Archive for November, 2009

bookmark: an unquiet mind

An Unquiet Mind – by Kay Redfield Jamison

This is an excellent book. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of madness (to perhaps be politically incorrect) and this book fits right into that niche. I am glad that I bought this book because it is one that I am sure to read again.

(Finished 11/21/09)

the sounds of nature or an iPod?

Here’s something that kind of stumps me. When I go out for a walk around the nature trails in the local forest preserve, many of the people I see are walking or jogging with earphones plugged into their ears. It just seems to me that if you bothered to go to the forest preserve for your activity, it would be likely that you are there because you enjoy nature, and part of that experience is the sounds of nature.

I’ll have to admit that I’m not a member of the iPod generation (I think that is obvious) so perhaps it is a generational/cultural thing, although I was using a Sony Walkman (both the cassette tape and CD versions) long before the iPod was a twinkle in Steve Job’s eye. Or maybe I just don’t appreciate music as much as other people do. Let me note that I do have an iPod (actually, an iPod clone – I’m cheap that way) and I do enjoy music, but when I walk the nature trails I like to hear what is going on around me.

There are many times that I would have missed something if I had been plugged into an iPod. The faint rustling of leaves at my feet that meant a snake was quietly sneaking by would have been lost to me. The quiet call of a small bird that I was surprised to find would have been missed. Even the rustling of the leaves in the trees is a comforting sound that no amount of man-made music could replace for me.

And then let’s talk about personal safety. When someone is coming up from behind me, I like to know it, regardless of what their intentions may be. I don’t particularly like to be startled by someone suddenly appearing next to me, but maybe that’s just me. With earphones in my ears, I’m not going to hear them. For women, I would think that would be a very important issue, but the use of an iPod is not limited to a particular sex.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but I think I will keep my ears open for the sounds of nature when I’m out walking. Might be kind of funny to scare the shit out of someone with their earphones in by coming up behind them and tapping them on the shoulder, but with my luck I would just get Maced, or worse. Maybe I won’t try that.

the time machine

I have a time machine. This time machine takes me back to my twenties when my plans for the future were just beginning to take shape. My wife and I had just moved into a small, rented house on a farm with plenty of space for a garden, and a non-resident landlord who allowed us to do pretty much as we wished with the house as long as we cared for it. Being the early seventies, we were part of the “back to the land” generation and we were in just the right place to pursue that lifestyle.

The time machine? John Denver.

Each time I listen to John’s music I am young again, with hope and a plan for the future. My life has purpose again, and all things seem possible. My wife and I are in sync and working towards the same goals. Life seems endless and there is so much to learn and do that I want to live forever.

How things change, and how time flies by.

Thank you, John, for your music. It’s sad that you will never know how much I appreciate it, but at least you left behind something good and beautiful. Not many people do that.