Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt in our living rooms~

I met an old friend I hadn’t seen for years—decades, actually—in the supermarket today. We talked about life: snow, more snow coming, husbands, husbands shoveling, and, of course, our kids. And snow!

Not once did we talk about the situation in Egypt, although I went home to the constant news coverage; maybe she did too.

It’s so odd:

… to think about filling the bird feeders because another storm is coming this weekend—another!—while watching the footage of cars mowing down people in Egyptian streets.

…to compare prices of vitamins, knowing that shops have closed in Cairo. No food, let alone vitamins for sale.

…to drive down streets narrowed by snow, knowing people narrow Cairo's streets.

…to watch my son toss in free throws in his college basketball game, while other mothers' sons toss Molotov cocktails.

…to live an everyday life, while, right in my living room, I see others, miles across the world, living their not so everyday lives, wanting what we all want: happiness for their loved ones… and freedom.

But happiness isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition. It never was and never will be. What makes one group happy makes another miserable. Yet, we’ll all choose sides. It’s what we do.

Some, of course, think they have all the answers. But that’s nonsense. It’s all a house of cards that stands or falls depending on any number of possible events, and none are predictable. It’s like driving in the fog. Who knows what will appear on the road ahead?

There’s enough analysis to sink a ship. But after watching the same footage over and over in our living rooms, to think we have a grasp on the bigger picture is foolish.

And so it goes. Everyday life. Chaos. Violence. More snow… and feeding the birds.

Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire. ~Kurt Tucholsky

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The groundhog says...

Drum roll, please!

Phil, the famous weather prognosticating groundhog of Punxsutawney, PA, will be closely watched on February 2, as he has been for 120 years. Not the same groundhog, of course, although some say he is: magic punch fed to Phil each summer lengthens his life by seven years. 

And who knows? Maybe. Sometimes it seems like meteorologists may have been sipping some sort of punch…although, I must say, they’ve been accurate about the snowstorms this winter.

If Phil sees his shadow when he pokes his head out of the burrow, he'll scurry back inside for six more weeks of winter. 

But given the current weather across much of the country, sun and shadows seem unlikely. That would mean an early spring!

Except that, while Punxsutawney Phil has forecast an early spring 14 times in his 114 recorded predictions to date, his predictions have been correct only 39% of the time.

So we might be better off if he does see his shadow.

But don’t tell poor Phil that spring--the vernal equinox--is a fixed date based on when the sun is directly over the equator. This year it will arrive officially on March 20, at 11:21 p.m. So there’s a bright light at the end of winter’s six-week tunnel no matter what Phil does.

Whether the mounds of snow we have now will melt by then is another story. And I’m betting we’ll still have mounds of it left.

But in any case, even for those of us who like snow, doesn’t it feel good to know that spring is only six weeks away?