Heading Back to Lexington

packed car

We’re getting ready to go back to Lexington for the long season until Spring starts to bring back the anticipation of returning. It has been a good season with plenty of sun and warmth once the very cold and wet early weeks passed. The hurricanes brought lots of rain but little wind. We were more fortunate than many friends in central New England. All we lost was power for about a day. Our freezer made it through, but another few hours would have trashed its contents.

Fishing, my constant thought during the season, was nothing less than awful. It’s little solace to know that I was not the only one to have little success. On top of the poor results, the 6-month old Golden Retriever puppy one of our children’s family brought with them, thought one of my best fly rods was a bone and savaged it. I was disconsolate for a bit until I remembered that the rod was guaranteed for life. I had returned it once or twice for damages during use, and I thought that dog damage wouldn’t be covered. To my surprise and pleasure, the repair department said that anything goes. Just send back the rod with as many pieces as I could find.

School starts for me next week. Once again I will be taking courses at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. I can relax a bit as I have a vacation from my committee work. I’m taking a course on comedy in film and one on contemporary American poetry. We begin the film course by watching Modern Times, the last film in Chaplin’s tramp series. It is just as entertaining and meaningful as it was in 1936.

The rod wasn’t the only thing broken this summer. Congress seems to be in bad shape. And with the political system poorly functioning, so is the economy and the financial markets. Obama just gave his unemployment speech last night, but in spite of getting higher marks that anything sle he has done recently, it stands little chance of passage. I don’t quite understand what is going on. The opponents to any sort of stimulus don’t realize that their wealthy clientele win even more when the dollars flow.

I have been blogging all summer. There is almost always something to complain and bitch about. I ran a series of posts on “wicked problems,” that got good feedback. This concept is perhaps even more relevant today that when it was published in the 70’s. My students at Marlboro loved it. Every Congressman should pin the list of 10 features on the wall of their office. The series of posts is available via the Archives link. Complexity was the prevalent theme. Maybe its concepts should be something taught beginning in elementary schools. I suspect that the younger students might get it easier than more advanced students who will have already embodied the conventional ways of thinking about the world and how it works. That is unless these young learners are thrown distinctions like “strange attractors” or “bifurcation.”

I will be teaching a small seminar on global systems at Marlboro starting in a few days. My part is to introduce these concepts. My summer reading included a few helpful texts in the area. We are using Fritjof Capra’s, Hidden Connections, as a reader for the seminar. I also read and greatly enjoyed his Web of Life. I finished off my pile with a discussion of Humberto Maturana’s work, having read Maturana and Poerksen's, From being to doing: The origins of the biology of cognition. I finally believe I now understand what Maturana means when he says, “Language is the coordination of the coordination of action.”

I have to go and start packing the car. Looking at everything piled on the living room floor, I wonder if it will all fit in. It always has. I’ll be back in a few days once I get set up at home in Lexington.

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