(Just a disclaimer — this is not one of my photos — the artist is unknown — it was forwarded to me through email.)
Okay, so I’m going to give this a try.
I feel strange. It seems so long since I sat down to WRITE. Not just blither, but write. Can’t believe how self-conscious I’m feeling.
Okay, well, what do I want to say?
That I think we’re nearing the ‘end of days’? I don’t even really know what that is — just watched a terrible movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it a few years ago and though it was mostly forgettable I remember it having something to do with the apocalypse and end of the world.
Lately, with all the horrible tragedies — weather related and the uprisings in the Middle East — it is making me think back to all those specials about Nostradamus and his prophecies that I used to watch.
Never believed any of it, but thought it was fascinating. Now. . .
. . . well, I just don’t want to think about it, but it’s all I can think of. What if the world is ending just like it did in 2012?
My husband and I were talking about this on our way home from Lloydminster yesterday, and he, in true male fashion, full of understanding and compassion said: “See, it’s what I’ve been saying all along. We should have bought a piece of property up in the mountains. And we shoulda been stocking it up with canned goods and survival gear — blankets, guns, stuff to make fire, water purifying equipment — we should have made a plan.” I just looked at him and turned the volume up on the radio.
Isn’t that what we do, though? We put the blinders on because it’s just too awful to consider that everything you believe about your life could be swept away in a moment.
The people of Japan prepared as best they could and still it happened.
Watching and listening to what is going on in the world right now is a terrifying experience. As an adult, it has me paralyzed. What is it doing to children?
Today, I didn’t notice any discernible differences in the kids I work with and who populate the school I work in. It seemed business as usual. We had outside recess for the first time in a month. The sun was shining, the snow was melting and the air smelled fresh and clean. The kids were laughing, pushing each other into the snow, the boys were flirting with the girls and the girls with flirting back. I started to be annoyed by the noise and the silliness, but then I stopped. They are so young. They deserve to flirt and be silly.
Is it wrong that they weren’t planning some kind of aid or relief effort to help out in a one of the many embattled parts of the world instead of goofing off on their iPhones? Watching them I was reminded of how I once was just like them — my most pressing concern whether the boy I liked liked me back and whether or not my Mom had washed my good jeans so I could wear them out to walk down town later with my friends. It was all pure selfishness. And it was OK. Just like it’s OK for the kids today to be laughing and chasing one another around, not another care in the world. I hope they continue to have that small privilege.
I’m going to go on to something else: Bruce Springsteen.
I love B.S. Am I his biggest fan? Doubtful. There’s probably somebody out there who can recite every album he’s ever made and who played what on what track, and all that boring kind of minutae, but that’s not me. I just love his music. Loved it the first time I heard it and ran out to buy Darkness on the Edge of Town.
He is an American poet, a balladeer, a chronicler of the human condition as it exists in North America. I think he is a genius. I think he has magic.
His music is often profound, nearly always fearless and never apologetic. Even the fluffier pop stuff is deep — he’s telling it like it was — a period of time caught in a raspy melody, the emotions of time and place strung on the chords of his guitar like kite tails fluttering in a darkening, cloud-studded sky.
I have plenty of his albums, also cd’s. I listen to him not constantly, but often. I’ve got Sirius satellite radio in my car and I have the E Street station as a pre-set. Last week, as I drove to work one morning when it was -35 with the windchill, I hit the button for the Bruce station. The sound of his voice, the joy, the utter happiness emanating from the dashboard speakers pierced through the dull, aching misery I’d been feeling and a big smile spread across my face. I can’t remember the songs I was listening to; it’s not important, but when I got to work whatever I was listening to hadn’t finished and I was enjoying the moment so much that I stayed sitting in the car with the stereo blasting. I was dancin’ in my seat and feelin’ the happiest I had in a long time.
A co-worker spotted me and when I got inside she said: “You’re a lunatic, Larson.” Smiling, I asked why. “I saw you in your car, head bopping and jiggling all over the place.” I just gave her a great big grin and said, “I feel good today. I was listening to Bruce and he made my day.” She just shook her head. That feeling of pure, unadulterated joy stayed with me the whole day.
That’s the power of Bruce.
Finally, I have much to be grateful for in my life — despite the tragedies plaguing the world at the moment, I won’t lose sight of that.