THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

Spring!

Ah, glorious spring!

The wind has been murder, but who’s complaining? I am, a little, but not much. It’s exhausting, and invigorating, all at the same time.

Still, the days have been temperate, the nights cozy. The biggest problem I have right now are the bugs, particularly biting gnats and deer flies.

Those dang little gnats, genus Culicoides, are bad, because you can hardly see them and they seem to like to attack you behind the ear, of all places. I currently have one knot behind my left ear and two back of my right. I don’t know when they happened, but one of them itched like tarnation and I just about scratched another hole in my head to keep the itch from driving me insane.

But the deer flies are the worst, genus Chrysops, they are mean little buggers. They leave big knots on me and Suzie, and though mine heal in a week or so, I keep having flashbacks of the first Alien movie when the critter burst out of the guy’s chest in the ship’s galley. Which was nearly as good a scene as the one from Spaceballs where the same thing happened, but the alien . . . → Read More: Spring!

Shumann’s Resonance

Suzie was reading a book that mentioned something called Schumann’s Resonance, looked it up and referred it to me. We were both fascinated and it seemed to answer a lot of the questions I have about certain things.

In 1952 the German physicist Prof. W.O. Schumann of the University in Munich showed that there are waves in the atmosphere. See, the ionosphere, surrounding the earth, is positively charged. The earth’s surface carries a negative charge. This wave operates at a very, very low frequency of about 7.83 hertz. This plays a major part in the formation of lightning.

Later, Herbert Konig, Schumann’s successor at Munich, compared human EEG recordings with the resonance discovered by his predecessor and found they are very, very close in frequency.

It gets better. Professor R. Wever from the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Erling-Andechs, built an underground bunker which blocked off the resonance. Volunteers lived there for four weeks. They suffered emotional distress and migraine headaches. Astronauts made the same complaints early in the space program.

Life on earth, it has been proposed, has evolved and developed with that 7.83 hz resonance. To put it tongue-in-cheek, it’s like the Force from Star . . . → Read More: Shumann’s Resonance

Bear, Birds and Boats

Well.

Way to go!

I would say the Bear Festival has been rescued. While no disrespect is intended for the organizers of last year’s event, it’s a foregone conclusion that it tripped and fell badly.

Though the numbers weren’t as high as many of us had hoped, this year’s festival was a considerable success, and effectively showed that we ain’t out of the game yet.

Please accept my personal commendations to the festival committee, the friends support group, refuge staff, the city council and various departments, for making this thing work.

To those of you who stood in the way, please accept my thumbed nose.

As it happens, I was deep into the festival, in a way this year. The end of Teche Drive between Adams and Jackson streets was the scene of a wooden boat show, conceived and organized by yours truly and Gary Blum.

Since Gary and I are both wooden boat nuts, we thought it might be a good idea to support the festival by putting a bunch of them out for folks to come check out. We even thought we might invite some out-of-towners to join us.

I spent a few months getting and making . . . → Read More: Bear, Birds and Boats

Survival Mechanisms

The thing is, you have to keep a sense of humor about it.

To survive, I mean. The infection, the boiling lust for wildness.

So I get back to the truck to go to work the next day, turn on the radio and the first song I hear is Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender.”

I’m going to rent myself a house

In the shade of the freeway

I’m going to pack my lunch in the morning

And go to work each day

And when the evening rolls around

I’ll go on home and lay my body down

And when the morning light comes streaming in

I’ll get up and do it again—

No mercy, I tell you. But that’s fine. I’ve got things to do, people to meet this week. The Bear Festival is coming up this weekend and I am so looking forward to it.

I know that the committee has worked their tails off to pull this thing off in grand fashion. I’ve been in regular contact with them for the last few months, and I am just beaming with pride at what they’ve accomplished already.

Of course, Gary Blum and I are bringing you a small wooden . . . → Read More: Survival Mechanisms

Infection

Again.

Like a Serling-esque script, it keeps repeating itself. Over, and over, and there seems to be some sort of temporal loop in play. Something circular.

The weekend was all tied up with a productive, inspiring project. I’m glad of it. But the infection in my blood was inconsolable. The fever in my head, the throbbing in my temples could not be soothed by aspirin. So I was up at four, on the road by five, heading north.

