Am I Missing Something?

Yes, this is the ‘best of all possible worlds’. Voltaire’s Candide was the ultimate optimist, although he did question his esteemed Dr. Pangloss’ optimism on a number of occasions.

So, I find myself staring resolutely out my office window at a dreary and rainy early spring day. We have now been stuck in this seemingly never ending pandemic over a year. Sure, we can get out and go to the grocery store, perhaps thru a drive thru fast food restaurant to grab a bite. And with a little bravery (or risk) we may even find an eat-in restaurant and hope that we neither bring home the virus or a case of food poisoning. There are those of us who still go to work at an office or other facility and do our best to stay virus free. Little else has been available to do. No concerts, movie theaters, or public sporting events. But, I have weathered the year without getting sick. As a matter of fact, physically, I seem to be doing pretty well.

I want to blame someone for this fiasco. I get irritated at the slightest news on the pandemic’s progress. There are over 30 million infected here in the U.S. with 550,000 deaths and counting. I get irritated at those who want to blame others for not doing enough to quell the pandemic. I get irritated at the constant conflicts in information being disseminated. To mask or not to mask. Stay at home. We have seen the worst of this. There is another surge of the virus. Then my favorite, from leadership, ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

And now, we see the possible end to this nightmare. We have at least three vaccines that could provide a return to some normalcy. However, we have to get enough people vaccinated or have contracted the virus to get to ‘herd immunity’. Are the vaccines effective. We are told they are. I am now reading that THE Dr. Fauci has indicated we may be able to stop wearing masks by Memorial Day. Woo Hoo! But we now have a precedent. If the virus surges again, we can be told to put the masks back on. Its unlikely that we could be forced into another lock down. The economy could not hold up. Still, it could happen.

We all grow weary of this. This is not living life. We spend all of our time worrying about those who are extremely vulnerable to the virus. Loved ones and friends have died. We seek out information on what to do, what not to do, how to cope. In the end, we are told we may have to live with this virus.

In the end, I worry that we may have to live with a society that no longer works they way it was intended. We will have forfeited many freedoms and norms that we once cherished. We will have gained a vague distrust of our neighbors. Are they sick? Will they make me sick if they come near?

Truly, this is in fact ‘the best of all possible worlds’. And all has happened as it should. Or, maybe I have missed something.

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The Canyon

Leaving the ranger center, you enter a winding path that engulfs you in large ponderosa pines and lush green undergrowth. The forest quickly engrosses you with the aromas of the pines, the crackling of twigs and pine needles underfoot and the sounds of tiny creatures scurrying through the underbrush off the trail. An occasional mule deer raises its head and stares at you inquisitively as you pass, quickly making you forget those last vestiges of civilization as you trod the half mile through this high altitude forest toward the canyon.
The half mile hike is pleasant and not at all strenuous. Walking slowly, absorbing the sights and sounds around you, it is easy to let your imagination drift back in time, perhaps a thousand years, when native people such as the Havasupai, inhabited the area. The land was sacred to the native indigenous people. The people were of the land. The land gave to the people what they needed and they in turn cared for the land.
The trail winds on through the trees and you become oblivious to all but nature surrounding you. Nature is subdued here in the forest. The quietude calms you as each of your steps brings you closer to your destination. Abruptly, the forest ends and you emerge on a sweeping vista so grand that it immediately overwhelms your senses and emotions.
The canyon’s south rim, within feet of you as you leave the forest, precipitously drops as much as a mile to the canyon floor. There, the Colorado River, winds its way through the gorge it carved out over millions of years for approximately 277 miles and is the lifeblood of the canyon. Your gaze across the chasm can take in as much as 18 miles distance to the north rim. The canyon walls are a testament to the living history of the earth. Each layer of coloring in the walls describes an era of time during the earth’s evolution to modern times.
Standing on the edge of the canyon rim, the great Colorado River appears to be just a small stream so far below. The vastness is so overwhelming that it is with great difficulty to be able to describe the immense grandeur of the Grand Canyon. As you peer down into this great chasm carved out over the millennia, you must realize you are also peering back in time. The earth has shaped and reshaped itself over these millions of years as the canyon is a living testament to. What imaginable creatures once roamed a flat plain here when the river was just a trickle? What ancient people lived along the river and the canyon? We as modern humans have been granted the privilege to enjoy this natural wonder and to be the modern stewards and caretakers.

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“The Best of All Possible Worlds”

My apologies to Gottfried Liebniz and possbily to Voltaire as well. Yes, we do live in ‘the best of all possible worlds’. I say this because I believe that no matter how bad it seems at any given moment, it can be worse. Every day in life is a struggle. We work, we play, we try to make our world a better place.

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Do we really communicate with each other?

I don’t do Facebook. I have never had an account. I do not plan to open an account. I have lived all over the world and developed friends in each place. No, I do not keep in touch with all of them today. Some yes. Particularly the ones I became very close to. But these friends were flesh and blood. They breath, speak, laugh and cry. Bits and bytes on a computer screen does not give you a personal relationship. If our lives have become too busy that we cannot share them with a simple phone call or a letter from time to time we become less human. I do not need to know about every single waking moment of my friends lives. I pick up the phone and call. I can hear them laugh if they are happy, cry if they are sad. We can catch up on the important things in our lives. And I do not have to deal with advertisements. I do not have to deal with some corporation having access to personal information. I do not worry about private conversations not really being private.

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Hello World

The WordPress introductory blog title seems appropriate as I am a new blogger. I now join all of the other voices clamoring to be heard above the din of life. Whether my voice is relevant and can be heard remains to be seen. In the meantime I leave you with a poem by American novelist, poet and journalist Stephen Crane, to ponder.

A man said to the Universe: “Sir I  exist!”,

“However”, replied the Universe, “the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation”.

Stephen Crane, 1899

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