"Sweeter than wine, softer than the summer night. Everything I want, I have - whenever I hold you tight. This magic moment, while your lips are close to mine, will last forever, forever 'til the end of time." - The Drifters
Prepare yourselves, folks, I'm the most romantic and jolly doomer you'll find for miles around. I'm a doomer in love with life.
I am writing this column with the theme song playing on loop of The Drifters, "This Magic Moment." I would argue that this is one of the most beautiful songs in human history and it makes me picture people back in the glow of the past, where couples slow-danced to love songs in their kitchen after the dinner plates were cleared away and the kids were asleep. So many love songs are about longing for things that you don't have, or that you've lost, but the dreamy timelessness of "This Magic Moment," stands out so defiant in the simple words, "everything I want, I have."
In this "Magic Moment," you have gratitude that is elevated and revered as being imbued with a significance that will transcend anything and everything that comes after it. In other words, this love and affection, is all I ever wanted, and I'll never forget it - it's like living in a dream, and the melody is like a dream.
A lot has happened this summer that has been difficult to interpret as a doomer: there've been deaths in the family and new terminal diagnoses to face, and the birth of my first nephew. The fundamental question is: how do I comfort others in grief, as well as celebrate new life, when I have no hope in the future and I'm still reeling in the past conceits that led here?
Meanwhile, I began contributing weekly to a radio program about this sixth mass extinction of geological history. The show is called, "Nature Bats Last," and through trial and error, I'm discovering that I differ from the concerns expressed by most of the other doomers. While on one hand I know the doomers are spot-on in their criticism that it's the things we have done that have led to our end, I find that I disagree that we can be divided from nature and abuse "her" as if nature is some innocent entity. I believe we came from nature, and so everything we struggle with is natural!
I noticed that flowers and feathers are the same as advertising and marketing, that crows know how to trick each other, that vines will choke the light from the canopy below, because they want to live and so they must compete. I remembered that yeast will feast and excrete until it chokes, and that makes alcohol. Is it a "sin"? I don't think so. Bottoms, up!
Is it foolish to listen to love songs from the past? Well, as I write this I also hear the backyard with it's horny juvenile barred owls of August, and the love songs of crickets and frogs. They are all having their, "Magic Moment." I'm not above it, and I'm not beneath it. I am not just IN the world, I am OF it. It seems to me that any creature who found themselves with opposeable thumbs and a brain that reasons in symbolic metaphors, is going to get into some trouble by inventing languages and ideologies to justify their own desire to dominate.
Every quality we have, is a double-edged sword. Take conformity for example - it's essential to facilitate language, it keeps family and tribe together, it makes cooperation easier. But on the other hand, conformity can harbor compliance with atrocity, it can perpetuate bigotry. But what else where we going to do? We descended from tree-dwelling mammals that held their young for a long time. You need an incentive to lug around the weight of another individual, so we got the social feeling of love to make it worth it, but it helps to talk about more than love when you're hauling another individual, so we formed ways to have empathy to be able to persuade, as well as ways to criticize and to patch over strife when we criticize.
I'm supposed to rant, but to me a rant feels like an angry or frustrated spectacle about something we find distasteful, that doesn't take the next step to explore the complicated reasons why anything actually happens the way it does. I used to just rant, I was so obsessed with trying to live "ethically" and to cajole my loved ones into the "right" attitude, that I got like a religious fanatic, full of judgement and wrath. For many doomers, they find they get sick of the conflict with other people, and they choose to distance themselves. But I was raised in Chautauqua County, in a very close-knit family, and though the people here have many different ways and beliefs, I see them in my mind like a silent movie, all the things that we've been through, flickering on the screen, and I don't feel judgment, I feel affection.
The doomers have NOT kicked me out for my "not gonna blame people or be ashamed to be human" attitude. Maybe I can bring to them something they hadn't considered. Because this is my big announcement, my big discovery as I turn 29: I love people and I no longer want to be "right" above all else. I want to be connected above all else. I want to look at what has unfurled throughout space and time on our little globe, and be in awe that I'm even here at all.
"This magic moment, so different and so new, was like any other, until I kissed you. And then, it happened! It took me by surprise. I knew that you felt it too, I could tell, by the look in your eyes. Sweeter than wine. Softer than a summer night. Everything I want, I have. Whenever I hold you tight."
I feel a tremendous relief of no longer bearing the burden, to "fix" things. Literature, art, and music, they say the things that science and politics can't. I will never need any charismatic leader to tell me what to feel, or how I should live. We all live in what way makes sense to us. I don't want to be pious, or righteous. I want to slow-dance to the love song, that flows through the speakers decades after it was written, and makes me grateful to be alive. In this magic moment. No matter what comes, no matter why, "everything I want, I have."
Lindsay Morrison is a Forestville resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org