The midnight star

April 25, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

So, what are wishes? Admit it. We all make them, every time we buy a lottery ticket: “You can’t win if you don’t have a ticket,” said friends of mine who never won even though they always had one.

The wishing works well for Lottario, lots of tickets sold; just the small number of winners and never anything absolutely massive – hundreds of millions. Some of the winnings in the U.S. are headliners.

Ruin your life could a wish like that come true; happens all the time – a fortune won by a person or persons used to just getting by. They can become monsters – to themselves, to the others in their lives they used to trust and love; old mates popping up out of their histories, anxious to rekindle the warmth of friendship they may have once shared – now exaggerated and embellished far away from the truth. As for the winners, they move away from the scum that were their pals to a house and neighbourhood they never imagined and a circle of people they can never get to know, who are already well imbued with a lack of trust, even in those they know. No place for strangers, newly wealthy or not.

Wishes. If wishes were horses / and life just a dream / we’d swim in those waters / and nothing would seem / like the horrors we live with/ the ruin we’ve caused / us in a hurry / never to pause…

Big, in-your-face abstracts, she calls them, does artist Nancy MacNabb. That is how she describes what and how she paints. Since starting to paint in order to cope with a decline in her thyroids, while waiting for the medics around her to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it, she herself a doctor. She discovered that a part of all of us is out of control and we “just have to roll with it.” When our wishes are definitely not coming true and the frustration of marking time is like a health problem, maybe painting a fierce, vibrant abstract – with no art background – is the way to go.

Wishes If wishes were faeries / who could pack up our muck / shovel a pile / dumped in a truck / we’d clean our faces / brush out our hair / rejoice in the new day / then, would we take care?

Ms. MacNabb referred to eco-angst, the depression that quietly pervades society as the unknown lurks on the horizon and we keep investing in new pipelines, striving to dig more pits, fracking and exploring the ocean depths for new territory to ruin. Like making war on ourselves for no reasonable reasons: because we and our successive governments are pressed by wealthy businessmen that they should carry on with the damage; because they yak on about jobs and the end of the good life as we know it.

I have heard “Boomers” admit they had the best of it between the end of the last world war and the tough times of environmental degradation and strange social interaction. None of them seem really apologetic about the mess they are leaving behind.

I wish we actually knew the other forces in this unending universe. It is crazy to think there is not abundant intelligence in an unlimited universe, the like of which our tiny minds cannot imagine. That is why we doubt or deny them – because we are afraid they will – somehow! – be more wicked than we. Or stronger, wiser, or, most fearful of all, likely to colonize us… The characterization of aliens in our sci-fi favourites portray them sometimes as deeply villainous, or just like us: beings trying to get along with themselves and the rest of the beings sifting through the never- never-universal ending. 

It does seem, though, that a read through the ancient and mystical histories tells endless stories of those other forces. They were given names and stories, meant as allegorical, and very like ourselves with failings like jealousy and outrage and the power to change a man into an animal or an immortal lover.

In other books, those forces are divine, still seemingly given to human-style revenge and punishment and mother-tender love.

Wishes. I wish a power would come / and bring a stop to war / that final sword to cut / it to its very core / dig to the bottom answer / and leave the gunmen poor…

Probably, only a truly strong statement, backed by a truly strong presence across the border of Ukraine, saying and meaning it: Stop. Let there be no chance of exchange, not with words or threats; not with military strikes, not with negotiation. Just serious, really powerful – the might of the entire world saying No.

War doesn’t take place in a court of law. Negotiations and the murky rule of lawyers don’t work.

I’m not looking for an escalation of war, for the final victory of a completely devastating exchange of arms. I am looking for a strong No that will end the invasion of Ukraine in no uncertain terms. There have been two very messy and disastrous world wars because there was no strength to stop them.

Wishes. If we had minds / to see the sun / to feel the stars / and be as one / if we could know / each other’s pain / and know their cure / is our own gain…

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