There’s a gentle snow falling, as I sit down to write. It’s covering the mud, ice and sodden leaves that – with a week of rain and warmer temperatures – had been my view. It offers a feeling of calm, this morning.
Once, on a flight off the island with my Aunt Katie, I was totally wrapped up in my own terror. I’m not particularly afraid of flying, but I’m always relieved to land safely. This was an especially bumpy flight, and the small plane was buffeted in the wind. Adding to my unease, one seat had been removed. Instead of having a seat back that I could white-knuckle latch on to as the plane was tossed around, there was just a big open space. I know all the statistics; I understand how very safe those little airplanes are. Still, I was terrified. At one point, my aunt leaned toward me to explain the grocery list. Barely able to move my jaw to speak, I said, “I can’t talk now, Aunt Katie. I’m trying to keep this plane in the air!”
Of course, there was nothing I could do, really, but I felt, still, that it needed my full attention.
I’ve been experiencing similar feelings of terror during this first week with a new administration. I know…it may appear that it’s just sour grapes, poor sportsmanship, or the inability to gracefully accept a loss. I assure you, it goes much deeper than that. It’s not just offense at an unsavory personality in the White House. It’s much more than simply his allies or his positions – though both speak volumes of the character we have put in power. This is real fear. Just like on that airplane ride, I feel like it needs my full attention. I can’t look away. Whenever I get a moment, I type “news” onto my computer screen. I select the most trusted sources. I wait, with dread, to see what has happened since I last looked away.
It doesn’t seem healthy, to be this fearfully focused, for such an extended time. When I got off that small plane – after a seemingly endless twenty-minute flight – I was jittery for hours. This has to be taking a toll. There are people in the world who know nothing else, whose days and nights are filled with unease, uncertainty, fear. Sometimes it all seems too much to bear.
There is little I can do, really. I write letters, sign petitions and make phone calls. I joined the ACLU, for what little help my small donation might offer. It all seems like a pretty measly effort…still, I can’t look away. At least, I need to be aware.
I watch the snow falling gently down over the landscape. I breathe a sigh.