In Pensive Mood and Solitude

Wordsworth uses the phrase “in vacant or pensive mood.” He wanders with the daffodils when the mood strikes. My thoughts have turned to my old home place, a large, five-bedroom brick home built on a hillside in the Appalachian foothills of Harrison County, just outside Bowerston, Ohio. The home sits in the center of six acres, an old apple orchard. Outside that plot and ringing it is land owned by a local brick company. Earlier on there were dairy farms. In the far distance as a kid I could see the S-curve on the Panhandle Division of the Pennsy railroad. At night on schedule a flourescent passenger train wound through the Conotton Valley. As did the coal trains on the Wheeling and Lake Erie and Nickel Plate lines. Eighteen miles to the east lay the Hanna coal mines around Cadiz. Over in Scio there was a world-reknowned pottery. We were all company towns in those days. While my elders and relatives made and extracted things from the clay earth, I wondered my hillside where I learned the peace of solitude. And the essential company of dogs.

Thomas Wolf says “You can’t go home again.” Well, I did. I returned to the old place. You can go home again. It was the great pleasure of my life. The acre of lawn I once mowed with an 18-inch push Lawn Boy as a teen, I mowed again with a riding Snapper mower. To heat the old place I obtained an old Ford tractor and manure spreader for a trailer. Weekly I ventured into the woods for fuel. Came very close to cutting off a toe or two. I loved being alone in the woods, but on that occasion I shouldn’t have been. God gave my toes a narrow escape. Harry and I cut some wood together.

Harry came to my aid often — especially on a Christmas Day when our well pump broke. Harry knows everything about how to make things work — especially friendship and helping others.

Back then I took a shot at politics, but chose the wrong party.

I always walked the woods. Later, I cycled the roads where I had to climb steeply to Hanover Ridge, Rumley Ridge and over on to Deersville Ridge. But there were boat rides on Tappan Lake, too, with Danny and Pat from New Philadelphia.

The memories, the love, the friendships abide with me always. These few recollections do not begin to tell the stories of friendships I had in Harrison County,where everyone knows the worth of solitude and company as well. Best ever.

David Milliken

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Some Things Make Me Happy

Some things make me happy — in the seventh decade of life.There’s Sidney, a Westie puppy, who’s come on watch since one of our old girls died at fifteen. Semantha she was. I was so depressed even this little poop spreader and piddle fountain doesn’t stress me. Vitality simply bounces off the walls at our place. Even Nancy, our elder female, has emerged from her funk and depression after losing her old friend— never thought she’d bark and trot again. Nothing like a puppy nip to get some juices going again. I enjoy a cold can of Vernor’s ginger soda more than I used to; well, it hasn’t replaced bourbon, but helps me cut down a little on the cocktails. It’s also good with bourbon. Something about metabolism makes me unable to drink like a sailor anymore. On my suburban patio atop a hill, I listen to the sound of rotating rubber on the crosstown parkway — telling myself it sounds like the New England surf I haven’t heard in too long.

Life is too short not to continue appreciating old re-runs on TV or one of the small films that show up at a favorite, old fart theater, one that’s pandemonium free. Yet I still enjoy Star Wars battles, too.

Adventure for me is hanging on to Windows XP for a while yet. I beefed up my anti-virus surveillance and so far have had no major attack from the hackers and other demented folks. Rather, I am hassled by expert geeks from India wanting me to buy more ongoing checkups. For the most part I’ve only had problems when I don’t do a regular disk cleanup and defrag.

Books, often thick ones, entertain and enlighten me as they always have. They are jargon free and I don’t have to fret about all that I don’t know about SEO. Ongoing gratification for the gift and privilege of living trumps most everything else these days. especially this great enigma of life itself. David Milliken

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Virtually Human: We need human rights for cyberconscious beings.

Mindclones are software versions of our minds, software-based alter egos, doppelgangers, or mental twins. A mindclone is created from the thoughts, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and values you have put into it. Mindclones will experience reality from the standpoint of whatever machine their mindware is run on. When the body of a mindclone dies, the mindclone will not feel that they have personally died, although the body will be missed in the same ways amputees miss their limbs but acclimate when given an artificial replacement. The comparison suggests an apt metaphor: The mindclone is to the consciousness and spirit as the prosthetic is to an arm that has lost its hand.

via Virtually Human: We need human rights for cyberconscious beings..

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