Snow Approaches

Outdoors, life is disappearing. Trees are dormant; flower gardens vanish, showing no color but drab; walking and biking in this town ceases except for the very few zealots; children are not seen romping; chatting neighbors are absent. A few days from now, the first snow is predicted. It is time for long johns, wool sweaters and hot toddies.

But gardening continues. The mariner has a winter garden in his shed replete with large grow lights, heat and passive watering system. Cuttings have been potted for winter growth; soon, a few vegetable and herb seeds will be planted for winter consumption. Outdoors, fruit trees will be trimmed; the rabbit fence will be completed. The compost box awaits completion and the unexpected company of frogs requires that the ditch be maintained. Circular hardware-wire cages will be built and filled with leaves or straw to protect shrubs from rabbits and from killing temperatures.

Inside, the job jar has many tasks waiting for attention: broken light fixture in the basement; repairing attic insulation; catching up with office work like filing papers that have collected all summer, and upgrading the computer; adjusting heat vents to accommodate the colder temperatures; finish rewiring the garage, and preparing for the holidays.

This is the time of the year that one grows older fastest. One doesn’t feel older just because a birthday comes around; one keeps a spring in the step through the outdoor months; flowers are abundant then, and friends and pets and the neighborhood all are alive and sharing the warmness of nature. But, as warmness wanes, life seems to shrink, to dwindle, to retreat. In the stillness of the cold, lifelessness abounds. We are another year older.


If the reader hasn’t discovered “Breakthrough” on the National Geographic channel, mariner suggests watching the series. Each show investigates breakthroughs in the relationship between humans and machines. It is not about futuristic science fiction; rather it investigates cybernetics and tools already produced in current laboratories – some are actually in production. One example: paraplegics are taught to move prosthetic limbs as if the limbs were the original ones. The brain moves the limbs with normal brain instructions and adopts the prosthetic as the original limb! Every show demonstrates amazing breakthroughs in science that benefit and expand the human experience. One scientist said, “We are confident that the entire Internet can be placed in the brain!”

Mariner challenges the reader to reread an old classic – something that was enjoyed for its liberating romanticism, or its invigorating challenge, or its quiet but powerful insight. Rereading an old treasure will remind one of their forgotten sensitive side. Thoughts about one’s self will be reset.

Ancient Mariner

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