Venus Rising, Cynicism in Retrograde

Idealism according to the Oxford Online Dictionary is “the practice of forming or pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically” as in  “the idealism of youth” who we all know are ALL unrealistic.  Youthful Don Quixotes, chasing their unrealistic, idealistic, and impractical windmills…oh, how I love and miss thee.

The online dictionary supplied synonyms, one which caught my eye. Romanticism, “a movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late eighteenth century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.”

I began thinking about idealism and from Romanticism, subjectivity, “the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions”. I thought as I waited to hear the outcome of our election.  I have been thinking about idealism and subjectivity for the past four days as I write this…and maybe will be thinking about it for a while longer. 

My musings began as I watched Venus rise the morning after the election…Venus the Morning Star…“morning not mourning” I thought. Venus was the brightest light in the morning sky and was showing quite large to my eye…the Morning Star heralding a new day.

Like Venus, I am an early riser who, on good weather days, goes out and sits in his chair, lights a cigar, and meditates for a few minutes  while enjoying a cup of Folgers. “The best part of waking up is…” at my age, the best part of waking up is waking up.

I do not know which I noticed first, Venus or the cynicism oozing through my thoughts…I was depressed to boot, my thoughts scrambled like the broken kaleidoscope I have written about previously. 

Instead of brooding, I focused on Venus. The appearance of that heavenly body along with my meditations gave me a bit of hopefulness, based on nothing more than my “personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.” 

It is another day and Venus is just where it was yesterday, give or take a few minutes, a few degrees above or below its former position on the horizon.  The gas shrouded planet is where it was a thousand years ago, cosmological changes not withstanding.  I imagined The Morning Star might be near by in another thousand years.  My hopefulness grew.

It dawned upon me I might not be as jaded as I thought.  Mentally at least, I’m still the young idealist that left my teenage years for the adult world in the late Sixties and early Seventies.  I may be one of the nation’s older teenagers…an old hippie still waiting for the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”

I pondered over my idealism and subjectivity. I am dominated by my feelings.  Not very objective. Do not confuse me with the facts so to speak.  I either “feel” someone is right or “feel” something is wrong or if uncertain, according to my grandmother’s advice, assume it is wrong until proven otherwise. 

I have an open mind, I can be convinced of the error of my ways, but again, all things being equal, with no solid facts available, I go with my gut, my feelings.  If it feels wrong, it is wrong. I even took a personality tests that proved that very fact.

So…I have nothing solid to base my hopefulness upon other than my idealism and my subjectivity but, “Its going to be alright.”  There are more good people than bad, and I am hopeful. There are more forward thinkers than backward non-thinkers regardless of political affiliation, regardless of what state you reside in, regardless of religious affiliation.

I was hopeful as my best friend and I began our weekly morning walk at 6:45 on Friday. Venus had disappeared into the sunrise as we talked of peace, elections, religion and a plethora of other problems we could not solve. Maybe we walk too fast…or talk too slowly. We are Southerners.

We are polar opposites in our outlook on life. He the lifelong Republican, I the left leaning Independent who voted Democrat this cycle. He’s the life long Southern Baptist, I the…I’m no longer sure. I am hopeful because we have found common ground for over forty years and friendship upstages political or religious affiliation.

I am hopeful because of the smiling young lady who serves us coffee at our afterwalk haunt, The Tree House Cafe. The haunt is an eclectic and welcoming little hole in the wall and Lindi’s eight a. m. smile and laugh are brighter than the colorful tattoos peeking from below the sleeves of her sweat shirt. A bright and hopeful youth with oodles of energy early on a Friday morning…not mourning.

There are a group of high school students sitting around a large table, their laptops open and at the ready. I am told by Kristen, one of the owners, they are a study group from the local high school. Kristen is bright, smiling, and welcoming as always. An art teacher and artist, my guess is we share a bit of the same idealism.

The retired teacher in me wanted to admonish the students for not wearing facemasks but instead kept my mouth shut. The same old teacher watched their work from afar, their flurries of activity surrounding burst of laughter bringing a smile to my face. I’m hopeful despite the lack of masks and amazed at their early morning energy. I miss my days of warping the minds of our youth.

Our hope…our salvation is our youth, young people like Lindi, the study group, and young folk like them.

