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Lord Of The Flies

Lord Of The Flies

How valuable is it to have a routine? A ritual that guides us through our days either hard or good, happy or sorrowful, invigorated or painful. A ritual anchors us in a sea of psychosocial trauma. Writing this blog has become a ritual for me, a Saturday morning ritual. I look forward to getting up early to compose another thought filled commentary about the week that has passed or an idea free floating in my mind.

Last week, my ritual was broken. Several things took precedent over my Saturday morning commitment. I thought I would have all Memorial Day weekend to write something spectacular, but on Saturday night of the Memorial weekend, the power went out at 11:00 pm. A Pin Oak tree also fell in our backyard at about that same time. Luckily its path of destruction missed the house. The tree has since been removed. And quiet time on Saturday has returned.

On Memorial Day weekend, I put off writing my blog, thinking that I had plenty of time to complete the task and post it on Tuesday morning, just like every week during the past three years. The idea of reorganizing my time on Memorial Day weekend was well intended, but unfortunately life got in the way: a relatively brief catastrophic event cut power to our home for four days. I felt lucky it did not turn out to be seven or more days without power.

As I thought about the events that transpired last weekend, I recognized several important life lessons. Each and every encounter, no matter how big or small, has within its context a life lesson. Metaphors grow like vines on an abandoned building, but only those people who can see them will appreciate the experience.

One of those life lessons is related to breaking a ritual or being distracted enough to postpone a ritual to an out-of-sequence time. Rituals are created to keep us tethered to a stable process of living, giving us a frame work to stay steady amongst the turmoil and frequent disturbances we face each and every day. I have found that living a sound life requires discipline. Discipline without joy is mere suffering. Embracing discipline requires ritualistic behaviors on the social, occupational and recreational platforms of our lives. Even the most disciplined person can be interrupted by matters that make them chose between the ritual or the unscheduled, seemingly random occurrence whose importance requires immediate attention. Actually, there is no choice even though we believe in the illusion of choice. Significant matters almost always upend ritualistic commitment. The question: will we return to our ritual when the critical matter resolves? The true disciplinarian will recommit. I have returned to writing my blog on Saturday morning.

A second life lesson is that if we break our ritual and plan to complete the task at some near future date, catastrophes although rare, can occur and an interruption of our ritual may be prolonged. It is at that moment that we realize that the majority of the disruptions in our lives are not by our making, they emerge naturally. Our behaviors may have contributed to alterations in our usual course of living, but most of the fallen towers occur beyond our control. I never factored into my decision to postpone writing my blog that a severe storm would cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in our community and my home would be out of power for four days. If I had had advanced knowledge that a storm was going to wipe out our power for four days, I probably would have written my blog and postponed attending to the urgent, but not emergent situation. Things occur out of our control at the most unsuspecting times. Be very discriminating when contemplating interrupting your ritual. And remember rare occurrences occur rarely.

The metaphor losing electrical power in an electric world is noteworthy. But losing electrical power as a result of nature's wrath is much more revealing. Despite the unfoldment of our collective dependency on electricity, at anytime Mother Nature and her natural catastrophes can destroy all of it in a blink of an eye. A moment of her severe fury can lead to lifetimes of sorrow, pain and loss. Hundreds of trees fell as a result of her powerful winds, even though the ground was firm and their roots where deep. The destructive power of a falling tree is immeasurable. Ask those whose houses or cars were destroyed by the crushing force of massive limbs or whole trees. The power grid was affected, but seemingly in a haphazard, non-linear pattern. That is the signature of Mother Nature: Fractal.

I do not believe that Mother Nature was acting vengefully by hitting the Mid-South with tornado force straight winds. Mother Nature creates new growth by destroying its old growth. A fallen two hundred year old oak tree gives way to a sapling struggling to find its way to the sky. I am not suggesting that the two hundred year old Oak tree can be replaced by a sapling, at least not for another two hundred years. Then the cycle will emerge again at Mother Nature's command. This is not a God thing, this is a Gaia thing.

My ritual time is coming to an end. The loss of power last week was temporary, but the hardships it caused life changing. As long as we had fire and water, we survived without much trouble. I just could not engage in the usual man made luxuries we all have gotten use to. For many of us, turning back to a more primitive life seems like an impossibility.

It's not. We survived. You survived. And if all electric power would end tomorrow, somehow we would adapt until a new, more accessible power would be found by mankind. We might look to the Titan Prometheus, thank him for creating us, thank him for bringing us fire from Mount Olympus thousands of years ago and then ask him for another favor: Can you bring back electric power?

I wonder what the Titan would do, since the world changed dramatically after he gave humans fire. Perhaps a world without power and social media would restore a sense of community and bring back civility between those who have and those who have not. But then again, maybe a new chapter of the Lord Of The Flies or Animal Farm would emerge. Then where would we be?

Thank goodness we have power.

Doc

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 11:21 AM
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