We took in a market experience at a local farm. HW wanted eggs but they’d sold out minutes before we arrived. Ok, but what the heck we thought, let’s wander about and see what else is here. Not like we have anything pressing to do today. We visited the pigs in slop. I feel uneasy by the complete asymmetrical advantage we hold over the pigs, especially how we leverage that advantage to guide their fate. The barbarity but necessity (I suppose) of the electrified wire between us. The same asymmetry is observed at the goat pen, although here the minder of the goats invites us to reach down and pet them, if we want. I do so want, so I reach over the feeble fence fabric, which is nothing like the hardened security at the pig pen, and run my finger along the
fur hair over the bridge of her (?) nose. I do wonder sometimes at my irreducible urge to pet animals. And what, if anything, the goat wonders when it feels my touch. Look into those eyes and tell me there’s nothing meaningful behind them. We’re told human touch is beneficial, maybe even critical, for the proper mental health development of human neonates, why not goats, too? Away from the animal areas I snapped a photo of several evanescent, globular forms slow moving in air. Pretty sure, anyway. Or maybe I should’ve passed on the free samples at the mycology tent?
Back at home the dusty red roses in our front garden have begun to express their flowers. Why the extravagance? Depends on who you ask. Ask an evolutionary biologist and the boilerplate answer will be something like: The flower’s allure draws the attention of pollinators (e.g. bees), who are a critical catalyst for making more rose plants. I find that reason unimaginative, if not also droll. The rose plant appears in the fossil record about 35 million years ago, and for about the past five thousand years has been under human-guided cultivation, which no doubt involved, in part, selective breeding for bigger, more beautiful flowers. The purpose of this extravagance is not to serve the rose’s reproductive interest; the purpose was beauty for beauty’s sake. “OK, but what about the ancestral rose smarty pants, it’s not like Valentines Day is 35 million years old.” Gee, do we know anything about how the flowers looked on the ancestral rose, flowers don’t fossilize well. Maybe they were tiny, bland, gray and droopy blooms, unattractive to all but the most desperate of bees. Who can say for sure?
Shortly after rose admiration – or was it before 🤔 – breakfast was ready! HW does it again. As I dug in, my thoughts drifted back to the pigs and the unfortunate asymmetry of our brief co-existence on this planet, and so I was grateful not to discover ham inside my omelette.
A good friend of ours (Dale) died last week. In his sleep we think, hopefully. He succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Dale was a medical oncologist for many years practicing in Anchorage. He retired from that work about five years ago, but in keeping with his own best advice – “Never stop working!” he’d admonish us when the conversation turned to us retiring – he continued to work as an MD at a senior center. After his diagnosis a couple years later he was forced to quit that, too. He was HW’s former boss and mentor at the oncology practice where she worked in the 90s through the early aughts, a practice he’d established. She flew to Anchorage today to be at the celebration of life on Thursday. His wife asked HW if she’d say a few words for him at the ceremony. Before she left for the airport this morning she pulled out an old leather-bound journal of medical notes and bits of wisdom she’d collected over the years. On the inside cover there was a cutout paper star with a short vignette of encouragement penned on it, from Dale of course. Few of us are so fortunate as to have a solid mentor early on in our professional life. Dale was that for HW. The world is a little worse off today for his passing. We will miss him 🙏