Where I grew up, and still live for part of the year. It’s located near Tyrone, Pennsylvania in the valley and ridge province of the Appalachians. Plummer’s Hollow Run drains into the Little Juniata, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
What does it mean to look forward to something any more, in a world hurtling toward ecological collapse if not thermonuclear destruction? There was a bestseller back in the 1970s called Future Shock about the social and psychological damage incurred by modern society’s relentless drive toward progress… or so I imagine, having never actually read it. But it’s been on my mind lately despite that minor detail. I’ve also been thinking a lot about ignorance, both in epistemological and sociological terms, and not coming to any firm conclusions because I rarely do. That’s a poet thing, I suppose. Not knowing the future, though, seems essential to mere survival, let along progress, as the Rene Char quote in the sidebar here says: “How can we live without the unknown before us?”
This has been a horrific summer in many parts of North America, but here in central Pennsylvania we went from a severe spring drought to a very wet but relatively cool summer. Trees went from nearly dropping their leaves at the beginning of June to massive growth spurts in July—aided, I’m sure, by all the extra CO2 in the atmosphere. And part of what kept things cool for us was the haze from burning forests elsewhere, as I’ve mentioned in various poems. But one of the pleasures of haiku is being liberated from having to explain things. They can just lurk in the background, mostly inaudible to the reader. Distant flashes that can mean whatever you want them to.
The fireflies, who had been scarce early on, had their highest numbers toward the end of the season. I shot this 30-second clip of them on my phone at dusk last week, just as the weather was turning from muggy to cool. Three nights ago the katydids started up; in a week or so, their throb will be all we hear. I look forward to weeks of good sleep.
The King’s birthday. Busy all the morning writing letters to London, among the rest one to Mr. Chetwind to give me an account of the fees due to the Herald for the Order of the Garter, which my Lord desires to know. After dinner got all ready and sent away Mr. Cook to London with a letter and token to my wife. After that abroad to shore with my Lord (which he offered me of himself, saying that I had a great deal of work to do this month, which was very true). On shore we took horses, my Lord and Mr. Edward, Mr. Hetly and I, and three or four servants, and had a great deal of pleasure in riding. Among other things my Lord showed me a house that cost a great deal of money, and is built in so barren and inconvenient a place that my Lord calls it the fool’s house. At last we came upon a very high cliff by the sea-side, and rode under it, we having laid great wagers, I and D. Mathews, that it was not so high as Paul’s; my Lord and Mr. Hetly, that it was. But we riding under it, my Lord made a pretty good measure of it with two sticks, and found it to be not above thirty-five yards high, and Paul’s is reckoned to be about ninety. From thence toward the barge again, and in our way found the people at Deal going to make a bonfire for joy of the day, it being the King’s birthday, and had some guns which they did fire at my Lord’s coming by. For which I did give twenty shillings among them to drink. While we were on the top of the cliffe, we saw and heard our guns in the fleet go off for the same joy. And it being a pretty fair day we could see above twenty miles into France. Being returned on board, my Lord called for Mr. Sheply’s book of Paul’s, by which we were confirmed in our wager. After that to supper and then to musique, and so to bed. The pain that I have got last night by cold is not yet gone, but troubles me at the time of pissing. This day, it is thought, the King do enter the city of London.