It’s been a week since we returned home from Marquette. Our time on the Michigan Upper Peninsular was spent walking, sightseeing, and enjoying the blissfully fresh coolness of a Lake Superior summer. Wonders were sighed over, the clean air and friendliness of the natives enjoyed, and plans to move there with haste, as soon as our retirement date of May 2011 looms, were made.
Illinois hasn’t changed. Neither, it seems, has the rest of America. Our extended vacation took us away from that other world of Washington madness, power-crazed politicians, and a media rabidly slavering in its attempts to drag the American public towards its own frenzied arguments.
The debate over healthcare rumbles on. Can Obama succeed? He’s bitterly opposed by the rich, whose representatives in Congress are as wealthy and powerful as they are. Poor, and middle class, Americans would benefit enormously from fair, affordable, healthcare. Unfortunately, their representatives in Congress are as powerful and wealthy as those supporting the rich. Consequently, most politicians are on the side of the rich, even though they go to enormous lengths to disguise that fact, putting forward the most absurd arguments against a US health service in the hope it will sway some of the less intelligent among us, like – for example – employees of corporate media.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton wrings her hands over Kim Jong-il who just won’t do as he’s told. She accuses Iran of creating an arms race, then announces the US will flood the Middle East with weapons if Iran gets “the bomb” – such crass logic.
What primitive beings we mortals are. This week saw a lunar eclipse. We rushed halfway round the world to view it, jumped into sacred rivers, or beat ourselves with sticks, to ward off the evil spirits conjured by this event. The media thrashed it to death. For a brief moment we stood in awe of a routine celestial happening of no consequence whatever to the human race, then, having made our sacrifices to the gods, forgot all about it.
What fools we are. Viewed through the wrong end of a telescope we are no more than rats in an overcrowded cage, bickering and fighting over our bit of bedding space, squabbling over food, the biggest and strongest dominating while those who oppose are unmercifully squashed and trodden underfoot.
How long before some Universal event tips over the cage, and we all learn in one catastrophic moment that none of it matters?
Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake on the planet, by surface area. The statistics are stunning. It covers an area of nearly 32,000 square miles and its deepest point is over 1,300 feet. Superior is so big that, if it were emptied, it would take the water from all of America’s other Great Lakes, plus a further three Lake Eries, to refill it. It regularly produces waves in excess of twenty feet, and occasionally thirty feet.
To stand on its shoreline and ingest its vastness is a humbling experience.
Yet, a mere 10,000 years ago, it did not exist.
Filed under: Reflections