Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Value of Slowing Down


by William Henry Davies

What is this life is, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare."

   The above are  the opening lines of a poem the poem entitled Leisure.  The theme centers around taking  time to observe your surroundings.   How true it is that we become so engaged in our daily routine and cares of our lives that we just don't see our environment.   When I read the poem a couple of days ago, I vowed to take his observations to heart and really focus on what I could see around me.    

   On that day of skiing I was especially drawn to staring at the trees, slopes and people in my view.  I tried to stare a bit to drink in the detail of the geometric and natural forms of the terrain and flora.   I tried to slow down my activity to appreciate the hum and buzz of the conversations around me.   

    I would naturally enjoy riding the lift with my ski companions but sometimes it is nice to ride solo and enjoy the quieter pace with your thoughts unleashed to wander where they will.   Many folks practice meditation.   That certainly is a form of slowing down with a purpose.  I would consider it a form of slowing down to simply stare with your mind.   

    I conclude it would be  healthy to become disciplined enough to take at least a few moments each day for  consciously slowing  down to drink in ones existence.   Slow down and savor the precious moments of this short life we have and revel in this wonderful physical universe as well the precious relationships we have with others.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Good and Evil Men (Humans)

    I know in this blog I am straying from a connection to skiing but certainly commenting from the perspective of a geezer that has seen too much of good and evil for more than eight decades.  

    From a newsletter that I read produced in the Writer's Almanac here is a quote for today.  March 9, 2022.

"t was on this day in 1933 that newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt called a special session of Congress and began the first hundred days of enacting his New Deal legislation. For the next several months, bills were passed almost daily, beginning with the Emergency Banking Act, followed by federal programs such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation."

This item struck a chord in my soul.   Whatever you might think of Roosevelt  I hope you can recognize he was a man for his time to bring our country of the United State of America out of the depression and leave enduring legacies we appreciate daily in our lives.    How thankful we  should be that there was a person to lead the way for good in the world.   For the most part he wielded his immense influence and power for the good of our world.  It is a striking testimony that a good person with immense power can combat evils.

In our current situation with the invasion of Ukraine by a power mad authoritarian Putin there is the illustration of how power invested in an evil man can wreak havoc, mayhem and death on so many innocent  people.   I have read that power has the ability to corrupt and absolute power can lead to total corruption.   What a tragedy it is when the citizens of any country fail in their responsibility to curb evil authoritarians.  I weep for the world may be leaving to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  

Wake up world!  I fear the stupidity of the human race may send us to extinction!

Monday, March 7, 2022


     I have had my new car for three months and I am still confused about the multitude of options available for operating the vehicle.  I've got the basics down but there are a host of options that I have yet to figure out.  Recently I did an inventory of the the dials, switches, buttons and controls.   Would you believe I counted seventy two (72) possibilities!  Incredible!   When receiving a new vehicle they recommend reading the Owners Manual.  Guess what?  My manuals add up to two inches of reading. The Getting Started Guide totals 151 pages.   The complete Owners Manual totals a whopping 556 pages!   The entertainment system manual throws in another 255 pages of dense and complex reading.    And a safety equipment manual adds 176 pages to peruse.   Finally there is another safety and security manual for 49 pages.  I needed a calculator to get the total of 1187 pages.   Isn't that incredible?

    Needless to say I have only read a small portion of the information provided.  Hopefully this vehicle is probably the last vehicle I will be driving in my lifetime.  There will be a day within the next ten years when I will need to leave the driving to others.  So I hope this vehicle will last that long.

    One can understand from this example that seniors who once only had to find the on off switch for the car radio and the buttons and latches for doors and windows on their cars now are struggling to digest all the alternatives available.  Yes we are safer with some of the bells and whistles added to modern cars.  Some are really fundamentally very helpful for our safety.  Back up cameras, emergency braking, ABS and blind side detection are among some that are really useful.  Adaptive speed control can also be added to the list.  However,  are the multitude of display options necessary?  My thought is that we need manual writers to have some user consultants to edit their writing to simplify where possible  and to minimize verbiage.  

    Although my focus today has been on the complexity of the auto system my pet peeve on complexity extends to other aspects of modern life.    We have over a half dozen different remotes for operating our entertainment devices in the home.  These devices have so many buttons that one can inadvertently hit one and stray off into unknown territory.   I continue longing  for simplification of controls.  Make them intuitive!

    Finally even my ski world has become more complex this year.  RFI (Radio Frequency Identification)  has been added at my ski area.  Ostensibly this should simplify verification of a skier's access to the lift.  Regrettably the system does become a bit glitchy and often refuses legitimate access to the lift.   In the good old days a tag hanging on the outside of our coat was a low tech simple verification system.  I hope that this screed does not label me as a Luddite!  Perhaps I should leave it there and maybe the rain out at my ski area has put me out of sorts.