Happy Solstice

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on December 31, 2019

Happy Solstice. This is the true end of the year. In four days it is Christmas, and in eleven days it is 2020. I got a calendar, and a historic Christmas card. I am going to repeat my xmas letter from last year, and comment on your calendar. I will write my commentary as I look at the pages for the first time. I have not cut open the plastic around the calendar yet, although I have taken it out of the shipping package. One thing at a time.

The knife I use to cut open the plastic is a Barlow Camco 551. I found this knife while helping my dad take a carpet out of his room, and claimed it as my fee for helping out. A few years later, I went out of town with a friend, and the Barlow wound up under a seat in his vehicle, where it stayed until the next summer, and I found it. I cleaned up the Barlow, and lubricated the hinge with wd40, so that it opens easily. The Barlow was immortalized in the song “Send me to the ‘lectric chair.” “I cut him with my Barlow, I kicked him in the side, I stood there laughing over him, while he wallowed round and died.”

The cover shows the moon, with a whispery collection of clouds in front. The top row is Trump Hair orange, with the lower clouds quickly settling into a blue black funk. The moon serves as a contrast to the sea grass on the other side. The two highlighted days in January are New Years day, and the birth of Elvis. The King is enjoying retirement in Bug Tussel AR.

February is a collection of Sea Gulls. Two of them are looking at the photographer. There is no indication of what they were thinking about at that moment, or if they were capable of thought, beyond wondering where their next meal was coming from. Valentine’s Day is below National Kite Flying Day. VD is noted by the image of a Buddhist looking dude, saying Love all, all the time.

The last three years, I have been going to a meditation group. Earlier this year, I took a robe-wearing Buddhist monk with me. Arnold was an activist in Georgia in his youth. Then he went to law school, but practicing law proved stressful, so he became a monk. He is back in Atlanta now, after living in India. I connected with him on facebook, and got him to ge meditate with us once. My group is very non authoritarian … the only guideline is to be quiet until the timer goes off. Arnold was a pleasant counterpoint to this, and has not been back since.

March shows a staircase, with the edge of the step painted festive colors. Atlanta has many stairways to nowhere. A house is built on a hill, stone stairs provide access, the house is torn down, and the steps remain. There is something karmatic/dogmatic about that.

April is marked with an impressive photograph. I have tried taking pictures of butterflies. They don’t stand still. You have to be ready to catch them. I don’t know what camera/lens used for that image, but it is impressive. And, unlike the April fool’s theme, I really mean that.

May seems to be elephant month. I don’t know how well elephants are doing in the real world, with their size, and need for large amounts of food. I met an elephant handler once. He was staying in a train car, parked in a field behind Piedmont Park. After the show, he would walk down the street to a nearby bar. Those train tracks are now part of the Beltline. Someone had the idea to take a series of abandoned rail lines, and make a trail out of it. Parts of it are now paved, and wildly popular with pedestrians, bike riders, and dog walkers. Expensive apartments are springing up nearby. There is talk about putting a light rail line through there, but that is years and years in the future.

June was the beach, always changing, and yet always the same. July was an art object inspired by the American flag. It only has nine stars, and five stripes. The paint is strategically flaking off here and there. The flag is endlessly adaptable. Sometimes it is respectful, and respectable. Sometimes it is unspeakably tacky, and commercially exploitative. America is all of these things.

The boomerang counter top of August implies that some of the meals will be coming back. OK boomer-ang. The sunset is a good match for September, and national flapjack day. Labor Day weekend has evolved into a big deal here. A massive sci-fi convention, Dragon Con, takes over downtown. They have a costume parade saturday morning that is a gridlocked warning of what will happen when uncontrolled population growth runs into the reduced living areas of climate change. This year was a weird September. After a brutal July and August, many were hoping for cooler weather. Instead, summer continued to burn up the city until October, which fish in Michigan were blissfully unaware of, at least until they got caught.

November has some lights from the State fair. Lights are notoriously difficult to photograph. A few weeks ago, they had a lantern parade on the beltline. I tried to take pictures, and wound up with masses of wavy colors that made no sense whatsoever. I used to go out at christmas with a tripod, and take pictures of lights. It was a fun way to spend an evening, but the pictures were not that great. Photography is sometimes like that…. taking the pictures is lots of fun, but looking at them, or using them in graphic poems later, is not as great. Currently, I am using daylight pictures of graffiti and wall murals. Some neighborhoods in Atlanta are swarming with public arts. Many of these areas, like East Atlanta and Hapeville, were ghettos just a few years ago, and still have their rough edges.

And what does a pink flamingo have to be thankful for? Back in 1973 in Athens, somebody had a showing of the movie Pink Flamingos. I missed it, not knowing why it was a big deal. I finally got around to seeing PF on youtube a few months ago. A crucial hole in my education was filled. Just like the moonlit waves bring December into actuarial awareness, and project post-lateral promise for the new year. At the 2020 solstice we will be a year older, and grateful that the election is over. Whatever will be, will be Aunt Bee. Pictures from The Library of Congress.

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  1. Thank You Note | Chamblee54 said, on January 15, 2021 at 7:39 am

    […] fun to write than to read. This will double as a blog post. Simiilar messages were sent in 2018 and 2019. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These images are men who fought in the War Between the […]

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