The Summer of my Discontent

The Summer of my Discontent
Roger and Jackson Dahl. My little Circle of Life. No words needed...

Sorry.  It has been a Summer; it will be a Fall.

I started June with a shiny new baby granddaughter, celebrated the joyous weddings of two nieces in Detroit and Colorado, and am now involved in the Autumnal imagery of imminent death.

There has been plenty to talk about.  SImple joys of grilled food and babysitting, sunny skies, good books, family joy. But I have not written.

Melancholy? Maybe a little.  Lazy?  Maybe a lot.

What chilled my zest for this space is actually my deep love of reading and writing, of words and their power. I’m an addict.  I wake at 6 and read a bizarre mix of papers on my phone.  I check up on my family and friends on FB and often click their links to read what is important to them. Then I roll out and read the papers on my porch.  Afternoons have some nooks for books or magazines.  I traipse through minefields of opposing opinions and try to grasp what we might have  in common.

There is no goal for this.  I do not use much of what I read, but it satisfies my curiosity.  I explore as a neutral bystander.  I particularly admire journalists because their words are meticulously chosen.  Reporters will be standing by their words. They have the pressure to research, ask questions, confirm.

The opinion pages I can take or leave: if I work to know the truth, I can form my own opinion.  A big IF.

This summer, the Ferguson shooting and the invective it unleashed pried my eyes open to our new reality: every person now has a platform for his opinion.We all pose as experts.  Too often our opinions are formed in a snap, with a millimeter of depth.  Facts are irrelevant, or too inconvenient to find. A tiny piece of a puzzle is presented as the entirety. Research is work, talk is natural.  Our bias and loyalty seasons the mix. The words lather and overflow. People become calcified in their positions. Because the  images from Missouri were so disturbing, people from all mindsets immediately declared a boy a thug, a cop a killer.  There was no patience for peeling the onion, so to speak.  No chance for understanding, or change. This is what we are now: yippers and snappers.

I am horrified. Our consideration is a mile wide and an inch deep. Is this what standardized testing hath wrought?  Or are we armed with the smug knowledge that a few keystrokes can bring us to a wiki that we can quote with certainty? We don’t go deep. We go loud.

For whatever reason, we bring the same degree of scrutiny-and heat- to the ISIL crisis that we do to a football game.

Politics has always been fertilized by wars of words, ( brown suit, presidential golf dates,  dog and coffee cup salutes being the current outrages) but now the minutiae of everyday life is subject to debates.   Moms defend their choices, haircuts and clothing are dissected, gossip is created or shared with an instant verdict: bad mom, ugly person, slut. Ug.

Blogging is just one outlet for this cacophony, but as it is MY outlet, I needed to step back.  I am still pondering whether my life bears scrutiny, and is worth your valuable time. I am embarrassed for the times I have pushed my opinion upon you.

So now I am asking myself, what can I add to your day?

Just my meanderings.

I am white noise. For some, that noise soothes, but for others it irritates.  Do I have lessons? Insight? Joy?  ( I certainly have no recipes) Because I do not wish to waste your time. Or mine.

I am tiptoeing alongside my father-in-law Roger  as he dies, and perhaps this is the biggest reason for my introspection.  We only get so many days. Living them to the edges is the goal.

Talking about them – that is far down the bucket list.

SO please wait for me to come out of this cave.  I’ll be around. Maybe I’ll steal a recipe from someone that will change your world. It could happen.

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