We were able to see yesterday’s eclipse. A few weeks ago, I ordered a couple of pairs of eclipse-viewing glasses, which we used to look at the moon taking a bite out of the sun. While we were not in middle of the path, the scene was quite interesting, anyway. Interesting in passing. Not sufficiently interesting to me to research the phenomenon. My interests are broad, but shallow. I know almost nothing about so very much.


After six years of liberal government in New Zealand, most of that time under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, the country has elected a conservative. As I mull over political changes that have taken place over the years, I notice the tendency for voters to vote for change after a while. My gut tells me voters’ reactions to their leaders’ approaches to governance is one of frustration. The majority of voters tire of both liberal leaning governments and conservative leaning governments; because, I suspect, the ones in power lean too fully left or right. I wonder whether moderate governments tend to stay in power longer than either one of the more strident political groups. Moderation requires compromise, which the fringe ends of the political spectrum seem to loathe. Is that disdain for compromise based in the fact that compromise requires the parties to yield some demands in favor of the other? Who knows?


We had a conversation yesterday afternoon about whether my oft-expressed wish—to live in the middle of my own isolated, large (say, 2,000-acre) plot—is a tangible dream I might actually pursue or, instead, pure fantasy. (It was not so much participating in a conversation as being grilled by two seasoned interrogators.)  It once was a dream I thought I might one day achieve. But over the years it became less and less realistic. Today, it represents the shredded shell of a dream pummeled repeatedly by reality and impracticality. “I wish” is an admission of defeat, an acknowledgement that an attempt to achieve a fantasy is wasted time and energy. In considering that old, tired, impossible dream of mine, I ask myself “why?” has that been desirable to me? What do I find appealing about being insulated from other people? My response, which sometimes goes unheard in the shrillness of the day, is that I want the ability to be insulated and isolated, not that I want isolation and insulation to be a permanent condition. I need/want my solitude more frequently than most people, I suppose; but I do not want to be permanently isolated from others. Nor do I, though, want to be unable to achieve that physical and emotional distance. I want to be able to forget, if only briefly, that I share the planet with more humans than I’d like.


I would like to spend this morning in leisure. No obligations, nothing I have to do and no place I have to be. But my multiple week respite (combining vacation with family gathering with an extended period of utter exhaustion) seems to be coming to an end. Today, we plan to go to church, after a long pause. And the coming week is lousy with appointments of one kind or another. So my desire for leisure this morning is simply a fantasy; a wish so worn and thin it is nearly transparent. I’m going to take the day, regardless, and milk it for all it’s worth.


A dim sky. If I were sufficiently interested, I would seek today’s forecast to determine whether the sky will remain dull and forlorn. Apparently I am not sufficiently interested. Off I go to something else.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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