Through the Gazing Ball…
A few days ago in the quiet of the night, I sat alone in a dimly lighted room, referred to as my office, wondering what would be in store for the citizens of Maryland in 2009. Summoning all my strength, I once again gazed into my wife’s jet-black bowling ball seeking a glimpse into the future of Maryland politics.
The first vision was that of our governor standing next to a money tree. The tree was stark and bare with no green leaves; the soil around the tree was dusty and dry. Gov. Martin O’Malley was holding a pruning saw, yet couldn’t make the needed cuts to prune the excess branches allowing the balance of the tree to flourish in the upcoming season.
The vision then swirled and reconfigured. This time the bare money tree was still in the center of the vision unpruned and looking gaunt. There were teachers and various people posing as union reps dancing around the tree chanting and tearing bark from the limbs. This disturbance caused the branches to fall off and droop even closer to the parched ground. Yet the people cheered and gorged themselves with bark torn from the tree.
Unable to watch the destruction of the tree any further, I shook the bowling ball in hope for a new and clear vision.
Again the money tree appeared this time surrounded by slot machines. Each machine was ringing loudly and looking as if they would burst jumping around on top of their stands. Yet there was only a small trickle of coins flowing to the ground in hope of nourishing the stressed and dying tree.
Seeing the plight of this beautiful tree, a tear ran from my eye striking the shiny black ball and instantly the slot machines disappeared. Governor O’Malley was suddenly next to the tree once again. There were clouds forming over the State House and rain looked to be a certainty. But – as the rainy day approached – it ran off the parched earth and away from the starving tree. It was not the nourishment of new income as the tree craved, it was the money saved from prior seasons.
Once the rain ended the governor left and off in the distance a group of Republican legislators approached the tree. They were carrying pruning shears, fertilizer and cans filled with water; yet, as they neared the tree, the governor and two other men stood in their way. The three men stopped them from helping the tree. One even threatened to bury the legislators.
“Enough of terrorizing this poor tree,” I shouted at the black orb lying on my carpet. Reaching for my shirttail, I polished the ball in hope for a brighter vision for the future. Emerging from the flickering gleam of the closest candle, another vision came into focus.
There was a large hall filled with Republicans, each with a cell phone in their hand. No one was speaking, yet the hall was filled with laughter and smiles. Each person was receiving good news of political victories in small towns across the State of Maryland. The merriment was swelling the ranks within the hall until it overflowed into the outside.
As the people left the hall, they began texting information to each other about how the small triumphs would become larger as the information spread throughout the land. Soon an entire electronic community of people arose and they began to send dollars to their leaders with the cell phones. The growth became exponential. In my joy I accidentally nudged the ball. It rolled slightly as the vision dissipated.
Sitting back, I wondered. What magic does this old black bowling ball possess? What could these visions possibly mean to you or me? Hopefully someone takes care of the little tree this year or we might have to sell it for firewood.
Happy New Year.