"How Human of Me"
Willing my heart to stay open, brushstroke by brushstroke
This moment begins when pavement turns to dirt, asphalt to gravel.
Furrowed rows, split between darkened and sunbeaned. Earth, hay, soil. I know so little about this land. I walk alongside it, stop to look, maybe appreciate the bifurcation of light. I dwell here, but too often only near, not in, not with.
Atop the ridges and grooves, a scattering of torn-up things blend in and would be easy to miss. What are they?
I stay open to other points of view as best I can, brushtroke by brushtroke, in silence.
Extremes may be unskillful but they sure do masquerade as things we can control rather than sitting with all the things we can’t. Which is most things.
I resist this snare of helplessness and keep going.
“We have to hope for hope.” My thoughts loop back to our Rabbi’s words at the vigil. Hope? Hope for hope? Hope for safety for all people? Justice? Freedom? Liberation? These words all faceless to me right now.
How human of me. A phrase in an 11s writing group I facilitated last night, written on a post-it note over a fellow traveler’s desk. (Thanks, Jill!)
Just the words I needed, after having snafu’d my way through the day, holding too many things and making mistakes along the way.
How human of me, I wrote in my notebook, to be so tired I needed to lie down during the break, setting a timer for 20 vertiginous minutes. How human to want to pull the blanket over my face, away from love, away from light, away from op-eds, away from email, away from videos of missing and murdered children, crumbling ghastly buildings, away from the hatred of an entire people, mine or yours, away from the work of not running away, as if that were possible or even desirable.
And then, words come to me in an email. In fitful gaps between sleeplessness, I dream about them and tell the sender her words have seeped into my guts and bones. I offer her a collage, her face, mine, my mother’s. Lineage.
And then, I give voice to my humanness and see some whisper of shame dissipate like morning fog.
A fence, a field?
A blanket, a battleground?
Tell me, what am I seeing that you didn’t see? What are you seeing that I’m not seeing?
I start a new day, willing my heart to stay open
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