For over seven years, I’ve written this column. There are months when I know way ahead of time exactly what I want to write, and the words fly onto the paper. Other months, like this one, I struggle to narrow my focus onto any one topic. I toss and turn ideas around but cannot seem to interest myself in any one subject. It’s as though I am living in my very own stream of consciousness novel where I can’t decide what is most important to write about.
Spring allergies are partially to blame. They seem to worsen for me every year making me feel as though I am caught in a perpetual sea of fog that I cannot pull myself out of. I struggle to focus both mentally and literally; it’s as though my eyes are always coated with some type of plant film. Another culprit is the impending end of yet another school year. My mind is preoccupied by all of the end of school/activity events that are on the horizon, as well as the scheduling of an entire summer for two kids.
I pondered quite a few ideas this month. For example, two weekends ago, I was both seething and saddened by the appearance of white nationalists at a DC bookstore. The title of the book they chose to protest is, “Dying of Whiteness, How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.” Without a hint of irony, these young men show up to prove the thesis of the book while singing a Woody Guthrie song that does not mean what they think it does. As amusing their stupidity may be, it’s shameful that these people feel the need to broadcast their hate and ignorance to the world. What was the expected result they hoped to achieve I wonder?
Another topic I tried to focus on is the recent Measles outbreak. My grandmother was a nurse back in the 1940s and 50s. As a child I would flip through her old medical textbooks and peruse the pictures, descriptions, and treatments of the various diseases. I always remember the Measles and Smallpox pictures, for they were truly horrific. One of the greatest achievements of the 20th century is the development of vaccines that eradicated the suffering I saw in those photos. One charlatan publishes a bunch of falsehoods and all this progress has started to erode. No matter that numerous studies conducted worldwide have shown no correlation between the MMR shot and autism, the doubts still continue. Come on folks, this problem has been solved. It seems as though we are going backwards on so many issues lately. It’s exhausting to ponder it all.
Thankfully there are good things to get me through the mess. My family and I returned from an enjoyable trip to Boston and spring flowers and summer vegetables grace my yard. My children had a successful year at school where they have grown intellectually, emotionally, and physically. (Thank you, teachers!) And, a new kitten bounds through my house, bringing smiles to us all. Hopefully the summer brings more time to focus.
Shannon Green writes from Frederick.