01/09/2015 by syrbal-labrys
The New Year is often a time when folk customs suggest looking for hints into the future. Relax, any skeptical or atheist readers — I am not busting out the colorful scarf, beads, and crystal ball, nor even the tarot cards. I frankly consider the cards more a way to grasp psychological hints from the subconscious due to evocative symbols than a tool for predicting the future.
No, when I look forward, I first look back to see patterns and trends that match. And then, things simply crystalize in my mind — no ball needed.
Even as age frays my concentration and memory a bit — I visualize my brain, at times, as an over-filled file cabinet that has stuff popping over the drawers and falling away to an unseen lost floor. But I always read very well — at eighth grade level by fourth grade, for instance. I remember doing adult history books by sixth grade, and not under adult supervision. I saw similarities and trends back then that horrified me, but told myself I was a child and couldn’t know, really. Well, I’m not a child now. As a constant student of history, philosophy, and social observer, what do I see now? A pretty grim picture.
What do I see, when I look at my country? I see a country that has based the bulk of its economy on war-making and weaponry since WWII. It is not we people who have changed, nor our economy based on the military-industrial complex; but war has become so intensively expensive that now instead of a country-wide net profit from warring, we get a net loss except for that 1% that skims the top off. I see a country that crowed at the fall of the Soviet Union as if it was our own accomplishment; a country deluding itself.
For what happened to the Soviet Union was that they, too, hit the end of profitable warring and ran out of money, and shortly thereafter, the will to war. (Putin is doing his best to take care of that “will” issue — he is their Reagan, pumping the old successes in a century that can’t maintain those habits.) We Americans seemed so sure that could never happen to us, but it has happened to us. Our infrastructure is beginning to crumble, national will is fragmented and our politics has gone from “loyal opposition” to schismatic screaming of “traitor!” across political aisles.
I see America as an airplane in turbulence, with a pilot(s) not reading instruments correctly; the oxygen masks have dropped. But the passengers are not putting those masks ON, instead they are screaming blame at each other and darting around trying to help those that seem even less able to manage. (My d-i-l to be is a symbol of this; while America stumbles, she wants to go teach and live abroad in ‘less fortunate’ climes even if it means she won’t be my d-i-l. The America she comes back to at some point could closely resemble whatever third world shit-hole she selects for her little experiment in altruism.) Helping others instead of “masking up” and solving America’s issues first — not the time or place for that, to my mind. But for now, we carry on as if we are the great masters of our destiny, entitled to tell other nations what to do with themselves. Pssst, America? They are laughing at our advice that we can’t carry out for ourselves.
I see cigarettes becoming an anachronism; e-cigarette vapor nicotine delivery systems will be the rage all over within five years or less. States, like my own, that count on very high “sin” taxes on cigarettes will suffer — as my state already is. Also, in the next ten to twenty years, as old(er) farts like me die off, marijuana will become the cash crop that tobacco was in the 20th century. It has many more benefits than tobacco, and not as many bad things — it has been incompletely researched because of being banned as if it were heroin.
I see more religious and political fragmentation. And it could only too easily lead to violence; one has only to listen to Ann Coulter going on about how liberals are traitors to blame for every ill in society to see her tying folks like me to a stake on her personal gas grill. Those kind of “revolutions” DO devour their own eventually, so hey, she better stock up on sunscreen and fire extinguishers!
Ecologically? No matter who denies what, change is happening. I think the next one to five decades will see Americans forced into flight to areas not wracked with drought and wildfire. (And not just me, seeing this!) I think long-depended upon aquifers like the Ogallala will fail, leaving the center of the country without water. I think the water wars to come will make the oil wars of the past century seem like minor squabbles.
