Sunday Morning, 5th of August, Twenty O’Seven

This morning Garrison informs us of a birthday…

It’s the birthday of Wendell Berry born in Port Royal, Kentucky (1934). He grew up on farmland that had belonged to his family since 1803. He went on to college and to graduate school. He lived in California and Italy and New York City. But through all those years, he never stopped thinking about the place where he grew up, and he finally decided to move back to the area permanently. Most of his city friends thought he was crazy, but he bought a small farm in his hometown, which still had a population of only a hundred or so people, and he began farming it the way his grandfather had taught him, without any machines.

He grew squash, corn, and tomatoes, and he got a flock of sheep, a milk cow, and some horses. And he wrote about his experiences as a farmer in more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays. His collections of poetry include The Farm (1995) and A Timbered Choir (1998). But he’s best known for his essays in books such as The Gift of Good Land (1981), What Are People For? (1990), and Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition (2000).

Wendell Berry said, “Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”

Wendell Berry’s “The Art Of The Commonplace” is on my “to read or reread” stack right now. He is keeping good company, the stack right now has books by Annie Dillard, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan and my friend Fred First.

Happy Birthday Mr. Berry…

The annual driving test a success | – Houston Chronicle

Last Wednesday I got up early, ate a hearty breakfast, climbed in the old pickup and went out to perform my annual Loop 610 Test.

This is the test I take at least once a year to see if I can still drive in Houston freeway traffic without endangering myself and the general public.

About 10 years ago, when I had celebrated my 75th birthday, I was hearing friends not yet 65 say they were no longer comfortable driving on the Loop or on Interstate 10. That set me to wondering — was I already too old to drive in this town?

So I began the test, in which I get on the Loop when it’s running fast and go all the way around, to see how I do. I’ve passed the test for 10 straight years, and on Wednesday I passed it again with no trouble.

You have to give Leon Hale credit for facing Houston traffic, I love to drive but Houston traffic (which is where I learned to drive) can be intimidating to the most serene driver. I’m not sure what it says but I loved his final statement…

My Timex said I needed 40 minutes to go around. That’s almost two minutes longer than I’ve ever taken before.

So here’s what this latest test tells me: As a Houston freeway driver I may not be getting any worse. But I am getting slower.

Other than mentioning the inordinate amount of rain we have had this year on the Texas Gulf coast, I’ve not discussed our weather too much lately. The main reason has been, I don’t want to jinx us. We have made it to August this year with a minimal number of extreme temperature days. Watching the SW and the NE hitting temperatures above normal, I am happy that our temps have stayed about 10° below normal for the most part. Granted, our 90° days when the humidity is above 90% still requires air conditioning to remove water vapor from the air.

Time to move about, have a great Sunday.

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