Posts Tagged walking
I took my car to the dealership this afternoon. I brought my work along, dreading having to tune out the flash and blare of the ginormous big-screen TV in the “customer lounge.”
Ironically, the last time I was at the dealer, trying to ignore the television, it was Inauguration day. Me, a woman who hasn’t lived in a house with a TV for years now, who would have sooner walked barefoot across a bed of broken glass than watch a man she had zero respect or faith in rise to power — yes, I accidentally ended up seeing the live streaming coverage of Trump being sworn in. It was inescapable in the “lounge.” I gave up trying to work, because they had it cranked up. The office staff was watching, a few mechanics wandered in and out, catching a peek.
I listened to the others, the customers and car salesmen, many of whom probably voted for Trump, making comments about how pretty Melania looked in that ice-blue, how nice it would be to have her in the White House (seriously, someone said that, that she would look so pretty at those state dinners). Oh, how handsome and cute fidgety young Barron was. Switch to a close up of Trump, hand on Bible.
“Look how serious he looks,” marveled a white lady about my age. She sounded relieved, and mildly surprised. Her tone said what I think everyone there hoped: that the campaign was over, and now he would behave like an adult. The pussy-grabbing tapes could safely be shoved into the crypt of collective memory, along with all the things he’d said on the campaign trail. Calling Mexicans “rapists,” hollering for the crowd to “knock the crap out of them! I’ll pay the legal bills!” — well, all politicians say crazy things in the heat of a battle. Don’t they? It’s like a man killing his wife in a fit of jealousy. Sort of, well, excusable, right? I mean, don’t we excuse that? It’s all just locker room talk, to be tuned out, glossed over.
“Wow. It’s gotta be a hard day for them,” said a round-faced woman, as the camera panned to a close up of the Obamas. She sounded like she was commenting on a reality show where a couple’s just been voted off the island. She sounded both sad and gleeful at once. Like, I mean, this is exciting! We wanted change! And look — the camera pans back to Melania’s sculpted cheekbones. “You know she was a model, right? She still looks so amazing. How old is she?”
An older black couple stood up right then, and moved as far away as they could get from the “U” of couches set up in front of the giant screen. The overall vibe in the lounge that day felt more tense than celebratory, even though, as I said, I’m willing to bet many of those present had voted for him, and most of them made comments along the lines of, “I bet he’ll get really smart people in to run things. You know, he’s an excellent business man.”
It was a surreal experience.
I do think most people, liberals like me included, hoped he’d delegate responsibly and treat the job seriously. That he’d want to do right, in the end. End his association with openly racist “platform of the alt-right Breitbart” Steve Bannon. Stop the twitter rants. I mean, he’d be President! He’d have to be a responsible, sober adult. But that was 207 days ago.
Today at the dealership, the big screen was dark and silent, and I really didn’t think about why until I came home and watched a recording of Trump’s press conference online.
That’s why it was off! No one wanted to see that. No one wanted to hear that. No one can sit through that and make polite conversation about his tie.
But we have to watch him, don’t we? We have to listen. We have to speak.
Because he’s not sober — he’s dangerous to our society. Dangerous to people I love, and people you love, too. Dangerous to civility and liberty.
I wonder what the history books will say someday? I wonder who will write them? I wish I could write more coherently about what is happening right now, in real-time, but it all feels too much.
So instead, I took a walk. I took this picture. A bright sunset fading into darkness. A lone streetlamp shining. We have to watch, but not fade into darkness.
All of us who care about our country and everyone in it, we have to watch, and not fade.
Somehow, we have to be the light.
A poem for my neighbor’s hibicus
Furled for the night,
see? They’re rolled up tight,
like tissue-paper cigars in the moonlight
in the morning they will spin open
I’ll be walking past
I’ll be sucked in, again
will spin with them, six-and-a-half again
fairy dresses for princesses named
Hibiscus, Rosemallow, Swampmallow.
The white one, shining in a sunbeam?
Rose of Sharon, sweet savior of sinners—
This pink one, I’ll call her Roseasharn Joad
bearing what cannot be borne
blooming when heat swells
when dreams evaporate like raindrops
when petals unwind
magic tunnels in time
swallower of bees
Day and night arrive,
always right on time:
I am forever late, running behind.
Breathing in the soft dusk
I feel eternity evaporate.
I drift to this place
where water turns to vapor
where the cold night melts
On the surface, all so calm;
moon rising, breeze unspooling
winter after-dinner walk
belly full, heart content yet
beneath: dreams simmer in wait
deep, boiling, unseen, building
escaping, lost, to the night.
I’m not religious, and I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying what I believe. I believe in a higher power. I believe that higher power is manifested most purely in love. I don’t mean only romantic love, though that is one form.
In our culture, that kind of love is held up as a commodity or a prize. There are even television shows about finding love by a process that looks like an extended series of job interviews, with marriage as a prize for the winner.
No. I mean the kind of love that doesn’t judge or control. It is that feeling that shoots through you when you hold someone you care about, it is that feeling you find when you journey through the dark and discover you never were really alone. It is about faith in the better part of the world, and in yourself, in spite of seeing the worst parts of both. Or maybe because of seeing both sides?
There’s a poem I love by a wonderful poet named Deena Metzger. It rolls around in my head sometimes when I walk, like a prayer of sorts. I think it helps me to be open to seeing signs, like this leaf on the sidewalk on the day the Supreme Court decided they cannot control love. Now I’m sure there will probably be shows about gay people searching for partners and getting married as the prize, but the bigger take away for me is that expressions of committed love are now open to the LGBT community, and freedom to love, in the end, really is everything, and should be open to everyone.
There are those who are trying to set fire to the world,
We are in danger.
There is time only to work slowly,
There is no time not to love.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
– Wu Men, 12c Chinese poet
(transl: S. Mitchell)
a half-gallon of milk
swinging in my hand
I drink darkness,
taste the sky, swollen with
tulip poplar blooms waving
in the wind