Our times


To the Editor: 

In the newspapers, on TV, on the ads, on Facebook and social media, so much remembrance of war. We are in the car ad of a 30-something man driving on the sand at dusk with a metal pick- up attachment, cleaning up debris — he stops and looks at the shore just as an influx of sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the newly cleared sand. We all go Yay. And our minds dive into a time when we think the planet had no manmade debris. When the successive generations could go to a clean beach with their kids without sunscreen and inflated inner tubes. 

Dad was the happy boss, and mother kept the house and the children spotless. “Spit shine“ comes to mind as a term for the times. The old war times. When there was no one you ever knew had an abortion, or even used that word. “H,i honey, I’m home,” the predominant greeting for heterosexual couples, who never used that word either — there were no other kinds of marriage. That institution and no abortion sanctioned by Scripture in the Christian Bible. 

All of these moves in America are a shift I call “back to the past.” In the desperate search for who we are, what we support, who or what is our foundation, we are like the inmates in the “King of Hearts” film, all persons deciding to reinvent the wheel of history for themselves.

Maybe we don’t want a democracy. Maybe we don’t want three equal branches of government. Maybe we don’t like to vote. For either/or. Maybe every body of law, religion, police, or incarceration is corrupt. Where does it end? I don’t like you: You don’t like me. 

Perhaps this shift to a search for the past will be soon seen as a futile game. The past is and was fraught as much or more with discord as our present, and will be as much or more so in the future. Growth and wisdom is wished for. As a graduate in history and a poet who loves science, in this most discordant time the only place I can suggest to my readers to go is reread “Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot ,then again. And read “The Sacred Depths of Nature” by Ursula Goodenough, a former professor of biology, now retired to the Vineyard. These suggested readings won’t help cure our problems, but they do something better: They give us hope. They make us grow wiser.

Fan Ogilvie
West Tisbury