Thinking About Awakenings

by Fred Cederholm
Just before I left the Kishwaukee Forest Preserve to return home, an older couple joined me and set up lawn chairs to have a cold drink and wait to watch the sunset. I said my goodbyes and left. I had an awakening – and another AH HA moment. I really love this area!

I’ve been thinking about awakenings. Actually I’ve been thinking about recoveries, Creston, Toronto, the Gulf of Mexico, Afghanistan, and the Kishwaukee Forest Preserve. A year ago right now, I had had my first heart surgery, I thought I was fixed, but a flesh eating staph infection was already munching away on my heart valve, around my heart, and in the fleshy parts between my skin and rib cage (where by the way, I was oozing a pinkish brown goo from the incision). In just a week, I would be taken back to the hospital with a 108 degree fever and an at rest pulse of 140. If my friends and neighbors in Creston had not intervened, I would have NOT awakened on the morning of July 8th. Being an eternal optimist in my demented sense of reality, I was FINE, and I just wanted all the people in my kitchen to go home and to leave me and my little dog Mac II alone. I needed an awakening to my real situation - I needed an “AH HA” moment.

You see denial and human nature go hand in hand. We never seem to want to acknowledge the direness of what we are facing. In the alternative... we also tend to ignore the good things around us, what keeps us going, and what makes life, well life. Last Friday we had the June international fund raiser dinner at the Creston Opera House. It was Greek night and “OOPAH!” was the food and camaraderie wonderful. These monthly dinners bring local people together to experience each other’s company, to enjoy a good time, and to have a great meal an a glass on wine. In these times of turmoil, such a respite is MUCH needed. After the meal, the participants learned a Greek dance. They weren’t Zorba, or Melina Mecouri, but the kick, dip, kick, dip, side step, back step, and two side steps were so much fun to watch. I laughed and enjoyed the fun of living in this beautiful little farm community. I got an awakening – an AH HA moment.

Far away, the leaders of the G 8 and the G 20 were at a different type of gathering in Toronto - to fix the world. Watching the posturings and gyrations up there was both humorous and terrifying. This was like “Oscar Night,” but with politicians on the red carpet strutting their stuff and creating a grand illusion that all was (or would be) right with the world. In the conferences, they couldn’t agree on a blasted thing. Europe and Asia wanted belt tightening - cutting back on spending programs while the US and Obama wanted to goose up spending/ bailouts, assume more debt, and print more money. Limited cutbacks abroad had already brought an “awakening” to the people and they took to the streets in riotous protest. Monday brought a compromise --- programs/ bailouts would be cut back minimally (if at all) and the governments would assume still more debt, and print still more money. This was NOT the solution! They need an awakening – an AH HA moment.

Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, the Horizon Deepwater disaster is still gushing (at an increased rate I might add) and BP is still mixing in the highly toxic dispersant COREXIT to keep the oil below the surface of the water. Two auxiliary wells to pump plug mud into the leak are being sunk and should (well, maybe will) stop the flow in August (or October). The skimming boats hired to quiet the now unemployed fishing lobby are putzing around dragging their absorbent pontoons in a futile attempt to corral the runaway oil. This has the effect of farting in a hurricane. By the way, the hurricane season is beginning and any one bad storm can send the toxic soup inland. I am so glad I live in the Midwest. The media covered efforts are accomplishing squat down there. They all need an awakening – an AH HA moment.

Across the globe in Afghanistan, June is proving to be the most costly month in the now ten year policing action. As of Sunday, 56 young Americans gave their lives in June to accomplish what? Last week saw the supreme commanding general of the Afghanistan forces recalled to DC to get fired (I mean ... to resign). McChrystal had been honest which is never a good thing for anybody in politics, or war. (“Rolling Stone... Wanna SEE my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone...”) A new general was NO solution! We will not be scaling back from there next July of 2011 as we are still building bases, airstrips, hospitals, and training centers. They all need an awakening – an AH HA moment.

Sunday afternoon, I treated myself a drive down Mulford Road to the Kishwaukee Forest Preserve, - to read, and to sit in the sun to add some color to my recovering “cream of wheat on a beige plate” body. It was a beautiful day. I watched people float down the Kish on inner tubes, rafts, and kayaks, I watched people drive around and enjoy the beauty of this natural setting. Just before I left to return home, an older couple joined me and set up lawn chairs to have a cold drink and wait to watch the sunset. I said my goodbyes and left. I had an awakening – and another AH HA moment. I really love this area!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on June 28, 2010.