Against all odds I have arisen from a perfectly good bed earlier than usual and begun putting words to that ever-more-virtual paper as the world changed and yet remained the same.
In the Georgia 6th, the person who was most likely to win did win despite millions of dollars and lots of hype. In the South Carolina 5th the person who was supposed to win did, with about the same margin, despite little hype and not nearly as much money. Yet both races are cups full of tea leaves.
It is a sign of our times in the US that we would know the Georgia 6th as an election race and not a group of people murdered for their race. The tea leaves may not be all that bad – but never be confident in wet leaves.
In Saudi Arabia a ruling family played Game of Thrones in a more civilized, tea-drinking way than is often the case, and the change of Crown Prince may be a footnote in history or part of the story of humanity’s march to self-destruction. Either way, there will be more war – and parts of the world that view the US-Saudi relationship as a two-headed devil are more convinced than ever that this is the case.
More cups of tea leaves.
The CEO of an company whose motto seemed to be “Leave No Evil Undone” has resigned, which will be touted by many as progress in an ever-darkening world, yet will mean much less than their tea leaves suggest – the world (including Uber) is still, for the most part, run by men with big budgets for war and tacky glam, and who have little care for humanity.
And just 12 hours before arising from that comfortable bed, I mingled with good people. Some of them work hard in their jobs and then just as hard to help others, to organize conferences for people changing the world, and with a view of the world more optimistic than I’ve ever been. Others were just beginning a journey, dipping their toe into this thing called WordPress that some of us consider so important and others have never heard of.
And today I have plans. Unless mine meet that cliched punch to the face or come into contact with the enemy, I will explore technology, write a bit, and speak into a microphone, trying to get my untrained voice to pronounce words clearly and convey the right emotion. But there are no tea leaves in front of me, and I may well spend the day in some turmoil not yet visible on my horizon.
We dig deep into the events of the day, or the hour, or even the minute. A single bit of nothing can swallow hundreds of hours of cable news. Great shifts in the world go by with barely a mention. But the single soul going through their day can focus instead on what’s right in front of them, and keep an eye on their more distant, guiding destination, and change the world in beautiful ways.
I’ve never been on that path, at least not with any assuredness. I have never believed in a map to the promised land, or even a promised land. In less than six decades (not much less, I admit), I have seen the fall of kings, the rise of titans, the dissolution of relationships, the deaths of little people who meant so much, and the deaths of gloried princes of politics, business and entertainment whose passing meant so little.
Paths have never been that visible in my life. Often, they have been something to escape. Sometimes, despite the warnings of guides and maps, the clear path leads to an orderly death, and the only way to survive may be to run off into the tangle of trees and brush that causes despair and pain. Our diversions from the mediocre misery are not easy and never free. The stories of couples leaving their fancy lawyer/hedge fund manager/executive lives to make cheese in Vermont or raise goats in Wyoming don’t interest me. Money greases many wheels.
Tea leaves may show some future, but they’re quite bitter.
There are times in the woods when you look for a path. You look for a line of brush pushed aside, maybe some clear ground, a contiguous way forward. Brush can be deceiving. Animals leave trails of little use to someone looking for their own way.
But sometimes that line in the wilderness appears. It’s not a feeling we’ve all experienced, but I think it’s happening now, to one minor little me walking on the planet with a lifetime of paths escaped and paths sought. I feel this weird thing called hope, and in part I have to say it’s fed by my association with good people, and the encouragement and trust of my wife, who has herself stumbled through some thick brush.
But I don’t know what the tea leaves would have to say about it. I mean, hell, I drink coffee.