On Halloween, the Monday, 8 days before the election, I drove from Still Point, where I’d spent the weekend partly in retreat and partly as a workshop leader, leading my “Thin Places” art and writing workshop for a wonderful group of women, to Skaneateles where I met an old friend for lunch. On the way to Skaneateles (about 125 miles on NYS Route 20), I saw maybe fifty Trump signs and one Clinton sign. When I realized how many of those signs I saw, I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
On election night, I watched PBS on our ancient TV for about an hour. Went to bed at 10 – having decided that my blood pressure would be better if I didn’t watch any more, and hoping that the yet uncounted votes would swing things toward Hillary. At 3 AM I woke up and my husband was awake, staring at his phone. At 3:30 I finally got the courage to ask him what he was seeing. It has been downhill from there.
It feels like someone died—I wake up and it hits me like a tsunami – we will have a narcissistic, clueless, classist, racist, sexist person in the White House very soon. Someone with the attention span and temperament of a two year old will have access to state secrets and “the nuclear button”, and he will appoint equally dangerous folks to assist him. Along with grief, every morning I wrestle my fear to the ground. Sometimes fear wins.
Two things have become clear to me since the election:
- The first is that even though I was not planning to spend my elder years as a political activist, in this new world, my life, the lives of those dear to me and the life of our planet depend on ALL of us being politically active. We MUST pay attention, we MUST speak up and speak out, and we MUST act on behalf of ourselves and our planet.
- The second is that I need to keep my expressive art practice closer to me than ever. The day I finally had my mood lighten was the last warm sunny day when I took my camera and headed down Scotch Ridge Road on foot, looking for color, looking for small beauties in nature that I could photograph. It was not my most productive photo ramble in terms of great shots, but I got some I liked, and more to the point, I felt light on me and in me for the first time since the election.
I will hold onto these two pieces of wisdom. I have act on both of them – I have to make noise and take action to bring about positive change and do whatever I can to prevent the dismantling of life as we have known it up until now. And I have to take more photo walks, write regularly and make art whenever I can.