The White Echidna and other good news

Good news: A rare white echidna saved by Rhonda and Bill.

Good news: A rare white echidna saved by Rhonda and Bill.

Instead of partying like it was 1999, the New Millennium found me freshly released from hospital and confined indoors, away from the exploding fireworks and the swirling, smoky global celebration that I grieved for missing out on. Such is life . . . with lung disease.

All newscasts were suspended that night the century turned over. Instead, for broadcast worldwide, people from each country on earth had prepared a vivid showcase of their lives. It was joyful. Fascinating. Alien. The emerging nation of Timor Leste sent greetings to the oldest continuous culture on earth, the Aborigines of Australia. They have welcomed some seventy such new millennia during their tenure of this great island continent.

I watched the sun rise first in the world over the land of my birthplace, New Zealand, and the great diva Kiri Te Kanawa sing in the 2000s. It was truly a new dawn.

And then just like a smoker freed of the habit for one heady moment, we reach for the crumpled packet the next morning and march towards our doom. Same old, same old, same old beat.

So on the first day of the shiny, newly-minted century, we crept like addicts to our stash and went back to mainlining The Bad News; back to the dying, the lying, the cheating, the fear, the wars, the poor, the disaster porn. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’, as they say in the Bad News business. There is the omnipresent Dow, whose movements we watch like a cranky bowel; the extreme weather events that strip away the homes of millions, the refugees, the faces of hungry children, and those skeletal with AIDS and other plagues.

I predict when Big News can get vision from outer space, we’ll be shown over and over meteor storms that might smash us to smithereens, not the lucent beauty of the rings of Saturn filtered through icy fingers of dust crystals.

Our world is wallpapered in cheap, bad news and it’s bad for our health.

What they put to air affects the way we breathe.

Every day, Bad News Oompaloompas must scamper about and look under every rock and in every cranny to sniff out every bit of smelly, bad news they can find, to roll it out 24/7 on our TVs, radios, phones, tablets, and other devices. They are miners of misery.

We are living on a scale that is not human any more. In my village, there is the usual round of bad news in any given year. Deaths, accidents, petty crime, illness and drunkeness. But there is also good news in abundance. The dads and the kids built a cool skatepark. We have a new boatramp. Zac the shark fisherman opened a new café on the water. The Black Marlin are jumping. Someone saw a dingo, they reckon. The tourists have gone home. Meals on Wheels turned 25. Rhonda the wildlife lady is looking after a rare albino echidna. Did you ever see such a creature? The oldest mammal on earth.

When we get stressed, people with Copd become ‘gaspy’ and anxious. Panic attacks can result. Everything tightens up in our chests and even doing the simplest of things can seem a bridge too far.

Having a positive attitude can prolong your life. Shut out bad news. It does us no favours to be told by politicians (till we are literally blue in the face) that we must expect financial hardships. We are already struggling with the idea that the clock is ticking.

Medical science has proven singing can measurably help improve our lung function (see post, ‘Songs on Script’).

Turn off the news. Turn up the music. One is bad for your lungs, the other will improve your breathing and your outlook on life.

All things are possible.

SKYHOOKS told us the news was a horror movie back in 1975.

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One thought on “The White Echidna and other good news

  1. Barbara – I’m honored you are now following my blog. Your writing is magnificent. Your words flow as if in a hymnal of sorrow and grief and then builds up to a crescendo of hope and thanksgiving of what’s already with us and what’s possible if we’ll only be still and allow it to happen.
    I’m 100% convinced that stress is the cause of many chronic disease’s that are invading the bodies of both young and old in our country.
    A special happiness note and you, my friend, get all the credit. My husband and I now have a dedicated ‘sing thirty minutes’ each evening. On the evenings when he feels strong enough, we dance also but first we sing as loud as possible taking deep breaths.
    A few nights ago the phone rang while we were singing and Tom has trouble allowing a phone to go unanswered. I on the other-hand don’t. He said, “Let the phone ring.” We went on with our singing. I call that splendid progress. Thank you, Barbara.


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