LAKE MACBRIDE— When the drunken arctic air finished its swagger through the upper Midwest, patches of brown grass reappeared in the white landscape. Pools of water formed on the driveway like dammed up dreams, ready to be cut loose when the rest of the snow melts— a false hope of Spring. Feeling restless, I went to town.
Partly, to proofread the newspaper comme d’habitude on Saturday morning. More than that, one of the county supervisors was holding a community discussion at the public library. If life is anything here, it is partly about politics. Several friends were there, and it was good to break winter for a while. It was a campaign stop for the June primary, and also a chance for conversation with friends and acquaintances.
Topics included drug testing, marijuana decriminalization, ever changing synthetic drugs, the overcrowded jail, trails, the para transit service, loss of services in the new mental health regions, and roads— lots of talk about roads. One who lived west of the Ely blacktop mentioned his road specifically. “When will the county address Curtis Bridge Road?” he asked. I listened mostly, and raised an issue or two. It was all good.
Toward the end a woman came in and talked about geoengineering, wanting the county to take action. She had a confusing message. She asked the county to do something about it, but couldn’t say what “it” was. She had a handout with a website which could be the subject of another post… or not. There’s only so much mental capacity and too little time to consider everything.
But allow me to end my drunken swagger. Time has come to be less distracted. Before we accept it and focus, however, the super bowl is coming, marking the last feasible (albeit lame) excuse to delay and celebrate the holidays. What’s the rush? The needs of the growing season will soon be here, catching us unaware. “Just one more thing, that’s all I ask,” he said to himself.
Whatever the human capacity for wonder, the hydrant of behavior must be articulated so we can focus on one thing at a time. Engaging as hanging with friends may be, and good for the soul, if we don’t focus, our lives will be no different than the recent polar vector— chilling us for a few days only to leave without stunting the disruptive vectors approaching our lives.
When I worked for the oil company, we had employees in about 100 countries. On staff was an expert in addictions. He worked not only on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, but on almost everything that could trap people and diminish productivity. When I spent time with him as part of my training, I learned more about distraction and its relationship to addiction than I thought possible. Admitting we have a problem is first step. My addiction is to following life’s many ideas to wherever they lead. I admit it, and don’t really want to do much about it. There it is.
It will freeze again this month, at least I hope it will. There’s pruning to do, a garden to plan, and income to be generated. A season to be made. Things don’t happen without our engagement. All the while, Saturday turned to Sunday. The proof reading is finished, the auto fueled, and the groceries were bought. It’s time to set things aside and focus on one thing at a time, and maybe get some of them done.