After the Fires: Searching for Meaning, Practicing Prayer

So we have arrived at “full containment” of the fires ravaging Northern California over the past two weeks. Keeping a close eye on the “containment” percentage has been but one of the obsessions affecting the local population through these days. Or at least those of us who had not lost our homes and were casting nervous eyes on the local hillsides to gauge the chances of it still happening.

Living not far from the oak and fir forests of Annadel State Park as I do, I used to look up at the nearby hills periodically and think that a fire would surely sweep through there someday. But I was just as sure that it would never jump down here to the flatlands, thick with residential neighborhoods, roads and schools.

It’s one thing for a fire to sweep up and across open canyons and ridges where only the wildlife and adjacent hillside homeowners need flee...

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Dodging Bullets, Traffic, and the Fire This Time…

You are at a country music festival, the weekend’s final act.

It is late and you are feeling the love.

For the artists, the music, the atmosphere, those you came with, all those you didn’t come with but with whom you are now bound and bathed in a warm bubble of what will surely be a lifelong memory.

Then there are alien sounds, rhythmic but not musical—and not coming from the stage.

Then comes the chaos, the confusion, the sudden mad scramble and cowering amid bullets and falling bodies all around you, blood spattering your clothes (is it your own?), screams of fear, of anguish, and death for 58 people.

And for some reason, you are not among them.

You are alive.

***

You are driving down the three-lane highway with a childhood friend on a sunny afternoon, fast lane.

You need to get off, so you move toward the middle.

A driver in the slow lane has the same idea, same time.

You don’t notice, until you d...

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Toward a Reasoned Second Amendment Debate

I want to start with this question for fervent defenders of the Second Amendment: Is there any limit to the right to bear arms? Assuming that no one should be able to walk down to their local CVS or Safeway to buy a bottle of aspirin, a bag of potato chips and a machine gun, can we acknowledge that there should be some reasonable limits on an individual’s right to buy weapons?

If so, then the question simply becomes: What should the nature of those limits be? If I can buy one handgun for my family’s protection, can I buy 10 in order to place one in every room and thus increase the security I am aiming for?

And knowing that there are bad guys out there with rifles, should I have 10 of those instead of mere handguns?

And not only hunting rifles either, because I also know there are bad guys with military-style assault rifles, so how will I protect my family with mere hunting rifles against them...

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After Watching the Final Segment of PBS’s Vietnam War Documentary

***
the Fog
the Pain
the Loss
the Grief
the Waste
the Carnage
the Courage
the Sadness
the Madness
the Heartache
the Brokenness

the Remembering
the Forgetting
the Suffering
the Forgiving
the Renewing
the Honoring
the Healing
the Hoping

the Redeeming

the Madness
the Madness

the Echos

the Madness
the Madness

***

***

See 1-minute snippets of wisdom and other musings from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied by lovely photography at Traversing’s 1-minute Facebook mini-blog: http://www.facebook.com/TraversingBlog

Twitter: @AndrewHidas

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewhidas/

Deep appreciation to the photographers!

Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/

Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights ...

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The Bigger Issue: Trump Going All Gladiator on the NFL

With all due respect for how to best register one’s views on the great issues of the day by adopting one or another postural position during the playing of the National Anthem, I fear President Trump’s odious and frightening comments on NFL game rules are being drowned out. That’s a shame, because his views reveal willful disregard not only for the dead-serious problem of brain injuries in NFL players, but also the larger issue of violence as entertainment and opiate for the masses.

For all of the president’s characteristic crudity in using his bully pulpit to call out “sons of bitches” who take a knee or stay in the locker room during the anthem, he exhibited even more hopelessly warped views in the following segment from the same incendiary speech:

“When the NFL ratings are down massively, massively. The NFL ratings are down massively...

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