Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Late Spring.  A friend reminds me that now that I have new plantings, I must take care of them.  Yes.  Each day Sue Henrietta (my water hose) and I have watered the welcomed plants.  The friend who gave them knows how they grow and how they bloom, but she does not know their names.  That’s all right.  I’ll name them.

There are rabbits everywhere in the neighborhood this spring.  They are growing large, and far from tame, they nevertheless do not scare easily.  I see them mostly in the early morning and late evening.

Lavender is blooming lavender; rue is blooming yellow; yarrow is blooming dark pink.  Daisies are about to bloom.  In town a few magnolia trees are blooming.  There is no sign of crepe myrtle blooms.  They will soon fill the town.

I have two visitors regularly.  There is a robin that likes to sit in a branch of Sanders, the young red maple tree.  The robin is there mid-afternoon, and looks toward the house.  And in the evenings, if I arrive home after dark, there is an unusually bright lightning bug that greets me just above my head and near Erik, the willow oak,  as I walk into the yard from Red Car.

The days are long and soon to be longer and longest; nights are short now.  According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, days will be longest (14 hours, 24 minutes) from the 14th through the 26th of this month.  I’m looking forward to the full moon on the 13th, the Strawberry Moon.

Education.  In the May 19th issue of The New Yorker is an article by Dale Russakoff on the “attempted rescue” of the Newark school system.  In response to the article, Jim Hass of Olathe, Kansas, wrote a letter published in the June 2 issue of the magazine.  He writes, “As a lifelong educator, I know that effective schooling is complicated, especially in an environment poisoned by poverty, corruption, and in-fighting.  Progress is possible if decision-makers heed a few basic principles: Learning isn’t a commodity; schools are not profit centers; and communities are entitled to a voice and to an accounting of resources.  Ultimately, what matters most is what takes place between students and teachers.”  He quotes a 2007 study that concludes “. . . most reform efforts, including restructuring and charter schools, have little or no systemic impact” and quotes from the study, “The quality of a school system rests on the quality of its teachers.”  His concluding sentence, “Human capital is the capital that counts.”  The comments here are no surprise to any good teacher, active or retired.  But we are a resource not often consulted or valued.

Reading.  Nonfiction.  David Stick, The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 1584-1958.  (The University of North Carolina Press, 1958).

Good histories are not dated, and this history of a section of our state is an interesting and well-written overview of the region.  I enjoyed re-reading the book after many decades.  I especially enjoyed chapters on the Nags Head area as an early resort, the buildings of  light houses and life stations after the Civil War, the story of Diamond City (completely destroyed by a hurricane in 1899), the story of the Wright Brothers, and the chapter entitled “The Banks Today,” which gives us a view of the banks, once contemporary, now historic.  In 1958 there was a ferry across Oregon Inlet, and if it is decided that Bonner Bridge will be dismantled and a ferry reinstated there, the past will become present again.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you are enjoying these long days and short nights.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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3 Responses to Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  1. Margaret McNeely says:

    I have been surprised at how large robins are! Why have I not noticed that before? After seeing and smelling the lavendar at the church in Valdese, I came home and planted 8 small lavendar bushes. And I water them every evening which is fun!

  2. Dave A says:

    Rabbits, robins, & other assorted wildlife. We, too, have rabbits, but they seemed to have been thinned out — perhaps by the neighborhood fox and hawk. Last evening around 8pm the fox trotted smartly down his side of our street. Remember the Coasters tune, “I’ve been searchin’…?” The hawk was not perched on his usual abandoned TV antenna; perhaps he’d eaten an earlier diner? A retired colleague from Mullen High School, Sr. Diane, reported that yesterday’s (Tuesday) deluge in Omaha had the rabbits swimming about her back yard.

  3. Dave A says:

    Oh, yes, and lightening bugs. I grew up in northwestern PA and these delightful nighttime lanterns are sorely missed. It is too high and dry here in Denver. A long time ago, my wife and I made a road trip to southeastern WI to visit her family. Our friend, John, and his two young daughters went along. His daughters had been born/raised in Denver. On our first evening in WI, they were absolutely thrilled, as only young kids can be, by these strange flickering creatures. Of course, we had to “capture” some in a jar for closer viewing.

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