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Let The Sun Shine

It was a simpler time. A denim on bare torso time...

It’s a little hazy this morning, but if that means all the snow is off my roof, I will take it.

I know I said I loved snow in the very last blog post. And I meant it. I also love seeing the little bits of grass poking out of the melt. I’m happy to be able to let the dog out in the yard occasionally again (of all the things in Bailey’s mix a husky he ain’t). I love not having to put the little booties on his feet which neither of us like.

His face coloring makes him look moody AF doesn't it?

Again, I am trying to find gratitude in all seasons.

Longer walks, flower and garden season coming, and perhaps even socially distant outdoor gatherings again (yeah guys, I’m still there… deal with it).

I know even after the thaw the situation with the pandemic isn’t going to change right away. It might be cool again before we see any sign of normality. I’m rooting for a ‘regular’ Christmas that isn’t a hostage negotiation with our health.

But it feels like it’s a plan now and not a hope.

This year I turn 40. And for Kelly’s (redacted: milestone birthday year)’th we took a fantastic trip to Alaska. I vowed to demand the same, and today it feels more a possibility than a pipe dream.

(I will say this ‘home time’ has truly exposed the strength of my introversion. I definitely suffered from social anxiety for years before I realized hey, maybe I was just, like, out of my element, man. I definitely have strong social skills and love interacting with people but I do acknowledge the energy it requires.)

If you’re a nerd like me, you read the news about the Perseverance rover landing on Mars. I’ve been following the story of the rover for a few months now and it just successfully touched down on the surface of an ancient lake bed in search for more evidence of life on Mars (if you’ve been sleeping, we’ve found water which highly suggests microbial life past or present that we just can’t detect by throwing robots at it). OH, but my favorite part? They’re going to fly a drone up there!

Why am I sharing this? Because it’s fun! Because it proves human ingenuity doesn’t just go towards destroying humanity (nevermind why the rocket boosters or robot parts were developed…). It’s a manifestation of our imagination so awesome as to be almost incomprehensible.

It is a sign of our optimism as a species. We’re pretty cool animals.

I know this is kind of a bleak way of looking at optimism, but I think one thing that animates human behavior is that humans sort of know they’re doomed. Not concretely or constantly, but the idea of mortality, of establishing a legacy, of succeeding, these are all squarely in defiance of the inherent impermanence of life.

This can manifest ideologically too. Humans have a spectrum of different ways of handling their knowledge of oblivion, from science (conservation of matter) to religion (eternal salvation/damnation, reincarnation) to blatant nihilism (I believe the kids are calling it YOLO?)

Kids: We most certainly are fucking not, sir.

Also to be clear, I do not conflate optimism with hope alone, though the ideas are interrelated.

Hope to me is the noblest corner of our imaginations. Really holding onto the idea that “anything could happen”. It rests in wait on science fiction and fantasy shelves, but also in our daily lives and in our beliefs and faith (the ideas get muddier and way more controversial in the faith column but THAT is another blog).

Misplaced optimism is better defined as misarticulated hope, but maybe that’s just a semantic hot-take. All I know is there was a lot of it in the past few years, and I am actually starting to feel optimistic now vs. just hopeful.

I see literal light in the sky, and am grateful the snow is melting and spring is springing. But I’m also feeling other warmth. The warmth of optimism.

I’m optimistic I will be able to physically embrace my family again soon.

I am optimistic that a freaking drone is about to take flight on another planet (omg you guys!).

I am optimistic that quiet, boring and productive governing is better than alarming, loud, destructive governing.

I am optimistic for the day my group is called for the vaccine.

Sure, I’m hoping for the unemployment benefit extension.

I’m hoping the economy improves so I can find a job in the field I'm targeting vs. anything I can find.

I’m hoping that when my vaccine group is called I will be able to find a vaccine.

I am also hoping that I can be more optimistic about all these things in the future.

Sometimes when your brain is in a certain state long enough you forget how it feels to have felt any other way (like when you've got a fever for two days and you can't remember when your head didn't hurt).

I grew comfortable with the freeze, but I’m embracing the thaw as well.

Thanks for reading!

Doc Wattson

Native Stranger Productions


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