I sat in front of the apartment and the sky was so blue after the recent rains cleared out, and in the sun it was warm so I shed my hoodie and my long overshirt and let the sun warm my skin. Merle came out and curled up by my feet in the sunlight and lay with his head across his front paws.
Pigeons lifted off the roof of the Manor into the impossibly blue sky, a couple dozen of them, white under their wings stark against the sky, and swirled frantically out over Coursey Park and then back to the rooftop where they disappeared from my view. I talked about them in the last column, but sitting out in the sun I wondered about the view from up there. Later, Danielle and I watched the Daytripper episode about Brownwood on PBS (you should watch it – they have it for free on YouTube) and they had some drone footage over downtown and it made me think back to wondering what those pigeons saw from up there.
The world is a wreck. Has been forever, but it’s a powder keg right now and everyone seems to be playing with matches. Everyone’s worried that we’re not worried enough about enough things; we need our “awareness” raised. Smartphones, devices, and social media pound into us every day that we’re just not engaged enough. The government wants us to think we need them, so their megaphones in the media do all they can to keep the pot stirred. Keep you in the blender. Better worry more. That’ll fix it.
Some people are even worried that you aren’t praying about the right things. God (they think) would get it all sorted if we could just get that guy in rural Montana or the other guy sitting out in front of his apartment looking into the sky praying about THE RIGHT THINGS. Does he have the right flags in his bio? Is he AWARE? Is he worried enough and saying the right things?
As an aside, totally unrelated, today I was reading a story about World War I in Italy, and how the soldiers – so hopeful early in the war – became demoralized by the atrocities they saw. Worn down. Hopeless. Daily looking on, powerlessly, at the constant dehumanizing horror was sapping their humanity. The soldiers in the story just wanted to quit and go somewhere peaceful.
And now you can scroll through your timeline and see real death, bloody and final, all day every day. You don’t think that influences you? Can you love your neighbor if you don’t know what he thinks about everything you just watched? What if he disagrees with your opinions but you just don’t know it yet? Someone on the news is telling me I must worry about that too.
From down here at ground level I think God has it covered. I don’t have to put the whole world into my head. I don’t need to trouble myself about things above my pay grade. I don’t care if your theological errors demand that you demand that I care more, or that I worry about more things. I am so blessed and happy to be here, in this cool small town, far from the madding crowd, sitting in this warm sun, looking into this blue sky. The concrete is warm, and Merle appreciates that too.
“What should we do, Merle?”
He doesn’t know. He’s not worried about if that guy in Montana is worried enough. I’m not either.
Y’all have a great rest of your week.
Michael Bunker is a local columnist for BrownwoodNews.com whose columns appear periodically on the website.