I think this particular patch of ruminations began because I was out this morning barefooted in the yard. Nothing quite like that feeling of green grass and the warming surface of this spinning planet between your toes. As I was walking the dog around the yard, always mindful of the doggie landmines of previous days, it is a mostly safe way to travel and my thoughts got lost on this Sunday morning about ... well, about a lot of things.
I start to thinking - always an act with the most curious effects - about how in my childhood, shoeless was the preferred mode of dress. And not just in the yard, but everywhere - through weed-thick trails between the houses, riding a bicycle, running across superhot sidewalks and asphalt. All tenderfooted adult now, I make careful steps, grateful that the walnuts already on the ground haven't crumbled into shrapnel.
I guess back in the day, my feet had the toughness of Tom Sawyer's ego. I do remember once hopping a ride on the back of a friend's bike, hauling off down some jungled dirt trail, and my right ankle dipped into the spokes of the rear wheel and chipped the skin away at my heel with some slightly bloody results. And yes, while it hurt, ultimately, I did not care.
In today's now a modern-go-go world, my parent could have, in response to the tattered ankle, started a national campaign for a federal effort to enforce the wearing of shoes for all children, a No Shoe Left Behind Act, which would be trumpeted as yet another way the Nanny Government is Making The World A Safer Place.
Once the walk was done I sat on the porch, sipping coffee, and the wheels continued to whirl in my head in that way they have - semi-philosophical world-gazing. I began to ponder on various news stories and blogging editorials I had read earlier in the day. "Sure seems to be a troubled old world today," I thought. "Warring and killing and bombing. All the hoopla over the recent elections, which no one really seems to care much about outside a small circle of politics groupies. Maybe I should do like a lot of folk today and go buy something since there is a tax holiday!"
A tax-free day is just a tiny decrease, really. Maybe we should consider a different kind of tax-holiday, one that occurs on the weekend after an election. And pricing decreases would be tacked to the percent of people who vote -- a 25% turnout means prices would fall one weekend by that amount, and maybe that would increase the turnout. Would enough people realize a 60 or 75 percent attendance at the polls could then mean a likewise discount?
As I sat and pondered on that fantasy, I was watching various insects scurry and fly about on their enigmatic tasks. The non-individualized actions all serve a hive or colony mind. Sadly, I see to much of that in humans too. There is literally no talk among the pundits and bloggers about the "best person to be elected." Today it is all My National Party, Right or Wrong.
Me feeble (and perhaps already heat and humidity filled) brain jumped to another thought. This relentless warfare in countries throughout the Middle East. Can there be any doubt that many wannabe tyrants are fueling raging fires with religious fervor? And that too many people in this world, and not just in the mideast, deeply feel their religious and spiritual values are so compelling that anyone whose views are different must be chased down and killed wherever they may seek refuge?
Praise Your Creator and Pass the Ammo. Yeesh.
And I am amazed at how our versatile language and rubber-limbed P.R. acrobats put the prettiest and most meaningless clothes on ancient behaviors. Today we have "sectarian violence," which used to be called "civil war" or just "anarchy." Another favorite is "collateral damage" instead of "dead civilians and bombed-out buildings." And the creepy presence of a world imagined by George Orwell seems omnipresent: "Security" means "I'm terrified of everything and don't feel safe," or that "Liberty" means "No amount of secrecy is too much."
I was talking to my 80-plus year old mom, who is Baptist down to the bone, and she confessed she had actually been making prayers of late for the Creator to infest the minds of warmakers and profiteers with endless nightmares of the horrors they are committing. She's obviously, like many, frustrated and disgusted by humanity's destruction at the will of so few.
I found myself offering her some optimisim, saying that perhaps there were still more Good People alive than Bad People, or else we would all be on the knife-edge of Death itself. But don't ask me any percentages.
A friend today emailed me this story - some kind folk have been seeking to assist this dolphin they saw off Sarasota, Florida, who had a Speedo wrapped around it's body which was slowly killing it. They did capture the critter and got the deadly garment removed. I'm fairly sure that in the long-distant past there was seldom a chance that Thag's or Ulu's thatch-woven thong would slip off only to kill the ocean-going life.
The story also noted that this dolphin had been "caught in a life-threatening extra large Speedo bathing suit".
Now I am not a member of the haute-couture, but I can tell you this - if yer Speedo size is "extra-large", do all of humanity and aquatic-kind a favor and don't wear it. It's time fer some Bermuda Shorts, bub.
Anyway, there on my porch, pondering imponderables, I did notice something that made me smile.
A car cruised slowly down the street in front of the house and a dog was sticking it's head out of the passenger window, a gaping grin and flying tounge giving expression to some doggie satisfaction. Now I personally hate that whole "is the glass half-full or half-empty" psycho-babble argument. The dog I was seeing offers a better way to frame the question.
Is that dog an example of Pure Optimisim and Complete Trust or of Blind Ignorance?