On a plane to Paris, and I manage to pull up 12 Years a Slave. Thanks to my parents, I’ve always been one to seek out the art that pulls some type of emotion out of me. Stirs my thoughts in ways that my environment might otherwise not let me explore.
There was a point, where Fassbender’s character has a conversation with Pitt’s character, about how there will come a day where there will be a reckoning. It echo’s me back to Lee’s White Man’s Burden, where the societal rolls are flipped in order to explore the human experience.
That brings me to our current events, in the States, where I do believe we are on the precipice of a reckoning. First Nations are no longer relegated to the “out of mind” position that the reservation system sought to contain. Voices are now being heard, that should be heard. They’ve been drowned out by the arrogance of those who think they know best. And now, those who have consistently been trampled upon and shouted down have the opportunity to rise.
But…and there’s a big one…we run the risk of just letting the pendulum swing back the other way instead of stopping it in its tracks. So the choice is ours, all of ours. Will we return the favour and punish all for the sins our predecessors committed, or will we – as T’Challa found – find a better way forward for all by recognizing the failures of those who came before us and recognizing that we are not them. We are better. We can be better. We can listen to each other, learn from each other, and grow into a better society.
The phoenix must be consumed by its fires before it can be reborn, renewed. All of our myths talk of this. And now, we must be part of it, without letting the chaos consume us and burn us with its hatred.
So I’ve been watching, because I do that kind of thing, and the one thing that I’m noticing about a good chunk of the discussion is the lack of humanity. This primarily came up because there’s a bullet that likes to remind me that I dodged it. Every time I listen to this person open their “mouth” I find the absolute loss of empathy and humanity coming out of it. There’s an extent to which it saddens me, but that’s not my responsibility nor did I dig the hole that keeps getting deeper.
Then I reflect to the grander picture. Our society is a very, very fine balance; as any society is. Law attempts to be humane but there comes a point where Lady Justice has to put her blindfold on and decide based on what we’ve decided, as a society, is guilt or innocence. Being on either end of that spectrum doesn’t determine the presence or absence of humanity, but how we dole out the consequences does.
In our current climate we’ve subsisted on soundbites and half stories for decades, which for the folks my age was the whole premise behind Reality Bites. We love the tidbits, we love filling in the gaps and making new stories out of them, but we really hate having to own up to the fact that we jumped the gun. This leads us to the whole false narrative issues we’re starting to see play out in our media. Our need for “right now” not “wait and see”.
This is where I’m going to tell you – grab your fucking humanity. Put yourself in a mental situation that doesn’t include whatever bubble you were cushioned by growing up. Consider it a thought project safe space, if you need those. Imagine being in a situation that many people these days are finding themselves in – in our multi-ethnic society – that seeks a specific individuality that is based on a specific group ideal. How and what would you do in that situation? Do you have all the facts? Could you truly make a decision based on what you do know?
Our human experiences are all different. We may not be able to know exactly how someone else feels based on our individual environments, but we can relate and we can imagine to try and find that point. It really isn’t that difficult. It’s just easier to default to hate because it doesn’t require any real rational thought or discussion. When we do that, and when we approach from that direction – that is where we find the points we can make a change for the better. And I would really like to see us do better.
I’m watching the world right now, political warfare, mythical retaliation, and my brain trying to wrap my head around all of this.
The volcanoes erupting, particularly in Hawai’i due to corporate greed tapping into things that they refuse to admit even exist – Pele. It makes me think back to the tales in the Irish Book of Invasions, how various peoples immigrated to the land and how long they maintained sovereignty was determined by how well they took care of the land. Of course, that’s Ireland and the volcano in this case is home to a Goddess who would probably be more of a friend to the Morrigu. The more I read about what has been going on there the more I look to the land guardians who have been fighting the corporate takeover of the land. They have been offering their prayers to let Pele know that they are with her, even though their strength has been limited by governmental interference.
