The air is cool enough to be civilized at this time in the morning. I am waiting for the dawn, but I like this time with myself when the whole city is quiet. Even the dogs are asleep.
Lately, I’ve been sketching. The sketches are hand and wrist loosening exercises. At 52, my hands are no longer as steady as they once were. So I need to exercise them a bit after a long time away from the drawing papers before I can trust them to do what I want them to do. When they are ready, I plan to do some figure drawings and maybe a portrait or two. At this hour, fresh from sleep, I can believe I might even produce hangable art, given some work. I’m most optimistic right after waking up.
I’ve been thinking these days that my optimism comes from little things. Things like getting enough rest. Eating well. Pleasant mornings.
It comes from little things and it’s about little things. Things like drawings. Giving up tobacco. Quietly improving my life a bit. About those little things, I’m optimistic. But somewhere along the road I seem to have lost much of my optimism about the big things. I’m not so optimistic these days about the human prospect.
It seems the big things — growing fascism, global warming, environment degradation, nuclear proliferation, unnecessary wars, terrorism, and so forth — have beaten down what optimism I once had for our very clever — but often all too stupid — species. I look at kids these days and wonder what kind of world they will see, and I cannot — cannot any longer believe — they will have it as well as my generation did.
What do you do if that’s what you believe? For instance, I think there’s clear evidence that fascism is on the rise in America. But if that’s what you believe, then how do you keep that belief from destroying your spirit? While it’s true that fascism must be opposed, that we have no real choice but to oppose it, you cannot count on any victories against it to keep your spirits up — there may be too few victories for that.
I suppose if I thought too much about it I would despair. Fortunately, that’s not something I need think too much about this morning. The dawn will be here soon. I am looking forward to the dawn.