The official first day of winter, 2016, isn’t for nearly two weeks, but winter really started here yesterday. We didn’t get a lot of snow, nothing you couldn’t broom off your sidewalk easily, but we got slippery, blowing snow and extreme cold,”white-out” conditions that gave us a 40 car pile up with fatalities on one of our express ways. I do dread this time of year. It has been a long time since it brought the joy of sledding and school closings. Now I look at the older people in my life and wonder, will they make it until spring? Now winters are something to get through, hoping friends can hang on until summertime, “When the livin’ is easy”.
Every year I try to find something I like about winter, a new thing to do, a little something to look forward to. I can’t find anything about the cold and dark, or the snow, that I can enjoy, it only fills me with dread. The very best I’ve ever done is the thought “it’s not so bad”, not a particularly happy thought, but better than a lot of my thoughts. Right now I’m thinking this is a time to look inward, to find joy within myself, to learn something new. When it comes down to it, winter reminds me of the lack of control we all have. That feeling when your car starts spinning and there’s nothing you can do. Despite the best efforts of the weather predictors, we never know how much snow is coming, we never remember that it will be dark before we finish working outside, we never figure out how to dress warm enough and not get so hot we need to quickly peel off layers, only to find ourselves freezing again a few minutes later.
I cannot control the weather, I am incapable of enjoying winter, so this year I’ll try to turn on the television a little less often and get lost in making things and learning things a little more often. If I can’t find fun in winter, perhaps I can get through it a little easier, with moments of enjoyment, and learn not to wish away precious time. This year I’m hoping that when spring comes I’ll feel like I’ve something to show for the months I’ve spent in the cold and dark.
I am 61, and unhappy about the state of affairs. Or unhappy about the affairs of state. Either way, I am extremely worried about our last election, and what will happen once the president-elect takes office. I am worried for the lbgtq community, the immigrants, the people of color, and all of us. I am extremely worried that public schools will lose funding at a time when we desperately need to increase it. I worry that all the rights we fight for are in danger. We are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe we have a right to healthcare. Every one of us, not healthcare in emergency rooms when people have waited too long because they couldn’t afford a doctor, but preventative healthcare for every citizen. The thing I am very most worried about is the lack of understanding between facts and theories, opinions, and flat out lies. Facts don’t change, facts don’t count on your beliefs. Accepted or not, they remain true. It is a fact that the visible universe is about 46 billion light years and continues to expand. It is a fact we do not know what is beyond, there may well be more universes. It is a fact that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. Climate change is a fact, not believing it doesn’t change its existence. I fear greatly that science will not be respected, or often acknowledged, it this upcoming administration. This could spell disaster for us.
But then, in the vastness of the cosmos, what are we, but, as Carl Sagan put it, “a mote of dust.” This earth is all we have, if we abuse it, we will exterminate ourselves, no doubt. With all this in mind, I can’t help but return to our very tininess, our total and complete lack of importance in the grand scheme of things. If we all disappear, the universe will go on. With this in mind, one refrain keeps running through my head. It is from the TV show based on Dr. Suess’s Horton Hears a Who. It’s the story where Horton the Elephant saves a world of very tiny creatures on a speck of dust, from those that won’t listen and demand Horton destroy the tiny dustball. If we don’t acknowledge the trouble we are in, global warming will take place and destroy our habitat, basically boiling our planet. How long have we been roaming this earth and still unable to find peace? What the hell, it’s happening anyway, so go ahead, “BOIL THAT DUST SPECK”.
This is what I grew up drinking. Well, not quite this, this:
with its cool-o cork-lined bottle cap. I loved trying to get the cork out of the cap when I was a kid.
It was the first time I ever saw the word Bohemian, and I can’t help but still relate that word to beer. I’m very happy to have it brewed in Detroit again. When I was in college, the Stroh’s brewery tour (with free popcorn) was often my lunch. Welcome back, Stroh, I’ve missed you.