Big Questions

What is my life worth?  I’ve been a protester most of my adult life, writing and calling legislators, attending rallies for peace and social justice as far as Washington, D.C., and New York City.  It’s easy to feel discouraged when Congress tries to read the constituent tea leaves and make decisions based on whether it will keep them in office rather than being the will of the majority – or even ‘of the people’ at all.  Members of Congress are beholden to corporations and monied interest groups.  They don’t care what the peasants think, and neither do the corporations – unless it hits their bottom line.  The politicians need the money to win elections and maintain their seats, while fewer people cast votes because they don’t believe it makes any difference.

This is a democracy, and corrupt or not, our vote absolutely matters.  How many women fought and died so I could check off that box in the voting booth?  How many minorities have fought and suffered longer still, and died for the right to say they matter, to those who purportedly make decisions on their behalf?

White men need not apply for they’ve always been the ones with the most power and privilege, but women have often been counted as a slight step up from dogs (no offense to dogs – they are good and I love them, but they are not human…), with non-white males slightly above women.

What’s worth dying for though?  What for and when do I deliberately put myself in harm’s way for a cause?  There are so many to choose from, unfortunately.  It’s important to try not to die in vain though.  If I choose to be martyred for a cause, it needs to be known and championed, or it cannot affect change.  My body wants to preserve my life because that’s my body’s job – but my higher senses know I’m going to die – so do I die well and purposefully, or stupidly and/or pointlessly?

I never wanted to join the military because I’m not a nationalist.  I’m a humanist and actually into the whole ‘one people, one planet’ thing.  I know there are already international agencies doing relief work on a consistent basis, but there remains great disparity in wealth and access to services growing wider all the time, and many of those agencies are purposefully non-political.

Maybe we have to ruin our nation before anything changes because we seem to like repeating history or pretend that serious issues like climate change, for instance, is up for debate.  We’re having to fight harder to hang onto basic services that preserve human dignity in which government helps provide for the common good, like Medicare and Social Security.  Corporations and monied interests engineer outrage, fanning the flames of hatred and fear, creating groups like the ‘tea party’, the majority of whose members are often not savvy enough to see that they are shills for the corporate benefactors.

I don’t know if continuing to fight is enough, or if some other drastic action has to happen.  The petitions of the people seem to go unanswered, but maybe this is how it’s always been and I’m more interested in the process at this point in my life?  I’m grateful for people like John Cusack who portrayed the current political climate so well in War, Inc., and I’m thankful for a myriad of others who make documentaries and other films shedding light on food and water resources as well as energy and what corporations are trying to do – like Monsanto getting governments to force impoverished nations to use their terminator seed or not get aid.  How messed up is that?!  Food, Inc. is a documentary film that describes what Monsanto has done and continues to do, very well.

Constant vigilance is democracy’s watchwords, but like the fires my cousin and I started while playing in the woods at our grandfather’s house: the fewer there are, the easier they are to put out.  We were unsuccessful that day, and enormously grateful for a fire department that wasn’t privatized.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Long Ago Summer Night

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, by, Meatloaf, is playing on a humid July night. I’m reading Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Eyeball, by Paul Zindel, on the hood of a friend’s Chevy Cavalier, waiting for a few of my other friends to show up and decide what we’re going to do with the rest of the night.

It’s quiet on the Avenue, but I hear the strains of Meatloaf out of the jukebox coming from the bar next door, and I look up from my reading to watch the moths and other night bugs swirl around, looking like aberrant snowflakes in the street light above the car I’m perched on.

My shorts and top cling to me in the sticky humidity, and I hope we decide to go swimming in the Green River, or at the Leyden Glen.  We had been removed from there by police officers the week before, but they couldn’t be there all the time, so we took our chances going back on hot, humid nights.

I had worked at, Zapmia Pizza (baby), earlier that evening, and was glad to be done with my shift on such a hot day. I was anxious to meet up with my friends, and hoped they would show up soon.  Debbie was the first to arrive. I was so absorbed in my book that I didn’t notice her until she hopped up onto the car hood, causing it to buckle a little as she plunked down, but the hood popped back up as she shifted her weight toward the center next to me.

