I recently came across this picture of a storm cloud over a field near Lewistown. While threatening in it's own way, it brought back a flood of memories from my youth. America was deep in the cold war. While our economy was booming, we all worried that we could disappear in a BOOM!
When I was growing up, the enemy was clearly defined. It wasn't liberal or conservative politicians in Washington. Rather we had to be ready at all times to battle the Commies, "Reds", North Koreans, and Ruskies! After all, they were just waiting to drop an A-Bomb on us! There is an odd comfort in knowing exactly who the bad guy was. Frankly nobody believed we would ever actually have to "duck and hide".
The A-Bomb was a natural part of our culture and lives. At a certain point of my life I thought the coolest thing was having your own bomb shelter. It wasn't about protection. In fact the few I ever encountered were actually used to store artificial Christmas trees, toilet tissue, and canned goods. We didn't live in fear, nor were we prepared to die at any moment. Rather a bomb shelter was the ultimate in chic, an accoutrement extraordinaire!
Looking back, how bizarre! My parent's generation dropped the first A Bomb. Weren't they afraid?!
As an adult, I'm shocked at how provincial we continue to be. Americans assume we're invincible. Temporarily shaken by Kansas City and 911 we moved on. I'm starting to think that we're more like the ancient Romans than we care to admit. After all they sat in the stands munching popcorn while watching lions devour Christians. Is there really any difference between that and observing nuclear plants implode at Chernobyl and Fukushima?
We could be attacked at any time given Kim Jon Un, Al Queda, and the Iranians are still lurking about. I'm not suggesting that we star on Doomsday Preppers. But I do wonder how long we could survive up at our cabin...