|GONE WITH THE WIND?|
Spring is definitely here, as the ice went out yesterday. At 8:00 AM the channel was iced in as far as I could see. Having a second cup of coffee at 9:30 I looked out the window and it was gone! I would dearly have liked to have seen how it went: was it pushed out into the lake between Madeline and Long Islands by the strong west wind, or did it suddenly all reach a critical temperature and melt? The only folks who will know for sure are the ferry captains. In any case, it was a sudden and dramatic event.
We usually think of the processes of nature as being very slow, steady, predictable. We fool ourselves. Think of tornadoes, earthquakes, temperature inversions when the lake waters turn over. One is always surprised, sometimes regretfully so.
I have come to the conclusion that social phenomena can be equally sudden and unpredictable. Think of the demise of the Soviet Union; one day it was a powerful adversary, the next it did not exist. The same with the present revolutionary storm in the Arab world; no one predicted it, and no one knows how it will end. Things reach a critical mass and are transformed in an instant, in the blink of an eye.
I have heard manypeople who should know better say that our Constitution is a meaningless anachronism, the same with the family, with social mores, with religion. And yet these are the very fundamental strengths of our society and our country. If they become weak or are eliminated, one by one, we will look out the window one morning over our coffee and it will be gone before our very eyes, and our civilization will enter another Dark Age filled with pain, sorrow and deprivation. One cannot trust evolution, whether in nature or society, to go always forward. It also causes death and extinction.