cannot be otherwise traversed.

Here is a whole other world. Itís almost like an undersea domain. Is gravity held in abeyance? Arthropods move up, or down, or sideways, in powered flight, or clambering upon the foliage, even floating through the air, along with pollen grains, and tiny silken-tasseled seeds. Birds dart in and out, picking off seeds and insects. Sunlight renders leaves translucent, and any breeze sets all to shimmering, destroying depth perception.
Itís a space allowing any vector you can imagine.

But even here, amid the insect buzz and chirping birds,
An alien sound.
Itís technology on the hoof.
Yes, cell phones are everywhere, even in the Wildflower Meadow.

Some will complain about cell phone etiquette, (which sounds like a good idea), but much of the irritation caused by these devices is simply that of change, like the itch one feels at the site of a healing wound. At least thatís the optimistic view, but it must be acknowledged that cell phones, and other expanding communication technologies, have genuinely altered the Park experience. This is something that has happened within recent years, and you donít even have to be using one of the things (I donít) to be affected.

In fact, all of social space is changing in response to our accelerating technological unfoldment, but it used to be that the Park, in particular, was a place where you went in order to get away; to be out of communication.
Thatís no longer the case.
If you so wish (and many do), you can be in touch anywhere, any time, and all the time.
This condition seems to be a fait accompli, and it transforms the nature of public space.

It used to be that public space was governed by its very publicness. Actions and attitudes were conditioned by the shared nature of the space. The fact that the space was open to all provided the orientation point for the individual. It was indeed an ďopenĒ space, in which there could be a center of attention.

Now, everyone radiates their own private space, and attention is cast in all directions, without a central focus. Absent parties are brought into contact, while those present are irrelevant to one another, no longer sharing a generalized, public, viewpoint. The expansion of multiple interconnected private spheres is in the process of filling up the once open space we all shared together, or squeezing it out of existence. The result is no longer open, but packed full of connections and cross purposes.

This is not so much good, or bad, as it is simply what we are doing, but it does seem to me that the condition we are achieving, while unlike our historical circumstances, has much in common with what goes on in the Meadow, or under the Ocean, or in any cubic foot of brambles.
Such spaces are not empty zones, in which something might happen, but highly charged continuums, in which all sorts of things are happening simultaneously, at close quarters.
We shall be predicated on what we select, out of a density of happenstance.
All of life shall be a meadow.

As I said, this is the optimistic view.
It is, however, in accord with my own Gnosticism, which understands our progress as a vector intent on returning to the Original state, which was a spaceless density, containing all possibilities.

If this is where we came from, and where we are going, one may wonder at the purpose of the open, public space, which our history has passed through.
What is this bubble in the timestream which we have lived in?
To employ an entomological metaphor, let me suggest a cocoon.
A moth larva spins itself a protective space, a silken bubble in its environment, where it can undergo its metamorphosis undisturbed. Just so, Culture has been the extruded silk which the human animal has used to create a protective space, insulating ourselves from the ever intersecting purposes of the natural world.
Within this zone, we have been shedding our old form of being, or rather, constructing a new one.
We have become a different animal altogether.
Todayís rate of convergence suggests that we are nearing our hour of emergence.
But donít hold the phone.
And donít think that my time spent in the Meadow is an escape, a getting-away-from:
Iím getting ready for the Future.

[link] [1 ref]

August 02, 2000

Not Deadly, but Bittersweet

Cool and damp, Summer has developed, much like the Spring.
July is gone, usually our hottest month, now lost in a long, gray week.
Rain, and more rain, and when there is no rain, only a dim, diffracted light,
diffuse reminder of the absent Sun.

By this time last year, heat and drought had singed the Park, withering grasses, and turning soil to dust. This is probably better, weíre still making up for the drought. But not a single ninety degree day in July?

The weather infiltrates oneís mental state.
Interiorizing the drabness, I drift aimlessly, barely kept awake by a faint breeze, emanating from future events Iíd rather not face.

Will the Sun ever shine again?

My posts have slowed a bit, I know. Itís the slowness of Summer, to some extent, but also pressures from the everyday world... all the usual stuff.
My travails are trivial, no doubt.
Still, Iím struggling to keep up the pace; Iím trying to manage at least one a week.
Iím committed to that much.
I suppose Iím committed to it all.

Maybe itís trying to tell me something.
I donít know how many times Iíve tried, unsuccessfully, to get a picture of the Bittersweet Nightshade.
It just wonít work out.
Granted, itís a thin vine, with little flowers, hard to focus on, but Iíve photographed other things of equal difficulty.
I think itís the plant.
Nightshades have a dark reputation. Bittersweet sometimes gets mixed up with Deadly Nightshade, which is a confusion unto itself. Thereís an American plant known as Deadly, in the same Solanum genus as the Bittersweet (itself an introduced species), but the name (in a process typical of colonialist taxonomy) is borrowed from a reminiscent European plant of the genus Atropa: the famous Belladonna. That is the Deadly Nightshade of legend and witchcraft, and a powerful drug plant it is. Bittersweet Nightshade is regarded as poisonous, but itís potency is not of the same dimension as that of Belladonna.

