Tuesday, 1 October 2013

To America With Love

I knew, at the back of my mind, that the US Government was shutting down today, but it didn't hit home until I checked out Twitter to discover that 'NASA' and 'Curiosity Rover' are both mothballed for the duration. 

Imagine this!  The one and only extra-terrestrial motor vehicle in the audible universe, is on vacation because of a spat over a paltry trillion bucks in Washington DC.

Curiosity will speak to me again soon, of this I have no doubt, and in the meantime I WILL spare a thought for all US citizens seriously affected by this robust lesson in the separation of powers away 'over the pond'. ( Yes, I HAVE studied US governance, and it HAS proved of more use than knowing the means of execution of several of Henry VIII 's six wives, if a little less riveting.)

SO. There's my starting point. Here's the rest:-

This is what I am doing, as the Leader of The Free World plays hooky:

I have attempted to bottom out the riches of my access to the OU online resource library, so have read neuroscience in 'Nature' (and learned that rowers in Oxford are better motivated when training as a team. Oh! YES!)  I have visited the National Gallery and made 'Avignon From The South West' my screensaver.  

Bored with academia, I flew to Washington State, via Google Earth, to find the theatre in Issaquah where I saw a musical, but still couldn't remember the name of either, so I sat for a while with Darlene in Redmond where 40th NE meets the Bel-Red Rd right in front of the Chinese Temple.  Then, what the hell, it's a free ride, I checked out the terrain at Giant's Castle, in The Drakensburg Mountains, RSA,  where I spent a magical dawn, walking alone, on my fifty-sixth birthday.

I then recalled I should be researching, so  I found Philip Larkin on Spotify and persuaded him, with just one click, to read 'The Less Deceived'.  I had forgotten how perfect 'Churchgoing ' is and why 'No Road' always brings smiles and tears in about equal measure.

Time for something new, so after Coleridge on meter, I discovered THIS.  And I invite you to appreciate it too. I reproduce it with deep love, and gratitude, to all my American friends:


 After you flew across the country we
 got in bed, laid our bodies
 delicately together, like maps laid
 face to face, East to West, my
 San Francisco against your New York, your
 Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
 New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
 bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
 burning against your Kansas your Kansas
 burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
 Standard Time pressing into my
 Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
 beating against your Central Time, your
 sun rising swiftly from the right my
 sun rising swiftly from the left your
 moon rising slowly from the left my
 moon rising slowly from the right until
 all four bodies of the sky
 burn above us, sealing us together,
 all our cities twin cities,
 all our states united, one
 nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

-- Sharon Olds 

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