If you live in Illinois, it is impossible to avoid the hourly barrage of bad news about a state government that still has not passed a budget, even though the fiscal year is ¾ over. But Illinois’ is not the only circus in town—the national political scene is just as short-sighted, just as uncivil, and just as uninformed.
Who could blame us all for going to Innisfree and never coming back?
The urge gets stronger now that spring is here. It is the season of broad, bright strokes— red maple buds, yellow daffodils, the superhero blue pond, green swathes of winter wheat.
Now that the days are longer, we have more reasons to stay outdoors. This week, we burned off the debris in the wildflower meadow, planted spinach, cut back the hardy mums. Mostly we just walked and watched, willing peace up through our arteries like warm sap.
Why shouldn’t we stay right here, safe from all the chaos in the world beyond?
Because we are citizens, and citizens participate in public life—they don’t hide out in their private Innisfrees.
So go. Breathe deeply. Watch the sun rise. Take a walk. Pull a weed.
And then go forth. Help our crazy world calm down, think, and act for the benefit of all.
Update November 15th, 2016: And I thought it was bad this past spring! But I haven’t changed my mind–it’s okay to take a break from the world for a little while….
Read William Butler Yeats’ “Lake Isle of Innisfree.”