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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Oases of Time, Vintage Seasons & Reality

North Miami Beach, FL 05-09-2005
A.H. Schectman

Leonard Pitts, Jr., in his column this morning, used an interesting term, “oases of time”, that I had not read before.  He was referring to those moments we reserve just for ourselves where the world does not intervene to claim our attention.  This put me in mind of a time travel story about “vintage seasons”. These were supposed to exist in history where time travelers might want to visit unobtrusively to enjoy a time of plenty, peace and achievement of a balance of nature and man’s work that was in harmony with it.  Reality sets in when we realize that unless we work hard and deliberately to achieve these oases of time there will be no vintage seasons in our time for future travelers to come back to spend some moments there.

Reality is hard to deal with.  We have existed on lies so much in our lives that we confuse them with what is real.  It is interesting how we look at things. You and I and come up with different descriptions of what we claim is real.  Our technology has brought us gifts and yet to extend and broaden the gifts of what science and experimentation bring us we add to the costs that will bring us down.

Mr. Pitts was expounding on the really miraculous cross-the-ice journey of a small group of dedicated people who wanted to recreate the top of the world journey of dog-sled-nauts who reached the North Pole only to be followed by others who tracked them and were then visited by helicopter-borne tourists to see what these intrepid souls had wrought.  Mr. Pitts decried the spoiling of the feat that proved that this trip had been made by Robert Peary and Matthew Henson in 1909.

Our technology with its computer driven programs make instant messaging possible to all points in the world because the satellites circling the globe leave few places inaccessible.  There is magic here but it is of the kind that the human mind made possible and human skills elaborated to push the limits even further so that when the ice at the poles melts we will have finished the job that our industries began when they filled our atmosphere with “greenhouse gases”.

One article at the bottom of the OP-ED page of the NY Times this morning was examining the possibility of global warming imminently threatening some island nations in the Pacific and other oceans by inundation of the seas. Two researchers, Sujatha Byravan and Sudhir Chella Rajan of Cambridge, Mass., did not mention my home here in Florida, barely inches above sea level. They were talking about preparations “Before the Flood”. Of course, when the seas do rise as they will soon in a blink of the eye in cosmic time only the “Mount Trashmores” will be seen above the waters. There will be no oases of time or vintage seasons left in the 21st Century; only reality.              



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