Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Moth and the Primrose - Vincent G. Dethier




Vincent G. Dethier - 15 February 1915 – 8 September 1993

What a story. I think this is another that will sit in my memory for awhile.

Recently, I should say within the past 3 years or so, I’ve been drawn to the interconnectedness of “everything”. I’ve wondered if there are really connective forces beyond what we readily perceive. The trickle down effects that develop from the action of a presence or force. Secondary effects of decisions that we make consciously or unconsciously.

Those couple of questions and more were addressed in this little short story. And they were done with laser like accuracy and precision.

Dethier was a scientist and he also possessed the gift as a talented fiction writer. He is the perfect example of a writer writing about what they know and love.

I know that seems like an obvious observation but it is a piece of advice that I have run across several times when I read interviews with writers about writing.

On a little side note, there I had an odd little connection with Dethier. Well, I don’t know if it is a connection – just something that brought me a little closer to him.

"Write about what you know and love"

Dethier worked at the Aberdeen proving grounds after WWII. Chemical Corps. I don’t think I would be too far off in making the assumption that he may have had a hand in the development of some of the nastiest chemical weapons we have in our arsenal today – but that’s really not my concern now.


Just to the North of the proving grounds is a river. You will also see a little town called Port Deposit. I spent time along the river just north of that town - on an island. I would be sitting along the river and I would hear the explosions over at the proving grounds. They were pretty frequent during the 80’s...ah yes, the Cold War.


I know that it really is a stretch of a connection – but hey, this is my place, I can draw my degrees of separation how I please.

Back to the story.

I have wondered what sort of impact my life will have on this world. In this day and in this country, I think that many more of us are in a fortunate position to actually make a difference. Good or bad depending on your choice and motivations.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but the decision I made back in 1994 one afternoon, probably made after a couple shots of vodka - not to go to the directed medical exams the Peace Corps required of me which would have advance my application and then sent me to Russia. Rather, I waited...and was sent to Romania in 1998. That decision, made unconsciously I think, landed me here - at this very desk – doing what I do.

That was a small decision that changed my life. Sometimes we overvalue our decisions. The "important" decisions are really not that "important" but we fret over them and assign too much weight to them.

It's the little things like a moth or a primrose that change the directions of our life.

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