18 December 2016

Dark Days

Hello out there. I know it's been a while since I've surfaced. Things have been pretty busy around here, leaving me almost no time for thinking, let alone blogging. Between my two jobs, I am regularly working more than 50 hours a week, which includes some late-evening and weekend hours. Sure, it's nice to have a steady income, but it's also stressful.

It's almost Christmas, but to be honest I'd kind of barely noticed. Of course I am in the process of getting gifts for my family, but that happens largely from the chair right here in front of my computer screen, so I have not been out in stores all that much. I used to be more enthusiastic about holiday shopping when I was younger, but age does change us, whether we want to admit it or not.

We're in the midst of the shortest days of the year, when it's dark by around 4:30. This confuses the dog, who thinks that the darkness means it's time for her evening meal. She has a bed in the room where I work, so she comes in from the other room and parks herself there, keeping an eye on me to make sure I don't forget about feeding her.

We go for a walk after she's had her dinner, and I do enjoy seeing the houses in our neighborhood lit up for the holiday season. It takes some of the edge off the early sunsets, and cheers me up a bit. If I remember correctly, by the end of January the sunset happens around 5, so it won't be long before the days start getting longer again.

Anyway, there are more important things to be concerned about. Our country is about to be plunged into an experience the likes of which we have never seen. I suppose the most optimistic way to view the incoming administration is as a gigantic four-year (minimum) experiment in which all 325 million of us (or whatever the US population is these days) are the mice that are being experimented on.

The Mrs. and I have plenty of reason to be apprehensive about what's going to happen in 2017 and beyond. All of us do, whether or not we realize it. To be honest, I am somewhat less worried about what the government might do than I am about the kind of behavior that some Americans think it's okay to exhibit, as though the change in leadership has given them some sort of permission to bring to the surface their worst impulses toward their fellow citizens. This is a far bigger threat to our country's future than whoever happens to be occupying the White House, or any other elected office, or even the seats on the Supreme Court.

But we also have other things on our minds. We have to keep doing our thing, and I think it's crucial to try to maintain some sense of optimism in the face of the ignorance and blatant bigotry that's out there. I made some charitable contributions this month, simply because solicitations arrived in the mail from organizations deserving of support. We are at a point where we can think about planning a real vacation, something we have not been able to do in several years.

I hope all of you have a holiday season filled with friends, family, and happiness. And if I can close with a bit of advice for the coming year: look inward, look outward, pay attention.

No comments: