This has not been a good summer for those of us who walk our troubles away --- too wet, too much mud. It’s no fun to hit the trail wearing hip boots and carrying an umbrella.
But the weather has turned this week, lots of sunshine, reasonable humidity, cool breezes. The highland trail at Red Haw --- dipping low enough in only one place to get muddy --- was so dry late yesterday afternoon it didn’t matter that I forgot to change out of “good” shoes before heading down it.
The key to walking troubles away is to stop fussing about what ails you as you walk, and concentrate instead on what’s around you. And to be grateful that you can still walk.
One thing that’s been ailing all of us down here I think is death --- too many young people (50 is young) in too short a time --- car crashes, cancer, inexplicable accidents. For some families, these tragedies are the latest in strings. It’s like a cloud over a small place where everyone is interconnected.
It’s disconcerting for those of us on the sidelines to realize while thinking about it all that it took someone else’s tragedy to make us appreciate for the first time lately how lucky we are to be alive and kicking. That’s just wrong.
What happened to the practice of gratefulness on a daily basis? Why so darned preoccupied with a litany of imagined woes that joy has to sneak up and surprise us?
God doesn’t have hands, I’ve been told --- other than those He gave us. And they’re not very useful when we’re sitting on them or wringing them. So I’ll try to wring my hands less and use them more.
School started here Wednesday, and that can be looked upon in two ways --- As the beginning of the end (of summer) or as a beginning. I live half a block from an elementary school and had forgotten yesterday that if I’m away from home during the half hour on either side of 3 p.m. there’s a good chance I won’t be able to get home and into the driveway because of the school bus procession and erratically driving (and parking) parents. Really ticked me off. For no good reason. It’s like migrating birds --- happens every year.
And then there’s politics --- and more politics. Here’s the problem I’m having. Democrats did not get us into the fix we’re in all by themselves. Republicans did not get us into the fix we’re in all by themselves. We did it together, bless our hearts, and none of the ideological tools embedded in our respective mindsets are working especially well.
But few of us are anxious to move beyond our mindsets together and develop a fresh idea or two. What we really want to do is exchange places every four years, grab the same old shovel s, dig the hole a little deeper and then complain about it --- loudly.
And what the heck is this Ground Zero-Mosque business? So we really believe Muslims, just because they’re Muslims, don’t have the constitutional right to build an Islamic Center wherever they want to (in this case two blocks from Ground Zero) so long as all the regulations that govern the religious buildings of all faiths are observed. Well fine.
But the next time gun control legislation is proposed, I don’t want to hear a word from those who believe they have a constitutional right to bear arms or all those other yahoos who allege they have a right to speak freely, assemble freely or maybe plant a church of their own denomination in a place where the neighbors of another denomination don’t want it.
And finally, this vast Islamic conspiracy thing. Well, you’re right --- there is a vast Islamic conspiracy. It’s called birth rate. Just by reproducing more enthusiastically than Christians, the best guess is that sometime during the 21st century the number of Muslims in the world will meet, then exceed, the number of Christians.
So do you really want to kill large numbers of Muslims in order to restore the Christian edge? Or go back to standard 12-child Christian families and try to out-reproduce them?
This doesn’t mean there are not extremely dangerous Muslims --- and more than a few Christians, too --- out there on the lunatic fringe in need of defusing. But neither Muslims demonizing Christians nor Christians demonizing Muslims is going to work. Never has. Never will. And it doesn’t make any difference which side started the fight.
So those were a few of things I could have thought about while walking yesterday evening. But I didn’t. I just took pictures. And then had to come home and write about all the burrs that had gotten stuck under my saddle to remind myself of why I needed to take that walk in the first place.