I carried a companion with me. That dark, dank cloud over mind and heart and soul, smothering anything that breathed fresh air, devouring light. What Harry Middleton called “the meat bucket blues.” Depression.

As I urged the truck a little faster through the prenatal dawn, I thought of what Harry told his shrink, after he finally hit rock bottom and sought out Dr. Lilly Mutzpah in Denver:

“I can’t seem to remember,” he told her, “whether Humpty Dumpty fell or was pushed.”

I pondered the question all the way to Alexandria, where the light caught up with me at last. Did Humpty Dumpty fall, or was he pushed? The way I felt, the way the melancholy sank its yellow, sharp nails . . . → Read More: Infection

The Dark Side of Volunteerism

Now, I’ve been preaching here for a long, long time about how citizens in our community need to get out and volunteer to help make this a better place, especially economically.

To be sure that I practice what I preach, I got myself involved as a volunteer in a handful of things that were important to me.

Boy, do I understand now how hard it is to give up all that time. But I persevere. I am committed, though the sacrifice is great.

Here we are, coming off one of the most miserable winters in recorded history, spring has sprung, and the time I have available to me to wet a line has been miniscule.

Had I any forethought, I would have not volunteered for anything in the spring. I should have known better.

As it is, we in the news business cover a lot of meetings at night. It’s hard to add another one, as a volunteer, to your already overburdened schedule. But I did. That’s one thing folks don’t quite understand about us newsies, and it causes some hard feelings, but as a sidebar, let me explain: We understand how important your events are to you! That’s . . . → Read More: The Dark Side of Volunteerism

A Windshield Wash

It occurs to me that it’s all about a windshield wash.

One of my earliest memories was toolin’ into Chapron’s Service Station in Baldwin with my mom on a grocery-getting expedition. Mom would pull that big, yellow and white Ford Galaxy up next to a pump, and the attendant would start to pump the gas.

While the tank was filling, he’d dip that long sponge-squeegee thing into a bucket of suds, rub the sponge side across the windshield, careful to lift the wipers out of the way. Then he’d flip it over to the squeegee side and pull the water away, wiping the rubber blade with a blue shop towel as he worked. I remember that, for some reason, vividly.

About 40 years later, I pulled up at a “filling station” to get gas. You’ll note that in the time expired from my memory to today, they became “filling stations” instead of “service stations.” I stuck my card in the slot, entered my private information, leaned up against the truck as my gas was pumping. I noticed how the windshield was dirty.

When I was done, I hung the nozzle and got my receipt. I went home and cleaned . . . → Read More: A Windshield Wash

A New Harry Middleton Book!

I was notified by a buddy that Skyhorse Publishing has just announced “In That Sweet Country: Uncollected Writings of Harry Middleton” to be published in July!

You all know by now, Harry is my favorite writer, and one of the most tragic and talented of all authors I’ve ever read. For Middleton fans, this is like finding an unknown Beatles album, or a Van Gogh.

It’s going to be a LONG wait until July, but this is like a dream come true.

Harry’s books are usually characterized as fly fishing books, but fly fishing is merely the canvas upon which Harry writes about so many things, much like Maclean used fly fishing as the backdrop of A River Runs Through It for his family story.

Bad Bugs

Spent most of Tuesday in the ER at Franklin Foundation Hospital with my mom. All’s well, rest assured, so far.

But I did want to mention that the staff on duty from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. has my admiration, respect and tribute. I don’t recall all their names, but wanted to give them their deserved due. The doctor on call that day was exemplary, as were the nurses, lab techs and everyone else we encountered. Throughout all were polite, informative, thoughtful and professional.

Kudos.

——

Unfortunately, the nasty bug my mom had contracted wasn’t done yet, and though I felt fine Wednesday, when I woke up Thursday morning I was fine. I showered, let the dog out, and all of a sudden I was certain someone had been beating me with the back of a shovel in my sleep all night.

After the first of many mad dashes to the bathroom, I knew I was doomed.

The chills came next, those wracking, bone-shattering chills that always seem to come with a bad bug. I was absolutely miserable, and spent the day in a sort of painful, trembling delirium in bed watching the tube when I wasn’t rushing off . . . → Read More: Bad Bugs