Thursday, March 22, 2012

Early Summer; Daffy Daffodil Daze; National Parks and Trayvon Martin's Slaughter

Katt Beames' The Daffodil Song
The temperatures in central Connecticut the past week have been extraordinarily high, the skies clear, and the weather simply gorgeous. It’s the precipice between winter and spring but the weather’s been like late spring early summer. Highs have been in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s. It has been ideal for outdoors after a relatively easy winter (except for the bizarre and very damaging pre-winter pre-Halloween Snowtober calamitous snowstorm). I’ve been particularly cabin fevered because of being laid up by a slow and painful recuperation from spinal neurosurgery Christmas week. Yesterday I saw some daffodils at my housing complex, took a photo or two of them and then saw my friend Glenn last night, who pointed out with his characteristic somewhat sardonic wit that this year’s big late spring celebration at our neighboring town’s Daffodil Festival will likely be daffodil-less, since they’ve all sprouted so early! I’ve been to the festival once or twice before at Meriden’s Hubbard Park and know that the daffodils are quite a spectacle at that time and I was fortunate to have a medical appointment in Meriden today, so a stop at Hubbard Park was doable. In fact, following the extraordinarily emotional day I had yesterday which saw the death of my 15 year old pound pup Augie the Doggie, and my victory in a lawsuit I’ve been pursuing for months representing myself against a major medical provider, an insurance company and a law firm; I knew that I was meant to visit the park to enjoy today’s fine weather and the premy Daffies.

