I love winter. I love the low angle light, the short days, and frost beading every branch. Cabin fever.. not so much.
It feels these days like the house is shrinking, and that chaos lurks in every drawer. The Christmas tree and all the decorations are down, and the living room looks bigger as a result. Still, I am restless and irritable.
Downstairs Sparky the cockatiel has been shrieking since daybreak. Scott yells at the bird. Deer are fighting in the yard. A buck just curled his lip at a fawn and kicked at it with his front hooves. Friends complain over rankling remarks..we compare notes. “What did she mean by that?” “He said WHAT?”
Then this morning, the sobering news about the shootings in Tucson. Morning Edition was full of details, and pundits weighing in. Is it because of the political diatribe in the media? Fiery rhetoric inflaming deranged minds? People whose anger takes an exponential leap into violence?
One of my favorite songwriters Cheryl Wheeler wrote a song based on this question that ends “If it were up to me, I’d take away the guns”. Ironically, when she played a concert in Alaska this fall, there was a shooting in the bar adjacent to the club she was playing in. Why did it happen? No one really knows much besides the fact a crazy person had a gun. And something sparked into violence.
Bottom line, it is the guns. But words are weapons too, and I get so mad sometimes hearing news, I can’t listen. Not easy, since I am the local host for Morning Edition, responsible for broadcasting the news. But the divisiveness, self-righteousness and mean-spirited comments never end, and it feels like the whole country has a bad case of cabin fever.
So at 7 o’clock this morning, 11 am Eastern time, I made KFSK join with President Obama and members of Congress and people all across this country in a minute of silence. In radio, that is an eternity called “dead air”.Generally we strive to avoid this, but this morning in the dark hour before sunrise, nothing else made any sense. Silence as cold and pure as a winter night.
As the seconds clicked by, I thought about the dead and the wounded. I thought about the grandmother who reached over and took the clip out of the shooter’s hand, and I thought about the shooter.
Words have power. So does silence. I have been weaving my way between these forces over the last months, weighing the value of both.
After a minute, I read the weather and the tides. Reminded people to watch for the sparkling hoarfrost crystals and black ice on the highway. This is my job every morning, waking the town up to the beauty and dangers of the day. I feel confident about commenting on the tiny snow globe world we live in.
I have lost the taste for larger opinions. My own, and those of most people. That is why I quit writing.
So I am finding my way back. Somewhere between a barrage of words and icy silence I might be able to salvage some kind of personal truth. At any rate, if you check this blog, you will get the view from here.