V Is For……..

Three disparate pieces came together today which prompted an essay.

The first was a stanza from a William Butler Yeats poem which I’d cut out and saved with other odd pieces of paper, thinking to write about it’s significance for our world today. It was stuck to my journal this morning and I read it again.

The second was a morning’s scroll through Facebook where I found a page for Cool Earth, “a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.” One of the projects is the Cacao Cooperative, an indigenous village group, which is planting cacao and making more money from chocolate than they did logging, thus preserving rainforest. No doubt some corporation is still making money but the hope is there for the indigenous villagers and for our earth.

The third piece was watching V for Vendetta,  a film from 2006, while I was on the treadmill and thinking of how much of that movie seemed a precursor for the “fear sells” political propaganda of today.

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating an overthrow of government or violence.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.                                                         William Butler Yeats in the wake of World War I.

There’s a lot of things falling apart these days regardless of where we look: neighborhoods, schools, the Mid-East; refugees pouring into Europe from Northern Africa conflicts; the conflict in Eastern Europe; Southern voters losing the right to vote without picture IDs; the Kansas legislature unable to come to fairness in taxing its people or educating its children; police behavior ending up on YouTube; to say nothing of the United States Government completely unable to come to the center on any piece of legislation. The center does not hold.

V for Vendetta, which some may remember, is an interesting look at what can go awry when people are fed on fear in order to consolidate the power of those in power. We’ve all seen way too much of fear whether from politicians running for office or ISIL political fighters beheading people, the world is gripped in fear. Fears for safety. Fears for climate change. Fears of drought and flood. Fear of the other whom we do not understand. Fear of our neighbors or the sirens on our street or the demonstrators against police actions. And yet, few of us are directly impacted by these actions or inaction…the people in those situations are impacted, but most of us aren’t in those situations. And yet, we fear.

Fear consolidates power.

But then there’s chocolate. Regardless of the money some company or corporation makes importing or selling the chocolate, the people in the Amazon are growing it. And selling it. And making a living. And not cutting down trees. That’s hope. Here’s one site that sells chocolate from the Amazon. You might also want to check out the work Cool Earth is doing. Growing cacao in the Amazon is a V for Victory.

Bottom line, I still choose hope. And no, not a Pollyannaesque blindness. Rather a realization that if Yeats wrote those lines at the end of World War I and stuff still has kept going, it will keep going now. I can do small things: I can wave at my neighbors; I can be kind to others; I can stop shopping in Kansas as a small and perhaps insignificant protest; I can conserve gas when I drive and I can support alternative energy. I can vote. I can care. And I can order chocolate online although that’s perhaps more self-serving than anything else…but I can.

I can pay attention to the things that work and release the things that don’t.

And I can keep reading and finding the hope. Here’s another stanza from Yeats:

They set up a noise like crickets/A chattering wise and sweet,/and her hair was a folded flower/And the quiet of love in her feet.

I can walk quietly in hope.




21 thoughts on “V Is For……..

  1. Could not quite get the first V of Yeats .. unless it was in the body of the poem. Endorse the victory for the cocoa growers (I support local enterprise too and buy from the small timers when I can in preference to the multi nationals ) and as regards Vendetta : If only we can live without feeling the need to hit back at any and everything, and everybody too, that may get in our way, or threaten us in a real or imagined way. If only we would let go of our fears, we could hasten a time of peace when the lion will lie down with the lamb.

    until then ….how do I live …..??
    Nice reflective post.

    1. Well, Ms. Rose, your eyes are bright. I didn’t have a V for Yeats, but I couldn’t think of another title, so there it is. 🙂
      Until then…how to live? I expect to live as gently as possible. I gave up manning the barricades years ago and now I’ll either make a difference in small ways, or I’ll get out of the way. It’s not an easy feat to put down fears. It’s a choice that takes practice and more practice. Most times I’m successful at dodging anger and sometimes I’m not, but I always return to the practice. And when I can, I laugh. Hugs, Lady.

      1. returning to the practice is the key … with persistence and patience I would add 🙂
        and yes .. I should try ‘dodging’ anger. That’s a nice way to put it.

  2. we were lucky to have lived in a time were we could find a place to be alone and have fun with our friends. it seems the world has shrunk. there are fewer hiding places full of sun. i worry about young people. everything feels like a fight. just drive around on any highway. finding peace without pretending things “aren’t so” matters so much. the world is what we think it is (eventually if not now). like the beatles said all we need is love enjoy everyone you meet, willy

    1. My brother was here last week and as he was getting ready to leave, he was looking over his atlas. “You can get that on Google,” I said. “Yeah, but I don’t like driving the Interstates and I want to see where things connect.” Ah. (He also stopped in Luckenbach on his way through Texas – knew you’d love that!) Anyway, yes, there may be fewer hiding places with sun but they still exist and we have to get off the Interstates to see them. I think it’s still possible to be alone and have fun, but probably harder on the East or West Coasts. And you’ve driven some pretty fierce roads in your time.

