Living in Society Social Commentary

Dark And Stormy Night

Photo Credit Charles Schultz
Photo Credit Charles Schultz

I reached into the rusted storage cabinet to find the silicone spray.

The padlock needed lubricant before securing the employee locker at my newest job.

It’s not like I’ll keep valuables inside. My lunch and mobile device when I’m working, my box cutter, tape measure, name tag, note pad, ink pen and radio earpiece when I’m not.

I expect to enjoy helping people solve everyday problems at the home, farm and auto store. Problems like having a corroded padlock.

Tuesday’s thunderstorm blew the remaining apples off the tree. We had a tornado warning so I turned on the television to view weather radar. It turned out the remote that controls the analog to digital converter went missing. I couldn’t tune in. One of two things will happen: 1. Get rid of the TVs altogether, or 2. Buy a digital set. No hurry on a decision because television viewing is a dying practice when life offers better options.

The apples in storage need using before turning to compost so I made applesauce – the first of many batches over the coming days. To give it a twist, I added cinnamon, allspice and cloves with a handful of dried fruit. It was delicious.

The terrorist attacks in Paris were breaking news when I returned from my first day of work at the store. The morning after details are sketchy. The death count mounts. Reasons are unknown. The French border remains closed.

I have two direct connections. My friend Ed Fallon is currently in Normandy marching to Paris on foot for the December convention of the parties on climate change. Al Gore was broadcasting the Live Earth – 24 Hours of Reality event from Paris, and suspended programming to recognize and respect unfolding events. I’ve been to Paris a few times, but that was decades ago.

“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” President Obama said last night. “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

Social media was quick to respond with memes. Commentators became immediate experts in terrorism whether they knew anything or not. It was predictable and sad.

Humanity is on the move, not only from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Rather, civilization as we know it appears to be collapsing.

In the wake of World War One, William Butler Yeats wrote “The Second Coming,” which in part says,

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Almost a century later it is unexpected that “gyre” has come to define the largest ecosystem on Earth and home to a very large collection of man-made debris in the Pacific Ocean. The detritus of a deteriorating civilization coming together.

We feign shock at the latest unfolding terrors when it’s the bigger picture that may injure us.

I’ll take the apple peels and kitchen food waste to the compost bin. Cold weather may delay the deterioration until spring. One can only believe that the new season will also bring hope. So too for our society, although in the darkest hours that seems far from certain.

For now, I’ll lock up my gear and continue to solve everyday problems. And contribute to hastening the compost and tilling it into into the soil for next year’s garden. It’s no satisfaction, but rather what I can do to create hope.