One of Vermont’s biggest strengths, in my view, is that it’s a place of tradition and a place of change: from legendary apple pies to snappy hard cider. A place with morals that allow for an expanse on the definition: Christian ministers perform same-sex marriage here. A state with an elected Republican Governor, Democratic Senators and Independents sprinkled throughout. People vote for people here, not party. People listen to debates or town hall meetings or their neighbors to get a full picture of the candidates. Political advertisements are a rarity, because Vermonters aren’t dazzled by sound bites. Maybe you feel the same about your community?
What makes creativity happen for you? That thing that gets you to a place where beyond fades in opaque light, just light, that when brush hits canvas or clay first forms or beads reorder in a new order or beats just tap themselves out or the pencil flies across the page, and beyond this spark of creation lays nothing you care for, like the crumpled sheets pushed aside in the night so you now lay exposed under the hot light of imagination. Consumed. You write. You don’t give a hoot about where you’ll end up on the continuum you just have to keep on moving toward that something. You make space for it, like every Thursday night you sit while the stream streams, and all that other stuff fades, the very stuff that might have made you cry or driven you crazy or made you cold just melts like July does on your back deck. And if you don’t write or paint or drum or dance or let yourself enter that space, then, well then something awful happens and you collapse, maybe you just shout or find yourself watching the evening commentary show that has replaced actual news, and you then, without much provocation, are on Twitter, scrolling through hundreds of characters issued by people who can’t talk to each other only at each other. You start to obsess.
Without fail, on certain days, I find myself measuring myself against the giants, those who trod across uncertain landscapes firmly and with certainty, ease. I know I shouldn’t, but it has always been my cross, to want more. I’m not sure I can blame my parents for this one, maybe it was their post-depression dreams feed to me with all they believed possible, men reaching for the moon, a culture breaking sexual taboos and racial barriers, and seeing a world rebuild after war. Today I attempt to content myself by focusing on the little stuff. Finding the joy that nature brings. Taking a moment to look up at the blue or remembering to look down, to really see what’s here and now.
- 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)
It was the early 1970’s. We were all angry. About the war and the draft, about gender inequity that stalled every woman’s career, about the gas lines due to the oil crisis in the middle east, about the crippling inflation, about having to wear ties or even bras. We grew our hair long, listened to album length tracks, questioned those in authority, forced a resignation from a corrupt President, and sat out in student strikes all across this great nation. Resistance happened from family’s living room to the illustrious Senate floor. My own father, who worked his way up from the floor boards of poverty faced a mob every night at dinner with his young adults who questioned his authority, his decisions, his motives, even his tomorrow. Thankfully for us under his care he came to value our resistance. Not easily. It meant he had to listen. Temper his own self. See the big picture. He too questioned. Sought truth. He read the newspapers, listened to other’s opinions, remembered history, and understood the value of debate. Where is that America? Where is the freedom of speech we wave about when we think it will benefit us? Anger we have, but let the voices ring.
Driving into New York via tunnel we ascended from the darkness to spy the old and new spires welded into something spectacular as the holiday heat launched us into hot hot hotness and we thought oh my how can we meander from west to east and north to south to survey all that makes up this vibrant sea of sweeping rainbow faces along the continuum that makes the 7.6 + billion on our planet all coursing from there to here? We were halted, remembering we are all on this same revolving Earth. As we hold children in cages. As we demand a wall. As we tear down freedom for those with none. As we argue between generations. As we forget love matters. Let’s hold that.
In this time marked by the disintegration of morality in our politically frayed America, where hateful politicians posing as caring humans justify their inhumane practices by treating children with the cold abuse of a Nazi, we must hold on to hope. That fragile and slender of emotions that alone fuels my soul, and no doubt yours, hope, elusive yet necessary. Thankfully for me, this past week, there is the reminder, where there is love one can find hope. Of course there is the always love of family, of sunshine and water, of a cool breeze after a hard day, but in this crazy here and now, I find the love of these friends. Friends who arrived from luck yet stayed dear through the years. Without a falter, these women are there. Yes, lucky me indeed. They provide me hope to endure.