It’s no secret that my state (Michigan) is in the doldrums, and yesterday’s announcement from General Motors did nothing to help revive our spirits. We knew it was coming, for every newspaper and magazine in the land has been heralding the demise of this corporate behemoth. Perhaps being forewarned was indeed being forearmed for the shock wasn’t quite so – well, shocking. But because I come from a long line of automotive workers…the livelihood of practically everyone in our family was (or is) involved in the automotive industry in some capacity… there is grief over this event, and confusion about what is to come, and fear about the future.
Atop this news we hear that a giant airbus has fallen from the sky, simply disappeared into the waters below, and those of us who love to travel, and have travelers that we love, shudder with fear.
We are in a state of flux.
But today, there were new neighbors moving onto my street. There have been four empty houses on our road, homes vacated due to the death of their elderly owners. Most of them have been sitting empty for at least a year, one of them for more than two years. But within the last six weeks, all four of them have sold. There is bustling about in long neglected yards, old rolls of carpet and ragged furniture appear at curbs to be hauled away, and the sounds of new dogs, barking with great excitement, resounds through the air on long summer evenings.
And then there is word that a former General Motors office building in Pontiac (“I sat through lots of meetings in there,” Jim sighed) will be converted into seven brand new sound stages, the home of Motown Movie Productions. By the end of the year, there will be 3000 new jobs there with up to 10,000 more in the offing. Rumor has it that Steven Spielberg has his eye on the studio for his next film.
Once again, as it goes with life in general, so it goes with mine in particular. I’ve been in the doldrums myself, suffering with a bad cold which played havoc with my time in Florida last week. Today, it was chilly and dreary, nothing like the first of June should be. My work has been less than satisfying, and this afternoon I nearly fell asleep at my desk from sheer and utter boredom.
But after dinner the sun appeared, and I decided it was time to get some of my new plants in the ground. I’m in the midst of making a flower bed in my backyard, a big English style mixture of everything from ferns and ivy to iris and lilies. I’ve been moving the pots around for days, trying to get things “just so.” Finally, I realized that making a garden is a lot like writing a story, learning a piece of music -or raising a child. You finally have to set all the fear aside, say, “enough – I’ve done all I can do” and simply put it out there for the world to see.
So I did. After a couple of hours of digging, and planting, I suddenly felt so much better, excited even, about my own personal state.
As I often do when I’m particularly pleased with myself, I sat at the piano and launched into Debussy’s Arabesque, those triplets rippling perfectly from my fingers. And though it doesn’t matter to anyone but me how well I play Debussy, playing it well gave me a tiny moment of pefect pleasure, a moment when I didn’t feel the pangs of being 53 years old with weak eyes and a creaking back.
How about you? What’s flux-uating in your world these days?