Posted in Air, Assateague Island, Beach, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Nature, Perception, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Soapbox, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

Questions without answers

Chaos. (Not really.  The snow geese know what they’re doing, but it looks chaotic, doesn’t it?  Assateague Island, Virginia.  I know this is blurry in the wrong spots but I kind of like it anyhow.  It seems to capture the motion.)

I really am a pessimist. I’ve always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory.

~ Normal Mailer

Yesterday’s sunrise.

I don’t tune in to the news first thing in the morning.  I wait until I’ve done most of my morning routine.  It was warm this morning, barefoot warm.  I went out to watch the sunrise, to feel the grass and earth beneath my feet.  The sky to the east was lit up in an arc of yellow, the light shooting up through the clouds.  A kettle (a flock, a group) of turkey vultures were gliding around in the area lit up by the rising sun.  Two bald eagles were up there with them (eagles are opportunists and will eat whatever the vultures happen to find).  The wind was blustery, gusting, coming up from the south, carrying a tinge of salt from the water we are almost surrounded by.  As I watched, the wind blew itself through the trees on the horizon just as the big ball of the sun appeared.  Birds, trees, wind, and clouds were all dancing in the light.  Large, fat raindrops began to drop from the sky.

Today’s sunrise.  Those specks of black are the birds flying around in the light.

Reading this morning’s news gave it all a more ominous feel.  Dark clouds looming overhead, vultures circling and looking for the dead, eagles ready to swoop in and steal from the vultures, the light of the sun being swallowed by the clouds, and the sky shedding mourning tears.  Our small herd of white-tailed deer who show up every morning to romp and run races and play on the front lawn were nowhere to be seen today.  In what one could call a bit of foreshadowing, I was chased by a rabid raccoon the other day.

It’s all a matter of perception and interpretation, isn’t it?

(Side note:  I’ve decided this is probably how I will die — in a panic, doing the one stupid thing I shouldn’t do because I don’t know how to react to situations like this other than in panic.  I ran when maybe I should have faced the animal and stood my ground.  The raccoon pursued and emitted high-pitched vocal sounds.  He stopped when M showed up in response to all the noise — screaming and yelling — I was making.  I don’t know if it was the noise or seeing another person that finally caused the raccoon to turn and leave, but whatever it was, I’m thankful he did.  M said he heard a gunshot a little later, and has speculated that maybe Lloyd, our neighbor down the road, saw the raccoon and shot it.)

Driftwood.

Fueled by a hateful, evil, maniac who is considered a world leader, bigotry and hate are being encouraged to spread.  A question:  What are you going to do about it?  At what point are good people going to declare that enough is enough?  (Well, those are probably rhetorical questions because — what CAN you do about it?)

A rainy day at the beach.

I have spent the past 11 weeks or so away from the news cycle.  Not completely away from it because there is this need to stay informed and that need, since the last presidential election in this country, stems mostly from fear.  I look at the Washington Post or the television news to make sure the world isn’t about to be blown to smithereens.  I look because it’s a little like a train wreck or a car accident and, being human, it’s hard to look away.  I check the news because there is a part of me who hopes, who believes in the good guys, and who wants to stay informed in case there is something, anything, I can do.

It’s not all black & white.

I’ve noted, in conversations and in comments on other blogs, that as long as most of us are comfortable in our lives, as long as we are not the vulnerable and the threatened, nothing will be likely to change.  We don’t need it to change so it’s easy to sit back and believe that positive thinking, meditation on world peace, writing the occasional blog post, and/or burying our heads in the sand is okay, is the best we can do, is the only way we know of to promote change.  I am not judging or condemning anyone for this.  I’ve written about my own lack of bravery in this regard, my own inability to use my voice, to rise up, to be a part of the change I wish to see.

So, I have to ask myself this question, almost on a daily basis now:  What are you going to do about it?  The answer is always, “I don’t know.”  I am not a leader.  I may not even be a very good follower.

Broken.

Sometimes I think that the best thing would be for everyone, everywhere, to go on strike.  To stop consuming.  To shut it all down.  But I also know how unrealistic that is.  The basest of the base continue to support the hatred and bigotry.  Who knows what will fill the vacuum if we did shut it all down?  Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, or so they say.

Washed up by a storm.

