from: The [Wonderful] Wizard of Oz
written by L. Frank Baum
illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
(first illustrated by W.W. Denslow, and published by George M. Hill
I heard a comment the other day that started me thinking along a path I had not been on before. The topic was, of course, the Climate Catastrophe, and the comment went something like this: We’d maybe be better off if we could start over.
My answer: Well, it wouldn’t actually be us. We’d be gone.
That pretty much ended the conversation. But it gave me a “what if,” and I remembered a poem by Robert Frost.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost, 1923
Robert Frost’s poem appeared in his his Pulitzer Prize winning anthology, New Hampshire. His inspiration could have been a conversation he had with an astronomer of his day, Harlow Shapley, who said he answered Frost’s question about how he thought the world would end. Others say his inspiration was Dante’s Inferno.
Although it doesn’t really have to do with fire or ice, our own emotions manifest themselves as one or the other. Frost’s poem is as relevant today as it was in the 1920s.
It’s hard not to fall into that downward, swirling vortex of negativity.
It’s just as hard not to run, scrambling for my rose-colored glasses. In my world, the Emerald City is more ruby-colored.
Oz seems like the ultimate utopia all four major characters are looking for. All are threatened by the Wicked Witch of the West, who actually has a legitimate gripe. Dorothy killed her sister, after all.
Outwardly, each of the characters traveled to a place far away. The journey was fraught with dangers, physical and emotional. Each was on his or her own inner journey, too, and came to realize the quality missing from their lives was actually there all along. They only had to find it within themselves.
Just like the lion, the scarecrow, the tin man, and Dorothy, whether I’m looking for confidence, intelligence, love (giving and receiving), or a way into my own inner self, I imagine I’ll find it in Oz.
As I begin a new year during this Rosh HaShanah season, I realize I need to continually re-balance my own “fire” and “ice.” The things and qualities I want and need are within my reach. The things I want and need to change are also mine to work on.
Really, I probably don’t need a wizard to tell me to open my own eyes and look around. I have everything I need to be happy and fulfilled.
-—stay curious! (and realistic)