Reawakening 4/26/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Over the past few weeks, I’ve avoided writing about a lot of the political happenings in our nation, although perhaps I should have as there are some big news stories. The voting machine manufacturing company suing for defamation has more or less won. It’s not a judgment, but making over $780 million in the settlement can easily be seen as an admission of guilt by Faux “News” and their desire not to be legally labeled as such. This is a case with what I hope will be far-reaching implications on the importance of factual reporting by news agencies who would turn to the first amendment to shield themselves from propagating political statements they know are lies. In another first for our nation, former president Trump has been indicted with criminal activity, and although he has not been tried yet (and as such, it is not my place to declare guilt or innocence), it is nonetheless a first. The trial deals not with the fact that he paid bribes to keep a sexual scandal secret (unlike former president Clinton who just lied about it) but rather the source of the payments and how they were declared on his tax returns. Apparently, bribes to porn stars are not, after all, tax-deductible. This case has implications that even former presidents must follow laws regardless of how the case ends.

Among this news is a, if you’ll pardon the expression, shitshow of bleak and miserable news. Two major cases have reached the level of national attention when one man shot a teenager for knocking on the wrong door and another shot a women for pulling into the wrong driveway. In both cases, the shooters are using “stand your ground” laws to justify their attempted murder, once again raising questions about how far these laws can, or should, be taken. The war in the Ukraine has risen from news obscurity when an American officer leaked secret intelligence reports, raising questions of just how widely distributed such reports should be, and estimating the number of casualties in the hundreds of thousands for the war (although these numbers are of low confidence). And in the middle of all of this nonsense, I was looking at a new leaf.

The side of my house is right on my property line (which would not be legal in new constructions today), and on the edge of a stone drop-off to my neighbors driveway. There are few windows facing this direction, but there is one in the kitchen. Last year, I noticed a plant in that window. As it turns out, a lovely little vine had made its way under my siding near the base of my house, popping out on the other side higher on the side reaching my window. It’s very sweet, and a beautiful plant, which sadly I’ll have to take down before it completely ruins the siding on my house. I didn’t have the heart to do so last year, and this year, I was greeted with a beautiful green leaf basking in the sunlight as I worked at my kitchen sink.

It’s a nice reminder that, in the middle of all of the ugliness, foul human nature and brutal ways in which we treat each other, nature still finds a way. I have no idea where this vine is rooted, but it has found a way to reach through the concrete and stone to bring to me just a reminder that, somehow, it will be okay. It’s happily minding its own business with its simple tasks of growing, converting light into sugar and reproducing. And me? My task is just as simple. Eat, sleep, take tickets at the drive-in theater.

I need to be doing more, but ultimately, I’m just doing the best that I can simply by surviving.

Sometimes, it helps to turn off the world news and just refresh. The long, bleak winter seems to have come, finally, to an end, so maybe I need to just get my garden going. If I can plant seeds and get my kinetic art up so the birds don’t eat what I sow, then it’ll all be good. Tomorrow I’m continuing a birthday tradition that started when I was a kid and picking up a couple of full sized strudels from a bakery (no, not the toaster garbage). As I write this, my birthday is still a few days away, and I always enjoyed strudel more than cake, so as a child I would ask for birthday strudel. I ordered two, one apple and one cherry, so I can share one with my friends at the drive-in theater, and nothing that is happening in the world, not wars or trials, not killing or crime can stop me from coming out of my shell and enjoying my strudel with my friends.


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