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I tend to be a little bit of a cynic.

I'll often look at something – anything – and search for the imperfections, the flaws, the ill-informed assumptions. Particularly if it is man-made. Nature transcends all these issues. I think that is why I like landscape photography so much. I'm looking at something (even if there are signs of man's activities) that is true – and by that I mean indifferent to man.

Perhaps this week, with the confused imperfections of government written clear to the naked eye in Washington D.C., has encouraged such thoughts.

So here's a view through the kitchen window of Ginny & Dave's house in Brookings, South Dakota, of the side garden and neighbor's house. A pretty picture of shady trees, flowers and parked cars. I'm sitting at the counter, sipping strong white coffee and eating whole wheat toast and apricot jam as I look out.

Focus back, though, and a long and deep crack in the glass appears. Made by the prolonged cold of last year's winter, it runs almost the entire width of this window. An imperfection, yes, but the window has held and not given out.

Perhaps my cynicism is moderating, because I find this more hopeful than discouraging.