We exchanged greetings and then chatted about the book for a few minutes, and finally other friends started arriving so we made our evening plans.

I remembered this so strongly tonight that I could feel the night air around me as I did back then, and hear how the music sounded muffled until a patron went in or out of the bar and the music would blast out from the entrance for a few moments until the door was shut once again.

While I don’t miss that time of my life, and especially what was happening to me, I dearly miss my friends and the closeness we shared.  A part of my soul is back there with them – maybe it’s even trapped in some odd space/time continuum – or perhaps less trapped than enshrined.  I get to visit the museum exhibit in my mind, but it’s an empty picture of the vibrant life that was actually there.

They were the people who knew and understood me on a level that no one else will ever come close to, but they live on in my heart and soul, and I hope I live on in theirs.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

The Wild Ride

It was in the high nineties yesterday.  I helped my mom run some errands and then we had lunch and I brought her home.  The path down to her place made me feel like I was walking through a rainforest with the sounds of various bird calls, insects, and the weak sun filtering through the tree canopy on such a hazy, humid day.  I imagined that life was this way before we humans arrived, and would continue long after we leave (provided the Earth hasn’t been sucked into the sun by then – or whatever event precedes Earth’s demise).

I knew a storm was forecast for later in the day, and as I drove home, I could feel it coming on.  My gas warning light came on a few miles before I was near a gas station, but I was fairly confident I would make it as long as I didn’t have to idle anywhere.  I vaguely wondered if it would use more gas to turn off and on my engine if I did get stuck in traffic, but I wasn’t hindered by anything.

As I pulled into the gas station, however, the ominous clouds I had seen forming on the far horizon were now headed over the gas station canopy, while another cloud bank was converging into the one over me.  There was eerie greenish light in the storm clouds and a fierce wind picked up while torrential rain poured down.  I don’t know why I didn’t just stay there and wait out the storm.  I think I was worried about the gas station not being a safe place to be, so I pulled out, barely able to see through the rain pounding my windshield, even with the wipers on fast.  Traffic was stopped at a tree that had fallen across the road, so I made a U-turn to take another street.  I watched the tree limbs above me bending and swaying and while I was prepared to stop quickly, I had already decided to keep moving unless forced to stop.

I took the least tree-lined route, instead of my usual one, and at first I thought I had gone the best way; the rain had lessened in intensity, but the storm continued with lightning flashing and the wind still whipping as I turned up another side street hoping to avoid traffic or any accidents.  There was a tree in the road ahead of me, and a pick-up truck drove over to my side of the road, narrowly missing me as the driver careened around the tree and then corrected to get past my car.  I rounded the corner to see another tree down, but it had fallen at an angle with a gap large enough for my car to pass under it – which was really dumb of me, I know – but I was in amygdala/panic mode, not neo-cortex/processing mode.  I got through that to see another tree up ahead and someone ahead of me getting out of their car to check it out.  I put my window down and yelled at her not to touch anything if there was a wire down.  She ran back a moment later saying that there was a wire in the road.

My car has four-wheel drive and I told her I could avoid most of the tree top by driving up the hill around it, and she told me she was going to follow me.  I knew it would be easy to navigate that, and I waited to make sure the other driver got around it before continuing on.  I called the police to let them know that three trees and a wire were down on that road.  There were lots of tree limbs and other debris scattered about the road, but no more whole trees.  The storm was passing and I had turned on my radio after leaving the gas station in case there were any emergency broadcasts, but there was only regular programming.  I thought that was weird because it was such an intense storm, but I guess I was unlucky enough to be at the head of it.

The shape of the storm front reminded me of some kind of alien craft.  The entire edge was rounded while lower clouds were being kneaded into the larger mass, and it was very fast-moving.  I feel stupid now that my last act could have been putting gas into my car and trying to dodge being tornado fodder.  The best thing I could have done was to go inside the store and wait out the storm, or at least park beside the nearby open field.  I’m not sure getting into a ditch would have been a good idea unless I actually saw a funnel cloud because the rain was pouring so hard the ditches were flash-flooding.  Death by drowning might have been preferable to being sucked up into a tornado, but that’s a tough call.  Thankfully, I didn’t need to choose.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.