World doesn’t stop

Published 3:55 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

Pied Opinions by Sam Griffin

A fellow newspaper editor recently declared extreme exhaustion and asked for time out–for a day with no news at all.

  He was exhausted with the constant spate of child kidnappings and murders, of terrorist threats and alerts, of fraud and bankruptcies in high places, of viral epidemics, of stock market losses, of human bombings in the Holy Land–the whole works. He didn’t ask for good news, just for no news: a recess.

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  Frequent Return Postage writer Bill Palmetto expressed similar emotions in a letter in the edition.

  They expressed what all of us feel at one time or another–a weariness of the world and its tribulations.

  But like most such idyllic thoughts, they don’t translate well to practicality. The only folk with no problems, no bad news are those no longer among us. History demonstrates time and again that rascals don’t rest or take time off. They work overtime–24 hours a day, seven days a week, year around. No respite there.

  But to live is to run the race, face the foe, pay the rent, rise to challenges, wrestle with adversity, seize opportunities, count blessings and find simple joy in the victories and wonders of the day; of the good things and good people in life–big and little.

  For those wearied and jaded friends, there is a lot of assistance available right about now in refocusing on the more positive and pleasant parts of life.

  Begin with hummingbirds. I don’t know of any of God’s creatures more beautiful–or busier–than these little creatures–especially right now. The Ruby Throat, our native species, spends the better part of his day working to feed his stomach. I won’t comment on that line at all.

  Like a Jaycee project of old, he expends a heck of a lot of energy for what probably ends up to be a very low net yield–but he’s in business. One doesn’t need a fancy feeder to enjoy these distractions from the worries of the world–there is a whole smorgasbord of flowering plants out there to attract him. Watch for them. For the more cynical, he also offers philosophical lessons to contemplate: He never seems to be satisfied with enough. There can be five feeders in a small area–enough for a dozen birds–and the chief hummer of the area will expend as much energy driving other hummers away from feeders as he does feeding himself. Just like folks.

  The next pleasant distraction I recommend is watching dragonflies-  skeeter hawks, as we used to say. We seem to be between models right now, at least at my house. The blue dragonflies that have been in my yard since late spring seem to be giving way to larger ruby-red models. In early spring, before the blue ones, there were some black ones and few tarnished gold models.

  I figured it probably had to do with a staggered hatching schedule of different species, but the Love of My Life spoiled my theories about the significance of the apparent changing of the color guard last weekend when she suggested that maybe the reason the blue dragonflies are decreasing and the red ones are increasing might be that the big red ones are eating the little blue ones.

  Whatever, they are nature’s jewels, incredible aerobats that sparkle metallically in the sun in enough colors to suit even the most jaded. And, if you will lie or sit very still with toes or index fingers upheld, they will often light and rest, and you can get a close-up look at them. Of course, if your neighbors happen to pass and see you sitting around with your index fingers pointed upward…

  Anyway, old helicopter pilots feel a kinship with these master aviators. They are the original Maytag Messerschmitts.

  Finally, get ready for the butterflies. They are already on the way. One does not have to an expert to enjoy them, but a little research will improve chances. By and large, the are going to be attracted to bright color, but particular species prefer particular plants on which to lay eggs. The Giant Swallowtail likes citrus plants and the Devil’s Walking Stick, for instance, and if that ain’t a varied taste, I’ll kiss your foot.

  It’s pretty hard to obsess about all the meanness in the world while watching butterflies–or hummingbirds and skeeter hawks.

  Take time out and enjoy them. Don’t expect a permanent solution, just time “to knit up the ravel’d sleeve of care” and regroup to go on living.

  Overall it’s not only a pretty good world, it’s the only one we’ve got.