Grace land |

Grace land

Teri Orr, Park Record columnist

The absurdities are so prolific right now it is dizzying. The planet seems to be spinning faster and faster, perhaps in an attempt to throw off and out of gravitational force the abundance of crazies and the unevolved. Each day, each new news cycle, something startles, so that we become inured to the absurd and soon nothing startles.

In North Carolina this week, bigots were trying to hang onto a time where intimidation and schoolyard name calling and bullying were familiar. By preempting protections against discrimination of gay and transgendered people and defying the law of the land, they have landed themselves in such a negative spotlight that large national groups have declared they will not travel there nor do business there. Montana has even gone so far as to launch a national campaign addressing their ignorance. With a beautiful outdoor shot of three people jumping up in the air against a wide open space in outdoor gear, it reads simply,

Dear North Carolina,

We’re open for business…for everyone.



Mississippi’s proposed new religious freedom law of course does not add freedoms but takes them away…including the right of women to wear pants. Which would be funny and wacky and easy to ignore if it were not the very same thing that ISIS insists upon in all the land it controls.

Donald Trump, who I hesitate to give any ink to — even the negative kind because it increases his profile — is so conflicted about women not being able to make choices about their own bodies he has accomplished something that hasn’t happened since the modern debate on abortion began in this country: he has united both sides against him. A woman should be punished/jailed for having an abortion, wait no, maybe her doctor should be, wait no, he doesn’t know. All he knows is by screaming and tossing his cartoon orange hair, he continues to keep himself in the news cycle.

We are moving so fast into a world where millenials and like-minded people of all ages (see Bernie Sanders and support base) are insisting upon change. Such vast sweeping change is happening so rapidly it can be difficult and painful if you are stuck in a three-toed world with a walnut-sized brain.

The increasingly desperate grasps at a past life can be expected when the planet is more connected than ever before and we cannot pretend we are unaware of how our fellow humans are being treated or mistreated. Unfairness, on any level, doesn’t ring true. And all those years, decades, even centuries of being mean and hurtful and bullying are ending in whiplash speed. Which is going to be a beautiful, exciting place to be, once we have lift-off. But right now the struggle everywhere on the planet is causing upheaval on a level we have never before witnessed.

And I think that is the problem and reason and the answer all tied in a multicolored, multitextured ball with the strings sticking out like crazy ponytails on a small girl’s head.

Once you have witnessed what kindness looks like, behaves like, dances like, creates like, you understand on a cellular level, what is possible. What real freedom means to the human spirit. You cannot keep hurting the human spirit and hurting the planet we share and not know, at some point, there will be deaths of both.

It is like sending the kid off to college knowing there will be growing pains for you both but anticipating they will launch and look back and perhaps be grateful for the struggle that launched them. And then delighting in their temporary follies and feeling an ecstatic joy in their discoveries and independence. Or in the middle of all that fearing they will fall off some ledge, have someone or something lead them astray, and realizing your decades of trying to prepare them did not.

I am a child of the ’60s and ’70s when a Broadway musical that got as much attention for quick nudity as for its hippie free love messaging was the soundtrack to our movements. And the musical group Fifth Dimension took the key song from that musical, "Hair," and declared this the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. And that quickly translated into new age, which was interpreted as silly fringe, free love and dope.

But the idea of an Aquarian Age or an Age of Enlightenment has been promised and imagined for centuries. In a planetary explanation, astrological shifts happen every 2,150 years and we are leaving, perhaps have left, the Piscean Age, and we are in or have entered the Aquarian Age, a thing that is defined by the sun’s position in the time of March, when the day and night are equal. And a whole bunch of other stuff you too can find on various wacky websites.

This is the thing I know to be true: we cannot continue to survive together on this tiny, resource-limited planet if we are not kind. Kind to each other and kind to our mother Earth. I want desperately to believe we are at the dawning of a new age, where maybe "peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars," but at the very least, where rational thought will guide clear decision making and the gravitation force will no longer hold for people who are not ready for the next age/stage of evolution. And they will be left floating, space waste in the galaxies beyond …all limbs and falsehoods all akimbo…looking back at Earth and wishing they could have a do-over.

The planet is trying to right itself, right now, and trying as we exit March to find equal parts of day and night… like a just-right Sunday in the Park.

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.

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