|Taken on my walk to the bus|
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we can go days in winter and fall without seeing more than a little peekaboo sunshine, and lately it's been very wet. October was the fourth wettest on record for Bellingham, and Seattle actually had the wettest ever. And November, so far, has had rain almost every day, even if just a little bit. But until Wednesday, every single day has been unusually warm. So we've been in no danger of seeing our rain turn white; in fact, we've not even had a freeze, just a light frosting on the windshield of my car, once.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who commented on my last post. I was actually encouraged to find that I am not alone in this little corner of the world in my despair over the election. In the past week, I've regained my equilibrium, with only a glitch now and then in my burgeoning optimism. Friday was a tough day, for no reason I could fathom, but everything seemed to be going wrong and I'd get in an argument with a friend at the drop of a hat. I realized it was me, so I decided to go to an extra yoga class and ended up doing two classes, one right after the other. It was just what the doctor ordered: after that marathon of twisting and turning and getting into very successful postures, I left the studio feeling a little sore but very happy. The rest of the day was much, much better.
Years ago I read Joan Didion's memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, and it resonated deeply with me. She wrote it after her daughter became gravely ill, and then her husband died suddenly. She talks in the book about how she coped with such loss, and having been there myself in similar circumstances, I understood what she meant when she said, "There was a level on which I believed that what had happened remained reversible." Oh, how well I remember waking up for weeks after my son died, thinking somehow that I had dreamed it, and that, as she said, it remained reversible. That's the kind of magical thinking I remember experiencing, and the intense powerful grief would hit me once again so hard that I had to catch my breath. Slowly, very slowly, I began to accept what had happened and knew that he was not coming back.
Now, it's been long enough that I can think of Chris with a smile on my face, and fond memories in my heart. I'm no longer grieving or in mourning over the loss. And when I think of the election, I know that sooner or later I will feel that way about it too, without trying to normalize the loss or pretend it never happened. After the depression of last week, as I feel it beginning to lift, I realize that I want to take action. I'm not sure how yet, but when I talked with my sister Norma Jean last Wednesday, I decided to fly to Florida and spend a week with her. I'll leave in three weeks and that has given me a focus, something to look forward to. I am no longer a lover of travel, but I sure do enjoy being with her. It's been a year now since we were together in person, and after the ordeal of flying across the country, I'll be in her hands for a week. I'll swim at the Y with her every morning, walk every day with her, visit my little grand-nieces and niece, and basically have a good time with the one person in the world who knows me best. And then the world will look very different.
Coming back home to the Pacific Northwest after being somewhere else, I realize how much I have grown to love it here. Colorado was pretty wonderful in its own way, but there's something very special about being close to the Pacific Ocean and the Salish Sea. What is the Salish Sea, you ask? Well, check it out here. Bellingham is one of the main ports in that body of water, along with Vancouver to our north and Seattle to the south. Yes, it rains here a lot, and the dark winter months discourage many people from living here. I find that exercising outdoors year round, no matter what the weather, does wonders for my mood. If I were housebound, I don't think I'd like it here nearly as much as I do. Once when I was returning from some trip or other, the plane circled the Space Needle in Seattle, and I gazed at the incredible green of the land and the blue water, and I knew I was home. I still recall that feeling, which is really something for a person who grew up without roots and had no single place to call home. I chose this area, and now it's been eight years since we moved here, and I cannot imagine living elsewhere.
On another topic entirely, I learned the the Oxford Dictionary has named the phrase "post-truth" the Word of the Year for 2016. This article from Salon, written yesterday, tells you all about it. From that article by Erin Keane:
Post-truth is defined as a state in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Post-truth admits that facts exist but rejects their political utility. It’s not about what you personally believe but a crass and quasi-abusive exploitation of the human impulse to reach toward faith and tribal affiliation.The entire article is well worth a read, and it explained a lot to me about how we got into this political situation. The fact that we have moved from "truthiness" to "post-truth" scares me. A lot. But, as I said last week, and I'll say it again so that I won't forget it, it's more important to live my own truth, and spread love and light as much as I can. I cannot change the world through magical thinking, but I can change my response to it. I can forgive, including myself for my shortcomings, and I can keep on moving toward seeing the bright world around me.
And with that, another post, is written, and I'll hop up out of bed and make my way to the coffee shop to enjoy hanging out with my friends, and then another yoga class on top of that. Maybe a movie with my friend Judy this afternoon. I hope that you will have a wonderful week ahead, and I am giving myself permission to have one myself. Be well until next week.