Monday, June 1, 2015

Days of Future Past

I grew up during the space race, watching the progress of civilization on a small black and white television. Radio stations had their own news departments providing news and weather updates at the top of every hour. Reading was still the major source of information, from daily newspapers to weekly reviews. Magazines like Popular Mechanics and Science Digest predicted a utopian future with flying cars, robotic homes and tourists in space. And best of all, it was a golden age of science fiction with new paperbacks showing up at the dime store or the newsstand every week. Oh, and everybody wrote and received lots of letters, making writing a major means of communication.

While a nostalgia for that time influences my work, the excitement of the years since has not escaped me. I enjoy Punk Rock and Seattle Grunge; I watch commercial space travel with excitement and interest; I have traded in my old typewriter for a computer keyboard and my postage stamps for an email account.

There is so much the science fiction writers of the Fifties and Sixties got wrong in predicting the future, but there is so much they got right. I think that my ideas are often influenced by both the right and wrong. The whole point is asking "what if?"

It isn't easy to predict what will come next or when it will come. Will we still have computer screens a hundred years hence? Will we even have verbal communication? When I look back at how fast we've gotten to where we are, I find it breathtaking to imagine how far we will go. 

When Ponds Attack

Yes, it has been awhile. Things never seem to slow down, even (or especially) when one is trying to get off the grid.

Out here in the woods it has been a very rainy spring. The area of our backyard that we had intended to use for our raised bed garden has been under two feet of water for six weeks. We even have a green heron taking up residence. Besides the garden plot, our fire ring has been under water and our wood pile is in the middle of a small lake.

We stocked the pond with minnows and goldfish in an attempt to control mosquitoes. I'm sure it helped, but we still have plenty of the bloodsuckers left to make life miserable. Naturally, the heron is eating our fish.

Over the weeks we've had a chorus of toads and frogs singing to one another, no doubt mating and laying eggs in the pool. I haven't seen any tadpoles, yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

I thought that living up on a hill would make us flood proof, but it hasn't made much difference. We tried to dig a post hole the other day and water bubbled up from the ground. Our favorite hiking trails are marshy and muddy and the meadows have streams running through them.

Fortunately, the rains are over for now and the waters are receding, so perhaps we will soon be back to the business of homesteading.

On another subject, I wanted to use this photo for my new Author Central profile picture, but my wife thinks it makes me look grumpy and mean. What do you think?