Still, the plant has some power, if only to concentrate my mind, through meditation on its resistance.
To resist the dolorous spirals of individual psychology, we may look to the Holidays, which provide orientation on a broader scale. Today, or yesterday, or perhaps on the 6th, but about this time, is Lammas, the Celtic celebration of the start of the harvest season.
We really have no such Holiday on our schedule, any longer.
Advances in transportation and refrigeration have made all kinds of produce available virtually all the time. We forget that our food is not just a commodity, but a direct link between the Earth and ourselves.
Friends who frequent the green-markets remark on the quickly passing parade of fruits and vegetables, and how narrow the window of opportunity is, for many local crops.
The fruits of the season were the flowers of the Spring.

Thanksgiving is the closest we come to a harvest holiday, but itís celebrated far too late, at the back door of Autumn.
Lammas inaugurates the procession of harvests. The Mulberries are gone, but now the birds are finding black cherries, while crabs, and haws, and tree nuts ripen, each in its own time.
They will not want for watering.

The sun, of course, will shine again.
It managed an appearance this afternoon, eliciting a steamy sigh from the well soaked city. More thunderstorms are forecast, but thatís just August as usual. Iím hoping that weíll have it all wrung out, and hung up to dry, by the weekend. Maybe I can start to harvest some photos of the swelling fruits.

In the center of my fuzzy photo of the Nightshade, you can find a focused patch, showing the Nightshade berries, even while flowers still linger on the vine. Green now, they will ripen to bright red, always one of my favorite transformations.
Humans do not eat the berries, but wildlife will.
Just another harvest, though to us, the plant remains resistant.
Even so, it has its place,
along with rain, and drear, and dumb distractions of a sultry afternoon.
These may bear fruits as yet unguessed at.
What we cultivate will be our choice, but we can only choose from what will grow for us, under our local conditions.
It is our fate to accept the bitter with the sweet.

[link] [4 refs]

July 25, 2000

A Bug in the Bugs

Back from a brief vacation.
Five nights, bits of Long Island.
Itís good to get away,
but the Return
is always more to the point.

Back in the City,
itís not so different from the marshland,
or the coastline.
A density of opportunities.
Every niche is occupied.

The Park is something different.
Not escape from, but restraint of,
the City.
An act of restraint,
undertaken by the City.
An Ascesis of the City.

Or so it pleases me to think of it, in deference to what I like to call my own Asceticism, though that may be a euphemism.
Asceticism may appear as withdrawal, or as refusal, but its essence is resistance.
Resistance to temptation.
That the momentum of the City was stayed, at the very center of Manhattan, was an act of great restraint, a temptation resisted, for which I remain thankful.

These thoughts surface as I ponder my recent post on the parade assaults, the inadequacy of which response still troubles me. Perhaps thatís a proper position to be in, with respect to such an event. I wonder on my need both to address the matter, and to ignore it. And now I find myself in a similar position regarding the West Nile Virus, and pesticide spraying.

Actually, the mosquito-borne virus is a concern closer to my heart, but I would likely be unaware of it, if not for the human-borne mania surrounding it. Iím not immune to public health concerns, and certainly we have the right to defend ourselves, but from my perspective, the general poisoning of the environment is not an appropriate response to a relatively minor threat from a specific organism.

But Iím practicing a mode of thought which will lead me to actually support the virus, as an entity with as much right to existence as any other. Itís just doing what comes naturally. If I had a strong enough magnifier, I could go out looking for it. Of course, I donít really want to get it. Iím not at high risk, despite being bitten by mosquitoes in the park. The mortality is generally at the far ends of the actuarial table: most people exposed donít become symptomatic. From a statistical viewpoint, we might be better off letting the ďepidemicĒ run its course, and building our own resistance. It would be one thing if we could attack the virus itself, but our current strategy is likely to succeed only in breeding a hardier carrier for it. The real problem is the afflicted birds. Their plight is harder for us to address, and itís likely that their ability to deal with the disease will be a key factor in determining its ultimate threat to us.
Mosquitoes you will always have with you,
to paraphrase another sometime ascetic.

So the temptation is to be noble, and reasoned, about my resistance to the spraying.
But the real asceticism is in admitting that my interests are purely selfish.
Iím not likely to get sick, but lots of innocent insects could die, and looking at bugs is one of the best things going, this time of year. Butterflies and Dragonflies are great through the binocular. I even got a look at a Cicada on the wing, itís slow, wavering flight, bulbous form, and metallic sheen reminiscent of a 1950s movie space ship. Some small insects will allow magnified viewing through a hand lens. Youíd be surprised at the tiny monsters lurking in the pretty blossoms.
My turning away is really a turning toward their level of reality.
My faith is that their reality represents our birthplace, and remains our birthright, no matter what we have erected in-between us. Immersion in that world is salutary, and, moreover, a necessity for maintaining our perspective amid the myriad realities of this splintered Creation.
If our senses had no limit, if we could see in all directions at once, we would never turn away from anything.
As it is, we must ignore one thing, in order to see another. To keep the Whole in view, when all attention is drawn in one direction, someone must look the other way.
Such is the direction of the Ascetic gaze.

To justify myself then, or to say how it is that responsibilities are distributed among us, and how, though I try to care about some things, I really care about others, but that I do care...

A Triad:

Three Sorts of Things to be Done

There are some things which everyone must do;
There are some things which must be done, but not everyone will do them;
There is something which must be done, that only you can do.

Iím looking closely, in order to discover, and thereby accomplish, the third necessity. To do so may entail looking the other way, but somebody has to do it.