It was another rainy, chilly, dreary day in a string that had been going on a long time. Patches of dirty snow pocked the yard below. The ridgeline across the lake was barely visible.

I almost couldn’t get my fire going. The dry wood was not all that dry, and the kindling was out in the rain. If I had failed completely, I would have gone to the hardware store as soon as it opened for fire starters. A warm stove or an open fire is the first line of defense against Seasonal-Affect Disorder.

During the night Trump had ordered a missile barrage on Syria. It felt good to have responded with force to Assad’s use of sarin gas. How was it possible that Assad (or anyone) would cause lethal lung muscle paralysis in children? Yeah, keep those missiles going.

But wait. It was an act of war. Acts of war require Congressional authorization.

Still, if there ever was a case for a “muscular” foreign policy action, this was it. On the other hand, the Commander-in-Chief likes to claim he has a big dick. A man so insecure about his manhood is unlikely to have thought much about responses other than military action. He was probably watching Fox when General McCaffrey was on MSNBC offering some nonmilitary responses.

Lyndon Johnson, who oversaw the Vietnam War, was similarly proud. A story has been going around for years that he once challenged a bunch of reporters to “”flop ’em out” and see where they ranked. It happened when he was at his ranch. There’s not much to do out there. He’s also supposed to have claimed that he’d gotten more pussy by accident than Jack Kennedy ever got on purpose.

There’s no telling how effective Bill Clinton would have been if he’d kept his pants on.

Maybe it’s time for a Constitutional amendment to limit the Presidency to women. That would probably make us less war-like and a lot safer.

Too many dreary days in a row and your mind goes every which way when you’re working on a wet-wood fire.

Now that the extreme cold of winter is over, the monastery is doing a funny thing. When the temperature outside is in the thirties and forties, the temperature inside seems to want to match it. Something to do with a sensor out by the driveway that talks to the computer that controls the boiler. When it’s zero in the driveway, the boiler does a fine job. When it’s forty, the heating system sort of goes to Florida along with half the people in the village. I could turn the thermostats way up and make the house as warm as in January, but something about doing that in April just doesn’t seem right.

So I keep a fire going in the stove in my study and spend the day by it, mostly reflecting on Seasonal-Affect Disorder and the state of the nation,

As I write this, a rather impressive snow squall has just begun, and my thoughts turn to additional defenses against Seasonal-Affect Disorder.

Coffee, for sure. An ever present help in time of trouble. While struggling to get the fire going, I had started it, and now, first cup in hand, I bless it like a Thanksgiving feast.

I like it hot. Ann laughs at me because I heat the pot before starting the brewing, I heat the cup during the brewing, and I only pour half a cup so that it won’t get cold before I’m done. Since the pot is downstairs in the kitchen and I’m upstairs by the struggling fire, I have to make a number of trips. That bit of exercise is, I guess, another small defense against the feelings fostered by all that gray ugliness and falling April snow.

When I’m able to stop poking at the wet wood, I read the service of Morning Prayer in the 1928 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. (Usually that’s the first thing I do upon waking, but today fire building got in the way.) The stately antique language can fight off minor SAD almost without regard to the content of the words. Besides that, the Psalmist’s 3000-year-old admonition to “sing unto the Lord” is a call to duty.

“We bless thee for all the blessings of this life” calls forth a list. My Ann. My vocation. Coffee, of course. A cat who loves a warm stove as much as I do. (Maybe I imagined it, but she seemed impatient as she watched me fight the wet wood.)

Later in the day after the temperature comes up to near-sauna level, she and I will take a short nap (maybe more than one) in the leather chair next to the stove. On days like this one, naps can be lifesaving; fatigue, a sure visit of the blahs.

With these tactics I’ll fight my way out of this enveloping grayness and worrying about the state of the nation and the world without getting clinically depressed. It takes a good deal of time, though. I don’t know how people who have regular jobs are supposed to cope.














  1. Alan

    Surely you jest about the missiles. I am often literal minded so forgive me if I don’t catch the sarcasm.

    No one knows who dropped the gas or what kind it was because no investigation has been done.. The 1/10th of 1% has been looking for a reason to invade Syria for some time.

    Back in 1991 a young Kuwaiti woman stood before the U.N. assembly and told a horrific story about Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators and then taking the incubators back to Iraq. This never happened. The young woman was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S.. She had not been in Kuwait at the time but spoke as if she had been. The script she read was written by the PR firm Hill & Knowlton. Later a story on how Hill & Knowlton came to write the script appeared in the NYTimes. “He killed his own people, including babies” is a recurring script because it is a proven trigger that always works with the American people. They could look on You Tube and hear Sec. of State Madeline Albright say that murdering 500,000 Iraqi infants was “worth it”.
    Having been to Iraq five times between 1998 and 2003 I know just how the U.S. killed the babies. I could send reports.
    Hillary Clinton wanted to do what Trump did and would have done so if she had been elected. She went to Haiti and made sure Aristide did not run for office as she made sure the criminal Michel Martelly was elected. He then dissolved the parliament. Then Hillary went to Honduras and helped engineer and then cover up the coup against Manuel Zelaya (sp?). Then over 100 human rights workers were murdered including world famous Berta Caceres. Shortly before Berta was shot by five assassins she denounced Hillary Clinton. Just google “Hillary Clinton Berta Caceres”. Hillary was following in the footsteps of Madeline “Kill the 500,000 babies” Albright. I could go on about the U.S. proclivity for murdering babies. My Lai for instance. Hillary has a big something, maybe a chainsaw inside. On You Tube one may watch her laugh when told Gaddafi was sadistically murdered,”we came , we saw, he died. Ha,ha ,ha.” Bone chilling sociopath crudeness.

    Trump was very against further military involvement in Syria until the neocons and the Military Industrial Complex explained the facts of life to him. I think he was saving his own life. JFK and MLK did not last long after coming out against the M-I Complex. Senator Paul Wellstone didn’t last long. Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson were not killed but it was close. A limited social program is okay, gays rights can be okay, women CEOs are okay but reining in the military budget, being against war in an effective way is sure death.
    War is necessary for the M I Budget. It must not be questioned. Trump offered the Pentagon $54 billion but that was not enough. There is an oil pipeline to be built across Syria as soon as Assad is offed.
    May 1st a good documentary on the U.S. Killer Drone program will air on PBS, “National Bird”. Who will bomb us for having killed 600,000 people with our Killer Drones? “Death from Above” as the 101st Airborne likes to say.

  2. Mary Jane Wilkie

    Thanks for the above comments, although it’s hard to know whom to trust at all. The news always seems to be an exaggeration, to sell newspapers. I agree that the military-industrial complex is the problem, and wish they were all put on the front lines to see reality.
    On other notes: re keeping coffee warm, Paul, why not use a mug with a lid? You know, the big ones you can get in Chinatown.
    Re how people with regular jobs cope: their jobs keep them from thinking about much else besides their jobs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *