A Hail Storm, Victor Davis Hanson, and the Tragic View
We've had some tumultuous weather here in the Midwest lately, to say the least. Last weekend, my wife, daughter, and I traveled to Carlinville, Illinois to attend the annual Strawberry Festival. One of the reasons I love rural America is the rural festival that takes place across the country annually and reliably. A Strawberry fest in the spring, Maple fest in the fall, Harvest fest in the late fall - I even attended a woolly worm festival in Kentucky once. Delightful.
Anyway, the strawberry festival was very rudely interrupted by a horrible hail storm. As the dark clouds rolled in and golf ball sized hail began to fall, citizens scattered, some screamed, many panicked. Almost everyone was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Everyone except for a table of 5 farmers. These men were probably about 70-80 years old, flannel shirts, seed company hats, squinted eyes and lean with a belly. They were sipping coffee under an awning as their two inch tall corn plants two fields over were pelted and brutalized. Their response? A slight shake of the head.
"Life is nasty, brutish, and short," the historian Victor Davis Hanson tells us. True enough, but the responses to life's brutishness are mixed. The atheistic academic knows this fact, to some extent, and responds with despair and meaninglessness. The British and Jewish individuals among us often respond with humor. Only the history of the Jews, and many millenia on the "rainy, dingy, nothing island off of the coast of Europe" could have produced such glorious and shining senses of humor. These farmers responded by sipping some coffee and slightly shaking their heads.
We shouldn't forget the tragic view of life. I'm sure many have experienced it to some extent. But, our responses determine the meaning of the tragedy of life, not always the tragedies themselves.