I am writing at my desk this morning, which is odd. I spend the academic year with my butt plastered to my office chair teaching online so it is pretty rare to find me in this room at this desk in July. It is much nicer to curl up cross-legged on the futon in the back porch with my computer balanced on my lap, listening to birds and looking for words. I save my desk for the long, dark, winter months of work. It’s my system.
There are four trees in the yard outside my window. A pair of scrawny apple trees that have never produced a single blossom or apple and two pine trees. One, a prickly gray-green spruce. The other, a balsam fir. I yanked them up from the damp moss off my grandfather’s grave in July of 2009 right after we’d uprooted our two teenagers and moved back here. Maybe I was trying to convince myself that everybody would thrive and be okay when I did it. Seven years later, the evergreens are as tall as I am and the kids are fine. So, yeah. Sometimes we’re right. And sometimes, we keep buying apples at the grocery store.
It’s been a disturbing few weeks globally, nationally, and locally. Every time I turn on the news, it seems like the fabric of society has unraveled another row. Nice, Turkey, South Sudan. Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Falcon Heights. Flooding around the state and wind damage right here at home. And if this wasn’t enough for one month, we still have to endure two political conventions this summer. Candidates will trash their opponents and pretend that they,alone, have the solutions to complex problems. That will be the biggest lie they tell us. It’ll be a whopper.
Men drive semi trucks into crowds. Wives bury police officers. Girlfriends live stream a death. Toddlers are shot riding in minivans. The obscene senselessness of all of it is too much to bear some months.
Meanwhile, the world keeps turning and my trees keep reaching toward the sun. Barring any strong winds that take them down in the prime of their lives, they’ll be here long after I’m sleeping under my own blanket of moss near my grandfather. This, I can accept. This, I understand. It makes sense.
The rest of it? Not so much.