Water Closet for April 28, 2017

[pullquote]”Reform will involve constant thoughtful communications and cooperation, not the threats of Putin, Kim Jong-un, Khomeini and now President Trump who tweets against the Paris Accords in the dark hours before the sun.”[/pullquote] In a hayfield on the summit of a classic shaped drumlin on the North Andover- Boxford line members of the Second Congregational Church of Boxford and friends gathered on Easter Morning to celebrate Jesus’ return. The tip of the lance shaped hill points southeast towards the holy land. As the red sun came into sight over hills at 6:45 the service concluded. Two Canada Geese seemingly on cue flew honking over the celebrants and their flower decorated cross. The last lines in the service’s program were George Harrison’s:
“Here comes the sun – And I say it’s all right
Here comes the sun, It’s all right, it’s all right”
The previous day in North Korea quite a different celebration greeted the sun. Masses of chanting people and their war machines paraded in unison in Pyongyang. Last week a carrier strike force, with war machines of the American 7th fleet, was ordered to proceed to the Sea of Japan off Korea. Unlike Harrison, neither the poor North Koreans nor the Americans were feeling “all right.” Again fear is underway in Korea and the rest of the world. Will man-produced sun-like heat come from the east or west tomorrow? If unleashed nuclear bombs mounted on the noses of missiles produce a deadly light rivaling the sun as was demonstrated not far away in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In nearby Japan and nearer still in Seoul the feeling of fear must be palpable.

Middleton photographer Elaine Gauthier greets the sun from Plum Island beach. – Judy Schneider photo

In 1953 waves, not of light, but humans down from China drove the United Nation’s forces, mostly American, all the way back to the 38th parallel between North and South Korea. President Truman wisely ignored the pleas of General MacArthur to use nuclear bombs. Today, sixty five years later, we hope such bombs will never again be released. We awake each morning hoping as Harrison did, and billions do daily, that “it’s all right.” In the predawn hours which precede traditional attacks we toss and turn with worry. At sunrise, even when the sun is unseen behind clouds, frets are magically swept away. No wonder the Koreans and so many cultures have worshiped the sun, the daily tranquilizer of so many. Here in April it brings forth buds and gentle greens in scores of shades, and leads our thoughts to water.

“Here comes the sun – And I say it’s alright” sang George Harrison. Sunrise as seen from Plum Island, September 2016 – Judy Schneider photo

The salt waters around Korea, Japan, and the east coasts of China are those of the Pacific. As an adjective, Merriam-Webster defines pacific as “tending to lesson conflict, and rejecting the use of force as an instrument of policy.” Why can’t Homo sapiens collectively celebrate pacific breezes and pacific words? Why do the instruments of policy always include military options even after a horrible century of knowing that the undiplomatic cliché, “All options are on the table.” may mean war? War certainly provides many with challenges and honor but for many many more, misery and despair.
The failed missiles of the North Koreans fall into pacific waters; would that all weapons would so end including ours. The 20th century saw excesses in weapons of all kinds. They became dangerous to the life of the planet not just warriors. We old timers after eight decades of war hope to see an end of wars in our lifetime. We were born when ideas like Wilson’s League of Nations gave hope to many. In our idealistic years the United Nations added distinct possibilities. Gandhi and King gave us models. Alas, when we were children the Japanese broke 36 years of peace in the Pacific with a sneaky vengeance. Their victory over the Russians in 1904-05 had made them cocky resulting in Pearl Harbor and atrocities in China. Rightfully angry our forces drove them back 5000 miles and then burned cities and civilians. Madness on both sides on a massive scale. We, cocky after our victories in Germany and Japan, later engaged in much longer wars in Viet Nam and now Afghanistan.
Will the waters of the Pacific again be the innocent victim of the weapons of war? They have long suffered from industrial exploitation and pollution. Whalers once removed the whales for something as mundane as lamp oil and girdle stays. Fishermen now lace it with thousands of miles of plastic lines. During the war man-made ships, planes, and bombs sunk below what later became great surface gyres of plastic debris. Fukushima leaks poisons. More nuclear plants are planned while the sun pours energy, we now know how to use, down upon us. Think of what a united Korea, a solar-wind powered China and India, and an enlightened United States could do if swords in all their forms became the equivalent of plowshares. There is reason for optimism now the world is networked. The planet’s problems are well known. The wise have solutions. Now we must try our damndest to take military options off tables. Those options with which the United States is so well endowed frighten and enable leaders to put themselves first before their people. Reform will involve constant thoughtful communications and cooperation, not the threats of Putin, Kim Jong-un, Khomeini and now President Trump who tweets against the Paris Accords in the dark hours before the sun. Let’s awake, instead, to the songs of John Denver and George Harrison with “Sunshine on our shoulders”, knowing “It’s alright.”


Precipitation Data* for Month of: Jan Feb Mar April
30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches 3.40 3.25 4.65 4.53
   2017 Central Watershed Actual 4.02 3.46 2.89 5.4**as of April 21

Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For April 21, 2017  Normal . . . 97 CFS     Current Rate . . . 81.1 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru March.
** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for April..
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or         <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584