reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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“← →” [merely-a-thought monday]

anna quindlen, in her book a short guide to a happy life, says this: “yogi berra’s advice seems as good as any – when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

we have arrived. it doesn’t come with directions. no gps. no warranty. no guarantees. no table-of-contents-glossary-index-laden information booklet. nothing. just a choice. well, always a choice.

there’s something amusing about signage that points both ways. there aren’t a lot of things making me giggle right now. but, although we have passed this spot on the trailhead many times, this signpost made me giggle the other day. i am at a crossroads. we are at a crossroads. which way?

“…a dividing line between seeing the world in black and white and in technicolor.” (anna quindlen) i suppose the spectrum is meant to be seen in its entirety. all the colors. not a flattening out of the incandescence of life. i suppose it’s not as scary as it seems. i suppose luminous scrappy will rise up, face the signpost and decide.

it’s all fluid. we are all fragile seedlings bending in the wind. invisible forces, gravity, dark, lost-ness, steadfastness, weightlessness, light, found-ness buffet us and brace us, both. and we orient. we stand at the signpost on the trailhead and choose, knowing there will be another moment when we will choose yet again.

“and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” (max ehrmann)

either way. either direction. either path. i just start. we just start. again.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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“transparent.” [merely-a-thought monday]

the headline from business insider magazine reads, “chris krebs firing from CISA (cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency) was evidence of his success.” the united states top department of homeland security cybersecurity official was fired this week after spearheading efforts to protect the democratic process of the election. he spoke to the truth; he exposed the falsehoods, the mismanagement of factual information, the peril to free and fair elections, his ignored answers to questions about an election that was “the most secure in american history.” he was removed. democracy is at stake.

defense secretary mark esper, apparently not loyal enough to a president who seeks not truth, but rather, compliance, was fired early in november, injecting uncertainty into an already perilous global climate. he was replaced. our country is destabilized, put at greater risk.

 lt. col. alexander vindman, a national security council staff member, raised his hand and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  after speaking to the truth in impeachment hearings for the current president, he was fired by the president, the same man who was impeached. his error? speaking the truth, citing facts, about a man who demands only absolute alliance, disregarding truth. that man, along with those complicit to him, exacted revenge.

 dr. anthony fauci, the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases since 1984, speaking to the truth, the inconceivable and unconscionable peril that this country is facing in the middle of this raging global pandemic, has been minimized and tossed off, threatened with being fired by a president intent on absolute control, absolute obedience. factual information needed to protect a vulnerable populace has been withheld, experts with words of wisdom have been held at bay. more people will contract this disease. more people will die.

 “transparency, in a business or governance context, is honesty and openness.”
“transparency is the open sharing of information from a business to its consumers. it creates brand trust, good communication and perceived good citizenship.”

transparency is not the utterance of pretty words. it is not relationship participating in hiding the truth, sweeping it under the rug. it is not silent. it is not intentionally deceptive. it is having hard and healthy conversations,
respectfully taking responsibility, navigating difficulty, meeting and addressing problems head-on, collaborating with maturity, eyes toward progress and shared authenticity.

our election process. our national security. the integrity of our leadership. our collective health.

lack of transparency. peril. potential collapse.

there is too much of that going around.

what a sad commentary on our times.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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like pond scum. [merely-a-thought monday]

“one thing i can’t comprehend is how hungry people are to consume lies.”

disconcerting?

while i’d love to say that this – “how hungry people are to consume lies” – is merely disconcerting, it wouldn’t begin to express how shocking this is. people in this country are, seemingly, not just hungry to consume lies. they are ravenous to consume lies.

i suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. it is the basis upon which the national enquirer and other such tabloids are sold in vast quantity. it is the in-line-at-the-grocery-store appeal of juicy gossip, falsehoods, lies and machinations of true stories. people soak it up. having no desire to see doctored photos or absurd stories i have never once purchased any of these.

