Amblin' Alameda: Rain

Amblin' Alameda: Rain

Morton Chalfy

Awakened in the pre-dawn hours by the sound of raindrops, I was, momentarily, completely disoriented. The sound was so unusual that for a moment I couldn't place it and my mind went careening off into a universe of dislocation dominated by the news of the night before. Was I in Africa dealing with Ebola? In Syria dealing with ISIL? In the Ukraine dealing with Russia? In Berkeley dealing with the threat of out-of-sight tuition?

It took several minutes before I realized that I was lying in bed in Alameda - cozy, warm and listening to the promise of Mother Nature to eventually end our drought and the threat of wildfire. The problems of the world weren't really mine to solve, the wanton murders of innocents were taking place half a world away and if I didn't pick up my newspaper and it got wet it wasn't going to be a terrible problem.

The daily news - with its litany of disaster and war, death and disease, people behaving badly and other people behaving abominably - can often color the mood of life and make it all seem horrible. Yet one has only to go out into our town, visit the shops or a restaurant or just walk the streets among the other folks and life again becomes worth living and enjoying. Alameda is not life in a bubble, it is life as lived by the majority of people; work, family, friends, errands, social life and all carried on in a spirit of tolerance and good will.

The terrible things that people do to each other around the world still go on, but so does the work of living and raising children. Especially at this time of the year when the stress level rises each day and people have to multi-task just to keep up, it is worth remembering that good humor and a good attitude carry us far and provides a welcome emollient for the rubbings of daily life.

For the past few weeks we've had a lot of contact with tiny babies - infants less than six months old - and they've reminded us of what is truly important in a human life. Whether a child is yours or not they are all our children, and they represent our hope for a world where war is not inevitable and tolerance allows us all to work at our lives. A world where hatred can be met with understanding and where cries for help are heard and responded to.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that embraces all of us, and is a good time to reach out to others with love. There are so many people in my life for whom I am thankful that it will take me all week just to tell them all individually. I'm thankful to live in such a peaceful place with so many peaceful people, I'm thankful that the rains have finally appeared and most of all I'm thankful for the people in my life, related by blood or marriage or just warm friendly feelings who make my life worth living.

I may keep from watching or reading the news between now and November 27.

Happy Thanksgiving!