Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for High Winds and Water

On my first magazine job, the editor I worked for was a kind and generous man who had suffered a psychiatric breakdown and recovered. In a book, he described how the normal defenses of daily life disappear and anxiety comes pouring in, washing away the dull cocoon that lets us walk around in the world, blocking out dangers and feeling safe.

In times of imminent disaster, we all suddenly become aware of how thin a crust of earth we walk on and that it could suddenly crack and swallow us.

Some get panicky about trees they usually never notice that could snap and crush their roofs or suddenly feel stripped naked by living in a high-rise.

We see others on TV screens, lying on beaches in denial and refusing to evacuate their coastal homes as waves rise.

Most take a middle course, stocking up on food, water and batteries to feel prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best.

Times like these tell us something about ourselves, how we perceive the world and deal with its contingencies.

At advanced age, my role model is an actor who was still appearing on stage in his nineties. Asked how he did it, he replied, “I get up every morning, have breakfast and read the obituary pages of the newspaper. If my name isn’t there, I get dressed and go to work.”

When the winds and water subside, we can all do the same.

1 comment:

BB-Idaho said...

NE coast has recently had blizzards, flooding, an earthquake and now a potential hurricane.
..and here I thought California was
Mom Nature's favorite target!