the last four years, especially, have proven, time and again, that this country is full of sponges. in my mind’s eye, devotees to the current president sit at the ready, next to a scummy pond, thirsty. the wind blows a slight breeze across the surface and the green water ripples. the populace alerts to the movement of pond scum and, like chore boys fresh out of the package, suck up the mindless babble, the intentional lies, the aggrandizing rhetoric, the dangerous narrative. never does it occur to them to fact-check, for the pond scum has clearly clogged the arteries to their brains and they are too lazy to question what they are hearing. instead, they jump-jump-jump on the dyin’-to-be-lyin’-also bandwagon and ramp it up, full steam ahead. and the rest of us stand back and are astonished, yet again, over and over, at their hook-line-and-sinker devotion to something so nasty and self-serving.

it comes as no surprise then, most especially since the current president has advertised his malintent for months now, that these people-of-the-populace have gathered onto the fraudulent-election-wagon. they have soaked up the scummy messaging and have made it their own; conscience, nonetheless truth, has not entered the equation. their unmasked fervor is making them each big fish in little ponds; their words are reverberating in minds lacking of questions, devoid of analysis.

what is gained by the re-telling of lies? what is the endgame of this fantasy, this dive into psychosis? what is the point of this mean-spirited, predatory piranha of the truth?

perhaps it is of solace to them that their pond scum, a living organism, is good fertilizer and can be used to add important nutrients into, say, compost.

much like manure.

read DAVID’s thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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yes.”time for a cool change.” [merely-a-thought monday]

the little river band sings it, “time for a cool change….i know that it’s time for a cool change.”

that’s for sure. on so many fronts.

the horizon looks promising…the sun setting on the toxic, the sun rising – now, tomorrow, soon – on a deep cleansing breath of new.

we could feel it in the air on saturday. we wondered if it was our imagination. there was something. something kinder. something more generous. something hopeful.

we felt it at the gas station, pulling in just as a pickup pulled in from the other direction. the pickup stopped, backed up and pulled around to the other side, the driver waving as i called my thanks out the open window. we felt it at the corner, turning to head to the park, the trucker waving us on instead of taking his turn. we felt it on the trail, people wearing masks, allowing distance, eyes smiling above their masks, hands waving. something was different.

time for a cool change. time for healing. time for unity. time for responsibility. time for leadership.

yet, the next day, in the wake of this deep breath, in the wake of a called election, in the wake of inspiring victory speeches, i could sense the waves of anger rushing to the shore. the grace of the day before was a little less pronounced, the relief a little less relieved. the pulse of the nation had quickened and there was a bit of uneasy quaking.

i sat this morning for a bit, reading the narratives of the angry. i read the fights that people were picking with others. i read both intelligent debate and angry spew, baseless rhetoric. i read attacks on people of the populace, people fuming at an election loss, verbally going after other voters, some barely acquaintances, ugly, threatening words of vitriol splashed across social media and the news. my brilliant son put it well when he wrote of the harmful mean-spiritedness of conservatives toward anyone who voted blue. he wrote of the marked difference between that and the reactions of the left, who have specifically directed their dismay to those committing the heinous and not to everyday people. he pointed to the difference in the celebratory reactions of the left vs the right. his words ring true. and, devastatingly, this violence, whether verbal, emotional or physical, is incited by this president, his administration and the party that sits there, silent, complicit. it is indeed time for a cool change.

it is unfortunate, but not really mind-blowing, that this current administration continues to dial up the temperature on this. it’s consistent. compassion and kindness, honesty and the democratic principles of this country are not part of the equation for a president who is still coddling his own agenda rather than seeking peace and health for this nation.

this country is exhausted and, while 71 million people voted for this president, 75 million voted for a new administration and new light. because it is *most definitely* *way past* time for a cool change. it’s time to move on.

yes, little river band, “you KNOW it’s time for a cool change.”

so we stand outside, our faces to the wind and take a deep breath.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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it’s time to vote. [merely-a-thought monday]

time is about up. it’s time to vote.

the wreckage of this nation is smoldering. ill-intention was unleashed on this country four years ago and it is time to douse the fires of hatred and division and suppression and aggrandized self-serving agenda. it is time to steer away from the fire. it’s time to vote.

the populace of this nation is trembling. adrenaline has pumped, non-stop, for the last four years and it is time to take a breath. it is time to reach with compassion and care across the obvious aisle of race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religion. it is time to come down off ladders of audacity, rungs that few ever touch; time to make the united states of america united as-best-we-can, time to stop the divisiveness, now pervasive everywhere. it is time to recognize that there is much work to be done, if we can even attempt to slightly level the playing field for each citizen in a nation that proclaims to be in the always-flux of forming a more perfect union. it’s time for healing. it’s time to vote.

