“Batten down the hatches!”
We’re dead in the water!”
Even we landlubbers know what action is necessary for each of these phrases. If we were anywhere near water and heard someone shout, “Thar she blows!” I’m guessing most of us would be scanning the horizon for a whale.
“Hold the course!” may have had its origins in horse-racing, but it also had early connections to keeping the ship on course by tightening and adjusting the ropes on the sails. Hard work!
You’re holding the course today. And it’s not easy.
Death Valley registered 130 degrees this summer, the hottest temperature in world history. My son, living in northern California, says it’s not a question of whether their house will burn. It’s a question of when. Not only fires, but hurricanes that are stronger than ever. A friend in Austin wrote about the “anguish” that the Texas summer heat brings. This summer, a forecast of not one, but two hurricanes heading toward them was actually good news. She explained, “The only thing that can fracture the daily hammering heat is a biblical collision of storms against the massive heat dome.” In spite of widespread fires and ever stronger storms, many environmental standards in our country have been reduced significantly over the past four years.
We hold the course. We try to eliminate buying and using so much plastic. We grow veggies and we buy from farmer’s markets. We try to lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and we live smart. Many of us replace our old cars with electric ones–that economists now are saying are cheaper in the long run.
A pandemic has killed over 220,000 people in our country. Millions have lost their jobs and many of those have lost their health insurance. We have a President who has made mask-wearing a political point rather than a life-saving one.
We hold the course. We donate to food banks and help where we can. We socially distance. We wear our masks. I have only once seen someone in my grocery store in the past six months or so not wearing a mask. He was elderly and seemed confused. My part of the county averages 2-3 new cases a day, often fewer.
Our President calls respected news outlets “fake news.” Who refuses to denounce white supremacists and has emboldened them to new extremes. Who routinely confuses truth and lies. Who has some choice names for women. Simply put, a bully who divides rather than unifies.
What do we do? We hold the course. We treat others like we would want to be treated. We work locally to make changes. We live and love well and we make good choices. We learn about the issues and we vote. We recognize that words matter and that everyone does better if everyone does better. Basic kindergarten stuff. And then we take time to smell the fresh sea breezes. We know the routine. We simply tighten the sails batten down the hatches, and hold the course.