It’s just the 1st of July but the fireworks have blasted their way into day 13. I worry for the weekend with sun in the forecast and nerves already frayed. There is a segment of the population right now all about defiance and destruction. There is a gaping hole where simple regard for humanity should lie. That switch is off.
Is it a missing gene at fault ? Was hope for them so thoroughly trampled that the only thing with enough abundance to fill the empty space was anger and indifference ? Is there a reverse ? Is there an ‘on’ switch when it comes to compassion ?
Last night, before the raging sounds, I gave Yoda the window seat. A chance to see that the sky is neither falling nor opening up. I played James Taylor, thinking the soothing deep sound of JT’s voice might help settle his trembling little self.
I have tried many things to keep Yoda calm. But nothing I can give him will slow the triple-beats of his heart. Yoda becomes so fraught with anxiety I can’t comfort him. He can’t comfort himself. He buries himself in the creases and folds of the couch and pillows and blankets. He pants. He whines. He looks at me as if asking me to make it stop. The other dogs in distress in the neighborhood make it an extra layer of hard for him. He’s such a sweet, loving soul.
Even after the worst has ended though and I leave him safely curled up in blankets on the couch, he doesn’t feel safe, the fear not arrested. He comes up and paws at the door. He just wants me downstairs with him. Touching. And so I stay until silence settles in the room. Until he can sleep.
Walking him today he seems his perky self. Maybe we get used to a certain amount of disruption. Noise, imbalance, unsteadiness. In these moments, walking his neighborhood beat, he seems okay. He doesnt seem traumatized now but that’s how fear is, right? Like a sneaker-wave, it comes later. It washes over everything like a mist. Like an odor. It sinks in and settles.
Tonight, again, it will awaken like a sleeping giant. It will race through his body, a sudden jolt with every unexpected deafening boom. I dread the sunset. I never thought I’d say that.
Like many others I’ve been stepping away from the swell of disquiet and leaning instead into a quest for something beautiful. I have my small journal and my camera to provide a record, perhaps a map, out of the dim and into the light.
Nisqually is just forty minutes away. White-bottom bunnies scatter across the road as you drive in. I always slow my speed. Simple humanity. The parking lot is usually empty as the clouds thin and blue sneaks in around the edges of sky. Goldfinch, warblers, robins and sparrows, waking and singing.
I had hoped to be there this morning but after another hard night, I slept this morning until nearly six. I’m building a sleep debt I fear will not be paid until mid-July. I have my own anxiety about these explosive nights and it makes for fitful sleep. I long for the quiet of the mountain. Sunrise should be opening soon …
For now, I continue to prepare the house for some improvements. New paint, new floors, new furniture. I have Gus as my helper for these endeavors and he is a sharp, if not demanding, project manager.
Everything that lies before me now appears as opportunity. A chance to create a sanctuary within a broken infrastructure. It has been months now of troubling messages. It is as though the Obama years were the slow, steady rise to the top of the coaster and these Trump years, the hurtling through space downward on the track. It had seemed to pick up momentum until a curve slowed the reckless descent.
Awareness of systemic racism is a curve.
Covid is a curve.
Rising unemployment is a curve.
Collective impatience is a curve.
Growing discontent is a curve.
Through the waves of sickness and hatred and fear comes a familiar feeling. Or maybe just a reminder that we have known this hopelessness before and we have risen above.
I know that by the second week of July I will once again find sleep. By the second month of fall, I will have new hope. It isn’t enough to be AGAINST what’s happening. We must be FOR the things that define our humanity. Onward I go to discovering my place as I move ever forward.
You must BE the change you want to see in the world.