There was a TV series in the late 50's or early 60's that I used to enjoy. It was called Wagon Train. As I think back, it had some intriguing storytelling, actual drama set in the 1800's during the great settling (or unsettling, depending on your native or immigrant status) of the Great Plains. It wasn't mile-a-minute dialog in an overstaffed, overequipped crime lab or DA's office. Ho-hum.
One episode of the show was titled "The Great Beast of the Cimarron." Apparently, a variant of the legend of Bigfoot was well established in middle America (now western Kansas and northern Oklahoma) before the white folks ever arrived in droves.
Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we live in Bigfoot Country, Sasquatch Land. There have been some pretty convincing photgraphs and footprints over the years. I've also worked alongside people who know for a fact that some of the photos were staged by field mechanics of a helicopter logging company based in southern Oregon. While the big Sikorsky's were out working, gorilla suits, masks and wigs were donned by the mechanics at their service trucks. Then, 35mm black-and-white pictures were shot to be intentionally fuzzy and blurred. At some point later, a picture would be sent anonymously to the editor of a small-town newspaper.
That was before the Internet, YouTube, and blogs like this.
I wish the past decade had gone very differently. I wish we could suddenly hear the alarm clock, wake up and find it all a bad dream. I wish we could say the footprint of the "zeroes" or the "aughts" had all just been a poorly designed doormat or a bogus print in the mud made by a cast rubber foot, a hoax.
And speaking of Cimarron country, I wish a prominent Oklahoma Senator's disbelief of global warming were the hoax that he claims human impact on the planet to be.
Ten years ago tonight we sat in our living room looking out at the snow in the back yard and watching black-and-white TV to see 2000 rung in around the world with no Y2K disasters. I was glad to leave the 90's behind. One of our cars had been stolen that year. Work that decade had been extraordinarily draining. As I parent, I felt like I had been beaten to death at times. A member of the family had experienced things I wish did not happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
But we both had jobs, health insurance and a lot of hope that things would be better as we exited a decade, a century and a millennium. [Now actually, the new millennium did not happen until January 1, 2001; and looking back on 9-11 it's obvious that we would make a better breaking point with 2001. But nobody else thinks or counts that way, so I'll concede.]
I wish I could say I had the same hope and optimism I had ten years ago. I'm aware of too much missed, too much wasted, too many bills coming due in the future that we refused to face in the ten years past. And if they honestly knew the scope of that, our kids might justly say to us, "Mom and Dad, older generations, we don't want more of what you had. We want different."
So do I. I'm ready to EXIT the failures of the past ten years. I'm ready to begin anew. Soberly, but anew. I hope you are, too.
Happy New Year!