Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

the nature of life

Once again, a blog that I wrote I put aside-- but at least that one will show up next Saturday as it was about a truth I wanted to discuss. It just doesn't fit today with the week America just went through.

In terms of news analysis, I see no reason to discuss here what everybody could be following if they had interest. If they did not, then they didn't want to, and I won't try and shove it down their throat.

My week though revolved around the news and several items which all swirl into a whole and worked for me as a voyeur of life. When you write, you use things. You absorb. Most of the time you cannot afford to take what you observe personally or you'd go nuts-- which does happen to some writers. In my case I feel emotional connection to some of what I hear because of the old-- there but for the grace of god go I-- although in my case I don't believe that. I think it's fate and what fate is, that I have no idea. Is there a purpose and plan? No clue. But I do know that my week had a lot of elements that are beginning to build an emotional whole regarding a story germinating in my head. How does it happen such things coalesce? I haven't a clue but they often seem to do so.

So I have been reading books about a period of Oregon history in the 1860s where Eastern Oregon was enduring a lot of violence. It was coming from many sources. The Indian tribes were not happy that so many settlers had come into their traditional homes. They saw potential to rob and kill as a way to enrich themselves but also force the interlopers out of the area. That meant the interlopers struck back and between cavalry and civilians, there were attacks on both sides. Much blood was shed. 

Some people like to think they are living through a particularly bad time-- mostly those who think that way have no real clue as to the meaning of that. How terrible a child would go to a Marathon and lose his life. Yes, but my parents lived through the fear that polio would do the same thing. Before that there was no treatment for so many illnesses. Danger isn't unique to one time or period in history. When it happens to us, it's the worst, of course; but reality is life has always had dangerous periods.

When things happen like the Boston Marathon bombing, humans want to find someone to blame. Ironically the blame this week has been pushed onto the far right by the far left and the far left by the far right. Both sides have those who are blaming Obama but for different reasons. That's the irony of life and especially of political decision making.

Then we had the Senate voting to not extend background checks to gun shows-- again massive blame games. I've heard a lot of lies regarding this bill but here is what it actually says  

Why anybody wouldn't want that is beyond me but by the time the right wing got hold of what was going on, people like Rush Limbaugh had twisted the facts so badly that they had no clue what was in it.  

This battle for sanity on gun regulations cannot be considered over. We who wish to walk into a mall, we need to continue with the battle for reasonable gun laws while we recognize that won't help with bombers with political or life grudges. We will also be confronting those who fear guns and we who own them with the idea they can get rid of all guns as a way to reduce violence. It isn't going to be easy to hit the middle on this, but the middle often does win such battles-- if they stick to it.

Politics is a messy business and I was reminded of that when we watched Lincoln this week. That is a great film on politics and the impact they have on ordinary lives including that of those who make the laws. Names and parties may change but a lot of the mentality we are seeing argued through right now was in that period of time also. 

How do you get things done that you consider important? Well avoid hysteria. Stick to it. Understand the big picture. Do what is required which won't always be what you wanted.

For me that means donating to political candidates in other states who have my view on guns-- which is that they are legal for some citizens to own but they need to be regulated as to what kind of guns can be owned as well as who. I don't want someone who has been identified as dangerous, by law enforcement and mental health officials, to be able to walk into a Walmart and buy a gun. I do want to keep my guns so long as i use them responsibly. For people who are afraid of guns, don't own one.  If you want to see me as part of the problem because I do, I consider that your problem not mine.

So quite a week for discussion of violence. Then I chose something voluntarily to add to it. I watched an HBO documentary which I thought was very good on the psychology of war and those who cover wars-- How far to the front? created by Sebastian Junger on the work of a photojournalist who was killed in Libya but had lived a life recording war until it finally got him. Even if upsetting, it is an excellent film on the psychology of war-- but war should be upsetting.

Everything that happened this week is helping me put together the background i needed for the book I will start in a month that will be about the war in Eastern Oregon 1866-67 (approximate on the years), about the military of that time and of course, a love story. Politics, violence, emotion, danger, nature, love. It will have it all. My favorite kind of story to write.

Last week was definitely not my favorite kind of week to live because even though most of us were a long way from Boston, we can so identify with those there. How sad it is that some live to hurt others but at the same time encouraging that there are others who live to make this a better world. The amazing thing was that they were able to take the second suspect alive. Maybe we will get some answers but I won't hold my breath for that.

The photos are from an assortment of years and places and a reminder that life is good despite bad times. When those bad times come, we just have to get through them-- hopefully with the help of each other.


Rain Trueax said...

Going along with this interconnectedness of life that seems like so much a part of this last week was this article -- from boxing to bombs but not so much the time line of the older brother but how he was undone. He set his backpack at the foot of a man who had no idea what it was. He could look that man in the eye because that man was about to die. But when the bomb went off, when the man would have died from blood loss, fate stepped in and someone was there who knew what to do, how to apply a tourniquet, who clearly saved that young man's life and hence brought down the brothers-- one man in the right place who did exactly the right thing. Isn't life amazing!

Kay Dennison said...

I love your photos and commentary today. The hysteria that seems to be never-ending is becoming more than I can bear.

It does, however, give me pause to consider that I become more selective about what I allow to upset me.

The MSM seem hellbent to keep us in a constant state panic and despair and that's no way to live.

I'm thinking that, for my own state of mind, I need to fall back on the entire Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

It makes sense to me.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I do think when these things are happening to you---the person, it is horrific, as in the case of the many who were injured so horribly last week. That the man who was saved by the other man, had the where-with-all to tell the authorities what he saw after losing both his legs---that is something fantastic!

(The capture of the 2nd young man, BY THE WAY, was just 12 blocks from where my family is in Watertown. A very frightening time is now over, Thank God!)

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, when it happens to us, it's the center of the universe. Often it seems unreal that it could be so different from what usually happens but that's how violence or even extremely serious illness is.

joared said...

Always interesting how our minds interconnect events that lead us to our unique perspectives -- so many influencing factors.

Your gestating Oregon story prompts me to think of historical Southern California stories about how Mexican landowners were -- basically swindled -- out of land their families had owned for generations because others made legal claim through newly created systems applied and recognized by the U.S. legal system. Probably some heart-wrenching stories there -- maybe a little romance between young gringos and beautiful senoritas (???) challenging the animosity of older generations because their land "stolen."

Taradharma said...

I love the way you added these lovely pictures to your dialogue. Seems the trick in this life is to be able to hold the good and the bad together, and in balance, so one does not simply give up.