paper flowers

I love flowers. The incredible diversity of colour and shape among species, the funny old folk names, the scents… Rain Lily, Verbena, Mountain Pink, Mountain Laurel, Evening Primrose, Blue-Eyed Grass, Iris, Violet, Rose-my favourite. The aroma of a rose is tangible as a taste, its trademark spiral perfect in imprecision, and just try brushing a petal past your cheek-love at first touch. Nibble a clover stem to let the sweet sour wine drop sting your tongue, or the end of a honeysuckle for its fairy ambrosia, but save the rose to dry the petals and run tired fingers through all year long.
Anyway, real flowers are incredible. But I don’t want to knock the paper versions, either. Tissue paper attached to the end of pipe cleaners has an odd fusion of crayola and ethereal beauty, and origami can produce strangely lifelike geometric models. Today’s contribution:

injuries and excuses

Well, sorry about that. It’s been half a week, hasn’t it?

Sooo tired lately. It’s all this summer heat-I’ve fallen and had minor injuries multiple times since the last post (hence difficulty typing, thus excuse for no posts), and it’s only getting worse. This is the kind of heat that lives in the ovens of the world and only comes out to terrorize innocent housewives or large tracts of land. Heat that nests in every pore of your skin within a single minute of walking out of an air-conditioned space. Living, shimmering heat you can see rising off the street and coming after you in hydra-headed waves. That’s assuming you can see at all, given the sun is about 50 times brighter than it has any right or reason to be. Ten minutes just sitting in this sun and the little beggar birdies around the trash cans get heatstroke. A few days of walking around in it for more than 10 minutes at a time and your common sense melts away, taking with it the general capacity for logical reasoning. After a month of that, the ability to physically balance while seated in a vehicle or walking down stairs also goes. General exhaustion sets in, bringing with it the feeling that things would be so much easier if you just gave up and stayed put, prone in the shade that won’t be there in an hour (a recipe for human lobster, btw). What comes next, you ask? I’ll let you know. Once my brain re-forms.

Productivity since last post: not much. Recuperating sprains tends against such ventures. I’ve relearned how to use a microfilm reader and danced my feet off, but that’s about it. Next up: research paper due tomorrow. Not my specialty, papers. Oh well.

cradle to cradle

My definition of valuable productive activity is broad, as you will come to find. Today afforded some generally in tune noise on the piano (and sore fingers-haven’t played in years!), a clean room, a clean bathroom, and some clean, folded clothes. Nice little breaks from the all-consuming need to read books in a single day or never finish.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a lovely, heavy book printed on generally recyclable material which calls for everything we as humans produce to keep in mind the economic, social, and ecological benefits of reuse from the get-go. Authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart start out stating (and re-stating, recapitulating, paraphrasing, and reprising) the problem: Western culture is consumption-based. Which means that everything we buy is made with a single use in mind. An aluminum soda can is made for soda and advertising, not for soda and then recycling. Cars are welded together so inextricably that they can’t be cannibalized at ‘death’ for strong steel to be used in other cars. We use deadly chemicals in everything.

After the problem come various solutions by earlier environmentalist movements: stop having kids (to kill consumer culture), regulate machines to death, allow industries to keep using scarce virgin resources but force them to use these at a slower rate and send the pollution ‘somewhere else’, protect whatever is left of the pristine at all costs-all growing from the conclusion that human industrial growth is morally wrong… What a depressing picture.

Finally, they offer the solution: get up and take the best of both worlds. Instead of recycling, ‘upcycle’. Make your processes and products so ecologically sound that they add to the environment instead of detracting from it ‘at all phases of their lifecycle’ (the authors actually did this in a Swiss textile mill). For the rest of the book, McDonough and Braungart share some ideas of how to apply this principle to different situations.

Pleasant writing style, innovative problem-solving, good book. Read it. Or just go read a bit off McDonough’s website, which’ll give you the book condensed and updated.

Caveat: If you are also a Christian and Creationist, you may find the frequent evolutionary theory references a bit heavy-or, as I did, a bit amusing. Particularly when coupled with frequent lessons from biology (go to the ant, anyone?). God’s world works better than anything humans can come up with, and only by imitating ‘natural processes’ can we insure our own continued survival? Well, who’d’a thunk???

On a lighter (or is it darker?) note, this book made me wonder if Cybermen read Malthus…

allons-y

Hullo, blog community!

I’m a young Christian attempting to overcome a nature all too prone to procrastination. This is the first in what I hope will become a long string of posts in a personal ‘rebelution’… I’m going to try to spend an hour learning to produce something for every single day in the coming year-instead of indulging the easy impulse of constant consumption. Pictures and music links forthcoming.

Today I learned how to set up a blog, and it took much more than an hour-far too long, actually. Themes are the fun part; there are some lovely ones out there. Coming up with names is also quite diverting. Here’s where this one came from:

Glencoe

The star-crowned cliffs seem hinged upon the sky,

The clouds are floating rags across them curled,

They open to us like the gates of God

Cloven in the last great wall of all the world.

I looked, and saw the valley of my soul

Where naked crests fight to achieve the skies,

Where no grain grows nor wine, no fruitful thing,

Only big words and starry blasphemies.

But you have clothed with mercy like a moss

The barren violence of its primal wars,

Sterile although they be and void of rule,

You know my shapeless crags have loved the stars.

How shall I thank you, O courageous heart,

That of this wasteful world you had no fear;

But bade it blossom in clear faith and sent

Your fair flower-feeding rivers: even as here

The peat burns brimming from their cups of stone

Glow brown and blood-red down the vast decline

As if Christ stood on yonder clouded peak

And turned its thousand waters into wine.

~G. K. Chesterton (Project Gutenberg version)