Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring is in the air...

It's kinda scary that it's February and it's 70 degrees outside. Okay, so tomorrow it will officially be March, but still. I remember when I was a little girl, it would snow a few times a year. Not ice, actual snow. A few times we even had a few feet of snow. Snowmen, sculptures, and angels galore! We even got fancy and with the help of some food coloring even made colored snow sculptures. So much is happening so quickly. This year, we didn't get a lick of snow... okay, well maybe a lick. I did see a couple of snow flakes a few weeks ago. But they didn't stick around long.

I know I sound like an old person longing for the good ol' days. It's not that exactly. It's jsut that I want to be able to share those special kinds of experiences that I had as a child with my girls. With all of the gizmos that are out these days, kids don't have a lot of incentive to actually go outside and use their imaginations anymore. I do miss that. They expect to be entertained rather than entertaining themselves. They came for a visit this weekend, and they had such a great time. Do you know what we did? We went for a walk.

Yes, that's right, a plain ol' walk. Except it wasn't that plain. It was gorgeous! We took the dogs with us and walked into the park access at the end of our cul de sac. We discovered that the county had been very busy since the last time we were there. The mini lake is cleaner, has a graveled path around it, a bridge with a gazebo across it, and a mile long nature trail meandering through the area. It's so beautiful that I can't seem to get enough of it. I've been back with one or both the dogs every day since then. It's so nice to take a break from gadgets and get some very fresh air and some really beautiful views. It truly is food for the soul.

It's not that I'm opposed to gadgets. But, progress keeps speeding up, and adapting to every new thing can be exhausting. I'm not saying progress is a bad thing, either. I would much rather be living right now than back in the Renaissance or Middle Ages. I just wonder what the long term effects of all this change will be. Will we, the human race, be able to navigate through all the chaos into a stable functional society? Will we continue to have a healthful planet? Will our technology allow us all to reach the stars?

There are social issues that are not going away. I look at all the conflict going on in this world and don't know whether to laugh or to cry. On the one hand, it's like watching a kindergarten class fight sometimes with all of the name-calling and scratching and pulling... But when you look at the details, there are some truly horrible things being done to others in the name religion or justice or security, etc. Why is death and destruction so many peoples' answer to solving their problems? We need to build each other up, not tear each other down.

There are economic issues that aren't going away. It is not just whining for me to say that the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are getting poorer. This has again become the times of the robber barons. For most of this country's existence, the average difference in income is that the richest people have made 20 times what the poorest have made. Nowadays, the richest people are making 400 times more than what the poorest are making.

Why has the influence of money become so incongruent? In the 90s, it was amazing that people would have to raise 20 - 40 million to win a presidential election. Yet today the journalists are talking that candidates are going to have to make 100 million in order to have a fighting chance. It is so frustrating to see that much money being spent just for someone to gain political power. Think of all the things that could have been done with just half of that amount. I just read an article that all the state-owned companies in Iraq could be restarted for either 100 or 150 million. We could get an entire country's economy back on track with that kind of money.

I think that if I ever became one of the rich, I couldn't just pile it up and sit on it, or solely use it to make more money. I'd have to invest it in our future... our education system, especially. With all of the technological advances we have, I don't think my kids are getting as good an education as I did. And I don't think I received as good an education as I could have. It's time to start making a difference... and I think a lot of people are on board with that. But how do we start?

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