individual voices in this nation are fading. this administration has ceased to listen. it has ceased to give concern to fact, to science, to medical expertise, to any one or any thing that gets in its narcissistic way. it is grounding down to stumps the stalwart voices of reason, the wise words of those with prowess, masters in their fields. and then, this administration grinds the stump into ashen piles of wood-soot, calling names, firing shots from the hip at masters in their careers, and claiming an autonomy on knowledge. it’s time to vote.

the democracy of this nation is at risk. the administration of the last four years has undermined it, assailed it, pummeled it, ripped it from its roots with nary a backward remorseful glance. truth has been shredded. diplomacy shattered. fear-mongering has come out of its dark cavern of danger. virtue is missing in action. it’s time to vote.

diana ross sang, “do you know where you’re going to? do you like the things that life is showing you; where are you going to? do you know?”

dave matthews answers, “vote. you want to be part of what’s steering our future.”

time is about up. it’s time to know. it’s time to steer. it’s time to vote.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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“easy way down” and the way back up. [merely-a-thought monday]

in the middle of going down, down, down, i wondered about going up. it was a steep descent down the mountain service road and seemed interminable, winding around and around, but big red was up top and the return back up was inevitable. not only did it seem possibly insurmountable, it was laughable because it became clear to us that siri had directed us improperly to the start of the trail we wanted to hike. so there we were, trekking down a gravel service road with amazing views and a really big uphill back to look for our desired trail. “you have arrived,” siri announced. we stared into the forest looking for a trailhead, a trail, leaves crunched down that resembled a path…and saw nothing. it may have been an easy way down but it would be torturous going back up.

we have descended into the hell of a divided country. nearly 224,000 people have died – in this nation alone – of a pandemic that has swept the world and yet the president of this country continues to drag us down further, encouraging rallies sans masks or social distancing, insisting that this raging pandemic is “rounding the turn”. rounding the turn to where, we ask. it can only be a deeper cave of hades. his rhetoric, his falsehoods, his dismissive behavior of anything that might actually be of value to save-lives-right-now, have dragged us down to a devastating abyss.

it was easy going down. going back up, clawing our way to the surface of sanity and truth and virtue, will be harrowing. the crevasses are deep, the sides of the chasm walls strewn with piercing fallacies that must be sorted out. the rescuers are magnanimous, saving all the populace despite their flailing arms and dangerous tales. how much lower can we go?

and the truly sad part is that the pandemic is just one arm of the waterboarding, the suffocating performed by this administration. with bigotry and systemic and systematic racism, with decimated healthcare and a constant bow to the wealthy, with so much evidence of hatred and lies, inequality and political chaos, the current leadership has undermined the foundation of a country built on a celebration of the melting pot. the easy way down.

it is time to rise up and start walking. it is time to stare audacity in its face and vote it out. it is time to gather all strength and, with panting breath, make our way back up. to a horizon of light and love, to healing for this country and its citizens, every last one of them.

the way back up is not easy. but it’s achievable.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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“character counts” week. [merely-a-thought monday]

parental controls on computers and tv and phones evolved as my children grew up. were i to have small children right now i would block their access – any and all – to the standing president of the united states. and isn’t that an incredible thing to say?

“character counts” week – your proclamation, mr. president, a virtuous statement of goodness, words you have never spoken aloud to the populace, obviously penned by a talented staff writer.

yes, mr. “president”, character does count. and i submit that subjecting vulnerable children, nonetheless any living and breathing human, to the grotesque character of your twisted psyche is dangerous and will afflict damage in more ways than can be counted. even for a person who adores words, i am having a difficult time wrapping words around the hideous ways you have treated people, the vulgar things you have said, the threatening things you have done, the divisive rhetoric and policy – thwarting any progress toward truth and equality of this nation, the vicious menace you are on this country.

