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Introducing My First Poetry Book, "Horizons"

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

1971 to 2023: Have We Really Changed?

1971 to 2023: Have We Really Changed?

I was perusing the discards of our local library’s book sale, and came across some issues of LIFE magazine from 1971. Interested, I picked up a couple to read later. 

Scanning through the issue for May 7, 1971, I was encouraged to see the things that have changed, and depressed that so many haven’t in the 52 years that have passed.  

You’d like to think that we have progressed, but I’m not so sure. On the front, in bold huge white letters, proclaims there exists a feminist that even men like. Our culture is still very reliant on the prejudices that define the binary genders of man and woman, even though some of us are trying very hard to step out of that limiting world. But here are some of my observations while reading this magazine:

Something that hasn’t changed: the alcohol ads, especially whiskey. We are still addicted to our chemicals, and like the feeling it gives us, or need the feeling it gives us.  We keep it legal because some of us can control our intake, and only socially drink the liquid, while more and more of us have developed into alcoholics, where it dictates our lives.

Something that has changed: the cigarette ads.  There were so many in this magazine, it amazed me. We still have tobacco as legal, but we stamp the warnings all over the packaging, and you don’t see advertisements for the cancer-sticks in every other page that you read.  One of these even implies that you don’t have to light it, just keep it in your mouth, because smoking makes you look cool and sophisticated. Does anyone else miss the Marlboro Man?

In 1971, they were still getting used to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It was still relatively new, and especially in the southern United States, some areas were having trouble adjusting. Now, you would think we would have had time to fully integrate our neighborhoods and lives and cities and businesses.  That isn’t the case.  Some neighborhoods are still not desegregated or treated equally; we are still dealing with racism and healing from wounds due to treating “different” people cruelly. We can put a law on paper, but you can’t force a person to stop handing their bad attitude down to their children.

Technology changed drastically in 52 years.  There were cameras with film, window air conditioners, a “new” concept in whole house air conditioning, the new toaster oven to try. Now, we take digital photos with our cameras, you can’t find window air conditioning because every house comes with central air, and who uses a toaster oven? We have air fryers and hot pots.  You would almost think their minds were primitive.  At least they weren’t scared of a vaccine. An article reminded us that, starting in 1923, they proudly came together and rid the world of diphtheria.  That disease is extremely rare today because everyone possible got vaccinated. Ditto with polio; every person bared their arms for the vaccine to eradicate the disease.  What do we have today with COVID-19? A situation like the flu.  When the flu epidemic hit in 1918, they didn’t stop it with a vaccine; it ran its course until everyone either died or became immune. That made the virus able to survive, and mutate into variants that still hit us today.  It keeps on mutating, so we are unable to eradicate it (there are too many variants now), we just fight it the best we can with the few antibodies we have in the flu shots you get each year.  This is what happened to the COVID-19 virus.  Because not everyone was willing to get their vaccine, it survived to mutate again and again, and lives among us to kill again and again. We are so hung up on our individual rights, that we can’t see what is better for the human race.  It is all about me, me, me. 

In 1971, they had a photo of a child playing with a gun to demonstrate danger.  You would never see that ad today.  What you saw then, and still see now? Complaints of city crime and overcrowded, clogged prisons, and varying opinions on how to solve that.

In 1971, people wanted the Vietnam War to end, even to the point of running against Nixon in the election (Paul McClosky).  We know how that went.  Now we are arguing over gun policies. Should we regulate guns, make you apply and pass a series of tests, and wait for your gun, thus handing out less guns to fewer people; or should we let anyone own a gun to fight their own crime in their own home; put the law in their hands?  Which one would lessen the violence? Again, is it about what is better for everyone, or is it all about me?

Other things that have changed:

·         Station wagons are no longer cool, especially the ones with the fake wood paneling

·         Cars no longer cost only $2174

·         Automatic transmission in a car is no longer a novel thing

·         Music is available on other medium than records

·         Water and ice dispensers are standard now on refrigerators


Some things still haven’t changed:

·         We have a fascination with death and hell and gore (then, The Exorcist was just coming out in book form.  Now, we have everything from IT to The Walking Dead to the creatures that you can kill in video games)

·         We use comedy to cover trauma; we laugh to change something painful into something that is funny (Neil Simon said this is why he wrote comedy instead of drama).

·         We are more concerned with political parties: Republican or Democrat: with how we differ than how we can come together to get along. Our politics and the outspoken on the soapbox are the rich, old, and extreme governing the masses, who fuel our anger, catch us off guard, and gather the vulnerable and uneducated under their wings.

·         The average person is ambiguous in their true beliefs on social issues. They are sorry for the downtrodden blue-collar worker and the hard-up person who can’t get ahead, but they blame them, too. They don’t want to hate anyone different, but they don’t want them as friends or living next door, either. They are frustrated and fearful, and this is what leaders feed on.