Two statements, one from an interview yesterday, another from from 1941:

I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.

(2019)

Today I’m the head of the strongest Army in the world, the most gigantic Air Force and a proud Navy. Behind me stands The Party with which I became great and which has become great through me…Our enemies must not deceive themselves—our people have never been more united.

(1941)

Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it?

Offerings or prayers to the gods.

So, the question remains:  What, if anything, are we going to do about what is happening in this world?

An old Coast Guard station.

The New Zealand shooting should remind us of how connected we are. The only way forward is through coexistence, not isolationism. Condemn hate. Embrace compassion. We’re all spinning through space on this tiny, blue island together. Be kind. There is courage in kindness.

~ Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness)

Two snow geese in flight.  Somehow they manage to fly close together, cooperative and almost connected, and yet maintain their own space.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

32 thoughts on “Questions without answers

  1. The similarity between those 2 statements is frightening. The thing that I find most horrendous about the first statement is that it was uttered by the president of the USA – although I wish not to call him “my” president – as a threat to the opposing political party.
    What are we to do? I don’t know, continue to speak out, vote? As you said in response to my post: “I am sad. I am angry. I am frustrated. And sometimes, I feel hopeless.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep thinking about that, Carol. What are we to do? Vote, for sure. I dismissed Marianne Williamson’s run for president as impossible, but I am rethinking it. I’m going to nose around her campaign website, see what she has to say about the issues. I usually wait to see how the primaries will shake out, but maybe it’s time to back someone early and put as much energy as I can behind them.

      One thing I like from her website is this:

      “We should participate in politics with the same level of consciousness as that which we bring to all of our most important and meaningful pursuits. We should bring all of ourselves to it. We should bring our hearts and minds and deepest dedication to something bigger than ourselves.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had not heard of Marianne Williamson, but your mention made me visit her website. She does sound interesting, but my fear, as always, is whether a third party vote would deter or aid a candidate like Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. She’s running as a Democrat. She would like to be included in the Democrat’s debates, too, but they’ve put up a paywall of sorts (you have to have something like 65,000 individual contributors/donors to your campaign — people can contribute as low as $1 to help her with that).

          I, too, have fears about third party candidates and votes to them aiding Trump. I think we need a huge reform in our voting system so that there can be more than the two standard parties. Pete Buttigieg (another Dem candidate in the huge field of people running for president) has some interesting ideas about that, including ways to reboot the DNC. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have anything about the issues or his platform on his website. I’ve listened to a couple of podcast interviews with him (which, by the way, seems to be the way a lot of the millennials are getting their news and info lately).

          Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I thought, too, Lisa. I kind of understand the need for comfort. Life can be hard, really hard for some. We have friends (well, maybe they’re friends — they certainly don’t like my politics so they might not consider us friends anymore) who are taking comfort in the current regime, and part of the problem from my point of view is their lack of responsibility for some of their situations in life. But I suppose some people could look at me and say the same because we never really know what goes on in another person’s life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. I think you have to step out beyond safety, though to live fully. Comfort is great, but it doesn’t take on a problem, does it? It’s where you retreat. Authoritarians are great as long as you agree with them–when you don’t, they might kill you or put you in prison. Or do it anyway…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A thoughtful post, Robin (with your usual beautiful photos). I’m with you in that I don’t know what to do either. I do turn on the news first thing in the morning while I’m feeding the cats–a local radio station mostly to hear the weather report. I heard about the massacre in New Zealand, and it’s been on my mind the whole day. And that statement from dt that I read yesterday. So much awfulness every where.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, but have you seen these kids gather all around the world, fighting for a future they feel is slipping away? The issues might not be related, but if that movement could spark hope in me, no matter how irrational it is, it can do so in anyone. What will you do? Well, that’s what we will do. Maybe a better world will emerge, for both the environment and our societies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did, Samuel, later in the day (after posting this) and that gives me an enormous amount of hope! The young people are, to be cliche, the future. I’m glad to see them out there fighting for it in some way. We need more of that, I think. More of them leading, as well.

      I think the issues are all related in some way. When we talk about climate change and the environment, I think we’re also talking about poverty and social justice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree. Here in Dunedin, the main slogan was “climate justice”, and I liked that they used the word “justice”.