“character counts” week – perfect timing, oh self-absorbed leader of the free world. perhaps your proclamation will bring your miscreance to the forefront as people ponder a week celebrating “character”.

for i cannot think of a stronger antonym than “character” as the opposite of who you are. in your own words, “character is a learned attribute acquired through consistent, purposeful action, not an inherent trait.” thanks to you, it is absolutely clear that it is not an inherent trait.

we, the american people, continue to aspire to have actual character – character as “you” so eloquently described.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

watch GIRL IN THE MIRROR – “character” as defined by the current president


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simply. go all in. [merely-a-thought monday]

my niece and her husband have a newborn baby. this tiny little boy entered the world and their lives and has turned everything upside down in every good way. like all of us, i suspect, who have had experience with newborns, they are discovering that, despite all the mechanical and high-tech devices that have been invented to aid in caring for a newborn at the very-very beginning, the most prized is simply holding that baby. and they have gone all in, loving him, snuggling him and, i’m guessing, kissing the top of his sweet-baby-smelling head over and over and over while dreaming of all the moments in life as a family to come. all in.

my mother-in-law is in the middle of taking care of my father-in-law as he slips quietly deeper into dementia. she patiently explains to him where he is, who she is. she reassures him when he is worried or frightened. she shares pictures and stories, in soft tones explaining to him, at 87, that his parents are no longer present on this earth. she spoons out masses of his favorite ice cream in bowls each night. she makes him laugh. she makes sure he has everything he needs; she watches after his safety. she has sacrificed her own activities to defer to those that speak to him, those that he might be able to still partake in. his repeated stories elicit interest and open-ended questions from her, despite the redundancy. she makes sure that they play bingo each day to keep him thinking and engaged. she has deep compassion and deep commitment to caring for this very kind, sweet man, her husband, even in the midst of the hardest of days. all in.

we approach a time in our country that will necessitate all its citizens to go all in. so much is on the line. the freedom and equality of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, religion – the ability for people to be who they are and to be supported by a country that embraces them. we simply cannot ignore the direction in which the current leadership is sinking. we simply cannot strip rights from the populace, cannot empower this soulless extremism, cannot allow all the complicit, standing by clutching their elite wallets and positions of power without conscience, to be the rule-makers, to further divide this nation. we simply cannot stand by silently while conspiracy theories radicalize this country, while leadership without compassion or heart or honesty tends to its own narcissistic agenda. we simply cannot sit back while being catapulted backwards, rewinding decade upon decade, defining this country with ideologies of nationalism, of anti-feminism, anti-LGBTQ, no recognition of drastic racial bias devouring equalities, instead of stories of a country holding its citizens with deep love, reassurance, compassion and commitment.

we simply must concern ourselves – absolutely right now – with racial disparity, with LGBTQ rights, with healthcare, with this ongoing, raging global pandemic, with education and work and housing equality for all, with climate change threatening this earth, with the violence committed by people with guns of mass destruction, with recognizing our collaborative place in the world, with truth, with justice, with the welfare of every single citizen.

we all must go all in. we all must vote. every one of the 328 million of us who is of voting age. every last one of us. all in.

read DAVID’S post this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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grrreat??? [merely-a-thought monday]

when tony the tiger said it, it was true. “they’re grrreat!” he growled. and yes, frosted flakes ARE grrreat. that sugary coating, that crunch, perfect with milk or almond milk. yum. he was not steering us wrong.

we were behind a pick-up on the way to the grocery store. the open bed had two huge flags, both of which said that which you might be able to guess. it was embarrassing even to be behind this truck.

“keep america great” the can’t-be-creative approach to the incumbent’s election makes me (and tony) stop in our tracks.

keep america great? for what, exactly, is great about america right now?

is it the political chaos, the mind-numbing cruelty of an incumbent president with no compassion, no moral compass, no honesty, no real concern for the populace?

is it the way that this nation has failed to appropriately respond to the global pandemic that is careening about our country, striking down families, afflicting old and young, decimating households, killing people? a wanton disregard of science, medicine, safety in the name of what? freedom? freedom of exactly what? is it the obvious choice of the leadership and its complicit minions to be unjustifiably and blatantly uncaring? the freedom to not care about the populace?

is it the social injustice and inequality that has been a part of the fabric of this nation since, well, forever? is it the racial tension, unrest, deeply rooted and devastating to the core of this crumbling democracy? is it the inability of this country to guarantee the provision of indistinguishably equivalent educational, career, earning potential, medical, banking, mortgage, legal, policing and judicial protections and opportunities?

