Ice storm

The ice storm has not been as bad as they forecast, but enough to make everything glisten.

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At the bird feeder this week we have seen goldfinches and male red-winged blackbirds, unusual for this time of year, and the more usual tufted titmouse, song sparrow, woodpeckers, wrens, white-throated sparrows. Next week the forecast is for temperatures in the 50s and 60s. That will be good for the Women’s March here in town, but I do miss the winters of my memory, with snow and cold. My friends, most of whom like warmer temperatures, will say be careful what you wish for.

I have almost finished Svetlana Alexieivich’s book about the Soviet era, Secondhand Time. Some of the anecdotes of divisions, rancor, and violence between political and religious factions following perestroika are disturbingly similar to trends in our United States today. And one theme throughout many of the anecdotes is a nostalgia for the Soviet era, for the grand “Idea” it represented, the way the populace, of whatever nationality or race, unified around it. For all the awful things that happened under Stalin, of which many of these people became aware after perestroika, there is that nostalgia for shared purpose, as opposed to what they view under the new capitalist system as every man for himself, old people begging in streets, anyone who doesn’t sell something or take advantage of someone else a patsy. Although I can’t quite articulate it, there is a sense there, for me, of similarity to the US as well, that we have lost a sense of common purpose. Maybe it was never there. Maybe it was all illusion. At any rate, we are certainly moving into an era of illusion, there seems to be no regard for facts, truth, science in the new administration, just whatever suits their idealogical ends. And the scariest thing is that so many people, fellow citizens, buy into the illusion. So, again, I’ll just do what I can to hold on to my sense of common humanity and purpose.

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