I started writing yesterday and made it to about 700 words without ever really saying anything at all. It feels like words are stirring but sometimes it’s just that the feelings have nowhere to go and they’re swirling and swirling and you can imagine them crawling up the walls like smoke looking for a way out. 

I was on my walk with Yoda. What struck me was the sound of joyful noise on the playground less than a block from my house. I love this about where I live. Even as Yoda’s eyes begin to cloud over, he strains to see the blur of dozens of kids in motion. His old ears perk up at every shriek of laughter, every squeal of delight. 

It was kids this age shot in cold blood in Nashville. 

And in Uvalde.
And in Sandy Hook.
And so, so so many others. 

In this absence of words
In this deepening void
Like William Stafford wrote:

“I have woven a parachute 
out of everything broken”

And still
Nothing will ever be enough. 

Prayer without action is just talk into the void.

14 Comments on “Parachutes

  1. So true, unfortunately. I served on a school board for nearly 12 years and it was something we didn’t even think about ten years ago. No easy solutions.

  2. I have no words of value to add to the discussion. After we showed up in earnest for women’s rights in 2017, and got a resounding f u for our efforts, I feel so hopeless. I guess, like in Israel, if enough people protest long enough, a stubborn government will cave. But gosh, I just can’t see Americans gathering in those numbers when I listen to my neighbors who are convinced BEYOND A DOUBT that the only reason for any gun control measure of any kind is because the Democrats are “coming for our guns!” They believe in that mantra more than they believe in god.

  3. “Feelings . . . like smoke crawling up the wall, looking for a way out.” Perfect metaphor. That’s how I feel. I want to take an assault weapon to the second amendment, or at least against those who incorrectly interpret it to serve their own g*damn selfish interests. And, honestly, I don’t understand what those interests even are. Like children stomping their feet because their parents won’t let them have what they want, even though they don’t really even want it.

    • I don’t understand it either. It defies anything I know. Here’s the thing that gets me: there are more than 300 milion guns in the US. More firearms than people. And yet the argument is that someone is “coming after their guns”. How can a rational person even entertain the possibility of that? I mean, good lord, have they ever thought that through?  What would that even look like? It’s ludicrous like every other argument. Pass laws to protect the innocent. Require locks and background checks. Pass red-flag laws. Quit producing weapons of war for a civilian population. Not one of these measures is about “taking away guns”. An AR-15 is not a defensive weapon. These laws won’t stop the next shooter, but they WILL save.lives. And yet still, those that can do something, do nothing. We. Are. Broken. 

  4. And even with a parachute there’s nowhere safe to land. Thank you for your beautiful words and pictures as we all struggle to figure this out. Yes I’m ready to take to the streets, for just about anything and everything at this point! There’s so much.

    • A big yes to a massive rumble of a million feet and thousands and thousands of voices. I’m ready too. I want to be a loud and clear addition to the chorus of kindness. Knowing it will take more than kindness. Knowing, too, that we must begin, to begin the movement of changing hearts.

  5. Thank you Bonnie Rae, for the poem, for the drawing, for the wordlessness. As this violence continues, I, an unarmed 76 year old grandmother am ready and willing to protest, to risk my own endangerment–hopefully in the presence of a thousand other grandmothers…. Listen to this song. our dear Holly Near. Be ready old women and men who will stand as stewards.

    • I stand with you in that willingness. I pretty much love the thought of thousands of women standing together in solidarity. I’d step in front of any of those innocents and take those bullets for them. It will be the generation of those left to carry the burden of our failures that will someday forge a new path forward. Thanks for sharing the song. Just to see the name Holly Near reminds me of my youth and what it meant to have strong women’s voices carrying the message of both angst and hope. I’m ready to stand as a steward for a kinder world*

  6. Sorrowfully, we are citizens of a schizophrenic nation, that speaks of lighting the path of democracy and being the city on the hill for the world to see, but have committed the heinous crimes of slavery, genocide, and now we are allowing our children to be murdered needlessly. Shame on us who do not speak out.

    • I’ve begun to wonder whether or not there is truly a real committment to “lighting the path” or to being “the city on the hill”. We have surely lost our way. And children are left to pay the price. I’m just so sad.

  7. Thoughts & Prayers…
    But they only thing the GOP is thinking and praying about is, when will those stupid Dems stop trying to use this latest news of carnage at another elementary school (those little dead bodies, riddled with bullets, why weren’t the teachers armed???) as a reason to take my AR-15 away from me and all my NRA-loving friends and VOTERS??? Why don’t those stupid Dems just shut up? Even some DEMs in the house and senate side with us, we the Champions of the NRA & The 2nd Amendment! We aren’t the only gutless wonders who walk the Halls of Congress. There is plenty of blame, and plenty of bloody hands, on both sides of the aisle. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness don’t have a chance against the 2nd Amendment. So, we THINK & PRAY…*

    • Yes, it’s maddening. All of the political nonsense, all the posturing. The answer to “too many” is never “more”. It is such a grave disrespect we do to victims and their families.

  8. Yes… and our answer is to put the flags at half mast…thank you.

    • Thanks for reading, Bailey. Yes, it’s with such deep sadness that I see the anemic response. Symbolic but never substantive, when action is the only meaningful way forward.

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