is it the reprehensible wish to return this country to the ignorant, destructive ways of decades earlier, extinguishing the rights and equality of women, of LGBTQ, of any race that isn’t conservative-pearly-white?

is it the lack of affordable and equitable healthcare for all the people in this country? far be it from the united states to embrace the idea that all of its citizens – regardless of their place on the economic ladder – should have affordable and uniform healthcare as a basic right. instead, is it bankrupting its people when they seek care that this country is after?

is it the exclusivity of the wealthy, their insatiable hunger for more money, more money, the inability for the country’s peoples to rest easy at night, worried about their finances, their futures? is it the fact that the stock market is held in higher regard than the food line, that less in this country is never more, that it matters not who suffers, what little person or small business, as long as the corporations are benefiting? is it the disparity, the immovable wedge between wealth and not, the chasm of economic despair in which families all over this country are flailing?

is it the propensity of violence that is wracking these united states? is it the gun laws that allow regular folks to brandish weapons of mass destruction in the street? is it the killing and maiming of children in schools, movie-goers in theatres, concertgoers at venues, shopkeepers asking patrons to wear masks?

is it the extreme nationalism that seems to be seeping into the pockets of many citizens, diluting their compassion, stoking their fury, wrapping itself around their roll of dollar bills they hold closest to their hearts?

is it the way this country’s current leadership and legislature are failing to recognize that we – the – people are the very ones destroying this earth we share with 200 other countries’ residents? is it the way this country is shunning all the goodness that has been done around climate change, all the stopgaps that have been in place, all the earth-communal gathering-together of the most brilliant minds in an effort to heal the damage we have already done, slow the continued harm, avoid future desecration?

is it the palpable rage? the mind-blowing lack of empathetic, nonetheless sympathetic brotherhood/sisterhood of all? the nonsensical lies and warping of truth and justice, values tossed to the wayside? the ignoring of work that must be done?

keep america great? this “perfect union” securing the “general welfare” of all and reaffirming “domestic tranquility” and the “blessings of liberty”?

tony looks up from his bowl of frosted flakes, lays down his spoon and mutters with his mouth full, “keep??? america??? grrreat???”

“not so much,” he scoffs.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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“hide, snooze, unfollow.” [merely-a-thought monday]

the zoom meeting facilitator asked us to state a few things as we introduced ourselves: our name, our race and gender identification, what we would want our superpower to be, were we to have one.

the first woman who stated her name et al said, “i would want my superpower to be able to read people’s minds.”

i shuddered. why on earth, in the social-media-middle of seeing every single thing people are thinking and doing and opining and touting and boasting and ego-stroking and proselytizing and whining about, every place they have gone, are going, will go, every squat-thrust, deep-knee-bend, downward dog they have ever managed, every hair on the bodies of their sweet furry pets, every ingredient in every recipe for every meal, every factoid about every little atom of their lives, would you want to read people’s minds?

the others laughed and added their thoughts about this woman’s desire, but when it was my turn to respond to her superpower-wish, i said, “as an empath, i would like to NOT be able to read people’s minds.” good grief. enough already.

it has been my experience that hiding, snoozing and unfollowing are the only ways to survive some of the ugliness in social media. now, i don’t readily hide, snooze or unfollow. after all, i do want to see other thoughts on issues, different perspectives about topics where i disagree or which i haven’t given much time. but when things get ugly, and people are over-the-top, a “hide” or “unfollow” or “snooze” are good ways to save yourself a few moments of W-T-F!-exhaustion. i try to remember that these “friends” are often people i haven’t seen in many decades and will likely never see again in ‘real life’. nevertheless, i still linger in astounded feelings of betrayal.

so when i passed this post canoeing down the FB river, i laughed at the use of the term “power-user”. perhaps this person would have listed their superpower as “button-clicker”. for with that mere button-click there is self-preservation. with that mere button-click there is silence. with that mere button-click there is unity. eliminate all those who annoy you or disagree with you and you have utopia. or do you?

it would seem a pretty bland world that way. the woven threads of the country would flatten out, the tapestry no longer ripe with diverse ideas, no longer a myriad of textures, no longer heterogeneous. soporific uniformity would cover the land. and the fire beneath the melting pot would cease to burn.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY