PROMPT WORD: SPARK
Perilous Promises is my continuing story outline of two young children trying to make it from Honduras over the U.S. border. They’ve traveled for more than a month hoping to make it to their American citizen great Aunt Maria and safety. They made some friends and some enemies along their perilous journey. The first 6 installments are available below:
Yumi motioned to Ernesto to follow her outside once Abria was safely tucked into bed and offered him an ancient cellphone, a small amount of money, and what sounded like an order for him to proceed to the border without his little sister who didn’t have the strength to make it.
Ernesto knew she was right about Abria but, having every ounce of trust beaten out of him by now, decided to spark a conversation about Yumi’s relationship to Maria so he could be sure that his sister was in good hands.
Theirs was a similar journey 40 years before when Maria was forced to leave her best friend Yumi behind in this little village deathly ill and unable to continue to the sanctuary of the United States of America.
Satisfied of Yumi’s ability to care for Abria until he could send for her, Ernesto bid Yumi farewell with instructions conveyed to her by Aunt Maria for him to reach Mission Texas and set out to reconnect with Mig to complete the perilous trek.
George Navarro was just about to the end of his 20-hour border patrol shift in Mission Texas when he heard a terrified bloodcurdling squeal ahead of him and gave his horse a kick galloping toward the sound.
He spotted a real four-legged coyote yanking a lone small child by the hood of his jacket to the ground with four other pack members drawing a closing circle, so he lifted his rifle and neutralized one sending the rest scattering as George swiftly dismounted and swept the sobbing child into his arms.
room, cloud, any, fist, raven, rock, slide, speak, west, story, blend, circle
My story came full circle when I walked into that room.
When I was a kid, I believed animals could talk. I didn’t give it any thought that it may not be true until I lost my innocent intuition as an adult. It seemed I took a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree slide into radical realism.
Then, I became a father.
When my four-year-old son started insisting that birds could speak, I slammed my fist onto my desk, startling both of us. He ran off crying and I rationalized the incident as ‘good for him’ so he would recognize truth from fiction as soon as possible in such an unforgiving world. There was no blend of parental guidance and support for my child’s imagination that day. I was the boss!
He opted out of having me rock him to sleep that night and there was perceivable distance between us that I’d never before felt. A cloud of regret suddenly surrounded me.
My dad had been a Wild West, no nonsense guy, and I recognized immediately from my own past, the betrayal my son was feeling when I hadn’t listened to him.
Now, I walked into his room this morning, hoping desperately to mend our trust, and there on his open windowsill sat a large raven-like black and white bird.
“Daddy! This is my friend.”
I knelt beside my boy and said, “He’s beautiful Billy. Does he talk to you?”
Before Billy could answer, the bird (who turned out to be a pet magpie that was on the loose) said, “What’s up dummy?”.
Yep. I’ll be ‘eating crow’, for not believing in Billy, for years!
My whole life I respected authority.
Of course, the teen years meant I resented authority too, but the overall trust in my elders was strong.
Then, I raised a family. As I aged, I realized that elders, doctors, and experts were not perfect. They don’t actually know everything, but I was cautiously confident that they all were dedicated to the best possible outcome. Hey… life’s dangerous and a personally complex journey.
Then, I became an elder. It was humbling to realize that the ‘truth’ was hard to ‘nail down’ and that the state of ‘perfect’ didn’t actually exist.
An unknown ‘novel’ virus threatened us all. Experts step forward to reassure us. Media offered us information and statistics. We were going to ‘work this one out’ together.
THEN things started to smell suspicious.
Mistakes were bound to be made. We were taken by surprise, after all!
BUT they weren’t being admitted nor were they corrected.
This was not a ‘novel’ virus but a version of other viruses we knew.
The handling of this pandemic was the only novel part!
Soon, the media numbers were exposed as arbitrary… and later it was clear they were manipulated.
We weren’t protecting the vulnerable and we weren’t taking swift action in early treatments.
Governors assumed extreme powers never citing clear scientific suggestions.
Then we found out that the Chinese government purposely spread a deadly experiment through the world. Whether it escaped or was released may never be known.
