Every turning of the world / knows some who are disinherited, to whom / neither the past nor the future belongs. / Even what is about to happen is still remote to them. / …. ~from The Seventh Duino Elegy, by Rainer M. Rilke
January comes into the Carolinas mild and warm, 65 degrees and sunny the first days, now turning to misting rain and cooler drafts of air. It is 2012 – an election year in an America that is still suffering through a recession and just ending a 10 year war overseas. The belief and fear that “our current world will end” on December 21, 2012 is prominent in many minds. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon). The worldwide banking crises and financial upheaval still murmurs and twists – no one can promise that 2012 will be a better year – a fearful world holds its breath and waits as the year 2012 drifts into being and claims its moment in history.
We all want a better year than the one we fear is coming. Catastrophe is never an easy thing to bear. IF we believe life on this planet ends in the coming December does it change who we are? How we live? What daily life becomes? Does the fear of ending make existence sweeter and more dear to us? Or, is the human race more likely to become ruthless, desperate, dangerous? Will we allow ourselves to even consider the possibility of mass ending, humans dying in the streets like the dinosaurs, fossils of a past time?
I, for one, believe that human beings have an infinite tendency to live in a created place of selective vision. We are a unique being able to live in denial when facing the most simple facts contrary to all indicators of an opposite truth. We paint pictures in our minds of the world we live in, who we are, and what really matters. Thus, we have an innate ability to minimize and move on.
It is this creative ability that produces a “forward motion” mindset that allows us to keep moving and prevents us from “freezing in the headlights” like a deer or possum. Our creativity, hope, and faith will continue to push us forward, step after step, no matter what the new year brings. But, with all that said, consider the question: Ifthis were the last year of your life – what would you do with it?
Artwork By and copyrighted 2012, Rachel Christine Nowicki. Visit her page at www.Fine Art America.com for more information.
Excerpt from RAIN: A Collection of Short Stories (1999).
The gentle summer rain danced like poetry across the old tin roof of the trailer. Most of her life had been spent in trailers, or “mobile homes.” It was a fact she despised. It seemed like she would never escape the trailer parks that marked a poor person in the south. She always thought there would be a better time, a time when she’d live in a fancy house on a large, open piece of land. That was the dream inside her brain and heart so many years. The dream that pushed her further and deeper into perfectionism and goal-setting. The dream that, when it failed to materialize, pulled her backward into a spiraling depression unlike any other dark thing she’d even known.
She reached those pinnacles of success at different times. Lived in nicer apartments and even a few houses through the years, but it never seemed to last. There was always some disaster, an unexpected health issue or a job loss, which led her back to the less expensive dwellings and lower-middle-class neighborhoods.
The trailer park was its own special phenomenon. It existed under a thousand different names in a thousand different small towns, but Sasha knew the truth, it was the same creature underneath. You could always count on the basics: a drunk living down the road, rebellious teenagers wreaking destruction on nearby mailboxes, a few pedophiles and peeping toms, angry spats between the neighbors that had slept with one another’s mates, and at least a few old people relegated to the mix, usually without any family that visited – unless there was still some money to be had or a car to borrow.
Sasha (more formally, Sashuanna, an Indian name that no one could manage to pronounce correctly) realized she had become the very stereotype she’d always hated. She was now the 50-year-old, standing on the back porch of a trailer, a cigarette held between her long red nails, wondering how the hell she ended up back where she started. Luckily, she knew the bitterness that came to mind in the vision of the stereotype didn’t really belong to her. At least, not yet. She had a plan. Her lips parted in a half-smile as she thought about the future. This would end…in just a few more days, she’d say goodbye to trailer parks forever.