Author Archives: Allan Hunter

Diary 72

Diary 72

Friday, May 29th

It’s impossible to ignore the riots in Minnesota. These are clearly race riots, now, which represents yet another occasion when our ‘government’ let a situation spiral out of control because it failed to act in a timely fashion, and thus allowed decades (centuries?) of deep-seated rage to volcano to the surface.

It didn’t have to be that way. Sparks and tinderboxes don’t have to be stacked side by side.

Diary 71

Diary 71

Thursday, May 28th

Today came the dispiriting news of 40 million unemployed in the US, and more every day. Personally I wouldn’t mind adding a few politicians to that list.

We still need to think about important things, though, such as how we are going to stabilize the planet’s climate, and the planet’s population. Ah yes, that’s the Big Question we all want to avoid. I’m hopeful that we’ll address it. It surely is staring us in the face.

In the meantime I’ve been tending the bees with ample guidance from Willie (who knows exactly what he’s doing). He lets me wear the white suit. It’s a fashion thing.

Diary 70

Diary 70

Wednesday, May 27th

Ten weeks. We should probably be prepared for a long haul with this disease – yes, even longer than it’s already been.

But, lest we forget, we have another issue to face: global climate change. To deal with this we need to be working together as a whole, all of us, the whole world. 

Our ‘president’ is only good at sowing division, discord, and isolating this country from the rest of the world.  We cannot, as a species, afford that.

On a much happier note, my twin grandchildren were two today. A small gathering of friends and family included the release of two freshly-hatched butterflies, that their friend Paige (aged 5) had nurtured from caterpillars. The pictures show in blurry cinema verité style, one of the butterflies (a Red Admiral) perching on Paige’s finger before flying away, and one in which you can see it take flight.

Really, it was a beautiful moment. Let me never forget it.

Diary 69

Diary 69

Tuesday, May26th

Spain announced a ten day mourning period for the 350,000 global covid-19 deaths. Trump went golfing.

By contrast the residents of Massachusetts seem to be doing rather well with social distancing and mask wearing. I’m impressed by the consideration and restraint I witness. Other states, where the infection rates and death rates are different, do things differently. Mass was third in the nation for many weeks, and now is fourth or fifth. Which just goes to show that when the leaders can’t or won’t lead that people are perfectly well able to take charge themselves.

I still use my motorcycle for shopping.

Diary 68

Diary 68

Monday, May 25th

Today the news related multiple examples of crowds of people in the US who decided to gather, party and celebrate the holiday weekend, disregarding any covid-19 issues.

I’m not averse to bravery. This is Memorial Day Weekend, and it’s all about bravery, sacrifice, and working for the common good.

It’s not about being an idiot. 100,000 deaths so far.

Since it is Memorial Day I’ll include a picture of my father in 1940 as he completed his training. His instructional class was 16 people. I think I’m right in saying he was one of just two who survived the war.

Diary 67

Sunday, May 24th

67 days – and to think that when all this started I thought it might all be over in two weeks. How things change.

My hope in these days is that we’ll all try to re-think how we treat the Earth. Some of us are too disadvantaged to be able to do that – I’m thinking of those caught in the storms currently hitting India, for example – but the rest of us can at least start to consider changes. Especially here, in these United States.

On a related topic, my grandchildren (all under the age of 8), freed from school, have been having the best time. The eldest has had Zoom sessions with her teacher, at the rate of an hour every other day, and loves it. She’s reading at an astonishing rate. Her sister (5) has basically taught herself the basics of reading and writing just because she likes to know what all the activity is about. They sing, they make up songs and jokes, they dance, they make prodigious amounts of art.

Perhaps the model they have in Finland really is effective here, too – just letting the kids explore at their own pace.

Diary 66

Diary 66

Saturday, May 23rd

Today must have had some component of luck to it, as I found seven four-leaf clovers and two five-leafers on the ‘lawn’. The bees will enjoy the flowers when they bloom. They’re now in their newly expanded three storey hive, being dilligent.

My own efforts have been directed to expanding the patio, so we can have more than four people perched on it at one time. It’s an on-going project. For one day we will be free of this pandemic, and we’ll need to gather again.

Diary 65

Diary 65

Friday, May 22nd

Today our “president” distinguished himself by demanding that places of worship should open immediately. Pastors in California apparently agreed, and some shop owners in Kentucky have refused to serve shoppers who wear masks. We’ll see how that works out.

The picture here is of a small snake that was basking in today’s sun as I took a walk. He’s just slithering away (I’m a bit slow with the camera) but I wanted to include this less than satisfactory picture because it does show how elusive nature can be. Blink and you’ll probably miss it.

Life’s like that, too. 

The same applies to the magnificent small bird that came to splash in the garden bird bath a little later. I missed the picture. But I shan’t ever forget that alert and beautiful little creature, and the way it moved.

Diary 64

Diary 64

Thursday, May 21st

Often Nature is the best answer. These geese are going ahead and raising their goslings, independent of anything we may or may not do.

In our present restricted state I’m reminded of many things I used to do and thought were essential, but many of them were just busy work. At work, as a teacher, I can see now that when I began my career the emphasis was on doing the job of communicating literature as well as I could. My job was to reach people and to open minds. Gradually the task was complicated by the need to document everything, by committees that would then assess those documents, normalize grades, tutor me in inclusivity and mandate diversity, and so on. Eventually I was spending more time on the bureaucracy than on the teaching. That was when I knew it was time to leave.

Perhaps, after this is all over, we may get back to doing what is important - saving the planet comes to mind - rather than justifying all the busy work.

[93,800 deaths from covid-19 so far in the US.]

Diary 63

Wednesday, May 20th

On a Zoom call with friends in England I found myself the recipient of a sizable amount of pity and dismay, as I was asked about our “president” and his activities.  I know the sentiments came from a place of caring, and that their own “leader” is hardly a poster-child for reason and sanity, but it struck me again just how much energy I have had to use in not letting the state of politics get me down.

Outside the sun shines and Nature does its thing. Perhaps it tells me what I need to know, that this time will pass as any season passes and that fretting myself about it will not help.