Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dread

I'll admit it: Despite having been born in 1953, I was one of those kids who knew nothing about the old, original Cold War. We had no family bomb shelter, and as far as I can recall, none of our neighbors had one, either. We had no food saved, except in the very small chest freezer. Water? If it didn't come from the tap, we wouldn't have had any. Moreover, the Bomb was never a topic of discussion at our house. At least, not in my presence.

I did take part in Civil Defense drills in elementary school, of course. Depending on the location of the classroom, we either hid beneath our desks, doing the ole duck-and-cover, or we did the same thing out in the hall, with our heads up against the row of lockers. But I don't remember the Civil Defense drills being explicitly about the Bomb. I wonder if my classmates knew why we were doing this? I remember absolutely no discussion about it in the classroom, before the drill or afterward.
I did realize the Soviet Union was full of bad guys, of course. But these purported bad guys had nothing to do with me.

Boy, was I ever naive! Either my parents purposely kept me in the dark, or we were sheltered by our school system, or both. In adulthood, when I asked my mom about this, she simply said the Bomb hadn't been worth talking about -- we lived near a few likely targets -- we would be dead anyway. Moreover, she had no interest in surviving a nuclear war, since life afterward would be unimaginably different and difficult.

And so the idea of a nuclear war never really fixed itself in my mind. Until now, of course.

I am not used to being afraid of too much, but I am afraid of this. I get up every morning and turn on CNN with a feeling of pure dread -- what will I hear? Will the little psychopath in North Korea have fired off a nuclear-warhead-bearing ICBM towards Japan? Towards Seoul? Towards Seattle? And if he does, what will the response of the taller psychopath in Washington be? And ... where will this lead?

Gallows humor is not unheard-of at our house, but has really emerged from the shadows lately. Last Saturday night, J. suggested we watch a movie on-demand, "assuming we have time to finish before the war." As I saw him off to work this morning, he let me know he might be later than usual tonight. "Try to get home before the war," I answered, only half-kidding.

Can we really be normalizing this? Trivializing it, reducing it to the level of witty repartee? Nuclear war? At least I don't have to be careful to keep it from the children, who are adults now. I simply can't really admit to myself that this is real.

How it it all playing out at your house? I'd love to know!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A blessed Ostara!

Spring begins tomorrow!

A blessed Ostara to my friends who celebrate the 8 sabbats. Spring is something we can all celebrate.

For more information about Ostara, click here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

O, fickle Mother Nature!

Below is a photo of eager, premature buds on the little weeping cherry tree we had planted last spring. We never saw it bloom last year -- we bought it after bloom-time.
So during our record-setting February warmth, of course, it started to bud. "Don't do that!" I thought, each time I went by. "No more buds!"

My grandmother, who lived with us during my childhood, planted a magnolia tree on the front lawn. It was an eastern exposure, and the tree stood completely at the mercy of cold spring winds blowing across the Delaware River. In the 20 years Granny lived in our house, she saw the tree bloom only 3 times! Every other year, a late cold snap or snowstorm would cause the buds to blast and fall. In the morning, there they'd be, littering the ground around the tree.

So I'm afraid the same will happen to our weeping cherry, as the storm named Stella sweeps toward us. Though the tree itself won't be harmed, our spring may be a bit less colorful this year.

I know: a true first-world problem. Still ...




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Friday, February 10, 2017

Happy Double-Digit February!

February 10th -- Double-Digit February! -- is a day I celebrate with a friend from work. It seems like a meaningful date: winter is fast passing, and March lies just over the crest of the hill. One year he gave me a card with a big "10" on it, obviously meant for a tenth birthday. But I loved it, and have it still.

I have started to look at garden and plant catalogs in earnest. At our last house, I had a beautiful flower garden. But for the last two decades, I haven't had time for gardening. With retirement approaching at the end of June, I will have time to devote to weeding. I need to shake off the laziness of winter.

Looking forward: it's something I have had a hard time with lately. Since the election, in fact. As the news out of DC went from bad to worse, I found myself sinking into the mire, numb and numb-er. My greatest desire has been for sleep, for escape. But we can't give in to the numbness, can't become complacent. We will keep watching and protesting the Talking Yam in the White House.

Nevertheless, life goes on. I saw, on a Buddhist website, the advice that we should remain engaged, but take solace in what is closest: our families, our homes, our gardens, our spiritual lives.

So I'm going to try to do that.

While watching what the Talking Yam is up to.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Edge of Night

I'm very afraid, but I'm not sure how to explain the disquiet gnawing at me.

I've been looking for a metaphor to describe my growing trepidation about the impending Trump administration. The comparisons to Hitler have already begun to seem shrill, though they may, in the end, prove accurate. Well-reasoned articles on psychopathy and Trump have absorbed me for many months, but I can't go there (yet). I read a historical novel, many years ago, entitled, Night Falls on the City. It described the fragile brilliance of 1930s Vienna, prior to the Anschluss. But that's not quite right as a metaphor, either. Hitler's annexation of Austria was virtually bloodless. Many Austrians headed for the borders, but there was plenty of unforced cheering and flag-waving. That's a bit closer to our reality, but ...

Then it hit me. The Edge of Night.

The Edge of Night was one of the earliest soap operas on American TV. Running from 1956 through 1984, it had a noir feel that I don't recall other soaps having. It featured rapes, murders, gangsters, corrupt politicians, crooked cops, bribe-seeking district attorneys, greedy lawyers, schemes, counterschemes, conspiracies .... just what I'm anticipating from life under Trump.

And the title screen was what I remember best. See above: the diagonal sheet of darkness overtaking the cityscape as an ominous basso voice announced the title: "The Edge .... of Night."

Here we go, into the night. God help us.