A Quiet Late Summer Week

Saturday, September 27, 2008 -- Beaver Dam, WI

Despite the calendar telling us that autumn has arrived, the past week felt more like summer. The temps were in the upper 70's most days and the electric heater didn't get much of a workout in the mornings. Whatever the weather, fall is my favorite season. The crackling of dried leaves underfoot... shades of green giving way to browns, yellows, oranges, and red... fields full of mature crops that endured and overcame storms, too much rain, too little rain, wind, pests, and disease... and the subtle Midwest autumn odors that I can't describe but are familiar to my nose. It's a great place to be in late September and October.

After all the equinox hoopla on Monday we took a few days off and did very little. "Doing very little" means reading, writing, photography, and perhaps some small chores. We had doctor appointments scheduled for Wednesday, but they had to be rescheduled for this coming week as something came up and the doc couldn't make it at the appointed hour. I did get my eye exam and ordered some badly needed new glasses which should be here in a week or so.

I've been watching the "train wreck" in the credit, banking, and stock markets with great interest these past few weeks. Since I started blogging almost two years ago, it's been my policy to keep my personal political opinions restricted to my other blog -- The Certified Skeptic -- and keep The RV Sabbatical Journal, this blog, as a chronicle of our lifestyle and travels. I didn't want to subject readers interested in our fulltiming adventures to my occasional political thoughts and rants. But I've got to tell you, as I sit here today, it looks like we, the citizens of the U.S.A., have gotten ourselves into a real "pickle" here. I also believe the whole mess transcends politics -- right or left, red or blue, liberal or conservative -- and says a lot more about us as citizens and stewards of this great country. I think we've collectively fallen asleep at the controls, lulled by the pleasures of rampant consumerism and the emphasis on the individual at the expense of the community. We've forgotten what delayed gratification is all about. "Wants" have become "entitlements" and many believe it is possible to get something for nothing. We think and act in our personal short-term interest at the expense of long-term interest of the community... the nation as a whole. We don't hold our leaders accountable and, as a result, we get the government we deserve.

I don't know how this crisis will play out. I don't think anyone does. I get the feeling our leaders -- the ones that should have seen this coming and are now trying to fix it -- are in full panic, ready to throw money at the problem with the hope it'll make everything better, the way it used to be, so we can get back to loaning people money to buy things they can't afford. But they don't know if it'll work, they're only hoping. But it's clearly so serious a situation that they want authorization NOW(!) (panic, blackmail, call it what you will) for as much money as the U.S. has spent in all six years on the Iraq War.

I'm putting these thoughts here, in this blog, because the situation has a very good chance of affecting us, our travel plans, our ability to continue this lifestyle -- as it could affect all of you. I'll continue to keep my more pointed and opinionated views in the other blog. But if it's affecting our thinking and our daily life, I'm putting it here.

Good Luck to all of us.


Slightly Better than Most