Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The World on Fire

The smoke was especially thick this morning here in the Carmel Valley. After casually feeling that everything was under control and the fire was heading south, it was a good reminder to pay attention. Got up and brushed my teeth, taught my class as I’m supposed to and didn’t think about it too much, but just enough to remember that this deserves some thought.

Between this fire and the record hot temperatures everywhere and the non-stop epidemic of mass shootings everywhere, it indeed feels like the world is on fire. None of us would choose it, but the good thing is that “when a lovely flame dies, and smoke gets in your eyes,” people perk up and rise to the challenge. Everywhere here are homemade signs thanking the firefighters and it does a person’s spirit good to drive by these folks huddled together to discuss strategy and make the next foray into containing the blaze.

Crisis indeed brings people together and ignites our intelligence and capacity to solve problems. It shakes us out of our slumber, brings us out of our complacent stupor and gets us thinking. When genuine thought is present, and tied to necessary action, hope is restored. You just have to see the fire and smell the smoke to take it seriously enough to get up and shut off the damn TV.

Damn those politicians in power who are try to pretend that climate change isn’t real. Who try to convince us that we don’t have to deal with our racist history come back to bite us in the ass. That we can just go on with business as usual and have a nice day and please don’t talk politics on Facebook, just stick to the photo of that great meal you just had. Two days after 9/11, Bush was telling people to go shopping. Don’t waste time grieving and or analyzing how our invasion of Iraq fueled the terrorist movement there. Just get thee to the mall.

No one loves bad news and it’s hard to sustain the emergency mode for long— our nervous system was not designed for that. But a little bit of alarm is indeed vital to solve the immense problems that threaten to engulf us if we leave them neglected too much longer.

The world is indeed on fire and we better pay attention. Wake up and smell the smoke.

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