The Apostrophe Blog
End of the holiday season so swiftly upon us. Ornaments wrapped, stored in the growing inventory of empty Garrett’s Popcorn cans. Glass icicles removed, laid to rest in a metal, candy-caned tin tied with a sateen bow. Strings of red beads, garlands, back in their indigo blue box. Light strings unclipped and tied with twine until needed, ready to emerge (with the inevitable burned-out bulbs) next year. Popcorn and cranberry strings doled out to eager birds and squirrels in the backyard habitat, already nearly gone. Doug fir needles everywhere on the garden room floor even as the tree makes its way outdoors to be habitat for the hordes of the flitting eager for shelter in its branches, eager to dodge the mist, the drops, the downfall of January, its gray, its somber days, its harsh.
2024 barely begun and feeling like an inauspicious year, foreboding, enervating, bleak. Hard to shake that we have been here before and there is no excuse, really, for being here now other than cowardice in the powerful, weakness in those who have been chosen to (allegedly) lead. I don’t want to be wallowing. Don’t want to fall prey to these downward spirals of less-than-optimistic thinking. Hard not to though. End of the holiday season so swiftly upon us. Horizon of the days ahead ominous, clouded, forlorn. Hard to shake that we have been here before. Hard to shake that maybe this is the feature not the bug.
I decide to stroll back. Read a book: Reconstruction after the Civil War by John Hope Franklin, copyright 1961. Just shy of one hundred years after the end of the Civil War, he gathers the facts of the matter, spills the truer tale of that much maligned historical period. It feels like oracular time travel to read of a country that lost its will within a couple of years on so many fronts least of all to punish the treasonous and do right by the newly freed. Short 19th century attention spans—sound familiar? Business and the industrialists and nascent corporate powers favored over the good will and rights of living, breathing human beings. Corruption and graft followed by financial panic followed by a depression leading to a contested election with its backroom deals to award electors to one candidate over another in exchange for giving up on reconstructing the recalcitrant, treasonous South, blah, blah, freaking blah. Amnesia then as now about incendiary acts, unforgivable crimes, white supremacy’s terrorists and their unchecked mob violence upon those they disagree with, upon the land and homes and livelihoods, their wrongful deeds unpunished, overlooked, forgiven, swept under the carpet, entirely whitewashed. The unwillingness of the losing side to admit let alone accept defeat. Only to oh so swiftly let the unreliable narrators take center stage with their revisionist tales to forever poison the historical well.
Impossible to shake as we have been here before and there is no excuse, really, for being here now again other than cowardice of the powerful, weakness in those who have been chosen to (allegedly) lead. It does not cheer me to know these facts; it does offer a perspective, however, that these are the features not a bug. End of the holiday season so swiftly upon us. 2024 barely begun and already feeling like a precarious year, gaslit, perfidious, bleak.