“Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America,” said Barack Obama in St Paul, Minnesota, earlier this week.
He had taken the stage for his Democratic nomination victory speech to the sounds of U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’.
It was a grateful message, for a domestic audience, at the end of a bruising and extended primary campaign. And this November, let’s hope for a better day, not just for America, but far beyond as well.
“Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground”
– The Tempest, Act 1, Sc.1
“Full fathom five thy father lies” – The Tempest, Act 1, Sc. 2
The sky is falling all around me as the winter afternoon is fading. Down, down we glide, towards the North Atlantic. Three thousand miles of unforgiving sea are all behind us and ahead lies just a pinprick of green holding out against the blue-grey vastness of the ocean.
The rain lashes against the windows as our wings bank on the approach, the landing lights looming nearer in the dusk. A rugged landfall, but now we’re safe.
Outside the airport and across the causeway, a deluge is raging in sheets across the road, the palm trees swaying wildly in the storm. The evening washes itself wet and windswept upon the shore. Continue reading
So reads the street sign, and everything they say is true. The sky, the buildings, the cars, the winter weather – they all seem so much bigger here.
Downtown, early morning. A fading twilight was lifting above the Astrodome when I peered out through the curtains five minutes ago, and now it’s nearly daybreak.
The eastern horizon is promising cool and blue and cloudless – a perfect Texas dawn is calling. For now, Houston has a sleepy air, the metropolis still dappled and drowsy and awaiting the day.
If you want to know a city, just run through it streets, and look up and all around you. Breathe its atmosphere and history, and immerse your soul in the rush before your eyes.
Live a different life, for a few brief footsteps, and surrender your mind to the wanderings of your feet. Lose yourself.
So. Farewell then
Barack Hussein Obama
The Audacity of Hope
For five January days
The world could change
And then New Hampshire
They’d changed their minds
With apologies to EJ Thribb (17 ½)
* * * * *
To mark the start of USA 2008 this column is taking temporary residence deep in the snows of New Hampshire.
Please see From Scratch for a specially syndicated Roads of Stone, reporting on the US primaries.
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84. Election Special
110. The hands that built America – Houston skylines
148. Farewell to Tony Blair
4. GO British ! Chicago Marathon 2002
17. It’s puzzling – a letter on Iraq, to Tony Blair
71. How the West Was Won – Iraq implodes
‘Sure as hell that didn’t work, but I finished the sucker eventually,’ mumbled downbeat, unshavenly scruffy lawyer Joel F Bradstock, to no one in particular.
His nicotine-stained fingers trembled slightly now as he rolled another cigarette and pulled hard on the half-drained bottle of Bushmills beside him.
A minute went by as he let the long-awaited dawn rise up over the city. He could hear high heels in the stairwell now, so he hurriedly fumbled the friendly bottle amongst the chaotic slew of box files, safely out of Rita’s sight.
He’d have to conquer the single malt habit eventually, but Monday never was a good day to start that struggle.
If life evolves steadily from one species to another, then why do homo sapiens and chimpanzees still co-exist ? That’s a classic question, and one which goes right to the heart of evolution.
It’s important to our understanding of how all life forms develop, and to reconstructing the the evolution of early man (thanks to Ella for the link).
The point is that whilst evolution is a slow process, the mechanism which allows change to happen is not a gradual one at all. We might see Darwin’s drawings of Galapagos finches as a continuous spectrum of evolutionary development, but perhaps that sketch gives quite a false impression of how evolution really works.
When evolutionary change takes place, it does so rapidly and abruptly.