Saturday, March 08, 2008

Take a nap

It's Saturday and I'm going through my usual Saturday morning ritual: reading email, responding, catching up on news and views, reading articles and trying to latch onto the words, phrases and stories racing around like screaming children after eating an entire basket full of Easter candy. The one thing that has latched firmly onto my synapses and creating a data loop is heart, or rather writing to/from the heart, reminding me that the newsletter has to be finished this weekend and uploaded even though my heart isn't in it. I'm back to asking why I fought so hard to keep doing this when I had an out last year.

I've decided this is probably my last year to do the newsletter and I've been resisting (with the help of my work schedule) going to a meeting so the members can thank me for taking over the newsletter and doing a good job, something I wouldn't otherwise know if they didn't hand me a piece of paper or an insulated travel mug. All the thanks I ever wanted, and still want, is for them to thank me by submitting material for the newsletter so I don't have to spend 40-60 hours every month reading and looking for articles and information to fill out twelve pages, 11-1/2 if you discount the mailing label on the back page. It isn't that I don't like the opportunity to write what I'm thinking about, but most of the time what I'm thinking about is how I can read, absorb and write about electronics and radio in a new and different way so that the same people writing the same old stuff don't fill the already boring pages full of cub and board meeting minutes or the single column of hastily penned thoughts I pry out of the president every single month that lands on my computer the day after the deadline. No wonder editors begin to dislike the writers they need to fill their pages and resort to advertisements and coupons and articles by pharmaceutical companies on the values of a drug-driven life.

I'm tired of working so hard for no one to notice until I'm gone as they hand me an insulated travel mug with the club logo imprinted on it as I walk away having left not a single ripple in their quietly stagnant pond. Don't get me wrong, it's not why I write anything, or why I edit, but it's why I want to quit so much and why I have to flog myself to get the blasted thing done so I can go back to pleasanter pursuits, like reading another book to review or writing my own books, articles and stories.

Although this seems like a rant (yes, it's a little tiny rant), what is really on my mind is heart and doing only what comes from the heart and reaches others' hearts. It's the difference between telling a joke and getting a polite don't-poke-the-hungry-lion-in-the-cage laugh or telling a joke that makes people laugh until their sides hurt while tears stream down their faces and they can't help but repeat it. Human experience can be bleak enough, stuck as we are in our own deep, high-walled ruts as we plod from moment to moment, day to day, hoping and praying for a holiday or vacation day when we can just loaf, but to drag it even further into the mire by making what we read and write onerous is, in my estimation, criminal. Life is too short.

Even Seneca (that would be Seneca the Elder, not the tutor of Nero who burned while fiddling Rome) wrote about the perception of life being short. Even a 102-year-old man who had gained wealth and prominence, fathered children, made and broke careers and generally lived life to the fullest (even when he stepped on the necks and backs of others to get there) will bemoan the short length of time to do everything he wanted to do on his death bed, bargaining with Death for just a little more time. Life is not worth living without some happiness, some pleasure that lightens the dark corners of existence, even if it's a gift of love, the birth of a child, a good meal or glass of wine, or doing what defines you. Life is too short and so much of it is sucked down the abyss with work and bills and discord and anger and enmity and silence.

I don't think I realize how much silence has sucked away the enjoyment of life than when I picked up the iPod Beanie sent me, put in the earphones and turned it on. Music filled my ears, my mind and my heart and my body responded as it always has with movement. My voice that had been silent for so long carried me away on a wave of music and words. Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast and I have had a very savage breast for a while. Like the bear I was caught under the bridge but I didn't think to simply take a nap and let things sort themselves out and bring me safely out of danger. I kept hoping and struggling, looking for a way out, for a way to make things better and not much changed as I wandered in a foggy daze.

Somewhere along the line I must have taken a nap because I woke up. The problems are still there and the obligations still pinch like a bad pair of shoes, but I can breathe and I know there will be an end to the pinching because I'll simply take off the obligations and do those things that make life worth living for the short time I am here on this earth this time around. Music helps. Fresh air. A good meal. A glass of crisp wine that fills me with the scent of cool breezes and fresh pears or a dark ruby-filled goblet that exhales a breath of raisins, earth and sunny days. Cooking a meal for friends or a dessert for a friend who's ill. Diving back into the well of words and coming back dripping with stories and possibilities undreamed of while I struggled. And love.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's out there

The weather can't make up its mind if it's winter or spring. One or two days of warmth and deep blue skies and then it snows and the temps drop like a plummeting bomb. I went out to the store to pick up some groceries and the cold slapped both my cheeks until they were pink. I didn't feel that cold when I had the window open in the sun room most of the day, but the sun was still up. After the sun goes down the warmth leaches out like a thunderstorm on a sidewalk chalk drawing. Oh, well, it is still winter for another couple of weeks and it is March: in like a lion and out like a lamb. It's too much to expect spring before the first week of March has had its say.

One of the surprising things is that this is considered global warming. I guess it's one of those inconvenient lies people are jumping onto the bandwagon to shout about before they even know what the shouting's all about. That is not to say that we shouldn't be careful of the environment; we should. But Mother Nature isn't as fragile as current fear mongers would have us all believe and they suppress or slant the evidence to shore up their positions.

Centuries ago the Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, Toltecs, etc. held sway in what is now South America. They built cities and cut down the rain forest to slash and burn for more space to plant more crops and put up more buildings until they had devastated the rain forest and Mother Nature slapped them silly, devastating their great civilizations, refusing to grow sufficient crops to support the population explosions in the cities and eventually took back the cities and monuments and pyramids, forcing the people back into what was left of the rain forest to live a hand to mouth existence. There was more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at that time, according to ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic, from burning all those trees and brush and the result was a mini ice age during the 17th century. It was in all the history books. Every time civilization goes too far and takes too much, Mother Nature (Gaia to pagans) steps in and resets the balance.

All those pictures of polar bears clinging to melting ice floes were taken during August, sometimes known as summer even in the arctic. Check it out. There has been a population explosion among the arctic polar bears, something the global warming group doesn't want you to know about. There couldn't be more polar bears if the polar ice caps were melting because the polar bears need the ice to survive and sustain life. In fact, you'll find out if you look in the right places that the ice is much thicker now than it has been in decades. Couldn't happen with global warming and yet it is happening. Did someone get their data mixed up or just want to push their own agenda?

The problem with all of these fear mongers is that they thrive on misinformation and have a tendency to slant the information their way to make their point and keep all of us off balance and scared. Most people take the news at face value but I think by now most of us have learned that the news is and has been slanted to fill a lot of agendas, none of which are in mankind's best interests. Yes, we need to rethink our energy position and begin to find other sources of energy. Yes, we need to quit dumping chemicals and hormones and antibiotics into our food supply and find a more sustainable way of farming. But most of all, we need to keep an eye on the media because they will not tell us the truth. They prefer a grain of truth in a great big old inconvenient fairy tale (or lie) because someone or some group is lobbying for more money and more of a hold on our minds by using the goad of fear. Most of what we have been told is either exaggeration or outright lies. The only cure for fear is information. You might have to dig but it is worth it. The more people dig and the more people willing to dig and tell the truth, the more we will control our own destinies and lives. After all, that's what free will and freedom of information is all about, not to mention the free exercise of speech.

It's all about fear. How long are you going to listen before you start asking the tough questions and looking for answers? As Fox Mulder always said, "The truth is out there," but you have to go find it for yourself and refuse to take no for an answer.

That is all. Disperse.