May 9th, 2024
Ongoing protest/police activity at UD’s GW tonight.

The school newspaper has up to the minute updates.

May 6th, 2024
The Unbearable Brightness of Greening

On a misty morning, the view from UD‘s front stoop.

May 6th, 2024
Boxelders Mating

I think boxelders. I think mating.

May 3rd, 2024
Wild about my wild indigo.
May 1st, 2024
In UD’s garden, a new feature:

The Cave.

May 1st, 2024
In UD’s garden, a spectacular…

… whatever specimen. UD‘s bad at identifying her plants.

April 25th, 2024
UD’s GW mail is lit up this morning with news of Pro-Palestinian protests on campus.
April 24th, 2024
It pays to know your garden.

And UD knows every inch of hers, especially the system of paths she created through her forest.

Early this morning, gazing out her back windows at the path closest to her house, she saw a largish unmoving object on it. Her binoculars revealed this.

It’s a stock photo. UD wouldn’t know how to photograph an animal at that distance.

Her fox was bigger than this one, and seemed half-awake, calmly watching me as I watched it. I’d never seen a fox this close, and certainly not one comfortable enough to bed down so nearby.

I had all the usual thoughts… It’s beautiful. Is it rabid? Is it wounded? When will it leave? I can’t let the dog out. Will I have to call animal control?

And then I Googled. Turns out this is not an unusual event – foxes are nocturnal and will sometimes bed down close to people in daylight. And I mean – our garden is packed with rabbits and voles, etc. Why wouldn’t you want to be around that?

April 4th, 2024
Another magical early morning at the West Wing.

But this one wasn’t about solitary pleasures; my friend and neighbor Tammy came along, and we talked and talked about art. As usual, UD liked all the muted-color paintings (browns, blacks, tans, grays) like ter Brugghen’s Bagpipe Player. The garish reds (robes, blood) of the big Christian canvases do little for your blogueuse.

April 1st, 2024
‘[The 16th century Dutch Republic] encouraged self-discipline and norms that put limits on the display of wealth.’

UD wondered if David Brooks’ moral endorsement of limits on the display of wealth extended to, well, David Brooks.

At first, finding he not long ago sold a house for $4.5 million, she was ready to pounce.

But when she realized that the UD houselet, bought in 1996 for a virtuous pittance (by ‘thesdan standards) and owned outright, is valued at $1,041,300 — not all that much less than what Brooks paid for his current non-showy house on Capitol Hill — she was inclined to shut up about it.

******************

As to other stuff in this defense of liberalism: Brooks, fundamentally a religious cultural conservative, is always going to have trouble truly defending liberalism, which tends toward secularity and restless change. He puts the search for meaning, transcendence, and community at the forefront of everyone’s basic life demands, but if you’re really itching for these, liberalism ain’t your best bet. Let me cite a passage from an earlier blog entry.

**********************

In a recent interview, Adam Gopnik, who wrote a book defending liberalism from left and right attacks on it, observes that

[O]ur hunger for [collective] identity, our need for connection, is overwhelming and … liberalism [some argue] impedes it. Liberalism acts as a stopper on it. [This is Charles] Taylor’s point: We [have a] need to ask, “Where am I?” and liberalism [which is much better at giving us time and space to ask “Who am I?’] doesn’t seem to give a good answer to that.

But, Gopnik continues:

What liberals, I think, would say in response, what my liberalism would say in response, is first of all, liberalism has actually been very good at the project of making community. It’s why we live in New York. You know, I never get over the miracle of New York… A tolerant community is another kind of community. A pluralistic community is another kind of community. I delight exactly in the variety of kinds that I can find every time in New York. That’s not an absence of community. It’s a particular kind of community that we relish.

Is it, though, a community without roots, without stable collective identity, without inherited meanings, symbols, rituals?

Damn right it is.

Is a lack of meaning really worse than a lack of freedom? … What liberalism’s critics appear unable, or unwilling, to address is whether a lack of meaning is a worse problem to have than a lack of freedom.”

Maybe liberalism – “the political order that privileges non-negotiable rights, personal freedoms, and individual autonomy” – issues in some degree of conceptual confusion, and maybe even in a difficulty or refusal to commit oneself to clear philosophical/theological convictions and collectivities – but is this really so unbearable a position to be in?

****************

UD thanks Tammy for the link.

March 31st, 2024
Pink contrails all over the sky above UD’s woods.

Five AM this morning.

March 30th, 2024
From those to whom too much mulch is given…

… to anyone in Garrett Park who wants some. UD put it on the neighborhood listserv, and it’s almost gone.

March 27th, 2024
‘“The collapse of the Baltimore bridge primarily affects coal exports from CNX and CSX terminals,” said Madeleine Overgaard, dry market data manager for the global trade data platform Kpler.’ 

UD‘s thinking that the disaster in Baltimore might well decrease the number of freight trains that pass through Garrett Park. The longest CSX trains around here have car after car topped with coal.

March 22nd, 2024
1929, Blue Laws, and UD’s Grandfather

The 1929 Evening Journal (Wilmington Delaware) reports that UD’s grandfather, Joe, and Joe’s brother Nathan, had warrants sworn out against them by an angry dance hall owner, who considered it unfair that he had to close on Sundays, but Ocean City boardwalk amusements did not.

March 21st, 2024
quintessential vie ud

weather vane, dog, wheelbarrow, mr ud fixing a garden hose

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