My office, way over in East New Jersey as it is, has broad and expansive views of the Hudson River. Yesterday as I was doing what I do (running from one meeting to the next) I happened to do the unthinkable: I looked up from my phone and out the window.
There, in the giant martial shadow of a giant martial aircraft carrier--we live, let's face it in the giant martial umbra of our military-industrial complex--I saw down in the river, a gaggle of kayakers meandering and splashing their double-paddles.
The world is both an amazing and amazingly frustrating place. Today, or last night, we learned the news of Britain's exit from the European Union. Which to my cynical mind reads in big bold 144-pt. type, "if it can happen there, it can happen here."
Yes, we could elect the short-fingered dancing bear in our three-ring electoral circus as the next president of what Lincoln once called "the last best hope of mankind."
That is to say, it often feels like the world has spun off its axis and is about to hurtle into space. The DAX is down over 700 points and the FTSE 100 down almost 500. I don't even want to think about today's Dow and Nasdaq.
But then, I stop.
Like Ishmael, "I find myself growing grim about the mouth...it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul...[and] I find myself pausing before coffin warehouses and bringing up the rear of every funeral..."
But then, I stop.
I think about how the Hudson used to be. Viscous and inky, an open sewer. And while I still wouldn't set foot in it (though people do) there are those kayakers, like children in a playground laughing and splashing.
We are, I think, like rivers.
We can be all but dead and choked with effluvia and old shopping cars and a billion soda cans. And then, over time, we regenerate, we clean, we become, again, kayakable.
Maybe this is too optimistic for this dark day. Maybe we've finally destroyed Western thought along with earth's once-balanced ecosystem.
Maybe I'll ask the kayakers. When they come in from the river.