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Sat May 26, 2012, 01:13 PM

Valotte [View all]

"Sitting on a pebble by the river playing guitar
Wond'ring if we're really ever gonna get that far
Do you know there's something wrong?
We'll stick together 'cause we're strong"
-- Julian Lennon, Velotte

In the hill-country of upstate New York, it's not uncommon to find open springs of water gurgling out from under a boulder. I have three of these currently flowing into my pond, as well as a few underground springs feeding it. On a warm, muggy day, my dogs Kelly and Rocky will play pond-side for a brief period, and then go cool off by laying in those springs. Rocky is our new puppy .... half German Shepherd and half Siberian Huskie. Since he looked like a raccoon when we got him, the Lennon-McCartney song "Rocky Raccooon" provided the source of his name.

With only the sun serving as a clock, day time at the pond is very different than "time" when one is at work, inside a building, or in a town or city. At first, as the dogs rest, my mind is crowded with nonsense about too many appointments and financial stress. Pretty soon, I'm watching the fish and birds, looking at various flowers in bloom, and envying that these animals and plants do not share my worries. They are here, now. And always at here, now.

Some of those appointments are fun. Watching my older daughter running in the finals of the sectionals in track. She doesn't win, and isn't happy with her time. Within minutes, she is both very happy and very sad: making it this far is rewarding for a person who has invested years of effort; but it's the end of her high school sports career. I watch as a number of coaches from other teams talk to her. Last year, she won a special award as those other coaches recognized her as being eager to work with anyone and everyone on improving in track.

Our coach assisted her in getting a position as an assistant coach on the track team of the college she's attending. He's loaned her every book and film on track that exists, it seems. She was running in another race today, as there are plenty of 5K races throughout the region. I suspect that while she's running so many miles in preparation for races, in her mind time expands, similarly to the way it does for me at the pond.

But otherwise, time has been pretty crammed and cramped lately. One afternoon this week, I picked her up at school, and we went to a ceremony where she was tied for a first-place state-wide scholarship. Then we went to a school event, where she was "officially" named valedictorian. She's maintained a 100 average throughout high school. I'm excited to watch this flower bloom. I think her future looks good. Still, I'm a little sad sometimes, because the time I've had with the girl I've called "Sugar Plum Fairy" since she was wee-little has gone by way too fast. And now she is a young lady who, one of my good friends assures me, ain't going to be living in this neck of the woods.

An independent media reporter called me this week, to ask if it would be okay to tape my daughter's speech at graduation. She met my daughter at the anti-hydrofracking meeting at the Pace University Environmental Law Clinic last month. My daughter has always made a strong impression on people, such as John Nichols and Elizabeth de la Vega ("we've just seen our next US Senator from New York," when at 14, my daughter gave an impromptu speech on non-violence), so I'm not surprised by the media request. But that is entirely up to my daughter, not me.

We should all be learning from our interactions with others. The most important thing that I've learned in 18 years with my daughter is the power of true gentleness. It allows logical and rational thought to flow properly. I've been thinking about that in the context of my participation here on this forum.

Some of the time, it can be difficult to be polite on even relatively petty discussions and debates here; for example, on "LBN," there's a Manson Family thread containing numerous inaccurate and false claims -- but is there really any reason to be short with an uninformed person, when simply directing them towards accurate sources of information is at least as easy?

And there are more important discussions and debates on "GD," about the 2012 elections. In particular, I've seen hostile responses to people either asking a question, or expressing their opinion. There is a wide range of perceptions, for example, on President Barack Obama: some people are quite satisfied with him, and others quite unsatisfied ..... and everything in between.(I do not care about, nor focus upon, those who "visit" DU for the wrong reasons. They are of no significance, and generally are removed from the ranks.)

I campaigned for Senator Barack Obama in 2008. I'm not particularly satisfied with his performance in office, but can understand and appreciate that others are. Some of the points that both sides make seem valid and valuable to me. In my own case, I'm going to be focusing my efforts on two areas other than the presidential contest: one election for a seat in the House of Representatives, and a few local elections. And also of interest to me is the sad reality that a segment of the population nation-wide will be engaged in campaign disruption and attempts to deny specific groups the right to vote.

It seems to me that the vast majority of DUers would agree that these issues are things we should be united in opposing. Indeed, that should be something everyone who respects our Constitution agree upon. And it is no coincidence that most of the jackals that seek to disrupt and keep others from voting happen to be republicans, doing the work of the 1%.

By the time Election Day rolls around, my daughter -- who will be voting for the first time -- will be hundreds of miles away at college. She likes President Obama, and thinks that he is doing better than I think he is. I think it's funny that although she has been a long-time volunteer at the county Democratic Party headquarters, she is registered "independent." We see things differently, which is good, but I know that it is essential for the Democratic Party to have allies like her.

H2O Man

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H2O Man May 2012 OP
johnnie May 2012 #1
H2O Man May 2012 #2
Octafish May 2012 #3
H2O Man May 2012 #4
Uncle Joe May 2012 #5
H2O Man May 2012 #10
felix_numinous May 2012 #6
H2O Man May 2012 #12
bleever May 2012 #7
H2O Man May 2012 #13
Zorra May 2012 #8
H2O Man May 2012 #14
Dustlawyer May 2012 #9
H2O Man May 2012 #15
spanone May 2012 #11
bigtree May 2012 #16
Beringia May 2012 #17