It sure is warm in here, said Harlan. It sure is, said Blurtso. That’s because a greenhouse, said Alex, turns solar energy into thermal energy, which in turn creates a convection process. What? said Blurtso. Solar energy, said Alex, passes through the glass and gets absorbed by the ground and plants. The plants convert the sun’s short wave infrared rays into long wave infrared rays—into heat energy—which can’t escape the glass. Because the air is trapped, the warm air near the ground rises and the cool air near the ceiling falls, turning the greenhouse into a convection oven which forces the air to become warmer and warmer with each rise and fall. A convection oven? Said Blurtso. Exactly, said Alex. Does that work on a small scale? said Blurtso. Of course it does, said Alex. So I could bake a pumpkin pie, said Blurtso, in a miniature greenhouse?
Your greenhouse was all we talked about today in class, said Harlan. Really? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, the professor gave us an article to read about Degrowth Theory. Degrowth theory? said Alex, isn’t that an oxymoron? An oxymoron? said Blurtso. Yes, said Alex, a concept that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements; growth implies increase, “de” implies the opposite, so you might as well say decrease. The professor explained that, said Harlan, he said the word implies the increase of communities choosing to decrease their consumption, a world where more people choose to live a simpler lifestyle. What does that have to do with my greenhouse? said Blurtso. Your greenhouse, said Harlan, is a local, self-sustaining environment, you could live forever in this greenhouse if you chose to. Except, said Blurtso, for pumpkin pies. You could grow pumpkins, said Harlan. How would I cook them? You’d have to plant some fast-growing trees, said Harlan, and use the wood for fire. Or use solar energy, said Alex. Isn’t it hard to grow solar panels? said Blurtso. It’s impossible, said Harlan, but you could trade with others in the community who had what you need, and eventually reduce the size of your environmental hoofprint. My environmental hoofprint? said Blurtso, I don’t think my hoofs are too big.
What are you doing? said Harlan. I’m grazing, said Blurtso, I’ve got to get this grass under control. What about school? said Harlan. School will have to wait, said Blurtso. O.k., said Harlan, I’ll take notes for you… is there anything you need? No, said Blurtso, I’ve got plenty to eat, and the snow will quench my thirst. O.k., said Harlan, I’ll tell the professor why you’re absent. Thanks, said Blurtso.
Hello, said the professor. Hello, said Blurtso. Your roommate told me why you missed class, said the professor. I’m sorry, said Blurtso, but this greenhouse is my responsibility. Your responsibility? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso, it was entrusted to me, and I’ve neglected it too long. I admire your sense of duty, said the professor, but your grade will suffer. That is a price, said Blurtso, I’m prepared to pay. On the other hand, said the professor, I might be able to give you service-learning credit. Service-learning credit? said Blurtso. Yes, said the professor, for doing something that benefits the community. How does this benefit the community? Your greenhouse, said the professor, could be a model for self-sustainability in Cambridge. A model? said Blurtso. Yes, said the professor, but you’d have to be willing to talk to people about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I’m doing it, said Blurtso, because I waited too long, and I can’t wait any longer. Exactly, said the professor.
“It is early”
Of course, it is early.
You will hear other voices
sing other songs.
You will choose one.
You will come to know
the depth of the shadows
in the grasses.
You will see friends
grow and wither,
and dreams and sorrows
Will you forget these songs?
Will they vanish in the beauty
with which they cannot compete,
the white mountain, the red rose,
the resolute eyes of a lover?
Or will they remain,
and remind you of the glow
your eyes had once,
and the magic they inspired
in the heart of another?
“He didn’t notice when she came in because he wasn’t there, but when he was he clearly noticed, but pretended not to notice, that she was clearly there. He pretended not notice, so that no one else would notice, that he had clearly noticed that she was clearly there. But she had clearly noticed that he had clearly noticed, and she was clearly there.”
“Here comes another grey morning,
a not-so-good morning after all…
She says, ‘Well what am I to do today,
with too much time and so much sorrow…’
The clouds with their heads on the ground,
she’s gonna have to come down…
She said, ‘Move me, move me, I’m locked up inside,’
but I didn’t understand her, though God knows I tried…
She said, ‘Make me angry, or just make me cry,
but no more grey morning, I think I’d rather die.’”