On Friday, my Mom and I spent the day in the kitchen talking about a revolution. Well, we were talking about the state of the world, daring to broach our fears about countless taboo topics.
What happens when we all find out that Al Gore has been right? What happens when people really start to run out of water? How many links in the chain have to break before our global network of food distribution? How many days of product are in an average supermarket? For a proud liberal, why do I have a funny perspective on guns that I don’t talk about much? In what part of the psyche and the spirit should stories like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest reside?
Ach, Marisa! What are you doing to your dear readers on a Monday morning? The sun isn’t even up yet and with gloomy thoughts like this you are practically daring it not to rise!
Fear not, if you are anything like Mom and me you will plunge into your seas of worry and dredge up all of your 3 a.m. thoughts even though it is the middle of the day. But then you’ll get up for another cup of tea and the phone will ring and you’ll pay the cable bill or head to the dentist and you’ll pretty much forget this little dip into the nastiest recesses of your “what if…?” consciousness.
Of course, we all do this. I, for one, have no idea how I would get through each day, full of all sorts of mundane beauty and banal ugliness, if I was truly tuned into my concerns about the state of our collective future. It is pretty much impossible to fully enjoy an infant’s laugh if you allow yourself to focus on all the evils that might endanger it.
And so we engage in these impassioned discussions and stir up the sediment that our modern, Western, wasteful lives have created in the riverbeds of our awareness and then we start making dinner. The conversation I had with my mom was so amazing and touched on so many important topics, it had me wanting to take meeting minutes. But, I had my hands full with the baby when I was not clearing up the endless piles of clutter and I never got around to writing til right this Monday morning minute.
If I had had the chance to play scribe and record the litany of ills and the faint glimmers of solution would we be any closer to solving any of the world’s problems? The tragedy of the whole conversation was that, as much as we were both so invigorated to trade ideas mother to daughter and back again and to flow along in the tides of conversation, we really felt pretty powerless. Talking about Washington’s party politics and the conservative pundits’ maniacal desire to debase our president’s every action and motive left us rather deflated. We were saved by a gently shaken snow globe of a January day and by an infant just discovering her voice. A baby who has not yet had to worry about the lies that the media propagates and the impossible search for truth.
We are not powerless, of course. We have the loving bonds that allow us to dive deep and surface together. It is as true that enough of these conversation will change the world as it is necessary to believe that they can.