Monday, March 22, 2010

away with bump off, away with the rub out

The news has been pretty grim these last few days. I take no pleasure in dwelling on what's lurking around the corner; I fall somewhere between willful ignorance and deliberate disregard. Somewhere in my brain is a synapse that makes bad news easier to take if I don't listen for it. So, I am completely aware and certainly discouraged by the actions of our leaders in Washington. But I don't really know what the future holds much past tomorrow, so as far as wallowing goes, as Bartleby says, "I'd prefer not to."

Besides, there is plenty on the plate that needs to be dealt with NOW, not six months down the pike, and not in three years.

My battle against angst:

1) get out the old picture albums. There are tough times in those years too. But we record the happy occasions and there are obviously more than a few of those. Look at all the birthday cakes, all the barbeques, all the vacations, all the contests, ballgames, all the first days of school.

2) Go to an art museum. What a fine trip we had to Washington, D.C. My husband is so tolerant of my sightseeing goals. In this case, a nice sunshiny walk to the American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery after lunch at the Old Ebbitts Grill. Choose the exhibits like your favorite tidbit on the appetizer plate. Who's keeping track of how long or hard you study technique? At the American Art Museum, security doesn't even check your bag! This trip I made it to the fourth floor, the old Model Hall, where the new patent models were displayed. Its a beautiful room in the high flown American Victorian style...lots of geometric tile, stained glass, and high skylights. The architecture itself declares, "give me a problem, I'll solve it with a machine that is art itself."
Art museums are good for one's perspective: man has been expressing himself to lasting effect through art longer than any other means. It takes time to travel through this much history, so don't rush.

3) My goal was an exhibit of survey photos of the American West taken in the 1870s. I won't go into the details of the extreme care and sheer volume of cumbersome equipment it took to produce these luminous monochrome shots of the Green River, the Snake, Canon de Chelly, the Colorado, and other iconic landscapes. Suffice it to say the prints both whetted my appetite to return to the elemental landscapes of contorted and eroded geology and also calmed the itch of haste.

4) Listen to some baseball. Its still spring training. The pace is relaxed; the announcers are jocular, except when extra innings threatens their tee times. The lineups might be familiar, or you may not be able to tell the difference between your home team and the visitors. The crowd noise is intimate. Because the games are during the day, they seem more timeless.

5) OK, so its still too early to play in the yard. So do as much spring cleaning inside as you can stand. I cleaned the counters, washed the bathroom rugs, briefly contemplated hanging some new prints (but they are too weighty and will require assistance), mopped and dusted. My little world was thus in better order than it had been three hours previous. Win the battles where one can.

Blake has been keeping up with the blogs; apparently, the world has not yet come to an end. This is pretty bad, but, pardon me, Jimmy Carter was beyond pretty bad and we survived him. Somehow we survived the 20s, the 30s, the 40s....and far be it for me to compare our country's situation today to the threats to freedom and life itself of those decades.

Susanna McCorkle had a song on one of her CDs with the catchy hook, "I don't think I'll end it all today." The tune has a Latin beat, lots of ways to commit suicide, and lots of reasons not to. Its both irresistible and macabre. Especially since Ms. McCorkle, an immensely talented musician, indeed did kill herself.

But, universal health/deficit/taxation/inflation/destabilization of the dollar/mud/frost/bugs/fungus/......
.....make your own prescription against the funk and "let's not end it all today."

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