Summer has been busier than I could have ever expected. I have come to understand the appeal of nostalgia for the past because the past always seems to be the only time that is less busy than now. The past is certainly simpler than the future because the dust has already settled while the future is a swirling, roiling dust cloud about to engulf everything.
I have been thinking about dust and simpler times lately, mostly while sanding plaster doing drywall repairs. My first experience with dust storms was in West Africa but I didn’t really become a dust storm connoisseur until I got to Iraq. Both of those places held simpler times for me, much simpler, even if I failed to recognize it at the time. So now I find myself in the strange position of looking upon those pasts more favorably than when they were futures or presents.
Watching a dust storm approach is very interesting. From the ground one has no idea how long it will last. I would wonder whether it was local dust or dust from far away. In Guinea our dust supposedly came from the Sahara. In Iraq I imagined the dust clouds to be trapped with the borders of the country, just pacing around killing time like the hundreds of thousands of Americans. Regardless, life continues within the cloud mostly as it does without and then it passes. Just as the air clears I view that I’ll handle the dust a little smarter next time, mostly by keeping my mouth shut.