Living in the 21st Century

We’re all wanting things to be normal, not utopian, not even idealistic. Just rather normal, civil. 

Years ago I heard someone say, “It’s all the Beatles’ fault.” Really? “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” “Here Comes the Sun.” “Eleanor Rigby.” “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine.” Oh, I know: the hair, the drugs, the outrageous dress, the riots, the protests. Much like the Gay Nineties and the Roaring 20s.

But–this today?

Normal for me would be going outside to fill the bird feeder without words such as “Rat,” “Dog” “Loser” battering my brain. “I disagree,” would be fine. Or “Not my taste.” Even “Not for me.”


Living in the 21st Century

Long before there was this day
another day came. Maybe it rained
or there was a little sunlight. People

got up and did what they always do.
Birds sang and the cats wanted out,
or in. You and I weren’t here,

but the world didn’t know. Trees
grew and nobody noticed. Someone
was cruel. Someone else

tried not to be. Maybe the weather
shifted unexpectedly and plans
had to be changed. This morning

we watched our day begin. We
wondered if it would be good,
wondered if it would rain.

–Jack Ridl

from Broken Symmetry, Wayne State University Press

There’s a wonderful Writers’ Retreat coming up at Lost Lake near Alpena., Michigan. Instead of the usual workshops, the retreat provides you a long-needed chance to get away, be among warm-hearted fellow writers and a staff of fiction writers, poets, and song writers with whom you can meet one on one, hear read, sing, and listen to interesting presentations. Here you will have time to write on your own in the beautiful autumn setting at Lost Lake.

October 4-7

For more details and to sign up go to

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Visit Reader’s World to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

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7 thoughts on “Living in the 21st Century

  1. Jack –

    How I wish the Writers Retreat were closer. I’d be there in a heart beat If it were 1 ir 2 hours away. But Just don’t want to drive 4 hours alone. (The back for one thing…) And- there are few people I’d care to talk 4 hours with!🙃😕The introvert in me showing up more often these days…

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. One of my favorites… and yet had forgotten. So needed this very day . Bless you.🙏💕

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Hi Jack, soothing poem…Reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof, Sunrise, Sunset…Swiftly fly the years; One season following another; Laden with happiness and tears…Blessings, bill h

    • Bill, your close eye and thoughtfulness is something I so appreciate.
      The poem is one of those risky ones where it appears simple, but . . .
      Blessings and calm to you two within this mess.

    • Jim, you are always so kind. Thank you for writing. I am so
      glad you admire and appreciate this poem. It’s one of those
      sneaky ones that many would overlook, but not your careful
      and caring eye and sensibility.
      Gratitude in abundance and best wishes for calm within it all.

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