Tag Archives: greed

On geese, and horrible people, and fear for the future

B3aAGO4CIAABRHL.jpg-largeI’m not ordinarily an anxious person. Life flows by and stuff happens and it bothers me, but I don’t usually have the sense of creeping dread that envelops me now.

It seems like human beings are losing their compass if indeed we ever had one.  Of course, there is the madness south of our Canadian border. The opening of a Pandora’s box of latent racism and sexism and general horribleness that is likely to get us into a war sooner than later. (question: is it okay to leave most of the government seats empty and run it like a dictatorship? Why hasn’t anyone stopped this?)

And, with the example of a badly out of control, ignorant and nasty president, suddenly the rest of the planet thinks they can let their ghouls out. It’s horrifying to see all the gains by women and people of colour and GLBTQ+ folks being eroded day by day.  And although there is resistance, it doesn’t seem to matter!

sullivans-pond-geeseHere where I live, the gangs are back. There are regular knifings and random attacks. That’s bad enough, but some jerk used his car to deliberately squash the geese who live peaceably in our local pond. Everyone loves the geese. We all pause and let them cross the road. It’s a big event when they come out of their winter home and waddle to the pond.

How does one explain to a kid about this jerk’s actions? Or the president’s actions? Or the needless shunning of one group of people by another?

How can we explain it to ourselves? How can we be rendered so powerless so quickly? Or was it an illusion of power all along?

I’m kind of a Pollyanna type. I like to see the good in everyone. It’s becoming harder and harder to spot it amongst the daily insults that I see being visited on people every day.

I could cry about the driver and the geese. What made him/her do that? (though I am sure it was a man, somehow). And yet, that’s a small thing compared to the risk of war that will kill many more living things. Or the current wars that are already laying countries waste. Or the horrific treatment of refugees who have fled from starvation. Or the incredible death and destruction we are causing in our oceans and on land through selfishness and greed.

Honestly, I am not an end times gal. But what is going on now makes me almost wish it were the end times. It’s getting too heartbreaking to watch.

So, let’s talk about Thanksgiving…

When I was a wee sprout, I went to school in the US. I remember spending much of the month of November making turkeys with multicoloured tails of construction paper, pilgrim boot buckles for my little girl shoes, I think there were even songs, fortunately forgotten.

My birthday (and two of my cousins’) were on Thanksgiving weekend. This initially seemed a good thing until I realized no one was free on my birthday for parties. It is this I blame for my inner introversion. As it were. I was also a bit grumbly because since my birthday was so close to Christmas, everyone kind of  assumed one present would do for both. I now have a niece and nephew whose birthdays are even closer than mine, poor kids, and I’ve been guilty of the same sin – sorry, kids!

It wasn’t til High School that I started to question the Thanksgiving motif. November was too far after gathering in the sheaves for a harvest celebration, and before the end of the winter months, when you might be truly thankful you survived. Round about then I also found out about the story of who we ran over  and killed on our way to being thankful, about how hopelessly grim and horrid the Puritans were (and how unlikely to have a joyous feast), and most critically for self-centred me, that the high school band was expected to play for the often snow-covered Thanksgiving football game. I was grateful not to have to blow an icy trumpet, but my clarinet wasn’t much better. I still can’t feel my fingertips.

So I started wondering about Thanksgiving Day. It struck me horribly like Valentine’s Day – a created day when we were supposed to be thankful for the good things we had (or had grabbed from someone else) as vs being thankful for life the whole year through. And we celebrate by overeating and wasting. Weird, really. Shouldn’t part of giving thanks be caring for what we’ve been given?

Toss on top of this the Black Friday madness. It blows me away that here in Canada, where we don’t even have the same Thanksgiving day (ours is in the much more appropriate October, when marching band kids can play instruments without lasting damage and harvested foods haven’t started withering)(but maybe that was the Puritan thing? who knows?), we have Black Friday sales, Black Friday Week sales, pre-Black Friday sales. It’s insane. And only a month before our Boxing Day sales, Boxing week sales. It’s only a matter of time until the entire months of November and December become one endless sales ad. With no meaning left except to retailers (and China, who will make most of the garbage we’ll buy).

I can’t get the image out of my head of people lining up right after gorging themselves on too much sweet potato and marshmallow casserole, shoving themselves away from the table and their families and into lineups at Wal-Mart to be crushed in the race to get that TV they want, on which they can watch the Black Friday ads next year so they can do it all again.

Study after study says that the things that make us happy are friends and family, shared experiences, love and connection. Owning more stuff doesn’t do that. You get a quick lift for a second and then it’s gone. It’s a bit like snorting cocaine.

I’m not casting aspersions. I have too much stuff and I’ve been known to gorge on too much food. I speak as one who fights the pull of the “bargain”. I don’t win all the time. But I hardly think those Puritans thought their holiday was meant to be an orgy of consumerism.

I long for the simplicity of the turkey created from a traced hand, the food cooked by a caring mother from scratch, days spent walking outside, being grateful for the air and the trees and the chill in the air. Heck, I even long for the simplicity of the high school football game, with young lads striving against their arch rivals, and cheering crowds all about. No one paid, no electronic effects, just muscles and air and life, tossed into the air and free for the catching.