Summer of sad

Summer of sad

Dawn pushes through the languid, humid air, heavy with the smell of fading honeysuckle and damp earth. The sound of an unseen cicada pulses in a tree outside my window and the dogs rest silently around my feet. The long days of summer have left me with an uneasiness in my gut, a vibration that I’ve called anxiety. These summer days have been difficult, to say the least, even from the safe distance from where I get to view the world.
I felt a small victory, a relief, when Mother Nature assisted me in solving my 4th of July dilemma. As though my gentle whimpers of discomfort might be enough to distract her into my tiny universe. Still, no matter the cause, karmic, or not, I got the benefit of avoiding making a decision. My little universe, my little ship, got to stay out of the stormy sea for another moment.
The news came, while I sat on the exposed roots of an old oak tree that provides shade for those who no longer need it, in a nearby graveyard. Not one, but two new police shootings. Sad, helpless days, this summer heat keeps bringing. Then today, the news from Dallas. The pit in my stomach deepens and lurches. Solutions feel like blurry dreams drifting away into the ether. Inaction feels worse. What is this world? This country? There is much hurt.
It is nearly 10:30am and all is quiet in this house. This is the peace I know, the hushed breaths of animals and children, the time and space to write and sort and imagine what could possibly help heal this fragmented, beaten world. The space that is filled with wondering of what a white, cisgender, educated, mother of three could offer that might provide solace, even hope.
I don’t know much, but I know what it feels like to have a broken heart, to feel the pain of betrayal or the violence of a stranger. I know that the cries of injustice pierce the air like the throbbing call of the cicada, even up here where I sit on the third floor. I know that last night when my daughter tip-toed up my steps after she was awakened by a firework that when I promised 1000% that it was a firework and not a gun shot that I was at least 90% sure that we were actually safe. I’m uncomfortable, physically, literally, and I know it does not begin to approach what marginalized people must feel.
And still, I feel like I did the afternoon I lost my mother in a downtown clothing store. I spun around, like Wonder Woman, to fight imaginary crime. As I stood there, dizzily trying to focus on the landscape of clothing racks around me, I realized the shape that was my mother was not in view. I was four, I was disoriented and I felt real panic.
And I feel like I did that same year, when two uniformed cops woke me up in the middle of the night to question me about “the incident”. Or like I felt five or six years later as dried grass pushed up into my nose at the same time four neighborhood boys punched my back. This is not to suggest that these things qualify me in any way to be an expert on the terror Diamond Reynolds must have felt when her fiancĂ© is shot at the same time her 4 year old offered from the backseat, “Don’t cry. ” but it’s what I’ve got.
And it is what I can access on this hot July morning. Because this time I can’t just avoid making a decision and hope that karmic forces will lean in and allow me to continue to avoid action, to remain indecisive. This haunting ache in my body that reminds me of the tiny moments in my life that I have felt unsafe, also persist on a much larger scale for many, many people in my community.
What I have to offer, I’m not entirely sure, but I can’t lie hear smelling honeysuckle and listening to cicadas while people die. Its not enough to feel uncomfortable, and periodically unsafe. This status quo is not ok, it is not acceptable and it cannot continue.


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