In my small bucolic New England town sitting at the foot of rounded tree-filled mounds of earth we call mountains, I am nestled in the valley of the Housatonic with my fellows. Humans are not necessarily the majority of inhabitants here, although they claim to be in charge.
Some of us have been here a long time and some of us have been here longer. Personally I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. My own history in this place where I live now is very brief – I just moved in a year ago. Before that I was somewhere else I hadn’t lived long in and before that the same. I have always been welcomed as a native although that is hardly the case. Before my ancestors came here, they were some place else. Who can say otherwise?
It happens that here, where I live now, there are many we call Hispanic, they have been here far longer than I. They might have moved here, as I did, recently or years ago but they are only called Hispanic because the country I call mine invaded their country and won.
For some reason, perhaps because of the might of Teddy Rooseveldt and others, I do not call myself English-German-Dutch-French-Irish American, nor do I have to fill out forms or be counted as anything much. Demographics in this country have largely confined themselves to my gender and my politics, neither of which I have to explore to any degree.
I once did live in a place – Concord, MA, with three small, quiet rivers surrounding and running through my environs. It was only when they flooded and I had to drive thirty or forty minutes to get to a destination five minutes away that I noticed their existence. Time is relative until it isn’t and now the people I work with who far outdate my contribution to this area are being threatened. If not they themselves, their relatives, friends – you know what I mean.
Living here has become very stressful, we are being raided and rounded up. I used to ask my mother, “What did you think when you heard about the pogroms? About the raids? About the trains? What did you do? How did you act? What did it feel like?”
Her reply, like many of her answers to other questions, was more than disappointing. She didn’t know – about anything. She didn’t know what to do and she didn’t ask. In fact in her life she didn’t feel safe emotionally, I know that colored her heart. And she felt she had made her mark, made her life, even though she felt vulnerable in it as a woman. In truth if she had set herself free with her opinions and desires, she would have been shunned, pushed aside. She was pushed aside anyway and she didn’t invite more. It also wasn’t happening “here.”
Now it is. When Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is pushed out of a meeting of his peers in the House of Representatives, we are in trouble. When my friends are rounded up all over the country –including the ones I know along this corridor between CT and NY – I am afraid.
Now is the time. This is on us.
People talk of Hitler and his ilk. They only mean they ones we know – Papa Doc, Idi Amin, Pol Pot – to touch the surface. But these days, this month, has caused me to think there are many Hitlers. We are surrounded. I asked a friend who lives in VT and has gone to Canada for decades – weekends visiting friends. She says that after this election when she comes back, they hassel her, take her phone, keep her and her husband pulled over. I asked after the tone of her interaction, what was on the minds of these agents who had been quiescent for decades. How could one person’s voice give them this power, this drive? Did she think they had been waiting for the chance? She thought it was that they could. Now, it was supported, they could be kings, they had a mission. That simple.
In such a simple world, I find simplicity too.
Have an ear. Use it. Listen. You’ll know what to say next – i.e., how to respond.
Not good to be thinking about what you want to say next.
This is the part of me that most of my friends say isn’t me. But it’s the me I know. It’s the me that didn’t have a voice. It’s the me that wasn’t noticed – although the scowl of my early years was duly noted and compared to my father’s – not a victory of any sort. But it is the funny part of me, the me that can laugh – I was laughing when I painted this portrait!
and this one –
and in this one I was moved to be with my beloved dog Zoe, just as she was, skin to skin
and yes, of course, I’m hiding behind her – in plain sight and faceless
the kid in me informing the adult
the fur beneath the skin
showing my love and loving obscurity
fire & ice = water
and a thirst is quenched
I don’t know how to express what I want to say about seeing a deer, its back legs broken by a car, struggle across four lanes and a fenced median strip while we were on our way to see our daughter’s dance at college.
