Yeah, yeah, I know.
I haven't been here for over three weeks. Call it winter blahs (the calendar may say spring, but there are still patches of snow on the ground), call it depression over the times we're living in, call it sheer laziness and/or lack of motivation, but I can't seem to get my stuff together.
Unlike the guys I live with. They've been doing their bit to help out the wider world.
My son joined an anti-war gathering in Flint on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion. He was quoted in the Flint Journal :
Ethan D'Arcy, a 25-year-old biochemistry major at UM-Flint, said he didn't mind the rain and sleet drenching his hair and bandanna as he marched with the Progressive Democrats - the cause is too important.
"You just have to stand up and be heard," D'Arcy said. "You can't run back home because of the rain. People are dying."
He's also a member of Students for Social Change and secretary of the board for the Creative Alliance in Flint (alas, the on-line version doesn't include a photograph of the board members). That organization held a fundraiser and talent showcase on Friday night at Churchill's, a college bar that's everything a college bar should be: old, funky, decor of ancient, scarred tables and chairs, lots of noise, smoke, and youthful energy. We attended and were impressed by the bands, visual artists, and poets. From the program handed out Friday night:
The Creative Alliance is revitalizing Flint by engaging the community in collective creative action. We build bridges between artists for collaboration and mutual support.
Flint is the toughest town around, afflicted by poverty, blight, and abandonment. Sometimes, in the struggle to survive here, art is sidelined as an expendable luxury. We feel that painful realities make art all the more necessary.
Many people receive culture passively through the television, heavily promoted record labels, and Hollywood. These tend to offer romantic fantasies and don't challenge the status quo. That is not enough!
The group plans to raise funds and offer support to various community efforts that are chronically short of funds.
It was energizing and a lift to the spirit to see all these young men and women working (and playing!) together to do something for the community. You can't blame me if I got all nostalgic for the sixties ...
And Ethan even managed to sell quite a few pieces of his hemp jewelry.
Then there's James. First he got himself involved in a project that aims to
give our township its own zip code, which involved making a presentation at a
local meeting, reporting back to our township board, the writing of letters,
etc. All this took up a great deal more time than it sounds like.
Next, he thought it might be fun for us to be part of the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey. We had to identify at least ten locations we can visit three different nights to listen to and identify frog species. We drove around and chose thirteen of the many possible frog habitats nearby, mapped the sites, and sent our proposed route to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), and they sent us a packet with forms, instructions, and a CD of frog and toad calls. Soon I'll be able to tell the snore of the leopard frog from the scream of Fowler's toad! The survey is an important undertaking, though, one that not only counts frog populations, but by so doing tells us what kind of shape our ecosystems are in.
Finally, my spouse went a class on hazardous weather and is now an official Skywarn weather spotter. He came home and told me excitedly that yes, that was a wall cloud we'd seen last summer! Sigh. What can you do when you're married to a scientist, one who takes pride in calling himself a nerd.
Life's a thrill a minute around here, as I'm sure you can tell. But I'm glad someone, or two someones, in this family are reaching out beyond the walls of home. I hope I can stop feeling so reclusive soon.