Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘civil unrest

Just Clinging

with 2 comments

We have arrived at the week with the earliest sunrise in our location and the weather is at its most wonderful summer-est. Our doors and windows are open and the ceiling fans are turning, yet the warmth hovers around the edge of too much. Tank tops and loose shorts, bare feet and a tall glass of ice water put things right.

The cut hay in our fields was raked and round-baled on the same afternoon yesterday. If you look close, Cyndie captured a lone deer crossing the image view as the field became draped in the shadow that was replacing the disappearing sunlight.

For as much as we are forbidden to wrap our arms around our fellow friends and family, we are striving to wrap the summer up in a grandiose hug of epic proportions. Despite the chaos of a political circus, a global pandemic continuing its invisible spread, and citizens bellowing for justice against centuries of systemic racism against indigenous peoples, immigrants, and the entire spectrum of non-white human beings, I am just clinging to the precious moment of a few glorious quintessential summer days for their faint distraction of nature at its finest.

We are doing so without a rambunctious picnic of music and food and a hundred of our favorite people. I am doing so without my annual week of biking and camping somewhere around Minnesota with hundreds of friends and brilliant like-minded adventurers. We are doing so without concerts enjoyed among thousands of similar music-loving fans or sports competitions with hoards of supporters cheering on the efforts of athletes at every level of skill.

There will be no county fairs and ultimately, no Minnesota State Fair. Graduations have already been morphed into sometimes blessedly shorter shadows of the usual pomp and circumstance, and weddings and funerals constrained to unrecognizable whispers of the emotional extravagance they deserve.

Navigating the days that turn to weeks and then months of the COVID-19 pandemic is dragging us all into a marathon of paying heed to the best-practice precautions of constraining the spread to manageable levels despite our preference that it just be a short duration fast-walk competition among friends.

My dentist’s office called and left a message that they are now accepting cleaning and checkup appointments scheduled for the fall. My rather feeble home plaque-scraping exercise since my appointment in March was canceled is now going to need to suffice until autumn. Thank goodness I won’t need to waste a beautiful summer afternoon splayed back in the reclined chair getting my teeth cleaned and inspected.

The best medicine I have right now for the pandemonium of current events is the natural summer surroundings of our little paradise. I love it. We love it.

It helps fuel our ability to nurture and grow that love for beaming out into the great big world.

Here is Wintervale LOVE to all who are willing and able to receive it… <muwah>

Cling to that.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2020 at 6:00 am

Protest Exhaustion

leave a comment »

Night after night, we who aren’t out violating curfew instructions just can’t get ourselves to stop watching the uninterrupted live coverage of what is happening in our communities between people protesting police misconduct and the battalions of police and the national guard who are tasked with enforcing regulations. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s one of the points the protesters would be happy is being made. Imagine how exhausting it is to be “living while black.”

Three nights ago in Minneapolis, the drama on our television screens was hours of media coverage revealing overt vandalism, looting, and arson in the unbelievable complete absence of police action. Two nights ago, the scenario changed dramatically in that the freeways around Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed early and a very heavy police and national guard presence showed up within an hour of the curfew to control outcomes.

There were a lot fewer fires.

Last night, there was hope that a full day of peaceful protest would end quietly, but then a maniac driving a semi barreled toward thousands of people crowded onto the 35W bridge, and chaos ensued.

Even after a full night’s sleep, I still feel exhausted by it all.

When can we get back to just worrying about the contagious virus for which we have no vaccine?

When can we get back to concerns over how the millions of people facing financial calamity resulting from the pandemic will keep from going hungry or losing what little possessions they have?

Which came first, the angst of racial oppression or the angst of the pandemic?

One foot in front of the other. One deep cleansing breath at a time. I think we are going to need to figure out the trick of carrying on with everyday life even while exhausted, because the change we need to happen is going to take more time than just a week of overnight riotous protests.

Afternoon naps make a lot of sense in times like this.

We could also work on the visualization of planting our love to the world like a seed in the ground that we feed and nurture and watch as it sprouts and grows into a towering tree. Make it a time-lapse visual, so we don’t have to wait a hundred years for the love to get to its maximum height.

<yawn> I’m going to do my visualization while lying down. With my eyes closed. For a couple of hours. Couple-eight.

Oh for a full night’s sleep again…

.

.

Can’t Breathe

with 4 comments

Anger boiling over in the form of roiling balls of flame with no visible public servants on hand to contain the rage as daytime turns into night makes for a disturbing meditation in the moments before nodding off to sleep.

It is hard to breathe through our masks.

It is hard to breathe through the smoke.

It is hard to breathe when being choked.

It is hard to contend with the fact that all I was going to do was breathe in our forest air yesterday and beam love to the world, yet the Pentagon needed to put military police on alert as protesters ignored curfew orders and ignited numerous new fires.

Morning turns the tide and reasonable people emerge with brooms and trash bags to pick up debris in an attempt to hasten the healing of the damage done overnight.

It’s an interesting dynamic to watch the venting of angst built up over multiple generations and centuries of time followed by the immediate effort to clean up the present damage which will actually require generations of repair to remedy.

How many years of treating people of color (and women and LGBTQ and homeless and impoverished and mentally impaired human beings) with equal respect to their white counterparts will be needed to complete healing that is the dream of healthy well-meaning communities of enlightened citizens of the world?

I’m not sure I can breathe that long.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 30, 2020 at 8:42 am

Stress Squared

leave a comment »

Just when we thought the problem commanding our attention was an invisible virus contagion with potential to kill that has shut down life as we knew it, centuries of systemic oppression have boiled over in response to another murder of a black man in police custody, this time in Minneapolis.

It’s mind-numbing.

Unfathomable that so many people were present during the incident and either chose not to or were unauthorized to intervene.

My commute home yesterday took me uncomfortably close to some of the riotous protestations underway beside the freeway, but beyond a momentary slowing of traffic in the area, the worst disruption for me was hearing details of what was actually happening at that moment on the live radio coverage as I passed by.

The activity in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul was disturbingly close to where our daughter, Elysa lives.

Hearing about the transformation from protesting to arson and vandalism by some people is heartbreaking.

There is stress stacked upon stress, stacked upon stress.

It is hard to know how much influence one can have from a distance, standing among the trees of our forest amid a chorus of bird songs and frogs beckoning, sending love to all those people in the thick of things just 50 miles away to the northeast.

Today, that’s what I’ve got to offer.

I wish it could put out fires. Or, better yet, keep people from ever starting them.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 am