Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Mourning

All day I have felt the slick animal of depression at my throat. It's deep January in Vermont and the snow has not kept, the ground is wet and sloppy, the sun is gone, gray hovers. When I cannot see the sky my spirit sleeps; I feel a sense of inner breathlessness. Some of my favorite skies are bright blue afternoons on the coldest days of winter in Minnesota, and, though rarely, in Vermont.

Inauguration Day looms. The People's Billionaire who has swiftly put together a cabinet of like billionaires and appointed individuals who have no tether to the reality of the people of this country, no concern for equality, or are out and out crooks, will take the oath as our nation's leader. How this came to be we can't quite say; the irony is hardly worth mentioning.

Many are headed to DC to protest and to march on Saturday. I plan to join in a protest march at my state capital if I can muster the energy, but, in truth, my voice feels quelled into a deep silence. I long for distance and seclusion, for broad swaths of snow-covered lakes and forest, for the heat of an open fire, for the smell of smoke, for an intensity of weather that might offer a sense of reality closer to the body, to the raw edges of being, and too, away from the hustle and bustle of commerce and capitalism, consumerism and stuff, more and more stuff... the awful drain of daily life in America.


Paul Itkin

But there is another part of this I think. A part of me feels so inadequate as a political voice that I don't want to try to shape a message... into what, anyway? Who would I be speaking to? Or, rather, to whom? Who would be listening? What would be the point? Other activists have told me that they know what to do, it's time to organize. It's time to act. Some say even that this could be a great time of productive progressive growth and transformation by creating alternative sovereignties in our communities and workplaces, with our friends and families. But the work of organizing feels overwhelming and I am humming with rage and sorrow that has a life of its own.


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Today I read a friend's blog "Mourning Becomes the Left" about mourning the losses we feel politically. He writes:

I think we need to reclaim mourning as one of our practices on the Left, as a political and communal practice (or, rather, reclaim it more broadly – the incorporation of mourning is certainly one of the things that gives the Black Lives Matter movement such power – and in a way that allows us to mourn the defeat of our hopes as well as the loss of lives).
This rings true for me. I feel I am mourning this defeat, the loss of hope, the loss of dreams for my country. I want to be alone in the woods, in the silence from which I feel calmed. I don't want to engage and this feels bad too.


The snow on the ground out the window melts and the sky catches blue around the edges. It is shapeless as though waiting.