The day was bright and clean and exquisite when I woke up today with the first beautiful snow of the year. It clung to the branches, coating everything in white beauty. I left the radio off. I did not want to hear what Trump did lately. Not today. He wasn’t going to spoil my morning. I pulled on my high rubber boots, looped a knitted scarf around my neck, slid a pair of sunglasses over my glasses and went out for a walk in the forest.
As I walked the trails around our Red Mountain, I had to duck and detour as the evergreens were so heavily laden with snow that they hung down and blocked the trail. They looked over burdened, pushed down. But they leaned on each other, supported each other in their heaviness. They reminded me of how so many of my friends feel now.
I had to shake my husband awake four times last night, as he was having nightmares and needed to be released from them. It’s the news. NPR raises our blood pressure and sinks our disposition. Todd is staring again at the end of the day. He lies in bed and looks at the ceiling and I bug him to hug me, engage. What is it? What is wrong? Trump. Every day it is something new and bad that Trump has done. There’s not a day that goes by that some new sadness doesn’t takes hold of our happiness, caused by him. Five weeks in Asia was good for Todd and I to disengage and live without politics. Since we are home, it is back to the same anger and sadness.
My daughter spends the first half of her day signing petitions, making phone calls, reading the news. She is supposed to be writing her thesis paper at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work and her life is dedicated to helping marginalized people and their land- victims of flooding, droughts, climate change disaster. She takes what Trump and his administration is doing, personal. That’s why she is moved to fight, resist.
I am proud of my little girl but she struggles to find joy, hope, even time to do her important graduate work. I told her that I, personally, had to back off. With my looming deadline for my new book rapidly approaching, I have to disconnect and get my own work done. For it is important work, as I craft a way to help parents take their power and responsibility back and help educate their children. Our family’s way is through experiential education but after Betsy De Vos does her damage, parents are going to need to hear voices crying in the wilderness for alternative help. I can help. I can help more that way than making phone calls and being miserable. I cannot be a good writer and be depressed. So I have to limit my connection. I told Sierra to think about it too. It feels like we are deserting our sisters and brothers who are charging on but it is difficult to learn moderation and balance and honor the fact that we need and deserve to take care of ourselves too, to be happy. We are no good to anyone if we sink so deep that we hit inertia.
The wind blew like a howling wild animal when I left the forest and entered the open field on my walk. I contemplated not walking that particular loop out by the open field, but then thought, why not. Why not feel the fury, the passion, the discomfort. The top layer of snow blew with such force that it reminded me of walking down the beach at Cape Hatteras 27 years ago, when Todd and I went on the 70 mile backpack to conceive our little girl. The sand particles blew by our feet in sheets like the snow did in the field this morning. The wind sculpted the snow into miniature hills and valleys, like contour lines on a topographic map, looking remarkable like the sandstone formations in the Desert Southwest, where the wind does its creating too.
I felt alive out there in the wind, snow blowing around the land and the sky like it was going crazy. It feels better to feel this than the pain of stillness, emptiness, hopelessness. I felt invigorated to return to my desk and continue work on my chapter, “Learning from History.”
I’ll give Sierra a pep talk when I return home. I’ll put on some Irish music for my husband instead of “Morning Edition.” And when I went back through the trail, I took my time and shook out the evergreens, releasing the snows hold on them as it fell to the ground and they, sprang up straight and free.