All trust left the building once Big Tech, our federal government, and our health agencies spoke in unison, telling us their ‘facts’ (never backed with scientific studies) and censoring ‘misinformation’ (which was any contrary commenting). This was science, right? Scientific research is an ongoing diverse questioning not a conclusion.
World famous scientists and hands-on doctors were being silenced. They wanted to focus on therapeutics because they wanted to save lives. They had data to share and ideas!
Ultimately, most people were never offered treatment but were asked to come to the hospital once they were dying!
Hospitals were paid large incentives to label hospitalizations and deaths with Covid-19.
The FDA gets 45% of its funding from vaccines. They pushed vaccines… only vaccines.
Big powerful companies (with lobbyists) were allowed to flourish while small businesses were sentenced to ‘die’. Churches (with specific Constitutional protections) were militantly closed, while liquor stores, lotteries, and large chain stores remained open.
And people kept dying… kids were kept out of school, our economy ground to a halt, and our Southern Borders were sprung wide open. (Covid-19, Fentanyl, terrorists, and criminals uncounted)
No longer was there any hope that the ‘best outcome’ was even a consideration.
Our health wasn’t the highest concern.
Our well-being wasn’t important.
Our children’s futures were cast aside. (The added debt will be only a part of their future struggles)
Our compliance was the only goal. Power and greed prevailed.
Fear, blind trust, and ignorance worked wonders.
Trust may be gone but,
Fear is waning and
Our eyes are open.
We’ll work this one out, together.
Better days ahead…
“How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”
Another superb question!
My opinion comes down to realizing that not all memories are created equally.
Every one of us could experience the exact same event and recall it differently.
I wrote a post recently showing that the human mind can only focus on one thing at a time with efficiency. What we focus on is entirely personal.
If something happened directly to you, I would think a person gathers more sensory information but that may hold an exception. When we are in a heightened emotional state, such as pain, a human being would likely focus on the pain at the exclusion of collecting information. That’s why a witness to a mugging, IMO, would have more information to share than the person who was mugged. But, eyewitnesses are terribly unreliable too. That ‘one thing at a time’ aspect means excluding many peripheral details is any person’s limitation. So, many witnesses are preferable at a crime scene, and just like doing research, the intersecting and repeated reports are likely more reliable. BUT, if emotions are running extremely high, all bets are off because a whole mob can become convinced that they saw something like the “Hands up, don’t shoot.” narrative at the Michael Brown shooting.
Personal memories are a little different. I think we all aggrandize those. Our feelings are applied to them and we prioritize their importance ‘letting go’ of those not as emotionally friendly to us.
Then we ask, are some people’s memories a little more reliable than others?
I’d say yes.
There’s eidetic memory. It’s what we call ‘photographic memory’.
Even in that category, some are better than others.
I’ve heard that some people can recall almost every day in great detail! That’s incredible!
For me, I do have a collection of detailed pictures that I can call on. (And until recently, I believed everyone ‘sees’ pictures.) They’re like photos (sometimes short videos) taken in moments that made an impression on me. Having those, makes me a guarded more reliable source if you pick a topic that I chose to memorialize. And, what a person chooses to remember has limitations according to the person’s preferences so do research yourself on topics of importance because no one is a single reliable source!
The only reason it can be more reliable to have a visual memory is that a mental ‘picture’ offers extra clues like those multiple witnesses did to a crime. If I ‘see’ my brother riding his bike in a memory, for example, I know where he was and what the bike looked like. Those are great clues if I wanted to know how old he was in the memory. I can investigate when he had that particular bike, and when he was at that location. Also, the picture probably gives away the time of year and possibly the make of a car in the background or family pet. and those would also narrow down the year.
Memories are delightful companions. Human beings ‘dress them up’ a bit for extra fun and because we all wish for positive experiences the ones we choose are usually beautiful. They’re probably our best defense against horrible incidences which seem to tattoo themselves in our psyche liking to show off at 2:00 am. 😉
Fandango’s Provocative Question #17 Revisited – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “start with who/whom” Begin your post with either “who” or “whom” and go from there. Have fun!
Who do you trust?
That’s a great question!
Let’s face it, we’re all human. And if your answer was “I trust myself most”.
