In the deep woods of the Pacific Northwestern portion of the United States, a great tall pine tree is struck by lightning. Of course, the threat of fire in this day and age is very real. But luckily, this time as the tree falls in flames and ignites the brush around where it falls, the sky opens up and a deluge of rain extinguishes what the lightning has ignited.
Time passes as time always seems to do. The burned area heals. The slain giant is broken down by bugs and heat and bacteria and rot. And before you know it, flowers begin to bloom there. The tree’s carbon-based flesh has fertilized the ground. And where the tree once created shade, there is now a hole to let the sunshine in. Life gets wildly busy growing.
Because of what the tree suffered, the forest floor, especially the part of it where flowers bloom, got its chance in the sun.
The same sort of rule of nature happened in politics in 2016. Bozo the Crime Boss got elected because the wave of pus and anger he surfed into power on had been festering under the skin of the country since Reagan brought judgemental, self-righteous, and fear-mongering rich-types into the political power pinnacles in 1980. The boil finally burst. De-regulating environmental protections has been a Republican priority since Ronnie Ray-Gun put James Watt in the job of Secretary of the Interior just so the forests in National Parks could be opened up to logging and oil exploration. And we have seen in the past few years how badly those changes in policy have affected our lives. The environment is on fire. We don’t have enough trees to absorb all the carbon dioxide that is causing the warming. Most of this country’s fresh water is now contaminated with an industrial waste of one sort or another. But Don Cheetoh’s recent implosion is threatening not only to wither the poisonous fruits of Republican policies but fundamentally destroy the evil-making machinery that the Republicans have worked so hard at maintaining for decades. We human beans who actually value human life over money thought 2016 was a deadly disaster. But it may instead have been more of a lancing of the boil as the twice-impeached Prexydent of the Disunited States did all his high crimes and misdemeanors in the public eye and then was routinely given a pass by Republican leaders in Congress. It reached a point with the stolen presidential documents that his crimes can no longer be covered up. The poisons may well be draining out of the holes the spoiled mango of a man poked into the very skin of our government. Look at how much climate-correction legislation was recently passed by the new, non-Cheetoh President. And look at how polls are suggesting that Democrats might not have to endure the traditional punishments for doing something good for the people that Republicans were so looking forward to. Good things are seemingly growing where the manure of the previous Republican administration has been spread.
My own life is also an example of how something terrible grew into something good. As a victim of childhood sexual assault, I spent many years grappling with trauma. But the incident made me a school teacher, determined to fight dark things like sexual assault, violence, and a will to do harm to others with the power of education, empathy, and love. As a retired teacher, I have fully embraced naturism, and am nakedly honest about many things. One of those things is that you really need to endure some badness in your life to truly understand and appreciate the good that directly comes out of having survived that evil.
I should be very clear about the fact that when I was a teacher, I was not also an active nudist at the same time. I never suggested that any child should be naked in public and never saw any of my students nude (a feat achieved by never being a coach of athletics in charge of monitoring behaviors in the shower room after events and practice.) My nudism is entirely practiced after I retired and mostly at home by myself. But it is also a good thing to grow out of the badness that occurred before. It is a chance for me to finally be at peace with who I am inside my own skin (hopefully free of boils.)
As I am now a Medicare recipient, I have to face the badness on the horizon that comes with reaching an age considered a fully-lived life. There could be heart attacks, strokes, and possibly Parkinson’s in the near future. I could lose so much of my mental self-control that I end up being charged with drawing child pornography (though I don’t believe I have done any of that. Former President George HW Bush didn’t believe he sexually harassed any young nurses from his deathbed either.) But whatever badness comes, I do believe there will be some mitigating goodness that follows because of it.