Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Benign Indifference of the Universe

Several days ago, in The Globe and Mail, I read about a man who was loved by a great number of people, a well known physician. They stated in his obituary that he had "finally surrendered himself to the benign indifference of the universe". I found it so incredible that life can be thought of in such terms... what is benign indifference... and then to add "of the universe".

Then as I read Dan Brown's new novel "The Lost Symbol" this week, I can across the line "Langdon realized his true insignificance in the universe" (Page 381). So we have fast forwarded to a contemporary writer and his star character is saying how insignificant an individual is in the universe.

Many years ago, when I was in an English class in Grade 12, we had to study the writer John Donne.
I read a passage of his that included the poetry that he became most famous for and became my favorite verse::
." No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me
because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee."

So if I understand John Donne properly, he was establishing, at least in his time, that each and every death should be looked upon as significant. So what has changed... Hummmmm? Is it for the better? I think not.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Visiting the Grapes of Niagara

It was a little chilly today, some of the puddles were ice-covered, so we went to look at the vineyards to see if they would be picking grapes for Late Harvest Wines or Icewine... still not cold enough... here are a few pics of our neighboring vineyard... Inniskillen...

It was a little surprising to see the grapes still as lush as they are... we think it will be a vintage year for late harvest and icevine. These vineyards are near to us... in fact, they are across the street from our chiropractor and acupuncturists home. Here they make award winning wines, but at this time of year, we are looking for the day the temperature will drop to -8C... when the grapes are at their peak for picking.

The netting is to keep the millions of migrating birds from attacking the grapes which are at their sweetest point now. The vintners also use different tools to frighten the birds away from the vines... the sound of shot-guns, recordings of birds in trouble and so on.

Inniskillin has a wonderful video that I would recommend linking to from below... it starts with video of the falls in winter... these pics are from about 15km from here... then along the Niagara River, looking over at the towns of Lewiston and Youngstown in New York State... then to the area here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In these pictures, you can see the amazing quantity of grapes... there are over 30,000 acres of vineyard in this area which is known for its Rieslings, but makes some darn good Chardonnay and a myriad of red wines. Below is the vidoe link... hope you enjoy it. There are 21 wineries here in town... many with restaurants, all with tasting bars that you can walk or cycle to on a weekend...


My photo

Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!