Sunday Morning~ On the Road
August 20, 2017
Really, I’m embarrassed. After posting last week’s blog I learned about the events in Charlottesville. I wrote from my lovely little perch on an island where the sunrises and sunsets frame a day pretty much filled with peace and natural beauty. My head was filled with the beautiful scene in front of me against the turmoil that goes along with a familiar sadness of a family splitting apart. I wrote while looking at the ocean a few steps away. I thought about my relationship with the ocean and how it evolved. I was trying to get my head around what forms our sense of place and what makes us feel peaceful and happy.
Eventually, I connected to the internet and got it posted. I thought I’d quickly go to Facebook, knowing I’d spent way too much time already, and didn’t want to leave George alone with the kids any longer, but wanted a quick look while the internet was connected. I saw some posts about Charlottesville. The whole story just didn’t fit with my setting. Again, I am blindsided by how far this has gone. Every time I say it can’t get worse. Every time I want to believe in humanity and good over evil, something worse happens. I felt guilty about my comfort and privilege. I didn’t know what to do. Everything I’d just written seemed so trivial. I shut everything off and went to join George and the kids. We walked down to the rocky beach where James worked on his task of throwing every single stone into the ocean. George and Amelia looked for periwinkles. They were making a necklace of the shells. Each day, she chose one and George drilled a little hole in it and they strung and knotted it. It was all so simple.
So consciously grateful for this man, these grandchildren, the experiences, I sat and watched. I concentrated on James’s pitch, complete with follow through and splash, then his chubby little arms struggling to pick up a stone too slippery and heavy for him. Each time one slipped out of his hands he’d concentrate on regaining a grip. He’d employ the other hand then launch, nearly toppling over in the process. He’d watch, disappointed, as it didn’t land where he wanted. Undeterred, he’d pick up the next stone and throw. He’s 18 months old and refused to give up.
I watched Amelia scampering around searching for signs of life in the rocks. I thought of her mother at the same age being equally fascinated by the tide pools. It doesn’t seem that long ago. I loved watching her show George every little treasure. She called them treasures. She’d yell, “Hey George! Look! I found another treasure!” Then she’d hand them to him (her personal servant) to carry.
Something made me refrain from talking about the news. I didn’t mention it to George. I knew he hadn’t heard about it. I just watched this pleasant summer scene. Every time it crept into my consciousness, I piled rocks on it. A nazi rally? A KKK rally? How could this be happening? Nope. Not in my world. This is not to be the future for my grandchildren. We were supposed to be reveling in the light of our first female president. This was all a bad dream. I thought of the Neil Young song, Four Dead In Ohio. What we should do? Then George said, “ Hey! I have an idea! Let’s collect some periwinkles and cook them and eat them with butter and garlic!” Without looking up, and with the utmost aplomb, Amelia said, “No. They have families.” and that idea was immediately abandoned. I laughed. They give me hope for the future. I want to love and nurture these souls. When I feel like I’m spitting into the ocean to change the tide, these kids give me some perspective.
Today we are heading back to Boston. I’m writing from a Travelodge on the way to Boston. George leaves tomorrow to go back to Malawi. We will stop in Portland for the ACLU Rally Against White Supremacy, the first rally we have been able to participate in. Pangono pangono, little by little, as they say in Chichewa. Pangono pangono. Hitting the road.
Love to all,