Two young women, in separate cars, who saw the deer hit by a man who did not stop were helping her get out of extremely intense traffic. The one who crossed the road with the deer – a pregnant doe – told of several men who tried to film the deer’s struggle with their cameras to post on YouTube. The young women had called 911. We called again, several times. I found our exact location on my iPhone and called it in. Paula and I and the young woman – I never got her name – stood where the deer had gone into the brush. The young woman had to leave, we reassured her we would stay. We stood for an hour as cars, trucks and buses raced by. Only one other person stopped to see if we needed help. Another woman.
When the police finally came, he was extremely nice and honored our watch and thanked us. He went up the hill and into the woods, he reassured us he saw the deer and he would shoot her. We heard the shot. Several minutes later another shot and the man came down, thanked us again, said the deer was in a better place.
During the hour we waited I reflected a bit on the men in my life. How so many men I love have told me they don’t have men friends, they don’t connect with them. They have women friends, they talk to women, go on walks, eat meals with women. I think I got it. I would not be interested in someone filming this horrific sight. I would not want to be with someone who couldn’t share wanting to put this right. And in this case it did mean killing. There was no other choice, it was the humane act of the moment.
I’m sure that the many thousand people who passed us in that hour or more were not all heartless men. I am sure that most people do not know what to do. They do not want to feel the intolerable feelings we carried with us as we five women watched and waited for help to come. I don’t blame them but I wish there was more courage.
I wish mothers of boys could teach them vulnerability. I wish fathers could hold their growing young sons in an embrace of new born love their whole lives. I wish teachers could touch students, I wish touch was sacred. I wish courage was more ordinary.
When my dog Liam comes looking for love, he isn’t expressing need. He’s full of himself and if I’m doing something else he does too. Until he sees a gap, then he enters and asks and I think the sun has come out. That’s Liam.
He doesn’t stress about my lack of communion, he doesn’t feel “less than.” He just waits for another moment. It always comes to him. When he wants play he grabs a toy and growls at me. If he gets nothing from me, he joins me at my feet. No less of a being than he was before.
I marvel at his equanimity. His strength and courage, the faith he has in himself. It isn’t even faith. That’s too thought-out, too human. He’s just who he is and that’s that.
I love to have Liam around me. He’s in balance and keeps me that way.
Not your business name but the name people think of when they read your statement, your copy, your bio, your blog. The name they give you in their mind (nice person, want to know them – that kind of thing) the minute they see something you’ve put out into the world. Is it the logo you chose, the background of your Tweeter page? Is it the way you presented your ideas in Squidoo? Did you talk about yourself, what you like, trust, want and stop there? Did you include thoughts and facts about yourself in addition to trying on the needs and wants of others?
For me it’s the personable way you might explore yourself to me. A misspelling won’t turn me off too much but if there are too many txt’s and lites, I’m gone. I love dashes and I personally use too many parentheses – which I hope won’t be a problem for you, I know a little cuteness goes a long way! How you expose your life without too much information but enough to help me know I can trust (or not) your ideas, what thoughts come to you, how much we might share.
This last is crucial. What might we share? It’s a key in the deciding route we all take on the road to purchase. We are all looking for the Something that will make our next – career, baby quiet, dog lie down, smell go away, best cup of – there are no exceptions, we are going to contact someone for an issue we are dealing with. That Someone is going to fill our needs and make us feel good at the same time.
I’m a poet in one of my lives and when I send poems out for consideration I hope I have done my homework and looked at the magazine before I send and I hope the editor will actually look at my work before it’s sent back in the envelope provided. I was an editor once and I noticed that I wanted as much from the poet as they wanted from me. I had a problem to solve, an itch to scratch and I hoped that every piece of writing coming to my desk would be the one I’d be excited to read and want to publish.
There are no exceptions to this dance. We are all in the market for something. We all want to pay for some things and get some things free. We don’t want to pay for everything and we don’t want everything free.
This is a great time to be a small business in a big world. We are all looking for the niche where we will find comfort. The best places in my kids’ schools were the reading nooks where they could curl up and read or just look at books. They could be surrounded by comfort and get some cool information or a great story. Let your business be a nook, it’ll be on everyone’s list of things to do.