Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Sky Is Falling—Where Is The Magic Umbrella?

                The Sky Is Falling—Where Is The Magic Umbrella?
            My friend Cheryl’s children are urging her and Dave to move right now from their long-time home in Tillamook, Oregon to the inland side of the Cascades. Why? Because they live at sea level between two rivers. We are told the Big Quake, the one where the west coast slides into the sea, with requisite tsunamis to follow, has been scheduled to creak and crack any day now.

            Certainly, disaster can strike. Look around us. The world seems a topsy-turvy place.

But I’m irreverent. I cannot help my nature. First thing I thought of was Chicken Little, that fledgling feather puff who fled squawking out of the woods when an acorn fell on her head, a woodsy risk. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! I must go tell the King!

In no time Chicken Little had gathered a following. Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Drakey Lakey, Goosey Loosey, Gander Lander and Turkey Lurkey  were all heading into the woods in quest of worms, seeds, berries, mushrooms and other woodland treasures when by chance they met Chicken Little. “Oh, no,” she said. “Stay out of the woods. The sky is falling and a piece hit me on my head.”

Mass hysteria in action in fairy-tale land. In some versions, crafty Foxy Loxy turns fear mongering to his advantage and in the final scene is sitting on his haunches, sucking marrow bones and licking his lips. In other versions, the troop takes the tale to the king who, Wizard of Oz fashion, gives Chicken Little a magic umbrella. (The latter version sounds Bowdlerized to me; cranked through the sanitizing Disney machine.)

Before you pound a For Sale sign in the front lawn and the load up the U-Haul, better take a good thoughtful look at a map. Is any place safe? Is there such a thing as safe? I’m sorry. Now you are going to hate me.

We all want “someone to watch over me”. It’s our nature. We want to feel safe. I want to feel safe. I could be wrong, but I suspect that “safe”, much like “happy”, is an inside job. People, places and things won’t make “safe” happen.

With the media proliferation of Chicken Little Clones running in circles it is no wonder we have so many stress disorders, ulcers and debilitating headaches. We literally worry ourselves to death.

On the other hand, playing with negative thoughts and fears is kind of fun. Hey, we all do it. Might as well ’fess up. We like to speculate on what might happen. California might fall into the sea. Hairy mammoths might thaw out of the polar ice cap and invade North Dakota. Aliens might land and suck out our brains.

 That scaly place on top of my head is undoubtedly a brain tumor. Since some of my investments are in oil, I’ll be living under the bridge before the year is out. If I drive I’ll get hit by a drunk driver. If I walk, I’ll be shot in a drive by. One of the six airplanes I board this trip will crash, killing me in my prime.  (Wait a minute—what do you mean I am past my expiration date?)

If you are looking for “safe”, might as well build that bunker and hunker down. Yes, the world is a dangerous place. Foxy Loxy lurks behind one of the trees in the woods. But, I take a deep breath and say, there is no magic umbrella. Be sensible.

Move to the other side of the mountains to be close to your kids and grandkids. Move because it is a land you love. Move because you want a change of pace. Or stay put and enjoy the friends and comfort of your known surroundings. It’s all good.

Have you noticed that if disaster, natural or manmade, is a comfortable distance, like in Texas, or the other side of the world, it hardly creates a blip on our radar? However, if disaster rears its scaly face in our backyard, that is cause for fear, lack of sleep, screaming and squawking. Man the barricades!

When your sky is falling, that’s life. When my sky is falling, that is the end of the world. 

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

August 6, 2015

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