Litmus strips—remember them? Those tests we used in chemistry class to determine the pH of solutions? Infused with a dye made from lichens, the paper turned red if the liquid was acid; blue, if alkaline. If the solution was balanced, purple.
Extreme pH causes problems. For example, in swimming pools with high alkalinity, bad bugs can run rampant, while a highly acidic pool can burn the skin.
Lately I’ve been imagining a litmus test of a different sort. One that would intercept sound waves from media and from conversations and shouts. A test strip I could press against written words. Litmus paper that would change according to the slant of incomplete or flawed information infusing it.
Freedom Litmus: A test that would help me determine how far each source skews truth.
Because if I had such a test, I could find purple.
One thing’s certain.
Very few of us are swimming in balanced input.
Even though we think we are.
Maybe today, Independence Day, could be the start of a new pH for each of us.
Maybe we could ask ourselves, and each other, this:
If neither side could reach balance—purple—without the other, how would we blend our solutions?
Lichens, however (like those used in litmus tests), form out of fungi and algae working together symbiotically, each for the other’s mutual benefit.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Gull and Squadron.
Pelicans riding thermals—and an imitator.
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you . . .”
(Charred redwoods, still standing.)
“I will be with you. . . When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
“You took off your former way of life, the old self . . .”
“. . . who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.”
Treasuring freedom with you today, friends.