So after my medical appointment, off Windstar (my 17 year old Ford minivan) and I ventured off to Hubbard Park. What a great time I had. Unfortunately my two good cameras are in need of some work so all I had was my cell phone camera, but still I was able to get some fun shots. And I met some nice folks, saw gorgeous flowers and nature, watched some kids play and had fun. I needed FUN today big-time! I also WANTED fun today big-time! First things first. True confession time! I am a person who nearly died a few years back when I was stung by bees for the very first time in my life and having had a SEVERE anaphylactic reaction to the stings. So for 10 years or so, every spring I re-up my prescription and get not one, but two Epipens, needles I have to carry in bee season so that I can inject myself with epinephrine should a bee choose to not merely float like a butterfly, to quote Muhammad Ali, but to do what they are designed to do, which is to sting like a bee. Yesterday I went to my nearby Walgreen’s pharmacy and picked up my 2012 Epipen twin-pack. Today I went to take photos of vast fields of flowers and spend an afternoon in the great outdoors. Everybody knows that bees love flowers. Did I bring my brand spanking new twin-pack of Epipens? NOT! At one point I was trying to get some shots around a shed which was quite rustic and surrounded by flowers. It was also surrounded by bumbly bees. Big ones! Those huge juicy kind! STUPID, STEVE, STUPID! So you will not see shots of that rustic shed among the many you’ll see on these pages today. :’(  A dose of humble pie for Steve. Steve routinely requires big slices of humble pie. ;o)
The photos pretty much speak for themselves. I would like to offer a few comments. Number one is a policy comment. Parks are good, not bad. And it dawned on me that the genuine National Park system as well as the whole conservation movement which gave birth to the nomenclature of the notion of a ‘conservative’ brand of politics in this nation was instigated by a Republican President nearly 100 years ago now. I note with sadness that there are fewer and fewer neighborhood parks in the suburbs I inhabit, and not nearly enough in the cities I’ve inhabited. I note that Hubbard Park is awesome, highly utilized and enjoyed and loved by vast multitudes. Connecticut municipalities and municipalities all over the country would benefit by expanding their neighborhood parks, NOT closing them as they have in recent years.
Parks bring people together. Meriden is a wonderful little city, unfortunately suffering from huge pockets of poverty like most cities, but it is a rainbow of diversity. The Reverend Jesse Jackson had a great notion, or one of his colleagues did when they opted to name the organization he heads “The Rainbow Coalition.” Hubbard Park, especially the kids’ playground looked like a “Rainbow Coalition” and what a beautiful rainbow it was. Children AND adults all totally oblivious to skin shading or coloration was a beautiful thing to note today. Among these photos you’ll see black, white and brown kids playing together, problem solving together (two tykes were putting their heads together trying to figure out how to get some geese to come as close as they could get them to their feet-lol).
I took some shots of a lovely young white couple who were taking pictures of their boy, and when I stopped them to inform them that I’d done so, the lovely and proud mom couldn’t stop singing his praises and her husband gobbled up every word of praise she was throwing their son’s way. Immediately adjacent to that little family of three in the same Daffy Field was a Hispanic woman taking photos of her handicapped and evidently blind son seated in the flowers which nearly looked like trees, as he was a small tyke relatively speaking.
Two women with one infant each had lit a fire in a large fire pit and were cooking, I approached them and asked if they’d mind me taking some photos. I speak VERY halting Spanish, but they spoke, as it turned out, what appeared to me to be an Eastern European language. They understood that I wanted to take pictures, and via a complex series of funny combos of ‘sign’ language attempts on both our parts, they came to understand that I was taking pictures because of the unusual weather and the fact that it was highly unusual for barbecues to be happening on March 22nd. When I showed them my business card they understood that I might publish their photos and they were both delighted. And it was so funny when they actually posed for the pictures.
The swimming pool was empty and will be still for months, and a sign that warned of the illegality of picking Daffy flowers and the fine $98 a stem caught my fancy, and caused me to figger out that a dozen Daffies would cost a cool $1,200.00 plus the possibility of being sent to the Group W Bench. ;O)
At one point a bevy of black teen boys were testing their skills at scaling a page fence and I found myself suddenly surrounded unexpectedly. I just happened to be in the way of their ingeniously contrived obstacle course. I was taken by surprise, but all of us had a good laugh over it, and I had the chance to jest with the kids a bit and vice versa. I really enjoy interacting with teens nowadays, in the past I wasn’t so good with them but have grown far better at relating to kids as I age and mellow, I suppose. What came to mind, however was the tragic killing of 17 year young Trayvon Martin in Florida at the hands of a gun-wielding self-appointed “Block Watch Captain.” Trayvon, was armed only with a bag of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea which he had gone to his local convenience store to buy as he spoke with his 16 year old girlfriend on the phone, when he was obviously murdered by a racist rage-filled middle-aged cowardly white guy only because of Trayvon’s skin coloration. The wonderful young men who entertained me this afternoon were wide open to laughing and relating to a 55 year old white guy with a cell phone camera and a cane. I know a tiny bit about profiling having worn long hair and facial hair most of my life and I know I’ve been pulled over for that reason only by police on many occasions when they used other ‘probable causes’ as their justifications for doing so. Try driving a 16 year old rickety minivan when you’re a guy and have hair down to your shoulders and are sporting a beard in Connecticut suburbs, and compare how often you get pulled over with your friends who are more traditionally groomed and driving sedans or red pickup trucks. I have the First Amendment right to simply proclaim the obvious that Trayvon is dead because he was guilty of walking while black. And his murderer hasn’t been arrested because he is white and under the protection of a law designed to protect gun wielding white folk sponsored and signed by JEB BUSH. When are these Bushes just going to disappear from our national story? When?

Nevertheless this did and does not detract from the wonderful afternoon and the rainbow that Hubbard Park and parks across the nation like it are. Meriden is a wonderful rainbow. So, too, is the United States. It needs lots of work, but our admixture of peoples is the biggest blessing we have. Perhaps we and Canada, uniquely, share this distinction so completely. Few other countries have the rainbow diversity we have here in North America. And Reverend Jackson? Thanks for that concept! Peace pleeeeze and as much justice as is humanly possible for Travon’s grieving family please. Amen.

Here are more photos, enjoy. Ifya click on the photo you'll get an enlarged view(please give me a break, remember my two decent cameras need work).   :)

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