I don’t normally title blog posts with dates, but it feels important to note the time. Five and a half weeks since the shooting in Buffalo. Four weeks since the shooting in Uvalde. The day before the fourth Jan 6 Hearing. The day of the Supreme Court handing down long-awaited decisions. The day after Beyonce dropped a song from her new album.
The paragraphs below were written in a go to a prompt and are not edited.
The prompt: “She stopped listening to weather reports.”
She stopped listening to weather reports. It was a matter of self-preservation she said. “I want to remember how to sniff for rain,” she said. “Enough with the apps!” Stepping onto the blue stone in the cool of morning with bare feet had also receded into some primitive time of “before.”
The local screech owls died when they tore down the Newton Andover woods to make way for townhomes. She found one of their bodies. The neighbor who had called out to them in the dark of spring evenings when the bats came out, was gone now too.
Speaking of sniffing, just yesterday on a dog walk with her husband, she’d said, “That smells like fox. They spray too you know.” Of course he knew.
She’d collected skunk bones from under the deck one summer, their vertebrae like candies in her palm, but neither of them had ever seen a fox.
The very next morning, her phone chimed at 6:40 a.m. — too early for Patty’s daily wordle result. It was her husband. He’d resumed hoofing it to the T two or three times a week. “You’ll never believe this,” it read. “I saw a fox on Cypress Street this morning.”
It was as if the universe was playing with them. Maybe, she thought, she ought to start picturing the FBI raiding Mar-A-Lago. After all, it was the Solstice, which is one of the corners of the year when the Old Ones believe that a crack between the worlds opened up. Possibilities unlikely on an ordinary day might fly on the longest day.
Today she sat and watched her phone, waiting for the inevitable. At ten a.m., the Supreme Court started publishing opinions, the whole country holding its breath — the bad of it all about to get so much worse.
It wasn’t like she set out to learn political minutiae, like how reconciliation bills were exempt from the filibuster or how tight margins in some primaries triggered an automatic recount, but she did. This morning she learned that the highest court released opinions by reverse seniority. Kavanaugh’s came first and when Breyer’s dropped, it meant Dobbs would hold another day, since Alito is junior to Breyer.
A Roe expert on twitter wrote “Sobbs” by mistake and then said, “Well, that fits too.”
Beyonce’s first single in years dropped last night proving there is still good in the world. Talent and beauty, gifts to us all. If only her singing, “You won’t break my soul,” applied universally, unilaterally. Could her message be like the slight scent of musk which had been received with disbelief only to be met the very next day with the actual embodiment of what was believed impossible. Jump suits for everyone!
Her therapist will only read the news (not watch) and some days only the headlines. She says it’s too much otherwise. Silvia says the same.
At the doctor’s office yesterday, the form asked if she ever felt anxious, restless, depressed, or hopeless. Suicide screening is nothing new. She checked “often” for a lot of them. When the doctor held up the form later with a raised eyebrow, she just waved it off saying simply, “I watch the news.”
The fox crossing the road, the very first sited in over thirty years, seemed a kind of miracle — a call and response between imagination and reality. These days, she couldn’t tell if her hopelessness was being tamped down by some efficient and reliable defenses, or if it was denial battering her, forcing her to adopt notions, hopeful notions, that simply weren’t supported by reality. We all know denying reality creates tension. Tension.
“How much hopelessness is appropriate?” was a question she never expected to ask herself with such regularity.
A fox crossing the road. A sweep for the good at the midterms. A musky scent confirmed. Indictments handed out all the way to the top. A summer dance tune: “You won’t break my soul.”
* * *
Yesterday’s hearing, as it turned out, gave cause for hope — the brave testimony and acts of ordinary poll workers — Ms. Moss and her mother, Lady Ruby Freeman. But it was also cause for fear because it demonstrated that the right has “operationalized violence,” as Nicolle Wallace said, and these ordinary poll workers, also Black women, were targeted in an extreme and gross manner that speaks to Jim Crow and the lengths trump and his cohort have been willing to go to hold onto power.
This is brilliant. Screw fiction and run with this. Your eyes are wide and merciless and a lot of people need help seeing.
thanks, Deb. Praise from an extraordinary writer is always welcome!
“Smells like fox”. love that. not many people know that smell. Why aren’t you being paid to write this blog? Maybe you should get on Patreon.
Should I listen to more Beyonce? I got her last album which I think is beautiful, but it makes me deeply sad. I skip through the words if it plays while I’m driving. Really, does that mean anything at all?
My OBGYN has told me to stop watching the news; that woman reads me within seconds of my walking in her door, and she’s always right.
ok, in 30 mins I will turn on the hearings but I wish I could sit next to you and get your analysis live. And thank you for the reminder about SCOTUS rulings. I haven’t been able to think straight since I learned of the open carry ruling. my god my god my god
I’m designing a fountain today. Just for the heck of it.
Designing a fountain seems like one of many sane responses to a world out of kilter. I wish we could watch the hearings together to. Company in these things makes all the difference.
🙂 yes! to brilliant writing, to being in good company, and “Tu te cantas, tu te bailas”. Grateful to be in a position to fight the good fight, make time for art and probably keep a roof over our heads for a while longer.
Moratorium on watching any news on the telly, even cutting down on internet reading of news for a while in order to hold onto to some form of balance: All I could think of today was a saying that my Dad used when he felt that things were totally off: “Tu te cantas, tu te bailas”, translated means, you sing yourself, you dance yourself. He would tell me that this means that you don’t know if you are coming or going, as if you are stuck in a revolving door and cannot find a way out. Quite frankly, we have a Congress that may pass a watered down gun reform bill and we have a Supreme Court that just boosted gun rights…it’s enough to give whiplash!
I understand stepping back. Your comment came in during the 1/6 hearings of the day.
WTF is going on in my country of birth?
Even though I’d come across many of these horror stories in my news rounds, the article is a terrifying read. The surveillance, the willingness to let women die rather than treat ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages, the bounties. It’s not dystopian if it’s here, is it?
Yes, WTF but not unexpected and devastatingly, more is to come:
We were grocery shopping so I did not know of the decision until I arrived home to a plethora of emails from my daughter E re protests, the ruling, Michael Moore, etc. As the mother of women and the grandmother of a 13 year old girl, my heart is crushed…
Tonight in a park in Albuquerque at 6pm, Planned Parenthood will hold a rally. I will be with them in spirit as our Covid case numbers are rising and I try not to bring any possibility of exposure to our home to protect R and frankly, myself as I’m no spring chicken!
New Mexico is a state that supports abortion so that is a positive on this very, dark day. Michael Moore says vote the Republicans out come Nov. but that Is not going to happen; still I will do all I can in getting out the vote for Democrats. and find ways to help with the protests, even if I don’t put foot to the ground.
One analysis of how to change this would be to codify Roe into law. In the link below, it appears that Massachusetts had done so.
Getting out the vote is the best thing to do! I’m still wary of big gatherings too, even if they’re outside. Will check out the codify link later. Thank you for sending.
It is a sad day and things are gonna escalate from here.
What is happening?? Of course, this is a question with no answer that we don’t already know…but I just have no words. I’m here though, reading the words of others.
If you want to sleep tonight, save that New Yorker article that Mo shared until tomorrow.
beautiful writing Dee, really enjoyed the read, even if some of the content is disheartening…..