Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

There’s a lot of tension in the air right now. A nervous energy is shooting an electrical pulse through all living things. Can you feel it too? It tingles, burns and my muscles are twitching, flexing, getting ready for… What? There’s an itchiness, a need to move, go, do something but, again, what? Where can I go? What can I do? Nothing is going on, but it feels like something is off.

I can’t put my finger on it but, I can feel it moving through me. It’s uncomfortable, unnerving, and…What’s going on?

It’s a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, and it’s warm enough to open the windows. It almost feels like spring, but it’s still January, so that’s a bit odd. What’s the temperature right now? It’s about 6 degrees Celsius, so yeah, it’s a bit warmer than it should be and, in Canadian terms, it’s positively balmy.

The door to my deck is open, and crows are yelling at each other. There’s a stream of sunlight blinding my left eye, and I should close things up but, it’s just too nice. We might as well enjoy it while it lasts because it is winter, and a storm is brewing. I can feel it or, are my pessimistic tendencies clouding a lovely day?

Objectively, when I add all of these factors together, this should feel like a perfect day. A gorgeous day! Leave the jacket, scarf, and toque (hat) hanging in the closet. Go outside, take a deep breath in, and head out on a walk in short sleeves. It would be the first time in how long? Yeah, that long, and in the middle of winter too.

How lucky should I feel right now? Exceptionally would be an accurate assessment.

Except, I feel nervous, a tad bit agitated, and restless. I can’t pinpoint why I’m feeling this way, and now my skin is crawling. It feels like something is wrong, or it’s about to go very wrong, and I should prepare myself for an impact. But there’s no evidence of any turmoil in my close proximity.

It is the 20th of January and, if you like politics or living history, you know what’s going to happen in the United States of America. More accurately, there’s something that should happen and, at any other point in my lifetime, it would happen peacefully. It would also happen, where I live, with minimal fanfare, but still warrant a mention on the evening news. Other than that? It’s a day reserved for those of us who enjoy political shenanigans and watching history unfold before our eyes.

But this day? We could watch a different sort of history play out, and God, I’m praying it doesn’t. I’m hoping for a peaceful transition but, after the events of a couple weeks ago? I just hope this day passes without much todo. Please, stay safe and be kind to each other!

Dear God, let this day pass in peace.

But for me, here in Canada, whatever happens, won’t have much of a direct impact on my day to day life. Sure, in the grand scheme of our shared geopolitical community, it will have ripple effects that even the experts can’t accurately predict. Like it or not, what happens in one country will have an impact on other countries.

Sorry isolationists, it just won’t work out like you think it will. We’re all too interconnected, and there’s no way to sever that link without colossal ramifications for everyone. Our economies are tied together by a rope covered in oil and held up by candlesticks. The candles are lit, and hot wax drips. It’s tenuous, at best, but it’s holding for now. We’re holding each other up, but if one side falls, the fire will spread, the rope will burn, and down we all go, baby and all.

Lovely imagery, thanks for that.

While some of this nervous energy can be linked to global affairs, most of it is currently undefined. I don’t know why I’m feeling so on edge, and that’s making it worse. I’m racking my brain for a cause that would necessitate this effect. But no, there’s nothing overtly wrong at the moment.

Okay, sure, I’ve been feeling a tad bit under the weather, and that’s getting to me. I haven’t felt like myself, in a meaningful way, since I had COVID in September. Ever since then, I’ve felt physically low and drained. It feels like my body is reverting to an infant state before I learnt how to crawl. I just don’t feel like I’ve found my legs yet.

But there’s nothing physically wrong that anyone can see. My bloodwork is normal, and so are my other tests. Well, they’re as normal I’ll ever get. I’m told that there’s nothing to worry about, so naturally, I’m doing just that. It’s like telling someone not to look down or turn around. Try as they might, and I’m sure they’ll give it a valiant attempt, they will sneak a peek. It’s inevitable! How could they not?

Telling someone not to worry? It’s the same thing. Is that why I’m sitting here, on this beautiful day, feeling the electrical shocks of nervous energy? That’s a part of it, I’m sure.

Or, we’ve all been living in a state of constant awareness and hyper-vigilance for a bit too long. How long can you live like this before you start seeing shadows crawling through an empty field in broad daylight? An hour, a month, a year? I suppose it’s no wonder paranoia is running wild, and people are buying into the silliest conspiracies.

All this nervous energy has to go somewhere, and there’s always going to be some asshole with a hot poker, making things difficult. And people buy it? Oh, I’m trying not to sigh.

Sure, there’s no accounting for stupidity, but for the large majority of people, they’re desperately grasping for hope. Especially right now because our lives have been turned inside out. Our norms have been forcibly removed, and we’re asked, in some cases required, to make changes that are incredibly uncomfortable or devastating.

