Favorites in Fraught Times?

In these fraught times, it is sometimes difficult to focus on the small joys of life that I feature in my Friday Favorites series. In brief: Worldwide, there is climate change and the pandemic, which continue to grind everyone down. In the U.S. we have the most odious and incompetent leadership that I have ever had the misfortune to see. The pandemic is minimized to the point where it is more or less allowed to rampage at will. Over 200,000 people in the U.S. have died because of Covid-19, and the numbers continue to rise. Mask wearing has become a political issue, and a few months ago, elders were encouraged to face death to keep the economy going.

As if this all weren’t bad enough, the U.S. seems to be on the brink of a dictatorship as President Trump makes plans to do whatever it takes to stay in charge, regardless of the results of the upcoming November election. (For a cogent description of Trump’s plans, read the excellent Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American: September 23, 2020.)

Finally, the cherry on this toxic sundae is that once again the Republicans are on the rampage against the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Never mind that millions of people, including me, depend on it for their health insurance. The Republicans want to abolish it, and hope that the Supreme Court will soon rule in their favor. I try not to think too much about what will happen if, at last, the Republicans are successful in demolishing the ACA.

We live on a tight budget, and there is no way we can afford to buy health insurance at market-place rates. Plus, I have had breast cancer, which qualifies as a pre-existing condition. So if the Republicans succeed in their mission, I am out of luck.

Sorry that this is such a pessimistic Friday post, but the bad news Just. Keeps. Coming.

Somehow, it seems frivolous to post pictures of, say, ice cream or omelets or a favorite music video while the country is literally and figuratively on fire. On the other hand, with all that’s going on, it seems like an act of defiance to enjoy the small things in life.

Drinks outside on a warm autumn evening,

a bright leaf that has fallen on the patio,

and chickadees that come to drink from the ant moats above the hummingbird feeders.

Heather Cox Richardson ends her September 23 piece with this small note of hope: “[T]he future remains unwritten.”

Yes, it is, a tiny ray of light in an otherwise dark landscape.



84 thoughts on “Favorites in Fraught Times?”

  1. Our little blogging community is a bright light in my life at the moment. My wife’s FB page Blessings, Beauty and Bounty is an inspiration to her followers – I commend it to you and anyone else living in the twilight these days.

  2. It seems that for the most part the little things we enjoy are all to be found now days. We have to keep holding on and hoping it is all going to get better. I really enjoyed your photos. Little chickadees are so cute. I spend a lot of time enjoying the birds.

  3. Sadly, Laurie, I’m afraid you’ve described the state of affairs only too accurately. Time to hunker down and enjoy the small things, but take time out from hunkering down to vote and also proactively encourage everyone you know to vote.

  4. I can’t hit the ‘like’ button because this is all so sad and true. And scary. Health insurance is such a quagmire, isn’t it! I’m grateful that I have my husband’s employer’s insurance. But so many, including some in my family, also have to purchase their insurance on the market and it’s crazy scary that that might be gone. I don’t understand what Republicans have to gain by abolishing the program when they don’t have anything to replace it with. What is the point of all this? Oh yes, now I remember…profit to themselves and their rich cronies.

    1. Not much to like is right. Yes, what a scary time we are in. And we have so many big problems to deal with. What we need is smart, insightful leadership. Instead, we’ve got Trump.

  5. I was horrified to hear Trump talk about what happens if he doesn’t win. I never thought things could get so bad. His brand (for want of a better word) is unfortunately spreading. I feel so lucky to live in NZ. We have our general election coming up, and as much as I dislike the opposition leader (yes, I am a Jacinda fan), she (yes whatever happens we will have a female prime minister) is not extreme. I really hope for the best in the US and for all my family and friends who live there.

  6. My youngest son and his family depend on the ACA, too, for their health insurance. It’s a terrible position the Republicans will be putting people in should they win at their attempts to abolish it.

    Fear is the point. Chaos is the point. I think it’s almost our duty to look for those moments of beauty, to find ways to refresh ourselves, to walk away from the PTSD that the squatter in the WH and his administration is trying to give us. It’s a form of dissent, of taking back our own time, to look away for a little while. We need to stay informed and ready, but we don’t have to give them the power to continually shake us up with threats or meaningless gestures. I know that’s easier said than done. I don’t always succeed. This was just my way of saying thank you for sharing some of your favorites in spite of these fraught times.

    1. And thank you for the kind words of support. Perhaps we have to both: Speak up and enjoy whatever small pleasures that come our way. Not an easy combination, that’s for sure.

  7. What is going on in this country beggars belief, Laurie. Let’s hang in there, hope for the best, and VOTE!
    Try to enjoy your weekend despite all the hair-raising news.

  8. It’s feeling pretty grim, Laurie. It helps, so, to have have friends to talk with. Thank you for being a friend. It’s going to be a nerve wracking month and a half.

  9. The President seems to enjoy dropping clangers. Is he diverting people from another issue? I can tell everyone there is very tense. Continue your act of defiance.

  10. I so agree about the horrors of the times. The tension of worrying about things over which I have no influence is quite wearing. I need to read this Heather Cox…I keep seeing her updates on a political group I’m in and not taking the time. I was recently reading something….about zoom meetings, and the author had a poster behind her saying something about Joy being Resistance. There has to be more but it can’t hurt and has to help if we can still take joy in little things.

