Today, I’m thinking on what it means to live in a country where its id has been laid bare. I generally try not to focus on negative news cycles because news cycles are by their nature, quite negative. As someone who has and continues to work in media professionally, my advice to consumers is to give yourself the greatest gift possible— take frequent and lengthy breaks from it. I’ve learned that shielding myself from the saturation of both mass and social media dramatically improves my mental well being. The sense of hopelessness melts away, empowering me to action and enabling me to plan and dream of a future where I may live in accord with my deepest principles. Nevertheless, this morning I came across this piece from the Guardian. It highlights the sense of moral bankruptcy of American culture where a war budget of $768 billion dollars, a ghastly sum billions more than what was even requested, is approved by congress, while we make teachers scramble for one dollar bills as some sort of sick amusement in the face-off circle at a hockey arena in order to buy school supplies for their classroom. But, the reality is that these are but small kindling thrown on the bonfire of unforgivable sins, a fire that consumes greedily, the smoke surrounding us and howling like hungry ghosts.
When I’ve been sickened by what I see online, in the news, on social media, I reset with the knowledge that someday this massive spectacle will be over. Nature will be irrevocably changed by our footprint but it will move on in spite of us. As a species, we’re not a mistake, we are just the part of nature that forgot it was nature. Some day, that may change, but right now (as ever) we sit at the crossroads. If you close your eyes you’ll find your guide there and you can sign a pact that gives you more, more, more. Or you can partner with your guide and learn what the crossroads are really about.
I’ll leave you today with this poem by Sara Teasdale, a personal favorite poet who lived in calamitous times during the first world war and a years-long pandemic. Because of the Sedition Act, which effectively criminalized free speech, American authors and artists put themselves at great risk voicing opinions about matters of war and pacifism. This poem imagines a nature resilient after the last man falls in battle, spring has come as it always will, unmoved by the violence of humanity.
There Will Come Soft Rains (War Time)
by Sara Teasdale
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.