I’m Just Saying: X marks the spot

Published 11:40 pm Thursday, August 31, 2017

It has been a long-held common superstition believed by the ancients, as well as a few middle-agers, that solar eclipses, such as the one we experienced last week, are also harbingers of doom.

Oh, pffft, I thought.

And then Harvey happened.

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My fingers furiously Googling, I found eclipses blamed as omens right before the outbreak of World War I, as well Alexander the Great being demoted to Alexander the Average when a sea bridge constructed by his men led to the city of Tyre falling to the Greeks.  

There were even a scattering of religious based websites that claimed as the next eclipse will be coming in seven years over America in the other direction, crossing over the path of totality from last week’s, it appears as if an enormous ‘X’ is being drawn over America, handily illustrating, they confidently assert, as the end of our country.

As in America being ‘crossed out.’ X marks the spot. Over.

But maybe that big ol’ X being drawn by the celestial orbits right over our country has nothing to do with the end of America at all. Perhaps instead it is the crossing out of a state of mind.

And wouldn’t that be nice?

Because an awful lot of folks feel this country has never been so divided, so violent or so angry towards one another. With deadly protests and, statistically, a mass shooting occurring somewhere in our country every eight weeks, it was beginning to feel like a bubbling cauldron into which we had all been thrown.

Then Harvey happened. And everything stopped.

Those of us watching the images could only wipe our eyes and pray for families swept away including a 60-year-old policeman, insisting on returning to work at 4 a.m., who was lost when his patrol car was submerged in rising waters.

Yet within days, horror was slowly eclipsed by love and kindness.

A pastor of a small, south-central Houston church was seen by a news crew wading into chest high waters to peer into the windows of every flooded vehicle he could see, checking each car twice to make sure no one was trapped inside. He refused to give his name to the reporter who filmed the images of him putting his life in danger time and again, only explaining that since his church service was canceled, he was determined to help those in need, despite his 60-odd years.

At a convention center that was housing over 10,000 evacuees, one out of every five people present was a volunteer. Members of the Red Cross were steadily serving 130,000 meals per day.

Animals were being rescued, including brave souls both in boats and in the water, swimming alongside trapped horses and cattle, leading them to higher ground. Dogs and cats were being housed, comforted and fed at a central location, being well cared for until returning to their owners’ arms.

And anyone within the vicinity, including those who drove hundreds of miles, brought in boats to rescue complete strangers. Many of those displaced strangers were also welcomed into the homes of other strangers for a place to sleep and to share meals.

The rest of us were texting, mailing and shipping our donations to ease the suffering.

You know what? I think I’m just fine with the belief that a big X is crossing out the old America we once knew. Because I’m pretty excited about being a part of this new one.