Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The winter begins - time for thought

Tonight we will have frost. For Georgia, this is very early. The green tomatoes and beginning peppers are still in the garden, with only those that had a hope of ripening brought in during yesterday's warmer afternoon. The fish in the pond are hunkering down with no further interest in food. They will enter the winter in a semi-dormant state, near the bottom of the pond. The cyperus has been cut back, it's umbrella palm foliage was cut last night and relegated to the compost pile. On warmer days, the fish seem to feel exposed without the foliage cover that hides them from hungry blue herons. We talked about floating a hula hoop covered in landscape fabric to give them some security through the season.

Last weekend we bought an upright freezer. This was necessary if we are to have a turkey for Thanksgiving. When the kitchen was remodeled, the contractor failed to leave sufficient room for our refrigerator, so he had to buy us another one - but quite a bit smaller - with a useless freezer. The new freezer was installed in the garage, where it sits happily sucking up energy.

We have been trying to vote. Early voting in Georgia started on Monday with some folks waiting in line for up to 8 hours. This morning, thinking the frenzy may have passed, Larry headed out early. He called to report that at least a thousand people filled two lines outside the polling place. Everyone is anxious to have their say. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, today they are very cold as temps sit in the forties.

I voted today for an office building in Buckhead - one of our commercial districts. I voted by writing them a letter of support. The Pinnacle Building has chosen to kill the building's outside lights at night to save energy. This public display of personal responsibility pleases me. I wrote to them to thank them for making a responsible decision. There seems to be a disconnect between our use of energy and the fuel crisis, not to speak of the water crisis in Georgia. Electricity uses water and fuel.

During the Carter years, the President wore his cardigan and we turned off our lights, even giving up Christmas displays, in an effort to help ourselves. Have we lost the ability to help ourselves? Are we no longer able to take personal responsibility in a way that impacts our national destiny? Try for a minute to think of a problem that would not be resolved through personal responsibility. There are so few. Even diseases for which we believe ourselves blameless are often linked to our own health decisions.

Speeding. Cars exceeding the speed limit. They are hurrying to get back to the gas station where they can complain about paying too much for gasoline. According to the Energy Dept., every 5 miles that we drive over 55, adds 20 cents or more per gallon to our expense. DRIVING FASTER EATS MORE GASOLINE! What part of this do we not understand? We not only use more gasoline, but cause more accidents. This is a no brainer to me. It is stunning to me when I read of states where they are considering RAISING the speed limits.

Anyway - Winter. With the garden asleep and a warm, comfortable home, there is time to think.