From the back copy of The Silent World, by Captain J.Y. Cousteau, copyright 1953:
This best seller unfolds wonders never before seen by man! A new era of undersea exploration began when the young French naval officer J.Y. Cousteau and his partners started to use the now famous underwater breathing apparatus, the aqualung. In this fascinating report Cousteau tells what it is like to be a “manfish” swimming in the deep twilight zone with sharks, mantas, morays, whales and octopuses.
Captain Cousteau tells of exploring sunken ships, including a Roman galley. With him we enter drowned caverns into which the light of day never penetrated. We come mouth to mouth with a shark of as yet unknown species. Visit an octopus city . . . and bring back treasures lost centuries ago!
I found this for $1 at the Book Exchange. The Silent World. Ah, yes, I love this stuff. Cousteau was one of the first “real life” adventurers to spark my imagination. I used to watch his television specials, dreamed of SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving (which, to this day, I still haven’t done . . . possibly the very top item on my expansive list of life’s failures), and even bailed over backwards off the inner tubes we’d float around on at Frenchtown Pond when I was a chubby youngster just like Cousteau and his crew used to. Hell, I even liked John Denver’s song about Cousteau’s research ship, Calypso. It goes to show how much pleasure one measly dollar may still provide . . . especially paired with the day’s first slug of coffee.
The Inauguration Day Edition.
The “still not tired of winter” edition.
- 01/08/2017: The eery skeleton of the old mill where my dad worked for 40+ years looks post-apocalyptic viewed during blizzard-like conditions, in the dark, windshield cloudy and coated with fragments of ice at its outer edges, snow falling through my high beams as I coast to a halt at the stop sign facing the old guard shack.
- 01/09/2017: Arrived home in late evening, moonlight sparkling on snow sculpted by wind, then stood out under the stars for many deep breaths after filling the bird feeders by porch light.
- 01/10/2017: File with favorite sounds of winter: the rattling clatter and rhythmic clang, like sleigh bells, of passing tires wrapped in chains.
- 01/11/2017: I wish the adorable little Hungarian partridges who hang out and burrow through the snow under my bird feeders would understand they don’t need to panic and scramble madly away every time I open the front door, because I love having them and they are more than welcome.
- 01/12/2017: By nightfall, an afternoon spent chewing up and swallowing words before they can wreak havoc tends to leave one thirsty, weary, and a little stomach upset.
- 01/13/2017: An afternoon so sunny the snow reflects the blue of the cloudless sky, and the pieces of frost that trickle free of the treetops float and sparkle in the air so that the saunter up my front walkway is like a stroll through clouds of glitter.
- 01/14/2017: Two young girls on a tobaggon are dragged madly down the snowy street by a pair of gangly, rambunctious dogs with wild grins on their faces.
If you think he hasn’t influenced your life, you aren’t paying attention.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument, Brown Chapel AME Church, Selma, AL, from my visit in March of 2015
From a printout hanging on a metal rack at one of the best donut-and-pie bakeries one could ever hope to visit, in a tiny town right on the edges of a bloodthirsty highway.