First I threw up all the Columbia Crest Chardonnay. Then a snack of apples and walnuts with some maple creamline yogurt. Then came the lunch of spinach salad and slow cooked split pea soup and two chocolate chip cookies (I skipped dinner, too nervous to eat the beans, squash and quinoa we made for the girls) and finally the millions of black raspberry seeds that made most of my smoothie earlier that morning. For the record, tiny black raspberry seeds are torturous to puke. I threw it all up and then some, and then I dry heaved for another ten minutes. B pulled my hair out of my face and offered me small sips of water. I hunched over the toilet until my throat was swollen and raw, my teeth filled with small seeds and my body felt like a demon had squeezed it’s way out of my digestion track and splattered itself in mercury-like particles all of the porcelain
You going to be okay?
You just puked up a shit load. Did you drink that much?
Wanna take a hot bath?
He helps me undress, chilled and shivering and naked, over-grown leg hair standing on edge, toe-nails chipped, belly stretch marked. As I climbed over the edge of the tub into the steaming water, sprinkled generously with jasmine and lavender oil, I looked at him in the eyes and said,
I just threw up the last eight years. I think I just threw up the Bush Administration.
* * *
I was one of those people who wrote in Ralph Nader two times ago. Disgusted with the two-party rule, my belief system seemed so left it was on the flip side of the charts. I was living in National Forest, underneath the towering Sawtooth Mountain range and along the Snake River. My daily routine involved a lot of sitting and doodling on grassy banks and climbing snow encrusted ledges and lazying around hot springs . My mornings were tea with mist pockets and a yard full of elk . Afternoons were spent gardening while baby moose clomped along my drive, following their mama. It’s easy to get mesmerized by the preciousness of it all; an amazing biosphere, the only land we all know and stand on. All in the same breath it is ours and it’s not. It’s also entirely untouchable, it will be here long after we cease to.
Enter Bush: a new standard of greed and ego and Armageddon was born. His Kingdom was elsewhere, this earthly place was just a doormat and so many others nodded hard along behind him. I let go of that little girl in first grade who held up that sign, carefully crafted with glue and glitter: Go Carter. I ripped up my voter registration card and blew it into the fire. My only representation became myself and the way I lived. Anarchy would be what it was called, but there is no true definition of this. I became indifferent. Like organized religion, organized government, was a thing of my past. The two seemed to bleed unto one another and a very specific Judeo-Christian Dogma and State had re-newed its longterm vows and stayed in bed together, intertwined and incestuous. I stepped back. If presidents can live outside the law, so could I. The law they called Golden became my guideline.
Time clicked, which it does so well and fast and the Bush Clock was expiring. Words of this new person, this man who representing the nameless and the faceless, whose spirit seemed kindred to the Me’s across the globe. There was great and urgent reason for his bravery and he was quick to navigate a system thick with Original Bureaucracy and run for President. The meaning his words delivered were common, open for interpretation, filled more with a new energy than with a definition. There were no answers but all of us seemed to hear the same question: How badly do you want this? I took off my shoes and started to dip my toes back in the water. Candles lit. Prayers said. Maybe this is my country, too, after all. Hopeful.
* * *
Having a TV-less home posed as a dilemma. How were we going to watch the election? We could leave our cozy, flame lit house on the rainy Autumn night and invade a friend’s place or go to one of the numerous viewing parties in town, but with three kids, staying home past dinner is always the right choice. And truthfully, I wanted to watch this alone. I didn’t know what my reaction might be if the Unspeakable occurred. We lugged the old television out of the garage and dusted the webs from it and stuck in the corner of the living room and went to work. After an entire roll of tin foil was sculpted like a palm tree, shoved out the window trying to reach Reception Heaven, we still got no picture. We brought the box up to the next story, attached it to a DVD player, put in a movie about a bear whose best friends are a duck and an owl and settled the girls in front of it.
I had no desire to bring them deeply into the election. They recognize Barack Obama as a leader. Their little ears listened to NPR election coverage on the radio driving to school, until they would ask me to turn it off and put on the Ramones or M.I.A. or roll down the windows so they could hear the rain fall. Obvious was their awareness that they live on the cusp of change. As the election day got closer, I noticed less sleep more tantrums. Our stress is their stress. They sensed history was in the making. I believe our children are messengers/instigators of this very specific and real change we are becoming. They forge a path for their own womb blessings. They merge with the material plane, as we all do, with a soul map. There is no mistake these ones came to us right now. This is their time, this is their president. I must trust they will learn social and political empowerment as their world perspective unfolds and expands. Right now they are settling in with the Laws of Nature and Spirit, understanding shifts and change through the leaves falling and the temperature dropping. They learn about death and survival from the eagle swooping down, catching a spawning salmon with it’s razor claws. Within our own walls and the community that surrounds them they learn lessons of leadership, equality, stewardship. Once they have a grasp on their immediate, they’ll quest for a larger view. Religion and Politics? My job to is shine a light so they can find their own way.
