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Climate of change still heating up

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” — Zhuang Zhou, Chinese Philosopher

Transitioning from one season to the next, whether speaking from the astronomical or mere aging perspective, change takes place gradually. As Americans we frequently look to the past with rose colored glasses and long to go back and visit those happier, younger, more carefree times. Those were times when we didn’t hear about climate change or have concerns about the vulnerability of our country’s economic system. We were young and believed we would live forever and were invincible to tragedy or disease. But change happens! As summer languorously fades into autumn with its changing leaves, cooler nights, and slower days, it brings with it a sense of nostalgia, for what was as well as concern for what is yet to come.

The time between then and what is to come is now! And “now” is not always as easy to overlook. Today there are multiple concerns and even threats to our tomorrow; promises of change are on the horizon. Just as we recognize the threats of today with the pandemic, an uncertain economy, fires on our western shores, and hurricanes being steered by the trade winds into the Gulf of Mexico or along the eastern coast, we are ever aware of the change that rides on the currents of time.

Time! Yesterday, today and tomorrow time goes with each ticking of the clock, each passing of the seasons. Change rides on the evolution of time and we must find ways to change with it – while there’s still…time.

Today, while the summer solstice has long ago left and the impending autumnal equinox is fast approaching, concerns and worries remain in this climate of change. We see the lack of progress from our elected leaders in Washington to rein in the spread of the COVID-19, stabilize our health care and education systems, protect the retirement, social security and long-term care programs, provide jobs, ensure economic inequality, and eradicate racism. The Washington political climate is rife with partisanship, dysfunction and a lack of leadership.

As we develop into adulthood, we are exposed to people, places, things and experiences that invoke change. As children we are concerned with our own basic needs of being fed, and feeling safe, but that slow transition from childhood to adulthood requires more. We look for acceptance and relationships almost without realizing that slow progression toward our emotional development and need for self-esteem and respect for ourselves and others. We too often suffer the changes of the seasons of our lives peppered with failures and accomplishments before finally appreciating true happiness and self-actualization. The climates of change are real, but today we must face the here and now.

So, what do we do about it? How can we make a difference? How can we, as individuals affect change in this current political climate of unrest and uncertainty? We can vote!

There is a saying that to everything there is a season, let this be the season in which you take a stand for what you believe in. Choose to not merely ride on the waves of the political wind floating higgledy-piggledy, but rather choose to be involved.

Let me share with you a phrase from President Jimmy Carter (I received this in the mail recently). President Carter said, “Our dreams are big … our hopes high … our goals long-term … and the path is difficult. But the only failure is not to try.” Whether we look at change from an astronomical or aging perspective, change is with us. We can’t change the weather, but we can choose not to fail, we can take a stand, get involved. We might choose to look to the past with nostalgia, but we must also look toward the future clearly and choose to make a difference; our only failure is not to try.

The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, and leaves are beginning to turn. The long summer days have gone. Stephen King included the following in one of his many productions, I think it fits. “But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

Election day is drawing near, and change is on the horizon.

Have a great day!

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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