It’s a lot to handle, and it’s no wonder we’re feeling on edge.

It would appear that my year has a theme, and it’s the one word I bring up in just about every post. Hope. How many times have I written that word this month? I’m not asking for an actual number. Unless you’re incredibly bored and want to do the tally. No? Yeah, no one is that far gone yet.

But hope seems to be running in short supply, and we’re all grasping for anything that vaguely looks like it could offer a reprieve. A cause to rally behind and channel our nervous energy, anger, pain, hate. A lie sold on-mass because the truth is too scary to believe. Blindly following a leader down dark alleys because they make enticing promises.

For the record, that last one crosses party lines and religious affiliations. What’s the word I’ve been hearing a lot lately? Demagogue? Is that it? Well, Demagogues come in all shapes, and they’re sneaky bastards. They take hope, twiste it, and turn it into a lightning rod for nervous energy and hopelessness.

I keep seeing people I know, who are a hundred times smarter than I am, fall for theories from “experts” whose credentials are dubious at best. At worst? They’re proven con artists, and some have criminal records to prove it. Their relationship to the truth is virtually non-existent, and their connection to reality is tenuous. So, why do you blindly believing them? They’re convicted liars and manipulators. It’s been proven in a court of law.

Help me understand!

People change! Yes, they do, and we should give each other room to grow, fix our bad habits, and evolve. But when they’re going against every reliable source and have a dubious track record? When what they’re saying, doing, causes harm? When everything they say seems too good to be true? 

Why are we still putting our faith in them?

This applies to a multitude of disciplines. Religion. Politics. Health. Science. I’m sure there’s a very long list and a few subcategories. If there’s a buck to be made, there will be someone there to cash in. Should I let my cynic out to play for just one second? Sure, why not? Those dollar bills have to go somewhere, and it’s going into the pockets of reputable experts and con artists alike. 

Back into your cage, Cynic, your job is done.

So, who do we trust with our lives, hopes, and the future of our incorrigible species? Oh, that’s a very important question! It’s one in a million that should be asked. We should ask questions, voice our concerns, and try to squelch that hopelessness that leads us astray.

Under normal circumstances, we would, but now? These brilliant minds overlook the obvious, and they entrust their lives to people who would sell their faith to the devil if the devil made a half-assed offer. They follow without question, and I’ve spent a lot of time asking why.

They are so smart, and I’ve often turned to them for advice because they have genuine wisdom to offer. Now? What happened? How did we get here? How did we, as a society, devolve so easily and so quickly?

Then a few minutes ago, I answered my own question. We’re all desperate for a reason to hold on to hope because fear is the electrical charge that’s setting us on edge. We need solid ground to stand on. I need it! Let’s make this personal. I need to feel the hard ground under my feet, follow the yellow brick road, and find a sign that will lead me to calmer pastures. 

Will I find it? What if I don’t? What would I do if it was a glaringly obvious bright, neon sign that I couldn’t see because I was looking at the path under my feet?

Oo, I just felt another jot of nervous energy, and my teeth are chattering.

I’m not immune to this phenomenon, and I’ve fallen for false promises made by would-be charlatans. A political leader promised to make my life better, and I’ve bought the sales pitch without digging deeper. If I had, I would’ve spotted the empty promises and seen their words for what they were; a bid for power. 

I’ve put my faith in religious organizations that ended up shattering my hope and my relationship with the God I believe in. It’s a long story, and I’m not ready to tell it. I can tell you that it took a long time to rebuild what was broken. And here’s the kicker, looking back, it all could have been avoided if I looked up and asked my questions a lot sooner.

I didn’t because I needed something to believe in, and I let my hopelessness lead me down a path crafted from fools gold. Lesson learned! I’ve done it before so, with this nervous energy, I have to ask: What am I doing now? Am I falling into the same trap? When was the last time I looked up and out? Am I being led astray by a moment of hopelessness?

I’m sitting here, listening to the sound of crows and trying to keep that ray of sunlight out of my eye. This nervous energy is humming around me, through me, and I’m itching to move. I can’t go out, COVID protocols and all that, but I can look up and out. I can check myself, my trajectory and make sure I am heading towards real hope instead of a mirage.

I haven’t lost hope, not yet, but I took my eyes off of my goals for a moment. I’ve become distracted, and I’ve forgotten to ask the important questions. Questions that will help me distinguish fools gold from the real thing. 

So, I suppose this nervous energy, as uncomfortable as it is, is the sign I needed. It’s the sign I wanted. It’s making sure that I turn my attention back to my quest for happiness, joy, and of course, hope.


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