My day began at 4 a.m., when I decided I was not going to get back to sleep. I took a book to another room and curled up with both it and a dog. I also opened up Facebook and found that one of my friends had been up and sharing at 2:30 a.m. — not a friend who is likely to have been ending a long day at that hour.
By 6 a.m., I was in multiple conversations, all with friends in my own time zone.
It’s Saturday. Why were we all awake?
Why am I having conversations with friends on Facebook at 6am on a Saturday? Are we all having trouble sleeping?
— Kim Kishbaugh (@kkish) 13 January 2018
I honestly don’t have the answer. Could it be because the temperatures have plunged precipitously again, bottoming out at 6° F last night after hitting a high of 60° just two days ago? (Today’s vocabulary term: weather whiplash.) Could it be the state of world and national affairs? Even if we’ve started to become accustomed to chaos and craziness and crisis talk from the White House, this week has been remarkable (and not only because the president of the United States used the word “shitholes” in a meeting with congressional leaders). Are we collectively suffering some sort of emotional whiplash?
Help me out here. What kept you awake this week?
Snow in the Sahara
I don’t think that climate change worries caused my insomnia. But it snowed this week in the Sahara, and I spent some of my morning looking at mesmerizingly beautiful photos of the desert painted white. I have NPR to thank for those and also for this verbal image:
Luckily for some residents, that vanishing act was not too fast to sneak in a quick sledding session.
What a beautiful, wondrous, happy vision that conjures. Imagine the laughter. Imagine the feeling of community among sledders. Imagine what they used for sleds.
I wished that NPR had photographs of that, so I went hunting elsewhere. Twitter came through:
— The New York Times (@nytimes) 9 January 2018
Twitter’s bad rap
Speaking of Twitter, it gets a bad rap. All social media platforms present challenges, some more than others. But the president’s tweets notwithstanding, Twitter can be a good place. I’ve met people on Twitter who have become real-life friends. I’ve learned things on Twitter I likely would not have discovered on my own. Even being able to read the venom and idiocy that spew from the president’s Twitter feed has value. He’s the president of the United States, and there’s something to be said for the insight Twitter provides into his thoughts. There are calls for Twitter to shut down his account, but I’m not sure it’s Twitter’s job to police the president. I think that’s a job for the voters, Congress and the courts. Midterm elections usually bring some political whiplash, and right now it looks like we can expect some of that in November.
Fighting the whiplash
In the meantime, what to do about all this whiplash? I’ll look for activities to center myself and try to take as much control as possible. I can’t control the daily weather swings coming at me, but I can work to reduce my own environmental impact and support public policy that will aid the environment. I can’t control the rhetoric or actions in the White House, but I can advocate for sensible public policies and work to elect people I believe will help bring dignity and decency back into favor.
I don’t know when or if I’ll start sleeping better.
Here’s the photo of the day from Wikimedia Commons. Maybe it will help center you.