Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mud Pies and Magpies

Colorado has magpies. Beautiful black and white birds, they look like they are prepared to go to a formal event. Tricksters and opportunists they observe and call out in a variety of voices as if they have a hundred other birds songs caught on a secret recorder that they play back to amuse and astound.
I enjoy bird watching. The wheeling buzzards and turkey vultures, the darting little wrens and sparrows, the watchful hawks and owls sitting on branches waiting for mice to move below them. Once I even saw a nighthawk sitting on it's nest. On another occasion I heard the woods fill with the echoing song of Whippoorwills on a Missouri summer night. There is nothing so wonderful as observing nature as it is. Not interfering, not shouting or making loud noises. Not even talking, just sitting and letting life happen around you as if you were a stone or a tree. There is a peace in such observance. Our own petty distractions and illusions fall away. There is what is, the made up stuff vanishes in the sounds and scents of the real world. It is humbling to realize how much of what we focus on and invest our energy in is not even real and does not really matter in the long run. In a hundred years it will not matter what any of us thought of each other. Political views, religious views, even life choices- they will not matter and they will not be remembered beyond generalization.

The sounds of nature are incredible. They surround and soothe. The sounds of animals going about the rituals of life regardless of the head games and complications we like to add to it. The frogs singing for rain, singing for mates. The crickets with their steady beat, keeping time with the sound of the wind through tall grasses and leaves.

Today I head into the city, my significant other continues to rest and heal. I become three different fictional people for a few hours, I do work on contract. I act out a role and fulfill a contract. The work is easy and enjoyable. It is observing others as they work. Allowing people to do their jobs and to take a moment to observe a slice of their lives. Just like when I go out into the woods and watch nature, only I am observing people in an urban setting instead. The same peace and sense of wonderment can be found. The same appreciation for the brighter aspects of watching people be their best, as they go through their every day lives.

It is about being more than what we have chosen to be in the past, to be mindful of the world, respectful of each other. As parts of Society chooses to atone or at least acknowledge past wrongs, we should not turn and attack each other because apologizes and acknowledgements begin offering closure on violent and negative parts of history. We should not hide or try to edit the embarrassing mistakes of the past away; they are the scars that remind us to choose more wisely, more considerately in the future.

Sarcasm is the latest way to excuse ignorance. When a poisonous comment is noted for being inappropriate, the latest excuse is "it is Sarcasm, aren't you smart enough to tell?" No. Sarcasm, when used properly is understood and appreciated. You can't claim sarcasm after you parade your ignorance and toxicity for all to see and read. It is like hitting someone with a baseball bat, then claiming you were killing a mosquito on their head. Seriously. There is a time and place for humor.

Perhaps instead of attacking each other over our differences, it is past time we let go. We stop trying to be little Emperors and Bully Boys. Other people have the right to their own choices in their own lives. It does not matter what we think of them, it does not matter what they think of us. Sit out in nature and listen to the crickets, frogs, birds. Watch the squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits go about their lives. Even with your presence they continue going about their lives. The squirrels may loudly complain you are invading their space. Other than that, the animals go about their lives leaving you to go about yours. Take that lesson and apply it to Social Media, social interactions.

In nature no flower resents another for its color and appearance, they grow and they bloom.

When I was a child I made mudpies on rainy days. Soppy cold water, grainy mud full of pebbles, and whatever random container I could find. No one really wanted them, no one ever ate them. This was always known, yet on rainy days it was fun to make them. It was fun to decide who each one was for. No one ever shattered the illusion with negativity or venom, yet now with the advent of Social Media people cannot wait for the opportunity to verbally slash at each other. Sometimes I post things just to see what angles people will attack from, to see if reason or emotion will be the instigation of ridicule or antagonism. They both come up about 50/50. Both are used to justify behaving like a spoiled teenager on social media. It has become apparent that while we as individuals appear to have maturity, on social media we can be less mature than the teenagers who's behavior we try to shape. They see what we post. They see how we choose to live. We aren't the best role models. We turn them to shopping when they are sad or hurt, eating when they feel lonely, feeling bad about their bodies if they aren't a perfect size two, feeling impotent as politicians continue to be inept and apparently beyond their control.

Time to make mudpies and to go out into nature. Time to relearn how to express our maturity. Time to demonstrate our growth, time to heal each other. Time for us to choose to observe each other at our best, to hold that and continue to respect and treat each other well despite what we were taught.

Today, I have the honor of enjoying part of three people's lives and witnessing their appreciation for the work they do. What are you doing to grow today and can I make you a mudpie the next time it rains?

When was the last time you went out walking, just to look at the moss? 

Colorado's State Flower, Columbine - When was the last time you went in search of wildflowers? 

In a circle all are equal.