Responses to a recent tweet by Pete Buttigieg rightly called out the presidential candidate for his use of the phrase "American Heartland" as "code for white." The incident raises interesting linguistic questions about how we unpack complex cultural metaphors.
I can't tell you how honored I am to be included among a handful of amazing writers and artists in the most recent issue of Third Point Press, a literary journal that hails from my very own hometown of Lancaster, PA. (There's an extra special thrill in getting published somewhere that even your mom has heard of!) Check out my piece, "Abstracted."
Are you okay?
I only ask because
your selections of late
have gone rather grim.
Not an ode to joy
not one kiss.
I am writing you
the way a gazelle
must grow ever sleeker
the indelicate jaws
of the lion.
Crow in a birch tree
shakes rain from its wings...
How much do I allow my life to be governed by my decisions about how the world and how people "ought to be," and how I "ought to behave"? How open am I to making real choices, on a daily basis, facing up to the potential within every single moment to integrate love and free will, and to respond to the diversity and interconnection of an ever-shifting and always surprising reality? This is what I thought about as I walked in the woods this morning.
That's how sick we all are of this bullshit nonsense. You're sick of it, too, I know. You're sick of the internet outrage machine. You're sick of controversy and condemnation. You reshare links to things you hate just to tell people you hate them, and somewhere inside, you hate yourself for doing it, because you know it's useless. You're sick of the noise and the fury, signifying nothing. You're sick of a society that asks you to hold onto everything so tightly, with so much certainty and righteous indignation, that your fingers are curled into fists and you can't remember the last time you gently traced the scars on another person's skin as if they were something beautiful.
I'm usually somewhat solemn around this time of year, sitting quietly at my desk listening to the quiet rain and even quieter fog outside my window, enjoying the damp quiet day in my own little way as my not-at-all-damp-thank-you cat quietly looks on....
But not this year. This year, something's gotten into me. A bit of trickster spirit, maybe. A bit of fire. Since March, which is when Sir Terry Pratchett died, a part of me has become really, really angry. Another part of me can't stop praying.
There is always pressure to either romanticize or demonize the past. As it recedes into the distance of memory, its complexities are all too easily lost in the mists. The veils of time fall across our vision and we glimpse only vague impressions of a landscape, a culture, a handful of faces on the edge of our perception that seem to change and fade when we turn to look again. What does it mean to part this veil, to honor the ancestors?
Today is Lughnasadh, and I find myself returning to the strange mixture of work and rest, grief and celebration that always marks this time of year for me.
It is the acknowledgement of fear and loss during the most fruitful time of the year that marks this as a holy season. It is this mingling of love and sorrow, hope and grief that transforms the cycles of production and consumption into something more: a sacred harvest. When we forget the hard work of our ancestors, when we distance ourselves from the sweat, blood and tears that connect us to the living reality of those who have come before us, when we anesthetize ourselves to the grief we feel at the struggles they faced and the sacrifices they made — that is when we risk becoming mere consumers. Grief serves a sacred purpose, for we cannot grieve what we have not loved. Grief is one of the fruits of love, even as joy and prosperity are the fruits of labor.