Burnt Toast and Black Jellybeans

Happy Zombie day, as a friend of mine puts it.  Or, as husband says, “Happy ovoid ovum spring fertility ritual day”, or “Happy Bunny day”.  I can’t do anything but laugh at what has become the most important Christian holiday, this mash up of powerful, ancient spring symbols with the death of a good man.  Why his death is so celebrated never ceases to amaze me.  This focus on death, torture, and possibly becoming a zombie (er, resurrected) and then trying to pass it off as sacrifice for the abstract evils of humanity does not wash for me.  There ARE some ideas attributed to him in the bible that make a lot of sense (By the way, the old testament ONLY makes sense if you consider food restrictions as ways not to die from food poisoning.  The rest is a crazy, contradictory non-narrative that makes little sense out of context).  But in sum, a good man bucked the system, said a lot of things that were solid common sense, may or may not have been insane, and lived his life to promote kindness, communal well being, and love.  Then he was consumed and destroyed by the very system he resisted, and has since been regurgitated again and again by every huckster and self-delusional promoter that has come around since he died.  Entire systems of social control have been built around the use and abuse of his life story.  I truly don’t think this is what he had in mind.

When I look at real sacrifices being made, I don’t see political, business, or religious leaders.  I see a lot of mothers and fathers working grinding, often bone mashing jobs to feed their families; these mothers and fathers doing their best to keep their families clothed, housed, educated, and fed.  Oh, yeah, and in most cases the process makes those around them aware that they are loved.  Reproducing at all is amazing, the choice to give over bodies, minds and lives to support and love new people, the ultimate spring symbol. 

It is in the everyday little deaths and sacrifices parents make that I see heroic spring.  Today I do not glorify the death of an admittedly good man who has been so misunderstood for so long, I witness the parents who continue to live, as best they can, promoting kindness, communal well being, and love.  Today let’s not forget when mothers choose to eat the piece of toast that was accidentally burned; or when fathers eat the black jelly beans children reject then proffer, chewing without a grimace.  Do not forget long nights, hard work, the moment by moment sacrifices that are made for families, and the sheer luck that for thousands of generations at least two people (and a host of others who took responsibility for children from birth) had to survive wars, famine, plague, and an assortment of horrors that we might exist today.

The darkness has abated for another year, and warmer weather has come.  The flowers bloom, and crops are planted.  Rejoice in the sun, hug your families however they are structured and populated.  Humanity continues, for better or worse.  Happy spring.  

Community seeding

I suggested an idea to a doctor I know.  “No way anyone I know would do that”, she said.  She went on to explain that people going into medicine wanted to make decent money, and their insurance was so high they had to make a lot of money, and the only way to do that was to go to urban and regional areas.  But, I asked, what if?

What if insurance companies, in programs under-written by the government, agreed to create special rates to cover doctors and nurses who agree to open small local clinics in rural areas?

Think about how the country functioned 150 years ago.  There are so many small towns, especially those in the Midwest and West (that are now dying).  Some have tried financial incentives to get people to move to these places, and it did not work out so well because there was no connected, concentrated effort to “seed” the community with the services and professionals that serve as the infrastructure first.

Think of teachers: what if student loans were forgiven if professionals spend a certain number of years providing such infrastructure services in small towns?  How about schools that have multi-year classrooms?

Think about who makes the basic infrastructure in a community and make it bloom:  Electricians.  Plumbers.  Doctors, nurses, teachers, a lawyer or two, then shop keepers, maintenance persons of all types.  Seed the community with infrastructure first, and invite creative small businesses to open next (think organic farming, small scale grass fed animals, etc.).  You’ll find, I think, that people will be drawn to such small communities very quickly.

The sprawling suburbs with insane commutes are in decay.  Inner cities are experiencing gentrification, but only by those with the money that can afford to do so.  There are many young people who see the future and think there will be no place for them but starting groups who choose to seed communities together, it might work on so many levels.  Take this to your think tanks and see what happens. . .