About thirty minutes ago I gave myself the choice of spending the afternoon finishing Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, watching an afternoon NFL football game, or–now that summer appears over–putting up some final summer flower photos. I think the novel is wonderful, but it is too emotionally challenging for me today. I love football, but I was in the stands when Michigan beat Maryland yesterday; that is enough. So, I am posting some photos. With them, I send my (still) hopeful wishes for us all.
I am still here. However, it has been 82 days since I last wrote in this space.
First, some words about clothes, and then some other words.
In the winter, especially when I wear my pink coat and my little aqua hat (rimmed with pink), people sometimes offer me their seats on the Metro. Some of the people who offer me seats seem pretty old themselves. Most of the people who offer me a seat are immigrants. I am learning to either politely accept or politely decline. It’s difficult, but I am what I am–older than I used to be. It’s just that I wish that that fact wasn’t so apparent to everyone on the train.
In the summer, I mostly wear two hats. I say mostly because my daughter gave me a third lovely broad-brimmed summer straw, but I almost lost it to the wind walking across Key Bridge, so I hesitate to wear it much. Instead, I wear a Michigan ball cap and when I wear it I look like Michael Moore. I like Michael Moore, but perhaps it is not my best look. The other hat I wear is a loose, rustic straw hat. When I wear this hat, I feel like Ma Kettle. Now, I just googled Ma Kettle and I see that she wore a variety of hats. In any case, I feel like a rube and I can only hope to emulate Ma’s good sense.
- I have had a good spring and summer, so far. I have walked with my beloved one in many lovely gardens. Actually, we have also walked in the same gardens many times over and watched the plants change week by week. I have visited with many friends and family here in Washington, D.C. and Virginia and also in Ohio and Michigan. Tom has been on a cooking spree from Francis Lam’s kimchi and Spam fried rice and Jacques Pepin’s paella to Ruth Reichl’s chocolate jewel cake. It’s good that we spend so much time walking and going to the gym.
- And yet, there is a pall on my heart and in my mind. I feel like I am wandering in Minas Tirith when the darkness from Mordor starts to roll in. Let me see if I can explain. Every day on Facebook, I click furiously on angry and sad emojis: destruction of our lands-click; rampant racism-click; women’s (and everyone else’s) health and well-being assaulted-click; children ripped from their parents and put in cages-click, click, click; mass murders of innocents-click, click, click, click. You get the idea. I pray–and that is hard for an agnostic–for the light to come in the morning, I want to be as brave, cheerful, and effective as a hobbit. I am not, but I try.
- Some are sick and some are well. I am not the only one growing older. A friend dies unexpectedly and a sweet baby girl is born.
- Some days my glass half-full mantra irritates even me. That my close to the ground cheerful wishes could stand up against all the lies and the forces of hate? Do I really believe that? Well, yes, much of the time. I believe in kindness, generosity, earnestness, hard work, bravery and good humor. I see it in my life and I hope to die before I give up on such ideals.
- Beauty helps me, so I will end with that. See you in the gardens, mountains, lakes, and deserts and at the marches and maybe on the ramparts. Maybe I will be wearing a hat.
All day I have enjoyed watching the rain, sleet, and snow through my living room window. I love such weather–if now more on paper than by actually venturing outside in it. Today mostly, though, I have been thinking of flowers, trees, and the other parts of nature that give me solace.
It has been a challenging fall here in the capital area, and in many other places. Flowers for family and friends, for the Carolinas, for Pittsburgh, for California, for the separated parents and children, for Bears Ears, for the sick, the hungry, and the lonely. As a secular humanist agnostic, I don’t exactly pray, but I do remain hopeful (mostly). I send good vibes. I mutter or whisper or chant: May you be well, may you be happy, may you have peace. At least, here are some flowers: