Climate, technology, truths and more

brown lady

This has been a very strange fall. Usually we have had a frost by now, but this year we still have tomato plants showing beautiful red tomatoes. Eleanor LoSasso reported seeing a monarch butterfly on November 3, when they are usually halfway to Mexico. The same day she had a confrontation with a black widow spider that took up residence in her greenhouse.

Two weeks ago I saw a lilac bush in Grape Street ablaze with flowers. Last week I did a double take when I saw a lawn on Bellevue Avenue covered in purple crocuses. What’s going on? Maybe I should have left my pink flamingos outside a bit more.

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Election Day was November 8th and for the first time in history we had a lunar eclipse on Election Day. If you woke up early, you should have been able to catch a glimpse of November’s beaver moon, also called the snow or frost moon, trending toward a total eclipse as it sets.

The name beaver moon originated because it was once a time to trap beavers to secure fur for the winter before the swamps froze over and the beavers disappeared.

If you were a kid in the 1960s, you probably watched My Favorite Martian, hoped to one day have a flying car like the Jetsons, owned a toy robot or a ray gun, and never missed an episode of “Star Trek.” If so, check out the upcoming launch from Cape Canaveral, Artemis I. It’s an unmanned ship that will go around the moon and back. Its launch was scheduled for November 14 and is a test for Artemis II planned for 2024. Artemis II was to be the first spacecraft to travel beyond low-Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.

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I’m sick of technology, even though I’m using a tablet to write this, I watch quilting tutorials on YouTube, constantly check email, text family members, and pay all my bills online, I think our technology has us makes less human. and intuitively we know that we can be misinterpreted. That’s why we’re constantly adding emojis to make sure the reader of our words understands our intent.

I long to talk to people in person. I want to read facial expressions, listen to the inflections in your voice, watch your body language cues. Of course we can use Duo and Zoom but it is not the same. I am concerned about young people who do most of their communication on their phones. Do they even understand intonations and know how to read facial expressions? Students wearing masks for two years did not help with this problem.

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The truth, does anyone want to hear the truth? Obviously, every husband knows not to say yes when his wife asks, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” However, very often spouses, lovers, siblings, and friends advocate for the truth, but I have decided that people only want to hear their truth, not yours.

I sadly offended a very close 50 year old friend by telling the truth when asked. She was my best friend in high school. We whisper secrets and share dreams. She moved from Hammonton many years ago and we communicate via email and text, which has many downsides. Words can be misinterpreted, intonation and nuance are non-existent, emotions can run wild, and interpretation can be completely distorted and misinterpreted. Again, maybe Duo or Zoom will work, but what I’d really like to do is hold my friend’s hand, look into their eyes, and have an old-fashioned conversation.

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Do you remember birthday parties when we were kids? They were usually held on a Saturday from 2 pm to 4 pm at the child’s home. Decorations included streamers and balloons without helium.

The kids sweetened themselves with sweets from crepe paper cups, Hawaiian punch, and homemade cake. We wore fluffy dresses or button-down shirts and slacks, put on paper hats, and were on our best behavior. We played pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs. Inexpensive gifts were purchased at Miller’s Department Store or Five and Ten, often paper dolls or cap guns.

At an outdoor children’s birthday party last week, where there were multiple games and activities, including a forest and clubhouse to play in, many children spent a glorious three hours running in circles, screaming, laughing and getting dirty. However, several children sat quietly playing on their phones. I wanted to explain to them that life was passing them by. Friendships can be formed, physical skills honed, and nature appreciated. I also considered giving some “old lady advice” to their mothers, but they too were glued to their phones. So, I happily joined the children in the forest.

Donna Brown is a former Hammonton Middle School librarian and columnist for The Gazette. To contact Donna Brown, please email [email protected]

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