An Existential Chill

66  bar steady 30.06  1mph NE dew-point 48  sunrise 6:09 sunset 8:27  Lughnasa

First Quarter of the Corn Moon    moonrise 1533  moonset 2334

We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket.  George Carlin, RIP

The drum tower in Beijing.  Anyone who’s gone on the one week quickie tour of Beijing and environs has at least had a chance to climb it.  As early as the Han dynasty (206bce to 220ace), these towers used drums and bells to mark dawn and dusk. Kate and I climbed the drum tower when we visited Beijing in 1999. (I think it was 1999.)  I recall it as a dusty place with open areas used for storage, like an old barn.  Three stories high it had a commanding view of a market and one of the old style Beijing neighborhoods.  We were there at the end of December and the drum tower was cold in the way only bare, featureless spaces can be cold.  A sort of existential chill.  Maybe Kate didn’t go up, I do not remember now.

The death of Todd Bachmann, CEO of the premier garden center corporation in the Twin Cities, shocked me.  Many of our plants started their life at Bachmann’s.  Long ago in another life I was in a year long class with a Bachmann who had chosen the Lutheran ministry.  Then, too, there is the somehow stronger link with the site itself.

So often when events happen abroad, they happen in a place that is at best abstract:  Darfur, say, or Baghdad, Ossetia, even Jerusalem.  Once you have been there, walked those streets, seen the heaped up spices and vegetables in the market near the drum tower, then what happened is no longer abstract or far-away because the context is available to your own sensorium.  My feet recall the climb in the cold December weather.  My eyes recall the sights of the market and the small shops.

A strange sense of lassitude has come over me today.  On Sunday I do not work out, so there is a feeling of expansiveness, but also relaxation, a similarity to the sabbath.  The weather is perfect, moderate, sunny, low dew-point.  A great day to work outside, but digging out the firepit seems to have used up that motor for right now.  Even so, I’ll probably pick up the spade and spading fork and begin removing day lilies to new locations.

This is a task that has a window, a window created by the ideal time to transplant iris, August.  In this way my time must conform to the garden.  It is a happy bondage, though, and one to which I willingly submit.

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