·         Feminism is still fighting. Germaine Greer’s big issue in 1971 was speaking out against marriage and abortion. Roe v. Wade hadn’t happened yet (1973). Who knew we would be back there again, running 52 years backwards? We need feminists even more than ever.

·         We are still hurting the environment. The Clean Air Act had just been written in 1970, and the government was still figuring out how to regulate it.  It went through a big change in 1990. We are getting better.  But. In 1971, there were wilderness fires that occurred because of draining wetlands. Now, we are still affecting global warming, and we are fighting wildfires and forest clearings, lowering native fruit tree yields that kill wildlife and melting ice, increasing global temperature and our continued use of coal.


Something I have learned from reading 52 years into the past: it’s an old saying….

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Time moves so fast—sometimes, though…it doesn’t move fast enough. And sometimes it seems to be moving backwards.


Thanks for reading


May 30, 2023

Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold

Friday, May 5, 2023

Water: Diving into Fear


Water: Diving into Fear

Most of us love water. We float on it, we swim in it, we cleanse ourselves in it, we make love in it, we fight in it.

We gravitate towards lakes and oceans to relax on vacations, baring our skin in colorful suits of strings covering just the essentials to not embarrass our neighbors. We stand in front of rivers, holding poles with hooks to catch animals with fins for fun just to be near the wet substance. We build floating vehicles to travel on top of water; we build tanks that will take us deep into the dark, past the light, to see the creatures that swim and live beyond our land.

We use it to wash the grime and stink off our bodies, the dirt and smell of everyday living; we scrub the surfaces of our houses and cars with it to rid our belongings of the evidence of time and use and age. We stand under cold sprays to wake us up, our kids run through sprinkles with glee for fun, we sit in it to refresh ourselves after a hard day.

We are made of it. Our brains are 85 percent water, our whole bodies are 55 to 60 percent of the basic liquid that supports this life. We are walking water bags on bones. We need to take in 2 ½ to 3 ½ liters of liquid a day just to stay alive. The planet needs it. We give water to our pets, we water our plants, we wish for rain in the drought so our lawns don’t dry out and our gardens don’t fail. Elephants walk for hundreds of miles in search of it. Deserts dry out because of it; rainforests thrive because of it. Each living thing needs water. It is an essential part of every living being here on earth.

So why would you fear water?

Ever hear that you can have too much of a good thing? Even water can kill.  Even something that is so good for you, can kill you.

Yes, you can drown in a body of water. We humans can’t breathe underwater with our mouths and lungs. But it is possible to drink too much water as well. Heathy kidneys can handle filtering about 20 liters of water a day, but if you have any health problems, or don’t intake enough vitamins or minerals or electrolytes, you can drown your body in the amount of water you drink, because your kidneys won’t be able to keep up, and your body will be holding too much water. You can kill yourself with a life-giving substance.

You can have a fear of water. Why would someone fear such a beautiful thing?  Imagine the ocean waves lapping over the sand, or a lake, the sun glinting off it, or the smell of a swimming pool, ready for your toes dipping in, your arms swimming laps back and forth. Beautiful, right? What if you were a previous drowning victim?  In a wheelchair? What if you had a prosthesis, a limb loss or difference? What if a physical disability didn’t allow you to walk confidently along the shoreline or the slippery tile around the pool?  What if you never learned how to swim? What if you watched your friend drown in front of you, and there was nothing you could do to save them? If your home was lost in a flood? What if you were in a boat that sunk, left you stranded out in the open water, drifting, helpless? I would fear the water as well.

How does one get over the fear of water? Do you throw them into the great wide open ocean, let them figure out how to swim on their own? Seems unkind, scary to me. When something lifegiving turns cruel and foreboding, when life-giver turns into murderer, what do you do? Can you stay away from water forever? I doubt it; it is a part of us; we are literal walking water bags on bones, remember? Are we scared of ourselves, then? In a way, yes, scared of too much of ourselves. Do we start gradually, one glass at a time, one pitcher, one bathtub, one kiddie pool, moving up until we can crouch at the edge of something larger than us? Can we grasp another’s hand along the way? Can we be brave enough to admit our fear to someone else?

Wait, brave enough to fear—does that make sense? How are you brave if you fear? It takes courage to admit you are fearful. It takes courage to stand up and do something about your fear. It takes courage to stand up against what makes you afraid, to change something, anything about yourself that you feel may need changing. It takes courage to stay open to the world around you, open to change. But we can. One drop at a time, we water bags on skeletons, we brainy calcified oceans, we lung-filled air breathing liquid earth walkers can challenge what we fear, can appreciate what we are made of, if we only learn to lean on one another, dip our arms, dip our legs, dip our torsos into the very substance of which we need to cleanse the dirt that clings to us, coming out not necessarily brand new, but refreshed and cleaner, somehow more whole, more ourselves, better for taking the dive into the unknown.

Tansy Julie Soaring Eagle Paschold