August 11, 2022

"What's this about?"

"Our nation."

"Just ours?"


The Household and the Public Spirit

Hap was walking through the woods near his house.

(top-left clockwise: Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted nuthatch,

Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse)

Black-Capped Chickadees fly, land, and walk in the forest canopy and low-lying branches from tree to tree. Hanging upside down and standing right-side up the Chickadees roam catching Hap’s attention. At the same time, on tree trunks White-breasted Nuthatches cling and step, up and down. [1]A Downy Woodpecker, smaller than the similar Hairy Woodpecker, and a few Tufted Titmouse’s piu mosso gaudioso portamento[2] while scampering twigs, limbs, and tall tree trunks. The pitch changed in accord with the bird’s distance to Hap's ear. Whether behind a branch dimming resonance or unobstructed but distant causing sotto voce[3] until the smorz[4] reveals silenzio[5].

The birds have passed. Leaves ruffled are stirred into a rustled crescendo[6] eventually moderated into a baseline trend of the usual white noise experienced in the wilderness. He heard his footsteps rub against the cold snow when he remembered last night. He was reading with the aid of a lantern by a warm fire some footsteps away from the backdoor. He was drawn away from those pages upon hearing and to gaze upon:

the white, bright moon shines

wind moves leaves upon the earth

hear geese… but not seen!

Hap arrives out of his memory and woods as the sudden succession from the trees to field snaps him into the anticipated encounter.

"There she is," his eyes set on the back of the house where his beautiful, kind wife is. Across the flat, grassy opening in the woods, she goes about her way inside the house. The children are heard laughing out front, playing something.

What of the public spirit? Has power grown unchecked into vast corruptions and civil injustices? Has the competition over power grown into battlefronts possessing large political election war chests, compromises no longer representative of the people, and have elitist agendas decoupled from the common man's day to day interest? Is history a tradition to learn from or despised and disregarded? Is an individual's moral character sharpened into excellence? What is the public spirit? What kind of people live here?

There are so many questions. Sometimes questions paint a picture a simple prose or lecture may fail to illustrate for a person's own consideration. The intention, purpose, and well-being of a society formulate what traditionally is called the public spirit, sometimes also having been called virtue or public good. The perceived collective of a community participating together geographically near or far coalesces a public spirit. How the people socially interact with each other, or as individuals in their participation in trade, care of children in upbringing (school, love your neighbor), self-defense, inspirational arts, or public order, to name some, define a public spirit. As any individual's act impacts another eventually the direction the people want to go and are willing to go together develops the public spirit. How are we going to mature? What image? What illustration? What ideally personifies the public spirit set forth before the people as they grow and live together?

Hap walks in the back door.

"Hello my love," his wife says.

He smiles, "Hello," pauses, "I hear the children out front playing," a joy of a Father and Husband unsurpassed.

"Yes. John is teaching his brother David how to shoot the basketball while little Mary is running around with the dog; she's getting so much older. How was your walk?"

"Good, thanks."

"The boys took the bikes off the car rack since we go to church tomorrow."

"Ah, good. We can run to the farm market now if you want?"

"You're not tired," she smiles a love that has only grown over the years.

"Nah, let's run into town to the farm market and pick up a pie pumpkin, squash, maybe some apples."


[1] The following footnotes (2-6) identify musical resonance to help communicate to the reader Hap's experience of the bird's and wood's sounds. [2] carried with a joy that is fast moving [3] as a soft whisper [4] disappearing [5] silence [6] emergent; budding

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