The first draft of this didn’t do it for me.
When I was young—early twenties—as a journalism student I kept up-do-date on national and world events even after I knew I would not be pursing a career in the Fourth Estate. My interest in and passion for accuracy in reporting and objectivity in sources is as strong now as it was then, which simply is a way of saying I even before the ease of technology made staying current on events in a world that was pre-computer, pre-internet, pre-psycho-at-the-helm world, I tried to know what was going on. And looking back, I don’t remember anything near the caliber of terror on all levels of life we face now.
Even without tuning in, life can be stressful and downright nerve wracking to just start a conversation with neighbors if politics or the economy enters the conversation. And truth be told, I’m not handling it all very well. It might be my meds are off, it might be other stress factors, or it simply might be extreme negative information overload.
The news is crushing me; the constant stream of repetitive speculation and guesswork, the constant commentary instead of news, the constant personal stories about individuals so we can better understand the big picture keeps me trying to tread water in the deep of information, but it is simply not natural for humanity to be in a constant state of anxiety, always waiting for the next tragedy, the next shooting, the next outrageous court decision, the next fascist takeover. But we are. We tune in each morning to see what blew up the night before. This lack of peacefulness and hope is decidedly dangerous.
The west is burning, the arctic is melting, the waters are rising, the war rages on; the day-to-day struggle to keep my eye on what’s in front of me has become more difficult, and I wasn’t all that stable to begin with.
*** (Deep breath. In. Out.)
Instead, my friends, just for now, the news from Deltaville:
Tonight a dense fog has drifted in off the Chesapeake, and the marsh is alive with spring peepers. The fox is not around tonight, probably holed up in her den with her kits out in the woods, and I just heard a foghorn drift up from the river—a sound that rings forth from my childhood on the Great South Bay when we could hear the fishing boats headed out (or in) early in the morning when the fog was always present. It’s like that here today; something familiar, even the salty air is familiar.
My fox likes kibbles and bits—mixed together. She likes mashed potatoes and the occasional bird. I talked to a vet yesterday who said feeding the fox is not an issue, and, in fact, might help any kits she may have in some den in the woods out back. This gal is getting used to me (the fox, not the vet). I call her “my fox” simply out of affection, not ownership. When she hears my car door or the screen door slam on the porch, she scurries through the woods to the edge of the grass next to the driveway and sits, her bushy tail wrapped around her. If I talk gently or whistle lightly, she’ll cautiously move closer—ten feet or so away—and wait. If I go in the house to retrieve food, she doesn’t disappear. I return and she’s sitting like my dog Sandy used to, knowing what was to come. I put water out too, despite the deluge which has soaked this lower part of the peninsula for the past few weeks. I just now looked out my second story window to the normal fox area, and she is not there. The food’s gone too, though. One night I looked out and she was looking up at me like, “I knew you were in there; I saw the light. Get down here.”
It feels good to connect to something that connects to me. That mutual appreciation is a deeply natural state of being that humans need. At least I do. Like a very limited few people in my life, it feels like this fox and I can finish each other’s sentences, as if we think alike. And perhaps we do. I’m certainly more comfortable around her than I am nearly everyone else who is thinking of a dozen different things while pretending to be listening to me. Everyone’s distracted.
Come on, honestly. How many people sometimes think I just hope things don’t get completely bad until after I die? Maybe there is too much information. Maybe all the electronic and wireless vibration and movement in the atmosphere has so saturated the air that it is affecting our very cells and making us more anxious, more violent, more distracted.
Or maybe we simply don’t connect anymore now that we’ve homogenized our existence. The uniqueness is lost. It is fair to say humanity is having some serious connectivity issues, and while we are spending a great deal of time digging in and defending our position, we are spending very little time attempting to find common ground, instead we remain on full alert, ready to dart back into our den at the slightest movement.
I’m not trying to be simpleminded here; I am simpleminded—I usually have to try to be more engaged and more involved in issues and complicated discussions. No, my default position is sitting in a canoe watching the river run.
Just as individuals need a breather from time to time, a vacation if necessary, Humanity needs to take five, like how when the stock market gets out of control the feds will shut it down for a day to give investors a chance to take a breath, put it back in perspective, and return with a clear and rational mind. Yeah. That. Humanity needs to leave the building for a bit and return to its natural state. Ever wonder what your default position is? We probably don’t spend nearly enough time there. Mine is outside, or laughing with someone who gets me. And as it turns out, little more than that is ever necessary.
I hear the fox. I’m out of apples. I hope she likes fudge stripes.