the world is too much with us

J and I have been so upset and so overtaken with the events of the last week that we have found ourselves in a bad, bad place. Sometimes this happens when we are inundated with media, when the events happening outside of our control infiltrate our everyday lives.

I won’t lie: J and I are media junkies. We watch, read, and listen to news and political programming much of the day, especially in times like these. There are times when we go on news blackouts, when we consume only what is necessary to get by (weather, traffic). We realized yesterday that we needed to do this again.

So much in our lives has been suffering because of our obsession with the election. Our students’ papers have collected dust and cat hair; our thoughts about our baby have been distant and fleeting; our connection to one another has been frought with tears, the occasional sniping, and mostly distance.

Thus, we have instated another blackout. We don’t know if we’ll attend any rallies this weekend or if we’ll spend the weekend connecting, grading, and taking in our surroundings. I did find today, however, that listening to soothing music on the way to work and back, instead of talk radio or NPR, had me happier and more peaceful when I arrived at my destinations. My thoughts weren’t bouncing from one injustice to another. I was just there in the moment with my students.

I also enjoyed the drive more, despite the bouncing hood. The vineyards are so many different colors right now, all shades of gold and red and purple. And both this morning and tonight, the fog was sitting on the rolling hills that hug our valley. On the way home tonight, the moon was full (or nearly so) and its light bounced off of silvery satin folds of clouds. I am sad to say that this landscape slips by unnoticed so many days as I am hanging on the words of Thom Hartman or Rachel Maddow.

And I am reminded why we go on these blackouts, why from time to time we have to reset, and how, in the words of William Wordsworth, they usher in  “glimpses that would make me less forlorn.”

I leave you with Mr. Wordsworth himself because I need to see this right now:

          THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
          Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
          Little we see in Nature that is ours;
          We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
          The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
          The winds that will be howling at all hours,
          And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
          For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
          It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
          A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;                         
          So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
          Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
          Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
          Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Filed under resetting

6 responses to “the world is too much with us

  1. Yes, yes. It truly is a beast we feed. I cannot count the number of nights I have watched the entire MSNBC line-up — and that includes watching Hardball, Olbermann, and Maddows each TWICE. Ridiculous. That sais, I am very eager to participate this weekend. It is, after all, news (and change) making, rather than news consumption.

  2. Oh, if you are blocking Maddow it’s SERIOUS. I know what you mean about being a news junkie. I have had to cut off some bad habits as well.
    This is what I love about traveling, you simply go through your day enjoying the beauty of life around you instead of focusing on ‘what’s happening’. I didn’t realize until we went to Bali that K is a bigger junkie than me! When we would go to check our email, she would be reading the NYTimes! It’s good to have a sober news week.
    Enjoy the music all around you.

  3. tbean

    As an NPR addict, I understand your plight. (Although I am NOT a cable news kinda girl.) I remember OD-ing on news on 9/11 and I couldn’t sleep for days. Getting all the extra noise out of your head can be exactly the right thing–hope it is healing for you. I cannot imagine living in CA right now and going through everything you have to go through with prop hate.

  4. The break sounds like a good idea. Lately I’ve had to turn off NPR in favor of music in my car too. I always feel so guilty when I do this but I’ve been concentrating on letting that feeling go. It’s good to relax sometimes. We’re better able to tackle injustice if we’re not fried in the brain!

  5. The world is really with us. I have been feeling at a media saturation point too. I hope your reconnection with the world is really grounding and I know the media will all be there when you are ready to go back to it.

  6. Carrie

    We know how you feel! (We’re the girls living down in San Jose) We’ve been so active with No on 8, watching every media outlet, reading every online newspaper (including Salt Lake City Tribune, where I secretly get excited about protests at Mormon HQ). It’s been so overwhelming though – B and I agreed we’re in a dark, dark place. To the point where we are wishing death and destruction on people/groups. Bad, I know.

    It feels ugly, I feel like there’s a poison in me….that something is decaying. We should do a little getaway like you did, to clear our souls a bit!

    But I cannot stop watching Rachel Maddow – she’s just too hot. 🙂

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