February 21, 2022- The skeletal remains of Russian thistle, commonly called tumbleweed, were advancing across the road, north of Chino Valley, clogging the pavement, in one section, almost as if they had a consciousness of their own.
As I was on the “home stretch” of the drive back to Prescott, this afternoon, the keening wind that had been with me all along I-40, kicking up a few tumbleweeds here and there, was even more insistent in its transporting the thistle balls from west to east. I drove through the above-mentioned mass, which was fortunately only one layer thick and a few feet long, north to south.
It could easily have been worse, and as I type these words, in the comfort of Home Base, I think of those traveling the same roads, with much the same level of wind, in the darkness. There was also a huge dust storm along old Route 66, visible from the freeway. Wind can generate what feels like swarms of obstructive materials.
My thoughts are thus with those who are planning a coast-to-coast convoy of vehicles, headed from Los Angeles to Washington, and hoping to get the President’s attention, on the day of his State of The Union address. If they pull it off, how he handles the situation will be as vital to the short term future of this country as how he handles the reported impasse in eastern Europe. Nay, it will be more vital, in the immediate future. Swarms of protesters have created chaos in the recent past, going back to the “Occupy …” events of 2011, the social justice protests of 2017 and 2020, and most recently the Ottawa and border crossing blockades, which were largely funded by right-wing activists, while taking more than a few cues from the occupants of neighbourhoods in Portland and Seattle-and the Woodstock Festival of 1969.
There is a valid credo that says “We do not negotiate with terrorists”. Ordinary citizens, gathering to express opinions, however disruptive they may be to the short-term order, are not terrorists. Those engaged in mob violence are of a different class, though-i.e. the January 6th Capitol occupants (as opposed to those who heard Trump speak and then left). My only hope is that the group which makes it to Washington will choose the tack of peaceful protest. A swarm, especially if there is another forced entry into the Capitol, would turn the group into poster children for counterproductivity.
Let there be light.