Written on 9-29-2020
Today, I go outside to sit in the sunlight. I put my computer on the table. Baroque music plays on Spotify. Birds are singing. I’m wearing my wolf tee shirt. It helps me to feel powerful. The sky is blue. The internet reports that the air quality is good. My eyes fall upon a redwood tree in one direction and a grove of Cypress in another. I open the computer to begin writing this column
My first thought: I must remember that things are not normal.
I do try (don’t you?) to take a contemplative view of the times. I sit each morning in meditation. I am determined to touch base with my soul. I will not allow the 200,000 dead of COVID, the indifference of our government, nor the horrors of Trump, to separate me from my source.
But, still, I must remember: things are not normal. Each of those deaths is a tragedy. Every day of continued racism in America brings countless tragedies. Donald Trump’s presidency is a tragedy. These things are not necessary. They are not natural. We can do better. We have done better. History is not the property of the oppressors. The histories of the fighters, the resisters, the visionaries for a better world are real, are vital, and good. They are not tragedies. We must remember to celebrate our long, long history of joyful resistance. In each generation, the very existence of this alternative history transcends tragedy: it is a victory.
We must remember. In each generation, the visionaries have triumphed because we have survived and passed on the vision to others who can fight another day.
I remember. And I think, too, about this day. Right now. I look around.
I treasure each quiet day of writing, contemplating, painting, sitting in the sunlight. I know, however, (I hope we all know) that this is most likely a calm before a storm. I take a sip of coffee from my souvenir cup. It is decorated with the logo from monastic retreat in Big Sur. I notice the table has a bit of ash on the surface. That is a reminder of the fires burning in Santa Rosa.
A few days ago, a friend asked on Facebook: “Have you thought about after the election? Do you have plans?”
More than a few friends replied: “I’m leaving the country.” They were serious. One friend is already on her way to Peru, as I write. Another is preparing a move to Finland, and still another to Canada. All over America, there is a flight from the larger cities. This seems to be more serious than hoarding toilet paper.
Several friends have made remarks to this effect: “I shouldn’t have been making fun of the preppers.”
In my own mind, I am prepared for street violence, and anticipate a call for citizens to engage in mass street demonstrations to prevent the hijacking of our democracy. I am 62 years old. I’ve seen plenty of times when people have spoken of such things. I’ve always felt they were being alarmist. Not now.
I have been thinking about whether I will feel it is necessary to go to D.C. and protest in the streets. I don’t want to miss my moment in history, whatever the cost. This has gotten to the point of wondering about specifics, like where will I stay? How will I travel? Can I form a community with friends to be sure we are adequately fed as we go to war?
Yes, I said “go to war.”
That’s how it is, from where I sit, admiring a redwood tree. What about you?
I sit. I contemplate. I remember. But my eyes are open. I hope yours are too.