Monday, July 25, 2011

Order in the Court

I left the house yesterday, intending to ride for about an hour because later I'd need to pick my daughter up for her grand homecoming from California and wanted to rest a bit before having to head up I-81 to the airport.  As usual, I pulled onto the street having no idea whatsoever of where I'd go.  I made my way to where I'd cross the  Susquehanna River, figuring along the way that I'd take the frequent, relaxing ride up and down the rather flat main stretch of the west side of the valley, and put myself into the rightmost lane which would allow me to go straight across the bridge when I got the green light.  After a full traffic light cycle it occurred to me that the roadway sensors weren't picking up the BV because while the traffic coming east obviously got the green, I never did.  

While I had been idling there waiting for the light, I spied a bench next to the Luzerne County courthouse and thought about making my way to it so I could make a phone call, but getting there would necessitate a left turn and I was two lanes away and on a hill; I couldn't back up and switch lanes because of the decline.  Thus, when it dawned on me that I wasn't going to get the green unless a car came up behind me to trip the sensor, I made the right turn on red and then a U-turn to get to where I might gain access to the bench.  I found a cut in the curb just past the courthouse and assumed it was a driveway that would get me around the building to where I wanted to park the scooter and sit for a while to gab, but as I made the turn and rode across the south face of the courthouse itself I realized that what I'd ridden through was the cut for wheelchairs at the pedestrian crossing.  To my great delight, though, I found a beautiful flower garden on the south lawn of the courthouse.  Just a mile from where I hang my hat, and I never knew that this garden existed! If anybody else had been there afoot I'd have immediately left the area rather than to park the bike, but with the area being deserted except for me I could make my call and get some pretty pictures too.  

There has been a lot of corruption in this courthouse over the past few years.  To our shame, the county has been in the national news because of the heinous criminal actions of a few our our judges and other local, public officials.  The beauty of the edifice (even with the ongoing construction project) and its surroundings, nonetheless, shined through on this particular Sunday afternoon.

I suppose I will never understand the love that some people have for politics because it was never a part of anything when I was growing up.  My dad voted, but there was never any family discussion of issues or candidates, or anything of the sort.  I poked fun at a schoolmate in college because on every election day we all knew he'd be one of those jerks at the polls who tries to stuff his little piece of cardboard in your hand to tell you for whom to vote (because, God forbid, you came to vote with some clear idea of whom YOU would like to have in office), and find myself now, some 30 years later, earning about half of what he makes in a job that he readily admits he got by being part of the political machine in the early 80s.  In retrospect, though, I don't know that I'd have changed a thing.  I got my job honestly, and I've loved it for most of my 29 years.  But, as usual I digress...

I don't know a darned thing about plants nor flowers, but I like that they're kind of miraculous when you think about them.  A lowly seed, which appears to be a dead thing, somehow springs into life and grows into something amazing to look at - and those of us with Faith know that that "somehow" means "by the hand of God."  Now if only the ACLU and other like-minded groups and individuals would allow God's hand beyond its garden and into the courthouse itself.

Justice?  Is there truly such a thing with plea bargains and juries who see insurance companies as just so many deep pockets to be dug into even when people are the victims of their own stupidity?  When lawyers keep for themselves ridiculous portions of the settlements for which they do little more than write some threatening letters?  When those who are most in need can't find help anywhere but the local criminal element can take what they do of the public dole with impunity?  Even when elected officials aren't corrupt, it's hard to have faith in our justice system.  In spite of it, though, I can't think of a better one, so we settle for the necessary evil we have, and use it to our advantage when there are pretty pictures to be gotten.

Lest I start to sound too much like the politicos down my nose at whom I look, I'll leave the diatribe behind and try to stick with "pretty" thoughts.  The time I spent on the sound side of the courthouse was very pleasant.  The tremendous heat wave had let up to a small degree and I was quite merrily savoring the respite.

And not another soul came around the whole time I spent there.  I tend to be a solitary person, especially when I'm surrounded by things which inspire the kind of feeling that's reservedly expressed when you're a 53 year old man and "expected" to act or not act in certain ways.  I was able to drink in deeply of the amazing beauty of the scene before me without feeling hampered by the presence of others.  No, I wasn't moved to tears or anything like that, but nonetheless what I was feeling would have been ruined if anyone else had come along.

I posed beside the memorial where the bell and anchors from the U. S. S. Wilkes-Barre are reposed. I read on the accompanying plaque the story of the ship and its participation in battle, but don't remember enough of it to recount here. It was credited with saving an aircraft carrier in some skirmish; that much I do recall. There's more than I care to read about it on Wikipedia. There is a Korean War Memorial nearby, along with a statue of a deer, and some monstrosity of a sculpture that I should have paid more attention to but didn't because the light was in a terrible place to get any good pictures of it. I'm sure there's a sweet, little, old lady somewhere in a nearby historical society who would be happy to bend and ear or a dozen to talk all about the various things on display there, but I'm much less ambitious than to find such a person and less so to listen to her lecture.

The experience downtown made me wonder about what other treasures hidden right here in my own basic neighborhood I might be missing.  I remind myself that I'm a visual creature - happy to see things that inspire emotions of varying kinds, but not so hot on doing any kind of research to learn about them unless they particularly interest me.  Don't get me wrong; I love education or I'd not be so happy in it as a career.  But, when I want to learn, I learn, and when I want to look at shiny things, (as my younger daughter would call things that demand one's visual attention in a good way), I don't want anybody infringing on my pleasure by seeking to educate me.

So if you happen to come upon me by chance someday to find me toeing the dirt around my scooter and taking pictures, please say, "Hello," but then shut up and go away.  Unless you happen to be on a scooter too.  Then, we'll talk!


Doug said...

Joe, That second photo of the leaves in the foreground and building in the background is a fine shot. Nice contrast between the rectangles of the structure man made and the structures that God made. God wins!

Joe said...

As He always does in the long run, Doug. If only we had the wisdom to "allow Him" the wins that seem like losses to us because we cant' see the big picture.