By W.S. Merwin
Water dripping year after year
from the green mossed crevice in the east cliff
through my absences and through winter
through the shadows after midday
as they deepened to nightfall
the clear drops arriving through the stone
with no color of their own as they
appear one by one on the threshold
of the world in its full color
and each one pauses for a moment
before starting on its way down
to itself as it has been doing
ever since the cliff rose
from the seafloor and then the bees found it
the badgers the foxes the birds
until the day came with voices
from the village to clear the slope
singing as the tools rose and fell
turning the stiff yellow soil to plant
vineyards and peaches and I stood
by the clear source once listening
to their last singing together
with the mattocks keeping time and I
thought of Édouard and the village
as it had been when he was young
and his name was called with the others
to the colors as they put it
in the language of elsewhere and of
what it felt like in those last days
to be leaving for Verdun with no words
in a moment with no color of its own
A recent poem from The New Yorker by recent Pulitzer Prize winner Merwin.
The temperature dropped nearly 30 degrees and it rained most of Wednesday, so although my monthly migraine did not entirely abate, I felt much better even though I did one of my least favorite things -- went dress shopping. I went with my mother, who agreed with me that Lord & Taylor this year is carrying the most hideous clothes since the pre-disco 1970s; the offerings at Nordstrom, Macy's, and Bloomingdales weren't all that much better. The only thing we bought (besides, in my case, Lush's new Vanillary solid perfume) were frozen yogurt parfaits. Afterward, Grandma twisted Adam's arm into trying on his suit, which no longer fits him, meaning we get the additional pleasure of suit-shopping with a grumpy teenager.
This is the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility at the University of Maryland, designed to simulate weightlessness without going into space.
We visited on Maryland Day, when a group of students from the award-winning robotics club was testing the Tortuga Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.
Tortuga was raised using a hook lowered from the ceiling...
...and put into the 25-feet-deep tank, which also had divers practicing maneuvers for the Space Systems Laboratory.
Another student monitored the performance of the robot and divers from one of the lab's computers.
The students used a remote control device to propel Tortuga to the center of the tank, which was completed in 1992.
Once Tortuga was in the water, it dove to the depth where the divers were...
...and everyone could follow its movements on the two big screens near the computer controls as it was targeted to tag balloons and things like that.
Because Adam's English class is reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, and because Adam was entirely attentive when Dementordelta and I were watching the Hamlet episode of Slings & Arrows, I showed the family the very first episode (the Midsummer Night's Dream episode). They all liked it, even Daniel who sometimes doesn't like the things I like as a matter of high school principle. I think Adam is sorry he didn't audition for his school's production of the play, considering that he blamed that fact on me and the timing of his tennis lessons, even though he flatly refused even though we both encouraged him to try out.
And the fire trucks that have sat on our cul-de-sac for the past hour have left without incident (or sirens), and Jon Stewart has just killed me with "Your momma's so dumb, she thinks 'Roe v. Wade' means two ways to cross a river," so I think it's bedtime.