It’s two years ago this week that we buried Jack. Now this section of the garden is completely trampled by the young Finn and the backyard turns to dust from repeated games of fetch.
This is the month that I rue how fast the summer’s speeding by and at the same time start to not-so-secretly anticipate the fall with relish. This particular August comes with feelings of being thwarted, or muted, or underwater, or something. I keep dreaming that I have a terminal disease. The sun always passes through my twelfth house in August and always touches one corner of my Grand Cross — so perhaps I ought to be used this?
The anniversary of Mike Brown’s shooting (and another shooting in Ferguson) and what is happening with Bernie Sanders and how to think about the Black Lives Matter demands and what I’m reading on twitter are unnerving me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read in the last few weeks: Shut Up White People. I found this heart of stone on my walk with Finn yesterday, and this morning I photographed it wrapped in an artisan-made necklace. It stands as an emblem for the day.
The rock-hard heart stands as a stark contrast to the pliable, beautiful hearts of cloth coming in from all over the country. I now have six squares (not counting the church) for the Hearts for Charleston quilt: Mo, Dana, Liz, Gillan, Kathy Dorfer and me. It’s starting to be something. Together. Look for a post on Wednesday.
P.S. This is the same week that the Royall House and Slave Quarters shared the post about the African Burying Ground in NH and quite a few people shared it and liked it, including another Historical Society — which is kind of the opposite of being told to shut up.
What would listening more feel like? How would it change what I post here?
“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything – other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion – that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”
– Mary Oliver
via Whiskey River
After listening to an interview with one of the women who interrupted Bernie Sanders on behalf of Black Lives mattering in Seattle, I took Finn for a walk. About half way, I walked into a branch and was stung by something. Oh my god it hurt. Still hurts actually. I thought, THIS is white fragility! It was so so strange to see the phrase “worst-stung heart” here because of that. When I got stung I was making distinctions in my mind, building an argument around how I ought to be able to hold a person’s former support for Sarah Palin against them without it making me a white supremacist or fake progressive. But Mary Oliver suggests that I get out of my head, doesn’t she? And to ‘stand in otherness’ sounds to me like “feeling compassion”.
Oh ouch! but love the strange magic in the synchronicity
The heart of stone … chained by the prejudices and misconceptions that we all carry to one degree or another. When will we ever learn?
Hopefully now and tomorrow. Is it possible this is a watershed year for America? When we finally wake up as a society to the harms done and continuing? And by we I mean white people? In my more hopeful moments I believe so. This amount of energy, attention, outrage, and communication has got to bear fruit.