Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spartacus, Wordsworth, and Young

When I was a kid, the movie Spartacus appealed to me for reasons I've never looked into, it just did. I can recall feeling a sense of hopefulness in the heroic destiny of Kirk Douglas' portrayal and the equally hopeless feeling of fighting against the powers that be. So when I woke up this morning, with mild annoyance slowly burning and turning into anger, I thought of him. I was angry at the state of the Union, at the more-than-dismal scenario that continues to unfold in our country and around the world. Righteous rebellions and peaceful revolution notwithstanding, there's a lot of, well, I'll use the word tomfoolery, going on all around us. I am reluctant to go there, as the last time I decided to write about politics ("Pollyanna, Meet Private Benjamin") an anonymous commenter suggested, among other things, I might be happier living in another country, Cuba. Naaah. I like this one. One of the things I like about it is being able to speak my mind.

Anyhoo, against my better judgment, I decided to write about my feelings, how we all seem to be at the mercy of the media, how everything we hear or read is white-washed, heavy on the white (sorry, but I've also been reading Black Elk and that has not improved my mood at all), how great the divide is and becoming greater. Opening lines of Wordsworth's poem, "The World is Too Much With Us," paid a visit, along with an assortment of other historical figures and bits. Spartacus and his little slave revolt of the early 70's. BC. Anyone remember the Appian Way?  How about the Balkans, WWII, when village lamp posts came in handy for those sent in to quash any thoughts of further rebellion. Perhaps something only a little more current might ring a bell, like Kent State. Neil Young's song, "Ohio," ("four dead in Ohio"), began looping in my agitated head. Nobody cooler than Neil.

I tell myself I have no reason to complain. I'm not hauling Grandma, along with everything I own, over the Albanian Alps in a handcart. My life is pretty darn good. But, for millions of Americans it is not. I get angry when I hear the media suggesting that those who remain unemployed and whose benefits are long gone, might consider living with relatives in order to get through these hard times. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a pleasant alternative to me. Not at all. And that's all I'll say about that.

Our Little Band of Nitwits in D.C., who are fiddling while Rome burns, need to know: the villagers are not going to stay complacent forever. The lanterns and pitchforks aren't out yet, but if Wisconsin is any bell weather, the tide may be turning. I know, I know, I'm not out there myself, fomenting rebellion, so perhaps I should just keep quiet. I try to stay peaceful and calm and centered and usually I am. This morning, I was so caught up in anger, I almost didn't see the deer slowly walking through my yard. I almost forgot about the wild turkeys. I saw them roosting in the lower branches of my lilac bushes very early yesterday morning. They kept me company throughout the day.

Okay, what's goin' on...

I just took a break and noticed someone had read one of my older posts, from this fall, "What Peace Feels Like,"  and, as you might know, I try to heed signs as they're  "comin' through the rye,"  so I re-read it and realized I do need to find some peace. And these words from Wordsworth need to find a remedy:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;-
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.

So, I need to try and see the world I really want to see, to reclaim my heart with a walk in Nature. Reclaim my powers that reside there. Find peace there. And that, my friends, is the perfect remedy.

P.S. I just looked up and I see the turkeys are back again today. They are moving to the beautiful stand of Norway pines on the backside of my property. No "sordid boon" today.


  1. Pleasant alternatives went by the wayside some time ago. Folks have cinched their belts, are already living with relatives; soup is the main staple of their diet; they're buying and selling or hauling junk to make ends meet; it's the only way most are surviving right now; they're doing it with as much of a smile as they can. Those struggling to eat and sleep find less and less remedy, solace, or peace in nature, discourse, or themselves.

  2. I understand, Linda, I do. But, if I don't do all I can to find inner peace, and I'm very fortunate to have nature all around me to help, then darkness wins and I refuse to let that be the outcome. We still have to do all we can as individuals to provide our own hope, however challenging that is.

  3. I was at UC Santa Barbara the night the Bank of American burned to the ground, right around the Kent State time. My dad was a military officer stationed in Vietnam. It was an uncomfortable time, and I emerged from my university experience a person averse to war and violence.

    I'm one of the lucky ones right now, too. But I read and I listen and there are some things for which I will march when the time comes. I didn't use to think that time would come, but I do now.

    Last night we got half an inch of snow and I'm still enjoying how it changes the look of things out my back window. I can forget about the bad guys as long as I'm looking out there.

  4. Linda M. I agree with All you said. Thank You.

  5. Iowa labor unions posted a protest to support Wisconsin and recieved little media coverage.400-500 people at the statehouse, no big deal.The economy has hit me hard,I made my simple life simpiler.Page one is only what they want to put out.I write a lot of people who think they are in charge and it is fun to see what generic response they offer or if they give me some solace.I would plant some apple trees to give you and your turkey flock some goodies.

