Monday, October 10, 2011

Fear and Hope in Heartland America

Still no word on my bus, on my home on wheels. I'm to call Tunie, my mechanic, tomorrow. It will be three weeks. Now I remember why I always did the work myself.

Meanwhile, news from the heartland.

We were sitting around the table at the Black Cat book store here in Truth or Consequences Friday morning when the topic turned to Survivalism.  There were about eight of us.

"Sue, what are you doing to survive?" one of the company was asked as she sat down. This was not about earning one's daily bread. No. More like about stashing away 50 pounds of dried beans and having enough water purification tablets to last when we have to start going down to the river for water. In short, the breakdown of civilization as we know it.

Not everyone was sure the end was near. At the other end of the spectrum there was upbeat enthusiasm. "I'm not worried," someone said. "Whatever I need will always just appear. It always does."
The beautiful post office building built in 1939
during another period of not-so-good times.

There seem to be two currents of thought running through America these days—that the world is coming to an end—or that the world is coming to a new beginning.

Those who see hard times ahead see a breakdown of the electric grid, the transportation networks, outbreaks of famine and disease, riots and social upheavals in the cities, and so on.

Those who see the world changing for the better believe the seeds are already in the ground for a new crop of consciousness to rise up. Cooperation and harmony will flourish, we will live better with less, environmental damage will cease and the planet will begin to heal, the corporate state will wither away, mankind be reborn in a spiritual awakening —all somehow linked to realignment of the planets and stars on or around December 21, 2012, at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th baktun of the Mayan calendar.

The two seemingly opposed views flourished in discussion and began to gain common ground.

"Maybe we are talking about the same thing," said one gentleman. "The breakdown of the old order which gives rise to fear is necessary for the birth of the new which gives rise to hope."

Sidewalk markers from ....
....  earlier times in TorC.
What about what's going in now? The Occupation of Wall Street? asked another.

"Their hearts are in the right place but it won't be by changing institutions that we get there from here," said a man in a baseball cap. "The change, as Gandhi said, has to come from within.  You have to become the change you wish to see."

By now the coffee was getting cold,  the scones had been eaten, and the cafe owner was not selling a lot of books.

Outside the sun was shining on sidewalks laid down in a different era of hard times, the Depression, by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and later the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The sidewalks are still around more than 70 years later.

"The main thing," a woman  said as we exited the door into the bright daylight, "is that life goes on. It always does and always will."


  1. Nice, but here's something y'all can do that'll ehance the experience: Go back to the bookstore and buy copies of "Boomerang" by Michael Lewis. Then read it. You won't regret it.

    Then revisit Gandhi's thoughts. And have a Latte for me. ;-)

  2. I agree with ... "The main thing," a woman said as we exited the door into the bright light, "is that life goes on. It always does and always will." ...

    And... I want to go to that book store... what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon/evening... and no one got bent outta shape?! outstanding

    wanna go

  3. Thanks Guy and Gal for your comments. TorC is a special place for conversation, and the Black Cat is one of the hubs. The Happy Belly Deli is another, especially the courtyard in warm weather. There are others.

    I will locate a copy of Boomerang. Thanks Dogen. I dare not guess your name.


  4. I can believe either, depending on whether it's a blue day or a blue-sky day. My blue-sky days are in the majority, though.