After a run of darkness (Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice), Rebecca Solnit writes an essay for The Guardian titled “Hope is an Embrace of the Unknown” on living in dark times. I’ve shared a few excerpts below.
After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many come from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms, mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but it is the less visible long-term organising and groundwork – or underground work – that often laid the foundation…
…our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of centre stage. Our hope and often our power…
What startled me about the response to disaster was not the virtue, since virtue is often the result of diligence and dutifulness, but the passionate joy that shone out from accounts by people who had barely survived. These people who had lost everything, who were living in rubble or ruins, had found agency, meaning, community, immediacy in their work together with other survivors…But people return to those selves, those ways of self-organising, as if by instinct when the situation demands it. Thus a disaster is a lot like a revolution when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible…
Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that, yes, we can change the world because we have many times before. You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.
Sonja said once that to understand men like Ove and Rune, one had to understand from the very beginning that they were men caught in the wrong time. Men who only required a few simple things from life, she said. A roof over their heads, a quiet street, the right make of car, and a woman to be faithful to. A job where you had a proper function. A house where things broke at regular intervals, so you always had something to tinker with. “All people want to live dignified lives; dignity just means something different to different people,” Sonja had said. To men like Ove and Rune dignity was simply that they’d had to manage on their own when they grew up, and therefore saw it as their right not to become reliant on others when they were adults. There was a sense of pride in having control. In being right. In knowing what road to take and how to screw in a screw, or not. Men like Ove and Rune were from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about.
~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove: A Novel
- Source: NY Times Magazine (July 17, 2016)
- Post Title taken from James Surowiecki’s Book: The Wisdom of Crowds
- Post inspiration: Vera Meum – “Why does the sound of rain gently tapping on the roof and windows instantly relieve stress? It is a reminder of survival, an appreciation for being safe, dry, and warm, the most basic of needs. Therein lies a secret to contentment; to remind ourselves regularly of the satisfaction of our basic needs, to appreciate another moment of survival, and forget the extraneous factors that cause us undue stress.”
To pass from the inner light to the light of the sun was not the work of the senses. A click sufficed, a slight change in point of view, like turning one’s head a hundredth part of the circle. It was enough in the end to believe. The rest came by itself.
- Photo: Mitch Cullin (Temple City, California | 2011)
- Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
- Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
He’s 25 yards up.
His right foot is lame. His gait is slow. Handicapped.
I close in on him.
He’s in his late teens.
Backpack slung over his right shoulder.
He stops and turns to stare at the billboard.
His chest is rising up and down – giggling.
It’s an ad for a Broadway play based on the 2003 best selling novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
I remember the book. And smile.
I take one last look as I pass him. His head leans on his right shoulder as he takes in the poster, playing back chapter by chapter.
I buy my ticket. The train approaches and I look for him. He’s the last to get on, the conductor urges him in. [Read more…]
- Source: DailyMail.com: 2nd place winner of Dronestagram Contest. “This spectacular camel tour was snapped at sunset by honeymooner Todd Kennedy in Cable Beach, Australia.” Don’t miss the other Drone contest winners here: Dronestagram Contest Winners
- Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again