A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Park Update

Armoury Common park gate One thing I've learned from studying demographics and statistics is that interpreting trends can be dangerous. If it was 80 degrees the day before yesterday, 81 degrees yesterday, and 82 today, I might conclude that by December 31 it will be 215 degrees, with no relief in sight. But of course that's ridiculous. Looking at a much larger stretch of the graph, we see that temperatures cycle up and then down again, over and over. The further we step back, the larger the context, the more accurate a prediction we can make about the weather, or the population, or anything else.

That's one of the reassurances I'm always giving the doom-and-gloom people. Sometimes it seems that most everyone I know believes that everything is getting worse--the economy, the environment, the educational system, teenagers' taste in music, you name it. Oh, and the world is going to end in 2012. I'm pretty cranky myself these days, and could probably use some of my own advice to just chill.

This morning I walked around the block with the dog, circumventing Armoury Common Park in the process. I was delighted to notice a young man wearing a bright red t-shirt (think: gang color) and lots of gold bling--a kid I know to be homeless and on drugs--industriously picking up trash all over the park and neatly bussing it in the cans. He caught my eye and gave me a cheery wave.

This evening I walked around the block with my dog, circumventing Armoury Common Park in the process. The park was empty and tranquil, as it should have been at that late hour, the gates closed with big chains and padlocks near the sign that reads, "Park closed at dusk."

What's going on? Are the park denizens taking stewardship of their own space? Are the police actually patrolling? Has a park ranger put this overlooked little space on notice? Is the apartment management once again abiding by the maintenance covenant struck in 1977 between the city and themselves?

I don't know. And I'm not foolishly idealistic. But the sight of my gangsta homie picking up litter has lifted my spirits all day.

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