Watching them gives me hope. As it does in the States, where a rising tide of our First Nations is bringing more attention and gaining momentum to their charge to the land here. For us, it is a similar issue – power. Literal and figurative. What I see to be a further insult is the “environmental groups”, namely the outdoor companies that have a stated purpose in line with what the land guardians want but seem to want to ensure that they don’t partner together. To some, it’s called privilege, mainly of the white kind; I’d go a step further and say it’s mainly a “Westerner” privilege – of the Roman of old variety. This idea that humans are not caretakers of the land – charged with working in balance, but sovereign over the land to force the land to conform to us.
What I’m starting to think we’re seeing is us being put in our place, thanks to the more over-zealous segment of our population who follows that thought process. Mainly those who are under the ill-formed thought process that they control everything. But I do think we’re hitting a point where this will all be unveiled and the tales of old – Ragnarok, the Rapture, etc, are about to reveal what they meant.
I don’t view this as a bad thing, when taken into the bigger picture. Scary, sure. But in order to evolve, old structures have to be taken down – like in a forest. Trees have to fall, decompose and prepare the soil for what comes next. Fire has to clear out the under-brush so there’s room. Same goes for governments and society.
Things have been getting pretty hectic here since the beginning of the year. But in a good way. It’s been giving me time to reconnect with my roots, clear out the old junk that has been holding me back from jumping off the cliff, and make room for all the really awesome stuff that has been percolating in the background.
It’s been a good clearing, as I’m finding the ideas that I’ve been waiting for are finally starting to bubble to the surface. How I want the back yard to look, what I want the house to look like, what my office should be and finally….what my job will be! That part is the most exciting, because it finally allows me to bring every thing I do in life together into this one little bundle.
I’ve always known that I’m that person who will always be a step behind, but it’s never really bothered me that much because I’ve found that I always arrive when I need to do so. Guess that makes me a little wizard in the Tolkien vein. 😀
As things progress, I might talk about it more here, even though I do want to keep things a bit separate. Maybe I’ll hit a stride where I finally don’t care again and can fully open up. But it’s hard to explain how awesome it is, when that part that you thought was dead inside – buried in thick concrete and hidden for all time – to crackle back to life. To hear the muse that you had pushed aside, to become something that someone else wanted you to be, to forgive you enough and trust enough that she’d begin talking to you. And to finally hear the gods of old start to sing their songs with you. The awakening that we all search for, cry out for, and seek every single day.
But then begin to realize that it’s a process of a lot of small circumstances and details that add up.
I walked alone along a star lit path.
Frozen air kissing my face.
The lonely call of an owl echoing across the trees.
“Give in,” it says.
“There is nothing here for you.”
A rustle of the leaves.
The chittering of night squirrels.
“But there is…”
My eyes close.
Breath smoking away from my lips.
Snow begins to tickle my forehead.
Everything must die at some point.
This weekend was my first get away to the river for the year. It was somewhat of a struggle to make it happen, because people who fail to think their decisions through put a huge wrench in my schedule. My original summer schedule had me at my office in the morning specifically so I could go off-grid a little longer. But that has changed, and I will live with it. The run itself was good, very needed, but also very telling. One of the newer guides had a bit of issues due to someone being a bit over-bearing and guiding a crew that wasn’t 100% working with her. Sounded familiar to me.
But the sun came out just long enough to ensure that I got sunburned in the most awkward pattern. Stayed clear the entire trip, watched some careless activity somehow result in no injuries or death. And my GoPro stayed on for most of it. I still haven’t downloaded it to see what all I did get. But in all, there is still haze to my sight.
I lost another student this week. Brings me down to 5. I’m still trying to decide if I should cry or high five the decision maker on this. I was told, at the beginning of the year, to bring my numbers down. I chose to limit who I was taking on and let the numbers drop organically. Well, they’ve dropped. I know my students will be better for it, but I’m wondering if I will. I am continuing with open eyes, knowing the potential for next year. Trying to hang on and use this opportunity to learn and grow, before going back. But that train has been put back on to my own rails, behind my own engine car. I’m trying to flow with things, let the currents carry me, and do what I can to avoid the rocks. But that’s the beauty of the river; it can be the most peaceful thing on top, but filled with sharp rocks and foot traps underneath the water.
So my question to myself, should I go ahead and jump the dam, take the chance? Or play it long-term and save the grand finale for the end?