In The Village Of My Ancestors
By Vasko Popa
Someone embraces me
Someone looks at me with the eyes of a wolf
Someone takes off his hat
So I can see him better
Everyone asks me
Do you know how I'm related to you
Unknown old men and women
Appropriate the names
Of young men and women from my memory
I ask one of them
Tell me for God's sake
Is George the Wolf still living
That's me he answers
With a voice from the next world
I touch his cheek with my hand
And beg him with my eyes
To tell me if I'm living too
My morning was phone calls and a couple of articles, my afternoon was carpools and trying to get older son to get his homework done because younger son was desperate to go to the card store to see if they had a Yu-Gi-Oh Dragon structure deck which is apparently a prerequisite for coolness in fourth grade. As it turned out, the card store was closed due to a flood from a broken pipe and he reacted as if the world was coming to an end, but I missed this as by the time older son had stopped goofing off and actually finished the homework, my mother had come to pick up the kids to watch so apaulled and I could go to Back To School Night.
Younger son's teacher seems enthusiastic, sweet, a little New Age-y which is fine with me (she teaches the Seven Intelligences which my husband finds a bit flaky and some of the other parents were muttering but I think it's awesome). I am not sure she will sit on him the way he needs particularly with math; he is very bright and creative, but unlike older son who will pick at a problem until he knows how to solve it and then practice until he's sure he's kicked its butt, younger son will do one problem, decide he has mastered the concept and have no patience with figuring out how to apply it to subsequent problems which he will try to blow off. On the other hand, I don't see younger son ever headed to a math/science magnet program; he needs to be challenged creatively by someone who gets his sense of humor and his interest in far-out ideas.
Home, watched local football war (Redskins/Ravens, which Washington just lost), filled out a whole stack of "about my child" forms for both schools, went over more pages on new grading, disciplinary, attendance and safety policies with kids, wondered how they have time to teach anything in the midst of all this administrivia. I have been doing a little research for a story I'm writing on Wiltshire holiday and burial traditions and the numerous sacred sites there; it is such enormous fun that I fear I am putting too much detail into the story rather than using it as background which was my original intention, but I am so enjoying sitting flipping through books we got in England and my own photos looking at images while reading about these things. I need to move to Wiltshire.
This, believe it or not, is the ancestor of a whale. It looks much more like the skeleton of the land animal it briefly was before returning to the sea, where the finger-like flippers shrunk and the lung cavity expanded.
Seal ancestor -- in the artist's conception just as cute as the modern ones.
Penguin ancestor, also very similar to its modern counterpart. This one is late Miocene, from Peru.
Sphenodiscus lenticularis, found in South Dakota, lived in the Cretaceous 65 million years ago. Guess the climate was rather different then.
I paid $3.01 for gas today. I remember when I worked in Manassas at anotheruniverse.com with viola_dreamwalk, gas was 89 cents at the first exit off I-66 but if you drove down Route 234 a little ways, you could get it for 87 cents. I wish the money were going to the people who need it rather than the oil companies. Asked if U.S. oil companies should forfeit profits during the crisis, Bush said instead American corporations should contribute cash to hurricane relief funds. That means his friends in the upper echelons of the oil industry get to keep their profits and they get a tax deduction for charitable contributions, so they'll come out with even more money.