“We're not out of the woods!” screamed the local paper's headlines. We're in the middle of drought here in Northern California and the paper seems to be relishing that fact. Never mind that the rain is falling, it isn't enough. And if it were enough, then there'd be floods. LANDSLIDES. Then just wait until fire season. All that rain will mean bad news for firefighters. Lots of growth to burn. Or, if there isn't enough rain that will be bad news also. Lots of dead growth to burn. Any way you look at it we're screwed. All the reporters love to say, no matter the nature of perceived relief, "It's a drop in the bucket." And if they don't say it they unfailingly find someone to quote who will.
It seems that no matter what news I wake up to in the morning, it's bad. The Internet flashes it, the newspapers ink it, the radio hosts scream it. There's a monstrous industry in making us fret 24/7. Radio talk-show host have this thing they call, The Stir. It's the first part of their program where they get you agitated so you call in and/or listen.
The Stir reminds me of my late Uncle Tony. An impish, tall man, he'd come to a family event and agitate all the kids (being a part of a large Catholic family, there were always lots of them). He'd spin us around and lift us upside down and tickle us and prod us and whip us into a nuclear frenzy. The other adults would finally have enough of the screaming and yell at us. "Cut it out!" they'd bellow. And Uncle Tony would just smile and walk away.
Today's media scream, “Recession!” “Crisis!” Terrorism!" “”Bailout!” and “DROUGHT!” in a continuous stream of The Stir. Each of the firestorms consume themselves and eventually go away. But, the collective angst remains. Hot air is hard to dissipate. The media have too much to gain by making us uncomfortable.
At least Uncle Tony had a twinkle in his eye when he'd perform his version of The Stir. To him, it was about love and family and a bunch of kids having fun. I cannot say the same for the windbags of the modern world.
Today's image was photographed in the bunkers of the Marin Headlands as part of my Relics of Fear project and gallery, a work still in-progress. The moment seems ominous, but the birds and the storm are just passing through. Could you imagine a newspaper headline that would read, “This Too Will Pass?” Don't hold your breath.