Turning on TV news these days is daunting. As I turned on my 47 inch flat-earth screen this week I wondered, “What’s at the top of the news this morning? Mass shooting…again? The only question being, whether a church, a mall, a school?”
(What’s to be done with these malevolent minds who crave posthumous fame through mass carnage? I have an idea, maybe reward those with such predilections with bold headlines and color head shots only when they do themselves in, but when they slaughter others…utter and complete silence. I see the bold headline: Loner Kills Self, Spares School. Thousands donate to his memorial. I’m in.)
More TV: ISIS still severing ties with the rest of humankind, one throat at a time and the one percent are getting giddier in these most golden of times…for them.
I hear about the climate-unchanged faithful, seeing thousand-year floods, fires, dusty-crusty farmland where lush lettuce once grew as…just “nature being nature.”
And then the weatherman comes on with Joaquin, a depression, first in the tropical atmosphere…then in me. In all of Long Beach it was one big, “Oh no.”
Yes, I and all of my neighbors watched with no small amount of trepidation as the hurricane headed up from the Caribbean.
We saw the graphic cones of advance it could take as it moved North. We all feared a Sandy redux. Many residents of Long Beach are not fully recovered from Sandy. Some, nowhere near finished.
But, Joaquin veered East and away from the entire East coast, except for the torrential non-climate-change thousand-year rain…that swamped the Carolinas.
But the hurricane’s presence was felt all along the coast in the huge surf that tore at our shore.
Sure, there was concern of coastal flooding and beach erosion. But there was opportunity too for many to BE on their surfboards. The T V horrors could wait. Play was at hand, being present in passion was at hand.
We humans do find ways to have fun, express ourselves, with whatever is available: Paint made of blood, clay and animal fat became cave-wall art, bone flutes filled the air of those caves with music 40,000 years ago. Playing on the sea with wooden boards was the fun of Polynesians in the early 1700s, long before those people were “discovered” by Europe.
Now, in Long Beach, playful, exuberant humanity saw fun in swelling, crashing surf. Christmas-morning smiles were everywhere, on the sands, on the salty slopes… and on the faces of photographers.
Somehow we humans find ways to leave blood and flood to the undercurrent of life, for at least the time it takes to ride the crests of presence.
Whether it’s music, art, athletics,…any human joy, we find a way to BE with it.
For that moment, in that presence, there is no tide of terror, nor bullets into babies. There are no ISIS “lone wolves” who would bomb their way to fields of virgins.
When we are in our passion, all the insanity of life is lost in a paint stroke of burnt umbra or a soft stroke of violin strings.
And all of it was lost in a stroke of luck and the slopes of sea…at Long Beach.