Photo: They insisted on being “army soldiers” for Halloween. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t have concerns. Ultimately, we parents greenlighted the costumes because 1) childhood is magic and a kid should be what they want for Halloween, 2) possibilities are limitless and there are only a few things I’m going to tell them they “can’t” be and this isn’t one of them and 3) the culture wars suck and, to the degree that I can, I’m not playing.
I’ve spent that last two days thinking about plants and researching rose bushes for a 1000 word story that’s due for my class today. I’m supposed to be writing a story about a character who transforms into an inanimate object (literally or metaphorically) over the course of the story. Of course, the transformation is in the foreground while there is some other transformation that’s supposed to be happening in the background (or vice versa at the writer’s discretion). The assignment is due tonight for distribution to the whole class tomorrow. I’ve decided to write about a woman who turns into a rose bush. I’m inspired by the roses in Grandy’s garden. Indeed, I’ve been writing about Grandy all day (you’d be proud of me, Dear Reader. I haven’t cried yet). I’m about 1200 words in, I know where I’m going, but I’m not where I need to be yet.
Thinking about transformation and focusing on plants and seeds seems appropriate right now. The farmers around here turned over their fields weeks ago, some fields already covered over with nutrient-giving grass, others still littered with rejected gourds half-eaten by wildlife. The corn is gone, the tomato vines withered by the frost. Growing time is done now. Harvest time, too. Seeds are being returned to the soil, either naturally or by way of the harvest. Either way, the cycle is starting all over again.
First comes the death, then comes the sleep, and after, as if by magic, life will begin anew.
I think that death is an important tool, as powerful and scary and hurtful as it is. What I’m fascinated by is the stopping of whatever has stopped, but also the seeds of life that death leaves behind and lets pass on. Life continues not in spite of death, but because death inspires life to do more, be more, grow more. Life blossoms because seeds grow in the good soil that death leaves behind.
And what are we to do with this idea as our idealism dies under the crushing and relentless onslaught of a madman at the helm of our nation? What should we do with this idea as our sense of safety dies under the crippling fear that our safe places will be the next to be attacked by someone with darkness and hate in their heart? What should we do with this idea as the threads that bind us to each other wither and die under oppression on display through racist ads streamed on twitter and false claims screamed at rallies?
We can only resolve to breakdown the nastiness with the heat of our passion. We can break down the oppressive acts and lies bit by bit, piece by piece, with our persistence and our truth-telling. We can, with our loving choices and our loud screams for change, bring in the good elements while rejecting the bad and letting it wash away. Indeed, through our decisive actions and voting our values on Tuesday, we can push out the bad elements and leave behind what we want and what we need.
We can let our hearts be good soil and plant the seeds of loving hope and activism there. We can choose to nourish them with our valuable votes, and then continue to foster them with our insistence on accountability and change. We can transform this fear, this anxiety, this frustration and this anger and turn it not on our neighbors, but channel it through the ballot box and through new representatives who we know will make the changes we need and will stop the onslaught on the world we want. We can dedicate and rededicate ourselves to make a new world blossom by our hands and our good, hard work.
The world that we want for each other takes work, Dear Reader. We have to be here for it. We have to want it and choose it and work for it. That work starts with us.
It’s a late fall Friday with plenty of leaves on the ground and gray in the air. Color pops at all angles, bringing delight to the eyes no matter where you look. The air is warm tonight, making for foggy corners and sweet, sweet smells in the air. Oh, to live in New England in November. You can almost forget that dreaded Winter is mere weeks away.
My Dear Reader, I wish you only a few things this week that are of vital importance: if you have an opportunity to go vote early, I wish you time to go vote. If you have the opportunity to speak with your neighbors (near or far) about your favorite candidate, I wish you time to do that. If you have money to spare and you can give a few dollars to a race on the bubble, I wish you the generosity to share your wealth so that others might benefit from better representation. If you have a car and you can drive a neighbor in need to the polls, I wish you a plan of action and a happy ride with new friends. If you know young people new to this process, I wish you happy mentoring as you introduce them to their duty and right and privilege. If you are on the ballot and you share my values of justice, equality, humanity, feminism, and progressive ideals: I wish you the best of luck in your push toward a new majority and a new governance over this land. And if you are a neighbor to the north (Hi Canada! I’m so grateful ya’ll love my blog) or across the pond (Hi UK and Germany! Ya’ll, too! I’m happy you’re here!) I wish you opportunity to light a candle for us and say a little prayer for our sanity. We need it. We need it.
This is a world that is currently designed to scare the hell out of you. As ever, there is a rightness and a wrongness to it, often twisted and without a scrap of needed nuance and context to help you find your way. As we wade into these final days of this campaign, I feel duty-bound to remind you of something: first, you are loved. That’s never been in question. You are worthy of being here. You are whole and human and recognized as such. Second, what you do in this world matters. Your choices have weight. Your decisions have consequences. Your voice reaches people. Third, I want you to know that you are infinitely beautiful. You were created not to disappear, but to be a light and a presence in this world. You were created as a solution to all the world’s problems: thoughtfully made and loved with a depth that is aching and irrational. Please know that whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, no matter what is said or what is done or what is left undone, you need to remember that you are still here, what you do will matter, and there are people who need you to stay active, stay persistent, and stay hopeful through it all. You set the tone. You are the light others are seeking in the darkness. So shine on, Dear Reader. Shine as brightly as you can. This weekend, until Tuesday, and beyond and beyond and beyond.
I’m here with you. I promise.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, exercise your rights, defend the rights of others, plant a seed of hope in the good soil of your heart, dance in the in the light of your undeniable and infinite beauty, and take care.