All week long I removed myself from the hoopla. I concentrated staying present with the girls and lived the Hope and Change I was attached to happening. While the rest of the world was holding signs and canvassing, I was making bread. Each knead of my hands I floated in meditations of being sheltered by a home, cupboards filled with food, bills paid, troops withdrawn, the earth given reverence, kids vibrant and healthy and whole, all people given equal rights. Each loaf that rose high warm and chewy, gave me hope. If I could make a loaf of bread rise, this world could change.
* * *
We took the tin foil and arranged a similar like wave-attracting sculpture to the wireless card on the laptop. Living out here has it’s pluses but drawbacks leave us digitally impaired. We hung the card against the wall on a hook and propped the computer on the wooden salad bowl filled with perfectly juicy Chehalis apples. CNN.com began to stream, lopsided computer and all, but still we were in business.
He put the bottle of wine in front of me. Condensation created droplet around the green glass. I poured a tiny Ball Jar full and swallowed it down with the same ease of drinking water after a long run. I didn’t know I was this nervous, I giggled. I poured a wee bit more. And then some more.
The wine filled me up as did the tokes of the rolled tobacco inhaled on the porch as the rain moistened my face and wet my wool socks to saturation. My drunkenness was apparent when the sounds of the coyote were magnified and multiplied I could swear I saw tens of pairs yellow eyes fixed in on me. Glowing. An arms reach away.
As we watched little shapes pixelate to form a map of this nation fill up with reds and blues and then more blues, beyond my blurred vision, I could see we were transcending politics. We were transcending powerlessness and power. We were transcending being led and leading. We were slowly becoming the world we all have been drawing in our heart-shaped sketchpad and sculpting in our dreams journals for a long time. We opened a door, we walked through it. Half of us stand naked and eager. Energized, organized, spiritualized. Now what.
* * *
It’s obvious we are very divided by a gaping crevice of views; personal choices, war waging, energy harvesting, and economy suturing. We are all sure we are correct regardless if our choices are made under the guise of a dogmatic system, philosophical order or everyday intuition. It’s like my daughter who wakes up some days and is sure she needs cookies or ice cream for breakfast. She is sure of it as she drags her chair over to the freezer to reach the high shelf. And I am sure that I won’t give her any. We both are so sure. And then I think of her own body wisdom. Maybe she needs some sugar, and so I say how about a big spoonful of raw honey and then some juicy eggs? And yes, we have compromised and we both feel good about the way it all worked out. In my household, divided we struggle and with struggle we fall. We we come together and blend, we unite and evolve.
And now that it’s all said and done. How can we all feel listened to and respected? Safe and protected? How can we all feel like a whole part to our village, or state, or country or planet? I know for some time now I have felt like a foreigner on the only land I have ever known. The current administrations choices made me feel cast aside, unheard, alone. And now that the pendulum swings, there are people out there that feel like I did for a long time. This doesn’t make me feel relief. I don’t stand here with my hands on my hips, smug smile spread across my face, yelling over the red lines: So there! Now you know what it feels like! To hell with your old bible thumping, oil thieving old men! To hell with your judgments and your threats! Time for your stomachs to be tied into knots! No. I don’t say that. Personally, I’d rather be united versus watching an even thicker, angrier line drawn [once again] between us, even if this time I stand on the side-in-charge. I’d rather find some common ground; the air we breath, the blood that pumps through each of us, the land we explore and enjoy. The perfect entanglement of lovers bodies. The children we raise.
And beyond the dream of unity, how can we as individuals, separate but equal, form a new and peaceful society for the whole? This gift of shift, this very real change, is to strengthen the bond of humankind, not weaken with divide. It’s to wipe clean karma and gently apply medicinal salve to old, infected wounds. It’s an opportunity to learn to live first with self-love an then extend it, bit by bit, out There. We didn’t just vote for a man, we voted for Us, for our babies. But the question and the search and reason for all of this will always be: How can we live together non-violently. How can we hold space for everyone in tightly populated, tree-less corners with the messy and revealing after-maths of war and famine, slavery and terror? How can we let go of the apocalypse of our hearts and lift the veil of hate and see clearly the manifestations of love. How can we live in abundance and continuously transform with this newfound and electrifying energy? How can we keep releasing the anti-Christ from within, the dangerous ego that brings suffering and disconnect? We have done so much work, unseen and mysterious, tangible and calculated, heart and mind. After pausing for Great Thanks and some Good Partying: Now what. Who are we now, all of us. This is not a question to be answered. It is one to bathe in each moment of the hours that pass as we live this utterly precious life.
* * *
While walking in the rain along the interurban trail with kids, we stopped at the community bike shop. I am still investigated biking arrangements that can transport three kids ranging from 18 to 45 pounds (tandem bike pulling a chariot seems to be the answer). Among the patina of collective rims and frames, hop-knobs and knick-knacks, bells and baskets there laid a chalkboard, sheltered from water. Here is what was written on it:
I no longer expect things to make sense. I know there is no safety. But that does not mean there is no magic. It does not mean there is no hope. It simply means that each of us has reason to be wishful and frightened, aspiring and flawed. And it means that to the degree we are lost, is it on the same Ocean, in the same night.
*this is the name that was messily signed at the end of the quote. I can’t figure out who she is, but find this to be one of the most breathtaking thoughts: the same ocean, in the same night. If anyone has read anything else by her, let me know, please.