Monday, June 07, 2010
MYSTERIES OF MY LAWN, ETC.
That headline's fairly yawn-inducing: and yet it almost led to a death.
This weekend as I was doing my neighborly bit cutting the lawn, something white jumped from the exhaust and whipped past my elderly neighbor's head. She was talking with another neighbor. The object moved at remarkable speed. It turned out to be a golfball hiding in the deep grass in the gully in front of my house. I don't know who left it there. We don't have golf balls at our house.
The golf ball flew into her garage, but didn't break anything. I turned off the mower and said sorry, and we found it. She wasn't mad.
I used to use a mulcher because I didn't want to kill my neighbors but last summer the mower died because it was so wet that the mulching burned out the engine. I have an acre of hilly lawn, and it's a push-mower with a power-engine.
I went to a 3-hour dance marathon yesterday. It wasn't as awful as I had feared. Oneonta Dance Center, where my kids do ballet and hiphop, put it on. These were mostly show numbers. They did bits of Hair, and bits from Grease, and Pink Panther (four late middle-aged men with trench coats tap-dancing to the Henry Mancini lead-in, -- holding magnifying glasses).
My daughter Fia (just turned four) is the smallest in the dance studio that must have about 100 students. She was in a ballet piece where she tried to follow the other kids, picking up the pattern, then losing it, then picking it up again. At one point she moves her fingers as if paint is drying.
A police officer who used to live next door sat behind us. A carpenter whose daughter is my 5th grader's best friend sat next to us. The carpenter told us he's writing a novel about a nature poet named Absorbo, who has a fierce enemy literary critic who denounces everything that Absorbo writes.
I'm reading Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, his first book. Smith is as bright as Aristotle, and as dry. This is rare. He says that when someone reacts disproportionately: when they cry just because they lost a game of pinochle, or if they laugh just because something seems slightly incongruous, we wonder about them.
He also says that although we have sympathy for strangers, our deepest sympathy goes first to our family members, and secondly to friends. People far away do not elicit as much sympathy, and sometimes none, even if we hear that they died.
Flowers discovered in my yard include: chickweed, Black Medick, strawberries, buttercups, clover, forget-me-nots, speedwell, Creeping Charlie, dandelions, Irises.
I have planted cucumbers, watermelon, and pumpkin seeds, in two small planters, and all are coming up. I'm especially excited about the watermelon because I've never seen the flowers.
Last night while watching the Celtics sneak past the Lakers on the 8 3-pointers of Ray Allen (an NBA record), I flicked on Fox during the Time-Outs. Hannity was gloating over Obama's inability to handle the Gulf Oil Spill, and splicing between Obama's campaign yatter about Bush and Katrina. Hannity can be too rough, too monotonous. On Greta, Joran Van der Sloot, who had something to do with the disappearance of Natalie Holloway in Aruba, has been arrested in Peru in the death of another young woman.
I have to read more Adam Smith now. I don't like opening it, but once I'm in it, it's very good.