As I dismounted from my bike to walk around to the back porch to drop off the paper (as per the client’s instructions), a peculiar feeling came over me. It was almost as if time had somehow miraculously slowed down around me. The light changed, from a dreary and overcast grey to something quite difficult to describe: luminescent and softly bright. I could hear (and picture in my head) each rub of the cricket’s hind legs individually – and its sounds were short, tentative. The dragonfly buzzing in the garden seemed to slow to a hover. Birds, though visible in the surrounding trees, were both stationary and silent. The feeling was one of both serenity, but also of heightened awareness – each blade of grass and tuft of the dandelions stood out in sharp contrast. The plants and tree leaves glowed in a myriad distinct shades of green. It was as if everything had been dipped in glow-in-the-light pigment. The air around me had taken on a beautiful, golden hue. Not too much light, it felt like sunset in mid-afternoon – yet my surroundings stood out in sharper relief than if it had been high noon in the Caribbean on a cloudless day. It was as if I’d taken a drug enhancing sensory perception – even the smells and physical textures seemed more vibrant, easier to discern.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had just experienced my first (remembered) encounter with stormlight. The sky had been covered with leaden grey storm clouds above the entire town, but near the edge of the horizon, the late afternoon sun shone through under the clouds. I imagine the effect was both due to the refraction effect of coming at such an angle through the atmosphere, but also a result of the light-rays bouncing under the thick, impenetrable cloud cover. I marveled at the beauty of the phenomenon (which of course I can’t fully convey now) for too long – the pending thunderstorm caught me out long before I could get home from my paper route. As I poured out the water from my sneakers (at least there was no hail that time), I wondered why and how the world could look so fundamentally different just by virtue of the angle of lighting.
That afternoon’s experience presented itself a few more times in my life – most recently earlier this week. But these days the experience is associated more with foreboding than beauty. I cannot help but be reminded of a feeling that the relative calm we are experiencing each day is merely the last bit of calm before the inevitable storm, that gathers more ferocity and size with each day that its arrival is delayed. All of the wonderful colors and textures that stand out in unparalleled contrast do little to prepare the observer for the fact or the intensity of the downpour and maelstrom that is to follow.
I often feel that the extent of the details we have collectively been able to unearth regarding how the world really works is in part due to the fact that this expectation of impending calamity is shared by millions, if not billions, across the world. Some people have already built, fortified and double-checked their shelters. Others go about their days without anything but the faintest subconscious inkling that anything out of the ordinary is happening. And some seem intent on flying a kite with antennae and/or a large key attached… But ultimately the potential energy being built up stretches the facades and stage sets, creates ripples, cracks and tears in the canvas. While we very much ‘see through the glass darkly’, we ARE afforded glimpses with ever increasing frequency of what is behind the scenes. Despite my innate sense of curiosity and desire to learn, I am becoming used to the idea that 'knowing it all' may not be possible.
The storm has been gathering apace for a while now, the half-life of crises ‘resolved’ has been just that – the time elapsed between major global economic upheaval and/or large-scale wars grows shorter with each go-around. Whether this next year truly IS the time for the heavens to open and the deluge to start is yet to be seen. But insofar as a next ‘trough’ seems inevitable to me, I’ve really stopped trying to follow and guess the daily gyrations of metals for a while now. The prices of gold and silver will be relevant when they become indicative of the depths of the waters around us, until then they are part of the scenery intended to shield our unprepared eyes from the reality. For the moment, I believe the time is to be right, and sit tight. There are now SO many situations that can be expected to tip over at any moment, that it hardly seems worthwhile to expend additional energy searching for and painstakingly exploring FURTHER black swan candidates.
(photo: Todd Stradford: Too Big for Beavers)
As this bold new year approaches, I will be spending more time focusing on the rest of the preps:
- Skills that are marketable/useful under a variety of circumstances
- Alternative revenue streams
- Options for bug-out (route, conveyance, destination)
- Self-sufficiency in terms of food and drink (LOTS of work still to do on that front)
- Options for bug-in (suitable homestead, equipment, other heavy metals)
- Network of like-minded, dependable and self-sufficient peers
My reasoning here is that there is no real way to truly anticipate the EXACT sequence of events and precise constellation of circumstances we may encounter. As many on this site have said before me, being flexible, adaptive and prepared for a variety of eventualities is a reasonable approach to a set of known uncertainties. Lacking the clarity of vision of a true oracle, my approach is to basically reduce my dependence on the current paradigm. If nothing else, I may gain a greater freedom and independence that I would value anyway. Whether next year brings a true TEOTGKE moment, or more of the grinding downward spiral, every day that the storm does not come is one which can be spent in preparation, and in enjoying the (potentially dangerous) beauty of the moments before the storm.
I hope everyone’s holidays were rewarding and peaceful, and I look forward to celebrating the coming New Year with all of you.
(photo: Ian Plant: Storm Light - Reynisdrangar, Iceland)
PS: I did not have a chance to read ZH today before posting this, but apparently the storm/water theme seems to be circulating in the collective unconscious today: Obama's Hawaiian vacation, and William Banzai's 2014 forecast.
There is also an intriguing article on the seats of global power and the pivot points between them -- as a preview from the latest Thunder Road Report. Last but not least, ZH appears to have picked up (and elaborated on) the Turkish petrogold story in light of recent government developments in Ankara (as we discussed here last week).