    1. By the way, the ACA saved us from ruin by giving us affordable health care up until recently when we both reached medicare age (which is more expensive than the ACA was, for us as self employed gardeners).

      1. I think it has saved many people from ruin. And death. Can’t for the life me understand the urge to tear it down and leave millions of people vulnerable. Two years until Medicare, and I am counting the days.

    2. Heather Cox Richardson is a gem and coincidentally happens to live in Maine. If we allow them to take joy away from us then we are really sunk. Still, during these horrid times, it can be very hard to be joyful.

  11. I want to think that all this horrendous chaos is a huge storm before a wonderful calm when the world turns and human beings wake up and new, better, brighter altruistic systems replace outmoded survival of the fittest fattest and greed based regimes. In the meantime, I keep a corner of my eye on the information that assaults us at every turn, but my main focus on friends, family, creativity, beauty in nature and those people who are more evolved and aiming to work for the common good. The media needs to tell us more about them.

  12. Your post makes me so glad I live where I do. I have little time for politicians – I rather suspect wanting the job means you are unsuitable! – but here the Health Service is revered if underfunded and whilst mistakes have been made the Welsh Government has done a decent job of managing the pandemic. Having said that half of Wales is now under semi-lockdown with increasing restrictions and my County may be in it soon. It all makes the little pleasures, the things I CAN do, the people I love, more precious. Enjoy your garden (the colour of that leaf is spectacular – ours mostly just go dirty brown) and drinks on the patio and stay as safe as you can. You are doing everything within your power to stay healthy so hopefully will not need the services of hospitals.

    1. Yes, yes! I envy your Health Service and so wish we had something like that in the United States. Without good affordable health care for EVERYONE, a country cannot be free. Simply can’t understand why others don’t see it that way.

      1. It bewilders me too Laurie. I Appreciate he American Dream – that by hard work anyone can succeed. What confuses me is how many people genuinely believe that it is true when all the evidence is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer howver hard they work!

  13. What a turbulent time the USA is having at the moment.. thank you for your comments, it helps those of us following to get an idea of the situation. I will read the link to Heather Cox Richardson’s article. Keep enjoying the small things in life! 😊😊

  14. I am sure there will be better days in the US and in India. Nice shots from your garden. I hope you do get some rains in coming days as we are expecting some sunshine 🙂

  15. Thank you for the lovely photos and for sharing your concerns. Here on the other side of the country we are feeling the same way about the craziness of Trump and GOP’s wickedness. But we must seek joy or we are lost. Like you, Tom and I are enjoying the birds and the beauty we see around us. Lots of love to you and Clif! ❤️

  16. Keep enjoying those small things, Laurie, they are a comfort in hard times. I too, am a cancer survivor, 10 years now. I had no insurance at the time, and quite the workload of applying for loans and financial aid while I was recovering, and had one hospital billing representative ask me why I thought I deserved help. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Not here. I got a taste then of what life will be like for many of us later on.

    I am very much looking forward to your new book, and continuing to see all these beautiful photos of your Maine homeland. “The future remains unwritten”.

    1. Oh, Lavinia! Your story moved me to tears. Words fail me. They really do. What a hard, mean country we are and were. So glad it’s been 10 years for you, too. We are cancer warriors!

  17. First thing I do in the morning after pouring a cup of coffee is to read Heather Cox Richardson. Despite the content of her posts, she always makes me feel better, somehow.

  18. Fraught times indeed, Laurie. These are terrifying times and may get a whole lot worse. I feel like I’m holding my breath. Good for you for looking for the small joys that are all around us. Peace, my friend. Vote and then cross your fingers. ❤

  19. It can feel hard to keep blogging about the small things in the context, but it is the small things that save our sanity. I hope with all my heart that you’ll be able to keep your health coverage.

  20. Brilliant summary of our current state of affairs and like you I never imagined this could happen in our country. I spent time last week reading The Atlantic and watching the historians and media cover the threat to our democracy and the coronavirus wondering how this election could possibly still be close. I will continue to hope through the next thirty six days that people are listening to all the warnings and will show up to vote. Even in the midst of these terrible fraught times, it always helps to find those small things in life to enjoy and I look forward to your Friday favorites. I’ll be adding Heather Cox Richardson to my reading list and using “toxic sundae.”

  21. my dear kindred one- I am about overwhelmed with things-with society- and the lack of integrity in general. Not a one of us is a saint, but could we just be decent? If you want to feel even more concerned for this world-watch “Social Dilemma”-on netflix. Like you I find joy in nature and and loved ones- and folks like you, who give me hope. love Michele

  22. I always hang onto a shred of delusion that things will get better. Instead of that, they seem to have taken a bit of a dive in recent years. However, it’s difficult to blame the politicians without blaming the people who voted for them. People love to vote for clowns. Look at our current Prime Minister. Idiot, hypocrite, liar, xenophobe, cynical opportunist and serial adulterer. In any sane country he would have been laughed into oblivion. We made him Mayor of London them let him run the country.

    I’m going to resist the idiots by eating cake and writing poetry. Of course, you and Clif won’t be able to join me for 50% of my programme…

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