        A French journalist/ecologist (who was a politician briefly until he realized the government and president had no intention to do anything about environmental issues) had some very interesting words, saying that only solidarity can save us. I don’t know how well Google translate will work on it (unless you speak French? :D), but you may want to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/NicolasHulotOfficiel/photos/a.255810474572641/1278137579006587/?type=3&theater

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Alas, no, I don’t speak French. I’ve tried to learn it. I can’t seem to retain what needs to be retained, and my accent is atrocious (or so I’ve been told). Thank you so much, Samuel, for passing on that link. The translation is a little weird (as they tend to be), but I was able to get the gist of it. I think Nicolas Hulot is right — solidarity may be the only way to save ourselves. I loved this, too: “It is said that we hear the roar of the trees that fall and not the whisper of the forest that grows.”

          Liked by 2 people

  4. What to do? I’m as uncertain as you are about that, Robin. Here’s what I think is part of the problem. Traditionally, the common Americans made themselves felt through clubs. That was Toqueville’s word for it. He noted that we created single-issue clubs at the drop of a hat. I’m pretty sure that continued up until the 1920s, when it began to fade. I believe I recently blogged about the biggest reason it faded here, in this post:

    https://cafephilos.blog/2019/03/13/a-most-curious-journey-the-100-year-long-transmutation-of-americans-from-good-citizens-into-good-consumers/

    Feel no obligation to read it.

    Second thing. In my opinion, Mailer is both right and wrong. He has correctly identified one of the major reasons people turn authoritarian. But he’s got human nature upside down.

    Not his fault. He’s just channeling what the sciences were saying back in his day. Since then, there’s been decades of research done on hunting/gathering groups. Those, you probably know, are the groups we evolved as a social animal to live in. As it happens, the scientists during Mailer’s time and before had it all wrong. Humans in true H/G groups are — as one anthropologist put it, “fiercely egalitarian”. No exceptions. Every true H/G group studied in over 30 years can be described that way.

    Obviously, hierarchical societies are perversions of human nature — in a sense. The sense is this — the only time humans naturally form hierarchies are in response to threats and dangers. Spot a lion? Rally around your bravest warrior!

    Have you ever noticed how every government on earth — excepting perhaps only the most liberal and peaceful — is near constantly propagandizing their citizens with threats real and imagined? Of course, I know you have. I find it profoundly transparent that, most recently in the USA, it’s been: Illegals! Caravans of dope dealing rapist illegals! Rally around the orangutan!

    Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Paul, for your take on things. Fear is a big seller these days. It keeps the masses in line (or at least the base part of the masses). (The orangutan…lol! That would be perfect except it’s such an insult to orangutans.)

      I think we might still have those single-issue clubs (abortion comes to mind) although that might not be what you meant (?).

      Like

  5. The only thing I can think of: every little thing we can (especially if we aren’t the ones who do big things). The little things will turn out to be the big things — I am hopeful. The pendulum swings back eventually, yes, but we can help it along. Every. little. thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your sand photos are especially beautiful today, Robin.

    How frightening to be chased by a rabid raccoon! I’m so relieved that it didn’t catch up to you because I hear those rabies shots are very painful.(A friend had to have them when a bat was hiding in his towel and it touched his skin.)

    I’m with you about the news… I suppose the most important thing we can do is to make sure we vote in every election. And as consumers, vote conscientiously with our purses when shopping. Paying attention to those two things, and supporting the NRDC, give me some small feeling of “doing” something. It’s depressing feeling helpless…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Barbara. 🙂

      I don’t like that feeling helplessness, either. I suppose that’s why I keep asking the same question about what it is we can or should be doing. There is so much going on that it’s difficult to focus on one thing. I keep coming back to climate change and nature, and maybe I’d be better off if I stuck to just that.

      Like

  7. I am torn, always, between feeling like I should keep up with the world and thinking it’s just so dismal right now. And yet, I’m encouraged by how people of different faiths are reaching out to help each other to fill the vacuum our current leadership leaves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I find that encouraging, too, Kay. I hope it turns out to be enough. I have a similar problem with keeping up and staying positive, as well as with keeping up and taking breaks. Sometimes leaving the news cycle alone for a while is the best thing I can do in terms of being able to come back with a better attitude.

      Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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