he said, she said, but who really cares?

  • The senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, did not say that they would vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. But both made positive remarks.
  • Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat who is facing a difficult re-election race and had been undecided, said she would vote against the confirmation. (New York Times)
Well readers, here we go. Abuse got political. How many of you survivors our there have yet to out your abuser? Or worse yet, how many of you have, to only hear you are mistaken? Mis-remembering? Wrong in some sense or another? Take your suffering and bear it. Like the cross.  Just silence yourself, would you now! There is no end to this type of thinking. No one really wants to hear your story. No one wants to hear about your suicidal thoughts or your panic attacks. Deal, please, they say. So you are silenced. End of story. Women all over are nodding their heads. And once again, we all nod. Just be quiet. Face it. You asked for it. He was young. He was drunk. He was …. blah blah blah. Regardless, your story goes like still water under the bridge. Quietly.
Lake Champlain from Mt Philo, Vermont

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What Hath Man Wrought!

Outside my window is nothing but fall perfection. The sugar maples are electric shades of red and orange; fire flames igniting hillsides with their brilliant hues while yellow pops all over the landscape too. Evergreens stand taller now, holding their forest color and reminding us that life goes on even while chlorophyll breaks down those leaves fading on the deciduous trees. Poetry alone captures this season of change. This moving on: an end and a beginning all in the same breath. 

Autumn in Vermont

And yet, regardless of my present beatific state, it would be unthinkable to not mention all the suffering happening around our globe. Puerto Ricians are minimally months away from finding electricity or clean water back into so many dwellings swept to the ground by Hurricane Maria. California is inundated by the most devastating fires of all time; more than 50,000 acres are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties alone (The Washington Post). One need not look further than Texas or Florida to find unrivaled destruction this hurricane season.  All man’s work. All due to our cavalier approach to having our way upon this gentle earth; us, we are the cause of so many of these epic disasters. 

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horror, again, hope, again

Early Monday I was sitting in my car waiting for the layer of morning frost to melt off my windshield when I first heard the news from Las Vegas on NPR. I immediately got out of the car and went back inside to hug my wife. In her confusion over this double goodbye, I suggested she sit. Together we scrolled through dozens of 140 character snippets on Twitter; just long enough to fully grasp the horror. What is there to say when one hears of another mass murder carried out by another person in possession of a rigged-rapid-fire rifle? Is this our new normal, America?

Period 1, I asked my students to start class with a seven minute write. Typical Monday routine although I am sure they sensed my desperate need for writing time rather than our regular foray into playfulness. 7 minutes to write. That mystical number which allows us to break into the root of the matter. Afterwards, I asked who heard the news from Las Vegas that morning. Several responded at once. One shooter. Mass murder. Innocent concert-goers. Largest massacre in US history. After a brief but potent rundown of the know facts I posed the pressing yet unanswerable question: how will we solve the gun violence epidemic in America? They talked background checks. Gun limits. Mental illness. But then they sat mute, weighed down by the magnitude of gun violence, again. I asked them, please continue this conversation, with anyone, with everyone. To not let the NRA or the politicians in their pockets, or the fear, win. I’m not sure they could hear me. Many own guns. Most are already afraid. One suggested I carry a gun. We laughed at the thought of that. Me. The little lady with loud boots and big hats. It was time to move on, so, we segued into a discussion of the character of Edna’s suicide at the end of Chopin’s The Awakening. Seriously, understanding these massacres are beyond me in every way possible.

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