By W.S. Merwin
Neither my father nor my mother knew
the names of the trees
where I was born
what is that
I asked and my
father and mother did not
hear they did not look where I pointed
surfaces of furniture held
the attention of their fingers
and across the room they could watch
walls they had forgotten
where there were no questions
no voices and no shade
Were there trees
where they were children
where I had not been
were there trees in those places
where my father and my mother were born
and in that time did
my father and my mother see them
and when they said yes it meant
they did not remember
What were they I asked what were they
but both my father and my mother
said they never knew
Not a lot to report from my Friday -- long walk in the gorgeous weather, long time spent reviewing Next Gen's "The Outcast" which deserved detailed praise, then Adam came home and complained that a girl was giving out cupcakes to pro-life students in his middle school lunchroom, which led me to discover that it was National Pro-Life Cupcake Day, and that derailed quite a bit of my evening. The PTA president thinks it was against county rules, though I am not sure whether the underlying issue is the content or the handing out of food without permission; I think she will take it up with the administration, which would be nice since it means I can mostly stay out of it (and hopefully keep my son out of it if pro-life lunatics come out of the woodwork). I did send them a very low-key e-mail.
This section of Skyline Drive overlooks the Shenandoah Valley and Signal Knob.
Marys Rock Tunnel just past Thornton Gap.
The long ridge of Massanutten.
The region is known for its flowers and wildlife, though we didn't see any bears this time, just insects, rodents and a couple of deer.
On a clear day the view stretches the length of the Blue Ridge.
The National Zoo CRC in Front Royal has gorgeous hillside views as well, with dormitories and veterinary facilities surrounded by open fields and animals.
A colorful spider on a fencepost. I think it may be a jumping spider.
This cracked me up so I just had to share -- this is horse poop where each animal was fed something different so it would be easy for the vets to tell which poop was whose (the one on the left was fed blue glitter).
The Friday Five: At What Age...
1. At what age do you think it's appropriate for someone to get their driver's license? Not younger than 16. I think the driving and written tests should be more comprehensive and there should be more restrictions on licenses for people under 18, though.
2. At what age do you think it's appropriate for someone to first drink alcohol? Are we talking in a home environment or out drinking with friends? For as long as the military can recruit at 18, I think 18 should be the legal drinking age. Obviously most people will try alcohol before then but I think the age at which someone is old enough to experiment wisely varies a great deal.
3. At what age do you think it's appropriate for someone to become sexually active? I assume "sexually active" means intercourse, so I'd say no younger than 16, though I really think it makes far more sense to be over 18 -- risking a pregnancy when one isn't considered an adult and able to make one's own legal decisions seems insane to me.
4. At what age do you think it's appropriate for someone to vote in elections affecting national and/or local government? 18. I think most people are mature enough to take on the responsibility of voting at 16, but since those under 18 can't serve on juries or participate in many other aspects of full citizenship in the U.S., it seems fair to make 18 the age for all those rights and responsibilities.
5. At what age do you think it's appropriate for someone to be conscripted for military service? Never, unless the country has been invaded or is under dire threat. I think it's appropriate to accept volunteers at 18.
Friday evening TV included the living dead episode of Smallville, in which I found that I actually like drunk Oliver though I may have been very distracted by shirtless Oliver. I didn't much like the I Am Legend aspects -- zombies are really not my thing -- but Ollie anger at Clark is actually quite entertaining. "You plaster your symbol all over the city like you're a second Jesus!" And Clark and Lois get better together all the time, though I prefer when she's kicking ass alongside him to when she's zombified and he's just trying to keep her in one piece.
Then we watched Due South's "Longball," not wanting to see actual baseball and find out whether A-Rod showed up for the postseason for the Yankees (apparently he did). And then we watched the season premiere of Sanctuary, which I was surprised to discover I had actually missed; it has all the same structural flaws as last season, but I enjoy Amanda Tapping a lot and any show in which a werewolf has dramatic scenes with a Neanderthal already has something going for it in my book. It's a pain there's an hour between it and Smallville, though, because I really don't want my family watching that many hours of TV on Friday nights!