The northern hemisphere is in the tail end of winter and amidst the anticipation of spring. Friends around the US are done shoveling snow and are watching bulbs poke through. Around my house the rain will be warmer, but up in the mountains, months of snow will continue. It is cold, and there is hope, but warmth will come in patches, not all at once.
The Dismal Decade is receding, but it isn’t gone yet. Unemployment is decreasing but high. Housing prices are bottoming in some places, and still falling in others, maybe in my neighborhood. Maybe not. Credit card delinquencies are down, but personal and federal debt is high.
In the midst of a blizzard it can be hard to imagine an end to the chill, but logically spring must arrive. The turnings of the numbers are slight, but they are happening in rough unison.
The Decisive Decade is revealing itself. To me, the most obvious example is the awakening across northern Africa and into the Middle East. Definitely a rough spring. Other changes are more subtle and peaceful. Cars (hybrids and electrics) and lights (LEDs) are radically more efficient. People are downsizing houses. Buying and dining local is evident in the growth of farmers markets.
Economic winter shoved a glacier across parts of the landscape, but other parts are recovering as cold places thaw. Some of my friends’ businesses are still slumped. (Oy, I don’t want to look at my book and photo sales. Shudder.) Others though are busier than before. Some are even getting business from avenues and regions they never expected.
I list these examples for my own benefit as much as for encouraging others. Being an optimist occasionally requires internal supports. This is one way that I talk to myself. Hope you don’t mind.
Today’s post almost was going to be “Give Them More Rope”. There are ludicrous events transpiring. Sometimes the quickest resolution to societal insanity is to make it temporary by letting it run to an irrational extreme. Unfortunately, today’s bizarre juxtapositions are affecting lives. Jon Stewart simultaneously defended teachers by using the same logic that others used to support tax cuts for the rich and extraordinary Wall Street bonuses. (And how bizarre is it when Wisconsin’s senators are being chased by their government?) Education, health care, and safety nets are so far removed from normal debate that satire and farce may be the only way to address the issues. Pardon me as I shudder.
History encourages me. I enjoy reading autobiographies. Darwin, Franklin, and Gandhi lived amongst dysfunction and turmoil, much of which they initiated. In the midst of their winters they saw springs. I hope we find similar heroes. Charlie, Ben, and Mohandas (had to look that one up) were ridiculed, threatened, and in one case assassinated for the changes they championed. It doesn’t surprise me when Obama is verbally denigrated. I can’t remember who said it, but one sign that you’re fighting the right fight is that you’ve made enemies.
People encourage me. Recently I’ve attended two events, one that was public (GSEC) and one that was more private. At each, people were actively improving the world. They were doing so by taking the solutions available and applying them now, usually without expectation of reward. I know impressive people. There are about seven billion of us. The few that make things bizarre and dangerous could probably all fit on one cruise ship. They’d probably complain about the accommodations though. The rest of us can fix, heal, and cure a lot.
Spring is coming. In my garden and around my lawn I’ve transplanted and distributed plants from encumbered root balls. I’ve planted seeds, donated, bought, or saved from last year. I don’t know what will grown. I hope all of it. I expect some will fail. But the best defense during winter is to be patient, then look to and prepare for spring. Come on sunshine.