Doug Bruns

…they carried on.

In Life, Travel, Writing on August 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

Fulton, Maryland

It was hot today and the work suffered. I suffered. But not as much suffering as the small crew of men I’d hired to cut the fallen trees, strip the limbs, and carry it all into the woods, suffered. The temperature rose to over ninety and they brought no water. For a moment we considered going to get them water. Imagine: Going to get them water! Water was at the ready. Tap. How have we come to a place where one drives to a store to get water? Instead, Carole filled a pitcher and grabbed some cups and took it to them.

By mid-afternoon we were spent and finished. But they carried on.

Evening found me sitting and pondering the sky. The trees were filled with the sound of cicadas and the horizon was alive with tree swallows, darting there and there again. Above them, far above them, the silver fuselage of a jet traversed the sky. Listing rays of evening light reflected off it and I discerned it heading west. It was at altitude already and I could only image that it was from Europe and heading to maybe Chicago or even a direct flight, Paris to San Francisco. It was the middle of the night for the people at thirty-thousand feet. Would they land fully awake and excited and push off on an adventure, as I like to do? Or would they be irritable and tired and sleepless and wonder why do this, go places and spend time away from home and the comforts of home and the dog and the toothbrush at attention and waiting? Who’s to say? Regardless, this was my thought after a long day of labor and an evening contemplating the sky with a tall glass of Maker’s and a dog hungry for bed.

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  1. Speaking of carried on – why do some people believe that smart people should have smart children? Did the Lincoln gene pool, the Franklin’s, the Jefferson’s, the Beethoven’s; did these families believe somewhere that their genes would produce more greatness? Does the cheetah now run any faster than the cheetah that ran 7 million years ago? I think the top speed of 70-75 mph does not belong to any single cheetah. We are all the same, it does not matter which gene pool reproduces and which one doesn’t – does it?

    • Dear Hemingway Fan ~ I appreciate how your comments get my wheels turning. Thanks for that. There is that Romantic notion of species progression: that we will continue to move toward a state of betterment and eventually perfection, learning from the those who came before, always crawling upon their shoulders, as Newton said. We know that isn’t the case, certainly. If it were, war would have ceased long ago, for instance. Yet, I can’t agree with your assertion. We are all the same, yes, in a fashion of biology; yet we’re not all the same, as a fashion of biology. Your DNA is common to the species, yet your DNA is also specific to who you are as an individual, what you look like, your talents and your foibles. It is not a given that the child of a genius will be a genius-plus. I agree with you there. Yet, the species changes, as do all species. That is evolution. I can’t speak to the speed of the cheetah, but we know that a slow cheetah will starve and consequently not pass on its genes to the next generation, thereby weeding out the slow. Race horses are sired from champions and are fast, frequently, as a result. Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, is talented; as is Johnny Cash’s daughter, Roseanne. John Cheever’s daughter, Susan, is a hell of a writer in her own right. You could argue that is all nurture, not nature and you may be right, but you may be wrong. All dogs are dogs, but they are not all the same. Given my druthers, I’d rather be born of Mensan engineers than farmer squatters.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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