I think many of us probably feel the same way.
None of us blindly trusts anyone else if we’re thinking clearly. We are well aware of human frailties and know that even the most well-meaning people can be fooled… even ourselves.
So, what are we to do?
Asking questions constantly seems a great start.
The person or persons we ought to question, first and foremost, is our self.
Writers, in particular, are prone to internal conversations and inquiries. We’re working things out when we aren’t making things up. Asking ourselves questions happens all the time. The most important person we should never lie to is numero uno. Yes, we all do that sometimes too.
A long time maxim has held that we must see things with our own eyes to believe them. I’ve always felt that was the best method but there’s one big problem. Our eyes lie to us all of the time and in this tech age there are forces working extremely hard to perfect the art of fooling our eyes. Have you heard about ‘deep fakes’?
Altering videos can be as minimal as removing a few frames to as extensive as dramatically altering whole videos using Hollywood-style special effects. The latter has been enabled by advances in artificial intelligence and “deep learning” technology. Deep learning makes it possible to create hyper-realistic though entirely fictional videos called “deepfakes.”
So “seeing is believing” is becoming an obsolete phrase in a hurry!
The removal (censorship) of information isn’t going to be the worst of what’s coming to manipulate us.
Media wants to control us and that’s the biggest threat to our country since the Cold War.
Yes, dividing us using identity politics is the current tool but there are others in the wings.
Asking questions and civilly engaging each other has never been more important!
I’ll finish by coming back to our most trusted friend, ourselves. Please watch the short video below.
Now, you may be more aware of the human tendency to focus on one thing at a time.
I consider how the media influences our focus, and outrage, and what they may not want us to see.
Keeping my information sources plentiful, and diverse, might be the most important thing that I do to find answers.
If you enjoyed that video look up the series Brain Games for yourselves. It’s fascinating and reveals our own cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Who can you totally trust?
I guess an on-going scientific method of honestly questioning and comparing information, is my suggestion.
The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS April 3, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)
*The story I’m about to tell is true and did happen. A few of the “facts” and observations have been made up for comic relief only and have nothing to do with my overall point:
While standing in line at Stop & Shop yesterday, I was watching the lady ahead of me as she checked out. As she pulled out her checkbook, the young clerk asked her for one of those dollar charitable donations.
“Do you want to support our troops for a dollar?”
This was the best “tagline” I’d heard in quite some time. ( A “tagline” ,or sales pitch, is designed to get folks to donate money usually by representing an idea that is inhumane not to agree with it. An example would be, “Do you want to end childhood hunger?” Who doesn’t?)
The lady had started to shake her head “No”. Then, she looked at the girl and her head bobbed back and forth. The tag line was working. This poor woman came into the store for toilet paper* and black olives* and had been placed in a position (in front of others) of being UnAmerican! I suspected, also, that the bobbing of her head was from John Philips Sousa’s ~Stars and Stripes Forever ringing in her ears.*
At least five long seconds passed before she answered, “Why not?”
The clerk thanked her and handed her a sheet of paper. It was a complimentary store coupon given to those who “buy in”. It had some other writing on it that may have described the cause but I couldn’t read it from where I stood. The lady readjusted her check total and left.
I was next. While my few items were being processed, my mind was on the trustworthiness of charities (That you know very little about.) and their standing, just above politicians from Chicago.
The clerk asked me, “Would you support our troops for a dollar?”
“Sorry, I DO support our troops but I make it a practice not to donate to any cause when I don’t know how it is run and how efficiently my hard earned money will be used. I am in a hurry and suspect you cannot offer me that paper with more information unless I donate, anyway.”
(BTW-Second best way to separate people from their money, is to rush them.)
As the girl handed me my change, she whispered without moving her lips, “I don’t blame you one bit.”
That young clerk’s comment re-enforced my faith that our kids’ futures are in good hands…their own.
As I stepped out of the store, into a gorgeous Autumn day, I thought, “Affordable Healthcare Act, now there’s a great tagline.”
Footnote~ Ha! After thinking more about this, I realized if I were on the store manager’s payroll, I would be exempt from this whole process. Gotta love when examples keep on giving!