A Beautiful Morning in the Neighborhood

Last night we had another wind storm. Strong gales coming in from the east, but no rain. It got the Mediterranean all riled up and our building into a state of hissing and squealing that was rather annoying. This morning the sun is shining warm and bright, the storm has passed, but the water's got a bad hangover. Usually on a bright sunny day like this the bay is as calm and flat as the glass of water sitting beside me. So this is a nice change. And it smells different. Typically the air here offers barely a hint of the fact that we are right on the beach, but today it has a real Atlantic aroma, just like, for example, approaching Little Compton from the west. And those aromas seemed to stir something in Waldo's brain: he was romping around on the beach as if he were a kid again, even dared to venture into three inches of water, which is quite unusual for him. (Well, I kind of tricked him into it, but still...) 
As I was walking along the beach with Waldo, feeling extremely fortunate indeed, I came up with another theory. Some time ago I saw an interview with the person responsible for managing the apple inventory for some big supermarket chain. And for whatever reason, I was struck by the passion he showed for his fruit. He explained that if you could manage to pick the apple at just the right moment and get it quickly and carefully into the warehouse, and if in the warehouse you could maintain the precise degree of humidity (minimal) and a constant temperature (38, 41 F?), you could keep that apple really fresh for a very long time. So maybe people are like that– we need precisely the right conditions. Several years ago I became a fan of the well known 'serenity prayer'. It's quite simple and encapsulates a basic wisdom. I try to say it to myself often and I think it helps me keep things in perspective. Now I believe I need something similar in terms of keeping my bearings. It's not exactly a prayer, but it would go something like this: I'm a human being, living on planet earth. The earth rotates once on its axis every twenty-four hours. Once a year it rotates around our sun. We are the third planet of eight (or nine, if you were counting a few years ago), forming a solar system for which we have yet to come up with a either a good name or a willing sponsor (Solar System Ra, sponsored by Bamba Footwear!?) We seem to be located more towards the fringe than the center of a spiral type galaxy of hundreds of billions (yes, hundreds of billions!) of stars. Our galaxy is zooming away from billions of other galaxies at an accelerating rate. (Getting dizzy? Lonely?) There is little evidence to suggest there is a center, or even a direction. But there does seem to be ample parking available for any future spacecraft we may come up with. And on and on... So, if I keep getting my bearings in this manner I believe I may help extend my shelf life. Others are more succinct and perhaps a tad more connected to our basic realities. I just read this after my walk. I'm quoting Roger Cohen quoting Ian McKewan quoting John Updike: "Nature dangles sex to us to keep us walking towards the cliff." That about sums it up, doesn't it? (Well, yes, there is more to it than that, but I'd say that's not a bad take on the basic pattern of life on earth.)
The Leer la voz americana session on Tuesday was dedicated to Emily Dickinson and it too went quite well. Another strong turnout. If I had a better functioning brain, I may have thought of her on my walk earlier this morning. One of her poems begins thusly:

I started Early – Took my dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –

The only mermaid I've seen this morning is the one adorning the Dickinson home page. The sea withdrew and today, sorry Emily, it didn't talk to me about death. (This blog entry sponsored by the spirit of Fred Rogers.)