Living in the Future, Singing in the Darkness

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perception, perspective, stagnation of both, and changes in each. One image my thoughts return to is this:

“The Olympus Mons mountain on Mars is so tall and yet so gently sloped that, were you suited and supplied correctly, ascending it would allow you to walk most of the way to space. Mars has a big, puffy atmosphere, taller than ours, but there’s barely anything to it at that level. 30 Pascals of pressure, which is what we get in an industrial vacuum furnace here on Earth. You may as well be in space. Imagine that. Imagine a world where you could quite literally walk to space.”

–Warren Ellis,
How To See the Future

Walk into space. The closest I can get to imagining this is the descriptions of “the Wall” in Robert Silverberg’s Kingdoms of the Wall (a fantasy/sci-fi I highly recommend). And even those wouldn’t come close to what I’m sure must be the awesome reality of Mars’s Olympus Mons.

Unfortunately, as Ellis goes on to say, “manufactured normalcy would suggest that, if we were the Martians, we would find this completely dull within ten years and bitch about not being able to simply fart our way into space.”

There’s a lot of cynicism and snarkiness floating around nowadays. I can’t tell if it’s more intense than it used to be, or if we’re just more aware of it because we can dip into the negativity of a fellow human on the other side of the planet within 5 seconds of their posting their vitriolic rant on their blog. Ah well, at least it’s not a GeoCities page.

But with pessimism and sarcasm just a mouseclick away, I feel as though the negativity is ubiquitous. And it’s addictive. Sunshine unicorns glitter rainbows kittens cotton candy might be just as readily available for consumption as doom and gloom, but we humans tend to down the doom long before we reach for the rainbows.

I’ve written about this before, delving in to the creepy origins of the word “sarcasm.” So I won’t repeat myself here, not about that. But I’m still thinking all of those same thoughts about negativity and cynicism, and I’m thinking specifically of how they affect our perspective on the incredible world we live in today with all its amazing advances and advantages.

Just yesterday, I was reading an article on how women and men all over the world are using the internet and social media to fight back against rape culture. It’s tempting to gnash one’s teeth over the fact that rape culture ever existed and still exists. But instead of gnashing over that, what if we rejoiced at the brilliant and powerful ways in which right-minded people are combating it? If we didn’t live in such fabulous times, all of those beautiful, ringing, truth-filled voices would be silent and silenced.

In his article, Ellis points out a dozen? dozens of? advances in science and technology that most of us tend to take for granted and find boring — even though these things were beyond imagination not many years ago. Not many years ago, these things would’ve been considered “magic.” Not many years ago, the “magic” of uniting voices worldwide for a single would’ve been impossible.

Let’s open our eyes, is what I’m getting at. Let’s open our eyes and our hearts to see all the beauty and the brilliance and the boldness that awaken hope. It’s there for the seeing, and it’s there for the claiming if we want it.

My daughter is almost 9 months old. Sometimes, when we’re out somewhere, I catch her examining her feet. Her eyes are huge, and her mouth is wide open, and she gives me this look as if to say, “Mama! These feet aren’t just at home. These feet are HERE, too! Aren’t they amazing?!”

Yes, my love, they are amazing. And I am amazed to see the world with fresh, unjaded, untainted eyes, through you.

Dream. Think. Do. Marvel like a child at the intricacy and the mind-blowing beauty of this place we live in. And let your heart sing through every darkness. Other hearts will answer.

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BringItClose

The Vulgarians Evoke Something in My Breast

This is a rant.  You’ve been warned.

Never mind the goo. That's just my skin melting.

 So, here in Oklahoma, we just had the hottest July on record. As of today — on which the official high was 108º, although, as you can see, my iPhone insists it was 111 — there’s a statewide burn ban. I’m not too broken up about that, since I’m not currently in campfire mode and never in the habit of burning my trash.

But what does burn me up — har de har har — are the pristine, emerald green lawns I viewed when I made a trip to Vulgaria this afternoon.

What, you might be asking yourself, is Vulgaria?

Well, I’ll tell you, darling reader. Vulgaria is my term for human dwellings so ridiculously, wastefully ostentatious that they’re just vulgar.

I mean, come on — you gotta have turrets on your mansion? Really?

Actually, I’m a total hypocrite here. I love the turrets. If I had money for a mansion, you better believe I’d want it to have turrets. Two, as a matter of fact. Maybe even three. And a bastion here and there. If you don’t know what that is, I’m just gonna to let you keep thinking it’s something obscene, because I feel snarky and you have Wikipedia.

😉

Anyway, I toured a little slice of Vulgaria in North OKC this evening. The husband, who works for a hardwood flooring wholesaler, had made a delivery there and knew I’d appreciate the architecture. Because he knows I’m a sucker for a good turret. We drove in through the exit because the entrance gate was closed. What can I say — we’re rebels.

The husband was right: I loved the architecture. It evoked all the classic beauty of Italy, the slight mystery of the English countryside, and the hominess of colonial American hearths. The masonry was perfect with its intentional haphazard look, and the turrets rose quite majestically, indeed. Each house evoked in my breast* a deeper, more fond sentiment than the last.

But I wasn’t so fond of their lawns.

You see, all of their lawns looked to have grown in lush, green Ireland — not blistering hot Oklahoma. And several home owners had decided to run their sprinklers.

After it rained this afternoon.

Granted, it wasn’t much rain. From what I’ve researched, it was officially 0.33 inches. That’s not a lot. Especially when you’re in a drought.

But still.

The Vulgarians decided to ignore the fact that there was water falling from the sky and, instead, get water from a hose and put it on their yards. Why, you ask, is this a big deal?

Actually, I suppose some of you are asking yourselves why I’m making a big deal out of any of this at all.

Well, lemme tell ya.

This came off the intarwebz somewhere. I hope that's okay. If not, let me know. ; )

There’s this thing called Lake Hefner. It’s a body of water smack dab in the middle of OKC. The lake is where the Vulgarians are getting the water for their emerald lawns.

That lake is also the place where my drinking water comes from.

When I was at the lake two days ago, the water line was about 150 feet from shore.

So.

Maybe I don’t understand how utilities work. Maybe the City of Oklahoma City has done all that’s necessary by leaving messages on everyone’s voicemail only to water lawns on odd-numbered days if your address is odd-numbered, even days if your address is even. Maybe I’m begrudging the Vulgarians their prize-winning grass for no other reason than that I can’t afford to water the lawn of my rent house.

Maybe I’m just being snarky for no reason at all.

But I keep thinking about that distant water line at Lake Hefner. I’m remembering the Wishing Well Water Walk I participated in a couple of years ago. I’m thinking about how money for turrets and pretty lawns could be going to help people. I’m pondering the fact that, considering the national debt, every U.S. citizen carries an average debt of $46,712.00 — and people still care to spend money on what their grass looks like.

I’m shutting off the water while I soap up in the shower. It’s not much, but it makes me feel better.

*No. You may not evoke anything. So stop thinking that. ; )