Friday, January 16, 2009

Like True Men of the North

Though it may sound like madness, there is something thrilling about an outside temperature remaining below zero for days on end. Factoring in the windchill, it is some -30 degrees outside.

For weeks now, the compacted snow and ice has left ruts down all the residential urban streets. There has been no thaw and so it cakes, compresses and turns to sheety ice in places. The street snow takes on a tan and gray, brown-sugar consistency.

But the snow everywhere else remains crisp and fresh. A brighter white than whitest bed sheet. The clear blue sky allows the purest rays of sunshine through, making shadows sharp and eyes squint. It is as you'd imagine when first opening the gates of heaven. The density of air makes sound travel well, and the metallic moan of jet engines above force down like some extraterrestrial spaceship.

You develop an enormous respect for the madness of what the weather can do and develop an arctic smugness within. Walking across the crack of snow crystals that cannot melt even under the compression of your foot, you realize that this is no different than the coldest realms on the planet.

It's an awesome daily adventure! Your mind conjures up thoughts of explorers, Inuits and even other planets. Only the brave live in such places! Only those that can live a routine in madness!

Don't get me wrong, the cold whips and seeps in through an old house. Especially one set at 58 degrees. And the dang garage door just will not descend unless coaxed down with half my weight upon it, back and forth with the up and down balance of my clicker in one hand and the door in my other. An every day, at least twice a day, routine. (Yeah, even the garage door repair guys haven't been able to figure it out.) It's also easy to think about those without homes, the mentally disabled, elderly and unprepared children, left to the monster of dark cold.

But we are lucky to know that it will pass, that even a 20 degree day shows more signs of warmth. We also know the thaw and the drip of the icicle, so, hope prevails.

So, here's to us Norsmen, taking in the air so dry and cold into our lungs! We live here and we push on but maintain a respect for what the weather can do. You have to admit, it is pretty awesome, for good or bad!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the Shadow of Life

Protesters have taken to the street throughout such countries as Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey. In London alone, 10,000 people have joined together in the streets condemning the Israeli incursion in Gaza.

People like former President Jimmy Carter have long spoken out against the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories as being synonymous with apartheid. He believes in a lasting peace in the region and continues to devote himself to the cause. He once was our President and while in office tried to remind us that we are a nation based upon the principles of human rights.

But we continue to make exceptions, call those that challenge any movement of Israel as being anti-Semtic and resign ourselves to the belief that there will always be violence and just hope the Israeli military can finally finish the job in one of these actions. Why do we contrast with so much of the world on this issue? Many Jews, Christians and Muslims protest this abuse. Why don't we? We certainly have the power to.

I apologize for the impertinence and agree that violence has come from both sides. But this is a gross miscarriage of power and legitimization of the use of violence. The actors are behaving with complete impunity, knowing they shall never have to answer for any transgression of human rights. They, of all people, should know better. This is wrong. Can we speak out? Can we exercise American disagreement with this action?