  3. Speaking of anarchy, social media generally is exhibiting the tendencies. Self-discipline and a little discretion surely would make things more enjoyable, but as it is, I’m nearly ready to leave my only social media connection (Twitter) just because of what it does to my blood pressure. I do enjoy following certain publications and people, but I’ve learned that blocking re-tweets is a pretty good idea.

    As for the fear-mongering: yes. It’s everywhere, not only in terms of apocalyptic predictions of the end of the world, but also in terms of our personal lives. I made a list a few months ago of all the things I’ve been told are going to ruin or destroy my life. I’m still here, relatively whole, and relatively happy. And most of the predictions (NYC under water by 2015!) have been proven to be so much foolishness. And remember “butter is bad, use hydrogenated margarine”? Uh-huh. Even the brontosaurus is back, after having been declared non-existent. I love that brontosaurus. He’s a symbol of something important. Call it the limits of human knowledge.

    1. The limits of human knowledge…. hmmmmm. I wanted to write “the limits of understanding” until I re-read what you wrote and saw “knowledge.”
      Sometimes, I think I am a brontosaurus…at least in human terms. I have a Twitter account but use it rarely…too much information too fast to absorb without a reaction, as in blood pressure. I like the dreaded Facebook because I can keep up with my very large widely far-flung family. And boy do I have email…..I can even understand some of the fear — there’s been too much too fast for too many years in a row. What really annoys me is the fear used to sell – a politician, a product, a life-style. The center does not hold.

      Years ago, after the 60s and early 70s protests of … well, nearly everything, I decided I’d no longer man (or woman) the barricades and would instead change one person at a time. My success is limited (!!) but it inches along. Which in the end, is sort of like blocking re-tweets…. So nice talking to you.

    2. Love that about the brontosaurus. What we actually know collectively is about as much as a thimble full in the oceans…..at the very most.

      And in the end, as Paul said, all things fall short, except love.
      I like “lovingkindness” as a word best, because “love” has been so misused.

      Excellent post….learned quite a bit and the hope I cling to was affirmed. Thanks.

  4. I don’t think that buying chocolate from a group like this is self-serving. How is supporting them any different than supporting any other company that makes chocolate or anything else? I choose to support local farmers at the farmer’s market whenever I can and when I buy from a local grocery store, I support not only the owners, but those who have jobs there. Without financial support, there are not jobs.

    Very thoughtful post, Janet.


    1. Thanks, Janet! That was tongue-in-cheek, but I agree. My circle of purchases gets a smaller and smaller base. And I’ll order some chocolate. Hopefully small changes like that add up over time. So glad you liked the post. I’ve been either traveling these past few months or working on the memoir (or as I sometimes call it The Memoir since it’s been through so many incarnations) and I haven’t been here much lately. Thanks so much for reading and connecting. J.

      1. Thanks. The travels have for the most part been fun. Lots of family time, that’s for sure. I’m a better writer when I have days at home, but the writing is going along. I plan on having the memoir finished by end of summer. It’s been a process, as they say!!

  5. I’m glad to be reminded of the Yeats’ quote. I’m with you on the small things like the people in the Amazon growing cacao and selling chocolate being candles of hope. I read the newspaper to find the stories, somewhere in the back pages, of people all over the world making tiny courageous positive loving differences. Your writing about hope is part of what lights our way. Thanks. ❤

    1. What a kind thing to say V. Thank you so much. Sometimes, I think I’m preaching to the choir as ‘twer, but I so appreciate having you all to talk to. It helps me to remember that chaos is a pretty life-like process. These teen years of the new century are pretty much like I was as a teen – chaotic and angry. I’m hoping the world will outgrow this phase eventually and we’ll return to those moments in time when life is … well…. placid. Now there’s a thought.

      It was good for me to go back and read Yates again. As I’m writing and reading, I sometimes forget to go back to the books I own. Yeats collected poems is a book I’ve had for years. Nice to reconnect to that voice.

  6. Reading at Dunkin. Sitting with some friends. Wonderful. Powerful. Truthful. Hopeful.
    Thanks. Phil

    1. You’re welcome, Phil. What a cool thing to be gathering with friends for a little time of fun. And Dunkin has to be fun! Thanks for your comments and thanks for all you do to make this world a calmer, kinder place.

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