“Wake me up when dinner's ready.” – Anonymous

"Wake me up when dinner's ready." – Anonymous

I don't know about you, but I'm tired. 2012 has been an exhausting year from beginning to end. The ongoing drought that dragged on month after month was not relieved by the political campaign that deluged us for just about the same time frame. And there are some pundits who can't wait to talk about 2016! A pox on all their houses! I have had it with both the pundits and the pundees!

It's been challenging at home, too, with lots of unexpected house repairs (which actually was what I expected) and with issues a bachelor would never dream of being dropped on me by one or another of the girls in my life – my mother, my niece or her mother. Ironically, they are never so much trouble and worry as when they insist on helping. Charlie Chan was right: "Man without relatives is man without troubles!"

Of course there have been some bright rays of sunshine to brighten my gloom. I did finally find the leak in my roof, and I may have actually successfully seeded-in the bare spot in my lawn. And K-State's football team was Number 1 for a solid week – which laurel wreath I can cling to through basketball season. Those may be just life's little life rafts, but we all need something to cling to.

If nothing else, I do think I have learned that it is all survivable. Looking back over the years I can clearly remember my most stupid mistakes. I also remember a few of my triumphs, although somehow with rather less clarity. Why that is the case is a mystery to me, but I don't despair. I have also learned that it is a widely pondered mystery among most of my fellow travelers on our Big Blue Ball, hurtling through space.

It seems to me that all too often we focus on life's minutia, and in that process we also become smaller ourselves. I have seen a lot of that over the past year, too. When I was learning to drive my father gave me some practical advice. "Don't look down at the end of the hood," he said. "Look out at the road ahead of you, otherwise you won't be able to steer straight." Good advice, and not just for driving. It's amazing how much wiser he got as I grew up.
Some years ago I watched a documentary called The Celts. The host recalled once asking an aged Irish gentleman, "What way are ye?" To which the old fellow replied, "Just stumblin' along between the immensities."

"What immensities are those?" asked the host.
"The immensities of birth and death," came the reply. I suppose we are all in that way, to a greater or lesser extent.
I don't know when the drought will break, and I don't know when a plague of civility will infect our national discourse. (Assuming, I suppose, that the disease is also the cure.) I do know that I will welcome both with equal measures of childlike abandon. Since after much labor my roof is fixed and I have some semblance of a lawn, some rain would be welcome. I have also worked for one level of government or another since I left the diamond trade, and a measure of common courtesy in our national debates would be a welcome relief to one whom federal law prohibits direct participation.
Robert L. Beardsley is the Cultural Resources Management, Planning & Development, Preservation Alliance of Leavenworth.