By Judy Berman
There’s nothing like a hard rain to drown out distractions. It’s just you and your thoughts alone with the deluge.
It can be the kind of weather that just begs for you to stay home, pull up the covers and go back to sleep. It cleanses and purifies as you quiet your mind.
Or, that steady roar that comes down in sheets from the eaves can be unsettling and bring unwelcome change. It can envelop you in sadness and wipe out all that’s comfortable and familiar.
Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” was filled with apocalyptic visions of nuclear war, environmental crisis, famine, and where people are out of work and face desperate times.
Written in the early 1960s, Dylan might have been speaking of today. His message still resonates. “It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”
As it fell, I saw someone standing in the breezeway, just looking lost as the rain pounded down. The next day would be his last one there, as he and nearly 200 other teachers and 80 media assistants in our school district will have to look elsewhere for work. This is the human costs of the district’s efforts to cut $30 million from its budget.
Their departure is a loss for all of us.
The next day, we talked. If you can call my breaking down and crying like a newborn … talking. Dark memories resurfaced in the wake of the layoffs. I told him of a time when I worked in radio. It seems like every 1 ½ to 2 years, I had a new “opportunity” to find employment as a result of format changes or budget crunches.
One time after I got my notice, I awoke in a panic, frightened that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills and be able to care for my two young daughters. My colleague assured me he’d be OK. It was odd. He was trying to comfort me.
I did survive, of course, and I know that he and others will, too.
For some, however, that recovery is more challenging.
As a reporter, I recall covering the shutdown of a 104-year-old plant outside Syracuse, New York. In 1986, Allied Chemical laid off 1,500 employees. It’s a plant that generations of families worked at and thought they had a job for life.
As the whistle blew to signal the end of their final workday there, I walked alongside folks who were in a state of shock. I felt as if I were at a wake. It was that quiet as workers quietly shuffled out of the factory for the last time and headed home.
It’s a memory that haunts me still.
We’ve gone thru these setbacks many times as a nation. That recovery is harder for some than for others. They’re held back by a change in required job skills, education or a dwindling pool of jobs …
“I saw a white ladder all covered with water,” Dylan sang.
That ladder means opportunity, but the water means it will be more challenging to climb. Like Dylan’s blue-eyed son in the song, we have to go back out there ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’.
“Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’, But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’.”
We know from the outset that we’re in for a hard rain. But if we struggle and work together, we can safely navigate the turbulent waters.
My husband and I have traveled this road and weathered the storm. What I want my colleague and others to hold firm to is: Better days are ahead.
After losing her job at NBC’s “The Today Show,” journalist Linda Ellerbee said: “Every exit is an entry somewhere else.”
“What I like most about change is that it’s a synonym for ‘hope’ If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, ‘I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it,’ ” says Ellerbee, author of “And So It Goes.”
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original
Music Video – Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq1q9k_bob-dylan-a-hard-rain-s-a-gonna-fall-1964_music#.UaCz3UDfSF4
Photo: Hard Rain – taken May 8, 2012, in downtown Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico by © Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/01/Falling_rain_in_mexico.jpg/603px-Falling_rain_in_mexico.jpg
The 10 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-10-greatest-bob-dylan-songs-20110511/a-hard-rains-a-gonna-fall-20110511
Photo: Sunrise over Lake Biwa in Japan – copyright by owner A-giâu, taken in 2004. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/Biwa_Lake.jpg/640px-Biwa_Lake.jpg