Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day Shall Come Again

Winter holds us fast in his grasp.  2011 breathes its last.

2012 is upon us.  A new year, rising from the ashes of the old.  I have little doubt that it will be only a little less apocalyptic than the Maya foretold.  But we shall see.  I make no predictions tonight, other than this:  whatever darkness lies ahead, there will be another dawn.  It may not be sunny to some, but dawn it will be.

I vow to see it. 

"Last of all Hurin stood alone.  Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Hurin cried:  'Aure entuluva!  Day shall come again!'  Seventy times he uttered that cry..."  -- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Chapter 20:  "Of the Fifth Battle:  Nirnaeth Arnoediad"

Wassail, friends, and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

CANZUSUKI, and Why I Sleep Fine Nowadays

Last week, at one of those Eurozone-y meetings that seem to take place once every 26 hours, British Prime Minister David Cameron kind of told his Continental peers to suck it.  Bless his heart!  Now, the Brits had never adopted the Euro in the first place, but they became part of the trade zone anyway.  Now, with the seemingly imminent breakup of the Euro -- or its morphing into some kind of Franco-German Reichzone -- we see which way the UK leans.  With its usual detached-ness from the Continent becoming more marked by the day, it mirrors the detachment of the US and its other close (read:  English-speaking) allies from the rest of the Real World.  The unofficial nations of CANZUSUKI (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland*) are quickly becoming a bit irrelevant on the world stage, as history unfolds.

It's beginning to look a lot like the 1930's.  Or, at least feel like it.  There is a sense of futility and dread behind all the headlines.  We don't need the media to tell us that there's a shitstorm of global proportions brewing.  (Well, maybe some people do.  They're fucked.)  We're well past the beginning stages of the next Fourth Turning -- that is, the next Crisis.  The last was World War II; the one before that, the Civil War; before that, the American Revolution.  Eighty-year intervals, without fail.  So yeah, it's time.  How's it going to happen?  I believe war with Iran will start it, with either Israel acting unilaterally, or a NATO attack to knock out supposed nuclear sites.  This may have the effect of drawing Russia and China in on the side of Iran, and, well... there you go.  WWIII.  Easy-breezy-Ja-pa-nesy.  Won't that be fun?  I love to hear those of a hawkish bent boast about how we'll be able to mop up the Iranians before you can say knife; it reminds me that they said the same thing before we invaded Iraq, and before we invaded Afghanistan.  Will the country as a whole be able to make that same connection, when Hillary Clinton comes on TV to justify attacking Iran (which has not attacked another country in two or three hundred years, unlike ourselves)?  Yeah, sure.

I'm too old to fight in their wars now, thankfully; and by the time my daughter gets old enough to serve, the Crisis will be over, and whatever's left of the United States will begin a new era under a new paradigm.  You know, that is extremely comforting; and I am also comforted with the knowledge that I have done all I can humanly do to prepare for the changes currently under way.  I sleep more soundly, knowing that it's the fate of my generation -- Gen X, the modern equivalent to the Lost Generation of Hemingway, Tolkien, Patton, Truman, Eisenhower -- to do the hard work of managing our country through Collapse; to keep the Baby Boomers from destroying everything, and to keep the generation after us -- the Millenials, the next "Greatest Generation" -- from destroying the Boomers (though the latter may deserve it, as a whole).  It's what Gen Xers, the underprotected latchkey children of the 1970's and early 1980's, were raised to do, albeit indirectly.  We're survivors.  The events of the larger picture are out of our hands; we just have to make it through to the other side, and shepherd through some of the younger folk along with us.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.  Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again." -- Robert Jordan

Wassail, friends.

*I included Ireland, though like as not they will go off on their own, as is their wont.
Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"