Reflections on the edge

earthThe world is turning:

My sweet corn is picked, at least three weeks ahead of last summer’s crop after an unusually cool summer. Not so this hot summer.

It was a pretty good crop, despite the prolonged drought conditions thanks to many buckets of water carried by hand from a dug well near the “hot garden” in the field near the house. The rainy season arrived, but too late to have much of an impact on the corn, except to make the picking of it more urgent.

Lots of people are busy with one thing or another as the days grow noticeable shorter and the season turns toward signs of fall. In my neck of the woods it’s hard to get a tradesperson on the phone, let alone scheduled to do some work any time soon: since spring most have been booked up pretty solid with work to do weeks and months ahead. As one good man told me a week or so ago, “we used to worry about people discovering the Bruce Peninsula; but not anymore.”

The onset finally of wet weather and signs of the changing seasons just add to the constant pressure to get things done before the deep freeze comes in a few months, even if the Environment Canada “seasonal forecast” calls for the probability of a warmer than normal fall. One never knows.

My daily “to do” list is longer than ever, what with corn to pick, hundreds of kilograms of potatoes to dig, with the help of my new canine friend, Buddy, who loves to work and does a pretty good job of cultivating the fresh-dug rows and turning up more than the odd Yukon Gold I missed.

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A basket of beautiful yellow beans picked this summer. A true “thing of beauty” I would love to share with anyone, any time, again and again and again forever. This is life.

(It’s a good crop too, by the way, not that I’d commit a breach of journalism ethics by using this space to sell potatoes. Perish the thought.

Clear signs the world is turning and the season changing also bring thoughts about the passage of time now that I’m in my dotage and the reality of mortality sneaks into my thoughts, with questions like, how many more summers? For some foolish reason – perhaps the boundless energy and continuing dreams of what the future could be – in my youth and even not that long ago, I felt like there might never be an end, that the cycle of my life, like the seasons, would just keep turning. That was before I started falling asleep after lunch, when the heft of a full pail of water in each hand started being too much to carry, and the prospect of a big job to do was no longer exciting. Hands and arms that have worked so hard for so many years still look strong enough; but I know looks can be deceiving, and time is ticking away. What can I do now in the face of this reality?

I imagine that, for the many others like me of a certain “boomer” age the world has turned to a time of reflection about life, and yes, death.

So, all things considered, there are a lot of reasons why many people might have a lot on their minds, about too much work, or not enough, and growing old. It’s understandable they don’t have that much time to think about the state of the troubled world, and what, if anything, one person can do about it anyway.

Besides, it’s awfully discouraging.

But I would argue, by way of reminding myself, there is no more important job now than to take time to think about what we individual human beings in the “global village” might be able to do about the self-destructive, divisive, hateful path the world is increasingly turning toward.

The man now running to be elected President of the United States of America for the Republican Party has just signalled his intention to continue on that path in his pursuit of power. He has been described as a “world-class panderer,” meaning he has no real political principles other than the will to power, and whatever it takes to get it.

He has asked, “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” as if that’s not obvious.

At a recent, packed rally of supporters in Ohio, a woman was asked by a reporter what she thought of Barack Obama, the current, two-term U.S. President. “I think he’s a Muslim who hates America,” she said, without hesitation. She was asked by the incredulous reporter if she really believed that.

“Yes,” she said firmly.

At another rally months ago, the candidate, infamous now for his impulsive way of speaking, said, “I love the poorly educated.”

That said a lot about his low regard for the people he regards as his core supporters.

The T-man (I can’t bring myself to say his name anymore) was cheered at a recent “rally when he said, “I’m not a politician,” by way of excusing himself for things he has said that may have offended some people. But he is practising the worst kind of cynical, hate and fear-based, populist politics.

Not since the H-man has anyone done it so blatantly and so successfully. And to this day people wonder how one of the supposedly most civilized and cultured countries in Europe fell under the spell of a madman who promised to make his country great again. How soon we forget the lessons of history.

The U.S. Presidential election this coming November is the most important in American history. It’s the most important election in world history; more important even than the German elections of 1932 and 1933 which saw the rise to power of the Nazis, with just over 37 percent of the popular vote, by the way, in 1932.

The results of Novembers U.S. election will determine the way the world turns into the future, toward hope, or catastrophe.

That’s on the assumption the election will actually put an end to the T-madness. He has already said the results will have been “rigged” if they don’t go his way. He has thus primed the pump for post-election unrest.

No one should be standing idly by while the world is turning in such a dangerous direction.

 

A version of this was originally published in The Sun Times in August, 2016

2 thoughts on “Reflections on the edge

  1. Besides agreeing about the dangers of the T man, may I suggest you search out a copy of DARE to be 100, by Walter M Bortz, M.D. I’m a pre-boomer and it has helped me to stop thinking of my age in relation to my abilities. I ride my bike, train and swim competively, I walk 10 km regularly, and I make love as often as my partner and I feel like it. 100 here I come. And if I don’t reach it, I will go out swinging and singing!

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