We've had a winter of high blue skies, minimal snow adn very, very chilly winds. Mostly I have been timid about going to the beach to walk -- my nose and cheekbone do not take well to very cold winds. But a couple of days I ago I wanted some photos so I went to the ocean. I was surprised that the wind was not quite as cold there as in my yard. I'm not sure whether it's because I know what the temperature was (about 38 degrees) or because it's actually evident, but to me this picture looks cold. The houses lined along the beach are all empty this time of year. They are all well over a million dollars each and I presume nicely furnished inside but there they are, unused six months of the year looking out on that blue sky and blue sea while their owners are in a city or perhaps in Florida or other warmer lands. I don't know if their owners consider themselves among the 1% so much in the news, I think they probably are in that blessed and accursed number -- depending, of course, who's thinking of blessing or cursing.
Sometimes I drive among the wealthier enclaves of large, gracious homes and see that most are empty half the year and have Puritanical feelings of embarrassment that I live in a place of such conspicuous consumption. I'm on the horns of a dilemma not truly begrudging people the fruits of their success which, I believe, is more often earned through honest work and intelligence than by greed and dishonestly. On the other hand I think of the many places in the world I have visited where people have so very little -- including a good many places in this country -- and then the display of wealth, of unnecessary and unused houses become obscene. Obscene because they suggest to me that the owners of such wealth think first of their wants and not of the rest of the world; chose an amount of luxury that probably does not substantially increase their personal happiness. I sense a coldness in the hearts of those who can choose to own great empty homes while people in the street shiver and line up at soup kitchens for hot meals.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!