Personally? Well, I feel hunkered down here, not like a survivalist with tons of guns and canned goods; but with family drawn in close. We are intensifying our efforts to be able to supply our own food more often; I want to get solar power to run our well and hope to enlist cooperation from neighbors. I presently doubt they will want to ante up. I feel burned out reading and watching news that seems like a re-run loop; I sometimes want a vacuum around me free of hectoring voices so I can simply sit quietly letting the mind ferret out what feels like clarity. I delete more and more email asking for petition signing, money, etc — I need to focus on OUR oxygen masks first. I have a retired husband, half the money, and two grown disabled veteran sons dependent upon us. Yes, our “masks” first now, except for long established habits of helping others selected ages ago. Nothing new until we are steady in “flight” here.
Resolution wise? This is the year it has changed, the things I resolved are happening. I have been a lifelong sugar addict; but that is done. White sugar is for hummingbird food. Sweets are less sweet, made with honey, and very rarely. I feel better and clearer. While I never drank much alcohol, I drink even less now and after reading this, I am very glad. I am exercising every other day, building very, very gradually. I am not hating it, not fighting my aging injury-accrued body — it feels different, it feels like love my body has long awaited. Change will be very gradual, I’m sure. I won’t be a size 8 next month. But I won’t be a size 14 either! I will become stronger, more flexible, more able to pick and WIN my battles. This exercise, the one they say predicts when and how you die? I never thought of it as exercise; in my youth it just was how I got down on and up from the floor! When I did it last week, I got down, but couldn’t get up without using either a knee or a hand. Yesterday I did it as I always did before and that ability will be maintained.
Oh, and the small “irritation” factor matters? Like television? We have a contract with Direct TV to play out. When it’s two years is gone, IT is gone. We will re-hook to the bundled bullshit we HAVE to have for internet connectivity, to the Comcast option we already pay for — more or less 13 channels for about $15 a month. Even that gets less and less watching, to be honest. Routine hiatus of favorite shows pisses all of us off. The news is such a laughably controlled and inaccurate portrayal of reality that it isn’t worth the time. And things billed as “hilarious and charming” like “Galavant”? So not. Sophomoric and stupidly boring. For pity’s sake, I know print editors are an extinct species, but aren’t television producers supposed to notice the quality is in the toilet so they can make their bucks selling adverts?
We have pets. That could change this year. My last two ferrets are of extreme age and one, Helen, is very frail at almost ELEVEN years of age. I doubt she will see next Samhain. The other, Fat Farley, may last longer, but not much since he may be as old as eight years. They are the pets of my heart. But there will be no more, ferrets have extraordinarily high veterinarian costs and I cannot afford that in the future.
Gracie, the sweet but troublesome cat? She got into the newly doored den today and deliberately pissed on the blanket folded at guest bed base. She had been fair desperate to piss on SOMEthing besides her litter box for about 72 hours – since we put the doors up. Sooner or later, she will pee on the laundry, the sewing pile on my table or living room furniture perhaps. When that happens, I am finished and she is gone. I have no money to keep up with such destruction. She’s been to the vet, she is healthy. We tried every suggestion; she is not pissing and scent marking out of unhappiness, but because she IS happy and wants to replicate her former semi-feral life here in her new home. That isn’t going to work for me. (The man who scooped her and a kitty sibling (who died) out of a ditch thought he was doing a service. He might have been better off doing the “catch, spay, and release” bit done for feral cats. Not every feral kitten will adjust to household life.)
The terrier, Fen, gets into little wars with the dogs my son(s) have about dominance. This ends poorly. Then HE pisses on something to get the last scentful doggie word. This will be unsupportable as well if he keeps it up and he will go back to the rescue association where we got him. Had I known when I took Fen on that my youngest son was returning with two dogs, I would not have gotten a dog at all.
We don’t give up pets lightly, but with resources ever more limited and energy that needs applied to more than watching an animal like a hawk? Yeah, hard choices will be made if there is not behavioral improvement.
So, yes…the Fallow season is over. Changes are in the works. Focus is being applied to new things and dropped from old. We are warrior-upping here. Uncertainty is in the wind, and if anything is certain, it is that changes to come will more likely be negative than positive. We have to be as prepared, as level-headed, and ready to act (not REact) as possible.