Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today

There are too many things to say, and yet I feel at such a loss. So many reasons why the country chose a misogynist, racist, bully for a leader, and so few that I can understand.

The hatred I see, mostly on Facebook, is astounding. Is horrific. I have to believe it is tied to fear, rather than just pure hatred. The fear of people who look different. The fear of gay people. The fear of other religions. These things just don't compute to me. But I know the fears are ingrained, deeply seeded into the soil of white America, into the heartland. And I wonder how we can ease these fears.

The greed I see, through newspapers and media, through stories of wall street and big business, is disgusting. Is discouraging. The need to be the biggest, the best, the top ace, the loudest, the winner at all costs. The belief that money buys happiness. The disregard for the millions of people who work the small jobs, the ugly jobs, the necessary jobs. This power-hungry state of mind is never something I have felt, so it doesn't make sense to me. But I know that much of the population of the world wants more. More of everything, because they feel they don't have enough. They feel what they do have is being taken away. And I wonder how we find contentment, satisfaction, fullness.

The anger I see, in Trump's rallies, in comments on blogs and news, on Facebook, is scary. It terrifies me. I know what anger is. I grew up with it dominating my life, frightening me at every turn. I fought my own anger, pushed it back and found a way to let in peace. Anger is powerful. Anger hurts. It stings. It kills. And the fact that it has been a dominant force in this election cycle is deeply troubling. How do we soothe the hurt from all that lies beneath? How do we disperse the anger?

The misogyny I see, in chants about Clinton, in T-shirts people made, in Trump's own words and actions, in the people listening to him, makes me sick. My gut clenches up and I feel near retching. The lack of respect for women is simply far too far away from anything that I could ever understand. It is incomprehensible to me. I am terrified of what they, men, have, are, and will do to women. Again and again they do it. As if we are theirs to do with as they wish.

Yet, when I step outside and away from the media, I see trees bending in the wind. A drizzly rain mists the hillsides. My chickens clucks for more scratch. I hear the crows, cawing after each other, talking in their own tongue to each other, oblivious to our cares. The last of the poplar leaves rattle against each other in a small, unobtrusive sound.

I walk the path behind my house and cry. I find my breath again. Take slow steps, looking at the leaf-strewn ground. And I see the colors. They catch my eye and something other than sorrow takes hold. Possibility. So I let myself follow. I bend down and stretch my arms in all directions. I seek all the colors, the deepest tones, the lighter film of papery leaf. And I lay the pieces down and for minutes, several wet, cold-handed, leafy minutes I just create. The bad thoughts slip away and I remember something. Something that is at the heart of who I am.

I am an artist.

Art is, at it's core, creation. It is building something new. Seeing, hearing, discovering the unknown. It's opening your mind to space and pulling out something that wasn't there before. It is life.

I am devastated today. I fear for our children. For our planet. For our government. I do not believe that things are going to go well for people interested in progressive and global unity, or for blacks, immigrants, Muslims, women, gay people, our natural places. The future is clouded and grey. The fear and hate and anger are slipping in, getting ahead, wiggling in and rooting.

I am lucky to live in a place where acceptance, tolerance, and peace are plentiful, but I know so many people do not. Friends all over the country today are dumbfounded and shocked. But something I keep hearing is that we will not lie down and let the hateful ones prevail. We must keep doing good. Keep loving. Keep being kind. Keep helping each other, standing up for each other, protecting our children, walking in the woods, doing the work, and striving for community and cohesion.

I am not there yet. The tears are still flowing and the pain is too real. But I know I will get there. I believe that hate leads to more hate, leads to Voldemort and Darth Vader and Hitler and Mussolini and so many other wrong paths. And I will not go down that path.

I also know that I will strive every day to do good. To help someone else. To inspire art. To love. To give of my time or money. To let down my own walls. To listen. To let others know they are valued. To offer a shoulder, or a laugh, or a march on the capitol. To find a way to offer myself to the fight to defeat fear.

We have so far to go. My trust in the good of humanity is shattered today. So I must turn and put my trust in the rivers and the golden tamarack trees and the towering mountains and the white ice and the black soil and the damp fall air and the geese overhead and all the art that we can muster. These things I know are good. These things are real. And I will wrap myself up in them with a thin sliver of hope, and find the way back to myself again.



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