Saturday, January 9, 2021

Beyond us

A disconnect has been shooting sparks in my brain lately. The wide gap between the ugliness of the events on the national stage and the beauty of the natural world around me has been nearly impossible to reconcile. Here in northern Illinois we've been blessed with a hoar frost that has lingered for days—trees have been wearing stately coats seemingly for our benefit for nearly a week. The landscape has been a surreally serene background to the abhorrent gestures of Trump and his rabid, terrorist followers, and has created a cognitive dissonance, a graphic tension between loud violence and silent awe, between monstrousness and brilliance. I confess to have been so distracted by what's gone down in the country that I haven't paid nearly enough attention to the natural world, a small, pretty patch of which I'm fortunate to have just beyond the backyard. Nature always wins out, of course, as, hopefully, will our democratic institutions, ideals that are larger than the puny folk who are trying to subvert and twist them. The stately, beyond-gorgeous trees in town bedecked in dazzling ice and frost, as in a regal ball, have been reminding me of what's always just beyond us—the world that will outlive us.

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