Despite my idealism it is time for an aging “dudeist” like myself to step aside and turn the world over to the young. We baby boomers had our time and royally screwed things up in my mind…my “personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.”  We need to see if the young can do a better job. We know longer live in the world of our youth…the new world doesn’t run the same way.

I’m hopeful the “rising” generation will be our “Venus Rising.” I am hopeful they will continue to pursue their unrealistic ideals and put wings to their dreams. I am hopeful they will ignore all of us who continue to try and put them in a box not of their choosing. I hope cynicism continues in retrograde even if it is just my own.

As I finished these musings I walked outside again. Venus was obscured by the predawn cloud cover and my hopefulness was tempered but only for a moment. The cloud passed and Venus reappeared heralding a bright new morning, allowing me to be hopeful again.

(For a definition of Dudeism, see below)

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Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR23wUPDyCrxyhUiWI0EHKFTmJjLwrAAXOC4Z5Y9Foz95T-JdxM4CkFZFB0

Because I couldn’t find a picture of the planet that I liked I chose SANDRO BOTTICELLI’S THE BIRTH OF VENUS, C. 1486…a picture of a painting I do like.

“Dudeism” is a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle inspired by “The Dude”, the protagonist of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski. Dudeism advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow”, “being cool headed”, and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties, believing that this is the only way to live in harmony with our inner nature and the challenges of interacting with other people. I am a fully ordained Dudeist Priest.

Matilda Waltzing….

The haunting melody of the Australian ballad, Waltzing Matilda, the unofficial Australian national anthem, has been waltzing through my mind all day. Blame it on a 5:30 post celebrating Australia Day 2018…or if the news is to be believed, protesting it. Think of a “Downunder” Columbus Day with similar protests.

“Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

The old folk song is about neither dancing nor a woman named Matilda but that is a different story.

I remember when I first heard the tune, during the ending of the scariest movie I ever saw, “On The Beach.” It was a Cold War doomsday movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. It ended badly, very badly, with everyone dead from radiation poisoning caused by a nuclear war that didn’t even take place in their hemisphere. Hum mm, I hope there is nothing timely about this.

I’ve carried on nearly a lifetime love affair with all things Australian. I’m sure a romanticized and glorified Australia although the Aussies might disagree. Odd for someone who rarely sets foot out of the Carolinas much less the United States. Blame it on my grandmother and her subscription to National Geographic. I was thumbing through her old issues in search of an education…not one she would have approved of. I was searching for scantily clad native girls and found an article on the island continent. It even had a pullout…not the kind you might find in a Playboy…a pullout map. Serendipity ensued, and I read it along with any other offerings National Geographic had published. One offering even had a picture of scantily clad sunbathers on a Sydney beach. Much like the jolly jumbuck in the swagman’s Tucker bag, I was ensnared.

Not long after, I would read a Zane Grey oater, “The Wilderness Trek,” again my grandmother’s fault. I had two choices as a child. Sit under a tree and perfect my reading skills or go out into the sunlit, humid fields and chop weeds. While I had ample opportunities handling a hoe, I became an avid reader.

Grey’s tale was the story of two American cowboys helping to lead a “mob” of cattle on the first “trek” through the Outback and three years’ worth of foul weather, fouler “cattle duffers”, crocodile-infested river crossings, and marauding aborigines. I reread the book online a week ago after making contact with a WordPress follower who is from Australia. I am so sorry I told her about the book. It is sooooo not politically correct. Well, it was written in 1929. At least it ended well. Ole Curly and Sterl led them to safety and sloped off with the cattlemen’s daughters to boot. Boy Howdy!

The Australia of my youthful mind has followed me. I even have two Australian Cattle Dogs, Madaline and Matilda. Briefly, in 1973, I considered traveling to Australia when I found that teachers would receive land in exchange for five years of service. Seemed like a great adventure until life intervened along with my first ex-wife.

I guess I’ll never make it…maybe. As long as there are programs like Animal Planet and movies like Quigley Down Under, I’ll keep the romantic dream alive. Until then I guess I will just keep humming Waltzing Matilda.

If you are unsure of the song, Waltzing Matilda, this is one of my favorite versions from the 2009 Australia Day celebration…they are all my favorite versions.

For more of Don’s “Waltzings”, please go to https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM and at least like his page.