Zebra Days

I am in the midst of what I call Zebra Days.  Have you ever watched the television nature programs where a lion chases a herd of zebras? The lion eventually catches one and has a tasty dinner.  The zebra herd does not look back.  They keep running.  Adrenaline racing through their system.  After a while they slow down and graze in peace.  Anxiety, even in Zebras, takes a break.

We live in constant Zebra days.  A state of fear of impending environmental, economic, medical, social and political catastrophes is hovering over our heads. Daily streams of information populate our minds.  We wake up to droughts, famines, floods, poverty, addiction, crime, earthquakes, illness, death streaming through our news sources.

It’s not even the cataclysmic disasters that are keeping us in this Zebra state.  The cumulative impact of all the  austerity measures on the poor, the elderly, the disabled is enough to keep you in a state of pure zebra fear.  The disregard for the children, their education and welfare in the guise of austerity and reform makes me tremble.  The young people entering the work world with low wages and a complete disregard for the welfare of workers.   Worse of all, is the feeling that there is no glimmer of hope around the corner.  Our systems are failing.  Power is in the hands of a few without a clear commitment to a just society.  A commitment to a shared outcome.  We have been blown asunder into millions of individual entities struggling for survival.  Like the Zebras, we run.  We know some will get caught by the lion.  The problem is that the lion does not let up in our situation.

No wonder  May 21st, the Rapture Prophecy captivated our imagination.  What a relief if it would be if all the catastrophes we fear just happened tomorrow?  We can then go on and get off that high anxiety mode our constant zebra days. Harold Camping guy is really offering us a release, a nice distraction of collective glee.  We can dramatize all the dooms in a nice package and have a laugh.  The dooms and catastrophes have always been with us.  But we had time to not think about them.

We just need a glimmer.  A light.  We cannot live like zebras.  Actually, zebras, get a momentary respit from the chase.  We do not get such gifts.  The prophecy of the Rapture is the only relief we have, at least until tomorrow.  Wait, the Mayan calendar doom, December 21, 2011 is up next.   We can prepare for another fun distraction.


Sentimental Musing On Fathers

It’s not Father’s Day.  I was just looking at my nephew’s Facebook page and the pictures of him with his little baby girl and realized that my family, as a rule,  makes great fathers, uncles and brothers.  Simply great men.

The mothers, sort of prickly as a group,  but the fathers,uncles and brothers, are  stellar.  I  have a hard time relating to bad father stories, or bad men in general stories.  My memories are filled with uncles who taught me geography, arithmetic, who made me giggle, who teased me, who cried and who loved.  Men who achieved great things and had great catastrophes.  When they were at their height, the maintained their humanity and compassion, when they reached their depth, they had  dignity and humor.

We have a range, from the stern father to the easy going playful father– same for uncles.  But, they always gain our  respect and adoration from a young age to old age.  There is a way that they all hold the babies.  It’s that hug I remember from my own father.  Loving and tender.  Yet, you know, that wherever you are, whatever you do, they will be there for you.  They will move the heavens for one of the children of the family.

When I was in college, I remember reading about certain tribes in Africa, where the maternal uncles doled out the discipline.  Well, in my family, they dole out the love and support to their nieces and nephews.  The common thread was teaching something to the younger ones, teaching them of a passion.  Then the child, grows up with that memory of the uncle who taught you how to draw, taught you about colonialism, taught you about language groups.

Back to my nephew, I watch as he engages in the family catastrophic thinking for his baby.  Imagining and anticipating any and all dangers to his child and protecting her.  Talking and giggling with her. But, I know, that he like the others, will never make her feel that she is “a weak little girl”.  That she is lesser than.  That she is an after thought.

I don’t think my family needed a study to tell us to talk to babies.  My grandmother had a saying:  ” give the gift of your words to your child”.    And that is what they all did.  They talked to us.  They passed on stories, knowledge, humor and wisdom.   Now, don’t mistake any of this with sainthood.  None were saints, they were human and somehow we knew it.   And we all still adore that group of men, so glad to see the next generation picking up the tradition.