  6. Steve, Little gets reported in the way of supporting protesters. In Denver they reported about 250, when in fact a supporter who was there, One Fly at Outtathecornfield, reports there were over 2,000.

    Thanks for offering your perspective. I appreciate it. BTW: I have eight apple trees on my property. For whatever reason, they seem to like what's is under the big Norway pines. Seeds? Perhaps because the apple trees are surrounded by snow still. I would have left some for them, but the bears took care of any surplus.

  7. Timely post! I feel the anger, horror, helplessness these times. I have to meditate, must meditate, so that I remain calm, and able to focus on my life. Without this calm, I would probably add to the problem. I also simply have to turn off the news media. They add fuel to the fears. Nature helps too...and have hopes that Spring will ease much of this.

  8. Lynn! I have kept my TV viewing, particularly the news, to a minimum, but last night I watched NBC news and the scenes from here and around the world just fed my anger. And so I again and again, choose peace. but once in awhile...

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  9. If I don't stop to see and feel the beauty around me then I am lost. For me it's the sunrise or sunset moments, or listening to a plain wee little bird sing with colour and magic in its song, that make me feel whole.

    I do know that many are experiencing hardship so severe that worries and tiredness, the 'everyday-ness' of just surviving, blanks out all beauty.

    I agree with you, so much of this hardship and struggle is white-washed.

  10. It's tricky to remain serene while also gearing up to take action. It's a worthy goal, though. I remember the twisted hate-filled faces of some of the anti-war activists in the 60s and 70s, and they were not helpful to the cause.

  11. Agreed,'s important for those of us who can enjoy a little nature and peace to do so. Foregoing it to simply sit and wring our collective hands does no one any good. I know that I can be far more effective at volunteering, speaking my mind and educating people if I stay calm and rational (which isn't to say that I don't have my moments of shouting at the TV screen).
    I hate to be pessimistic, but I see an ugly 2 years ahead of us as the housing market continues to bottom out and state budgets hemorrhage. Most people have cut back every single possible way they can by now, and so we will soon be at a crisis point. We can only hope and pray that at some point people start pulling together instead of squaring off, calling each other names, and passing the buck.

  12. Marilyn, Nature is essential to my emotional and physical well-being. I hope that those who are having trouble seeing the beauty amid the despair find any small thing that might bring them peace. Moment by moment, building blocks to a better today and thus our future.

    Nancy, We have some fine models for peaceful action. I hope we keep them firmly in mind.

    Li, Very well-said. Thank you, so much.

  13. I love your openness, and glad to see someone actually talking it out loud. It seems there are some that just want to be lead like lemmings by the media. Listening to the media makes it all the harder to hear our own internal voice shouting all the answers we need to heal this planet. It's funny...because today I posted about being sweep up by nature as healer. I feel broken by my current financial state...and right now nature is about the only thing that comes free for enjoyment...and it truly has a healing magic. Thanks for this post...

  14. Teresa, how true. It is so important to try to stay calm in this world or we'll loose ourselves. I'm angry or devastated almost every day when I hear the news. Terror,war,hunger,pollution, children in need, animals in need, catastrophes and much more. I feel helpless, because everything could be solved, if only?

    I got an advice from a friend last month. Each afternoon, when the day is turning into the blue hour, I sit down and think about, what the day has brought of good things in spite of all the bad things. Remember five good things he said. And lit a candle, take a drink, listen to some music I love, relax and think. Meditate like many do. I'm a little surprised that I sometimes find it so hard to relax and meditate. I was always a good relaxer before!

    Maybe it's because we know what is happening all over the world in almost the same minute as it happens. The communication is overwhelming, and you'll have to take a stand to so many things during just one day, that your mind suddenly blocks and you feel the helplessness. And if you want to keep ajour, be active thinking and not passive, then you are in a dilemma, because you do not have the physical and mental ressources to cope with it all. I don't know if this sounds crazy or like I'm giving up. I'm not, yet. But this is just how I feel now.

  15. Karen (MG), Nature as healer. It's a valuable aspect to life. Thank you for your post, too. It's essential to remember the things of true substance. It's not always easy to practice Knowing we live in an abundant universe, but we know it is true.

    Grethe, I am very grateful for your comments. Your evening practice is a lovely idea. I recently decided something similar - find moments of beauty and grace in each day. It really raises our awareness of all that is so wonderful. We simply must continue to find it and savor it, no matter what dire events are happening around us. Keeping a calm center is an extremely important thing to do and a valuable contribution to the world. I am so very grateful for your comments.

  16. It is a good thing for those turkeys that Thanksgiving and Christmas is over! :)

    Have a good weekend Teresa!
    xo Catherine

  17. Hi Cat, Well, they have no worries with me. Perhaps they know that and are comfortable here. Hunting season starts on April 15th. I hope they hang around and find safety in my woods. Thanks and I hope you have a great weekend, as well!