I woke at dawn as I usually do. And forced myself back to sleep. It’s Sunday and I’m working on relaxing. Respite in bed is not a reprieve for me but today it came easily.
My dog, used to my habits, came at our usual time. She climbed onto the bed where she’d been allowed once when a vertigo event triggered anxiety that only my warm puppy could abate.
Now she drank thirstily from the cool stream that was strangely swiftly flowing through a crevice behind my neck.
Alarmed, I rolled away from the warm comfort of my sleeping husband and rushed out of bed to the kitchen as usual to turn on the kettle and looked out the window.
The gentle slope from the terrace up the hill was a flooded field. The bird feeders hovered over submerged poles. And the field was patterned in stripes of black and white softened with brown that revealed a congregation of wild creatures sitting terrifyingly still with their heads just above the rising water facing me, my house, a silent call.
We are in trouble. We are waiting for help.
Herons, cranes, deer, even a monkey came into focus as I stood frozen. The monkey rose from the water, writhed and slashed and struggled to move and I thought monkeys might not know how to swim. They will die. They are dying. There are so many. They are wild and alien and yet they’ve come to us like they are domestic, part of this house.
I ran to the bedroom calling my husband. You need to come. It doesn’t matter if you are tired. Get up you need to see this.
It had just begun to rain. Again.
And I woke up.
Yesterday Elizabeth Warren announced and all I could hear was the word “fight”. Big money, unfairness in cash, race, …. Shift I screamed to her. Don’t talk about health care talk about the planet, the food, the water, the raped land. Talk about the poison we are ingesting. Tell us we are an extension of all and they us and if we are to survive we have to eliminate our toxic overlords. The toxin is greed. They give us charity to save us from cancer while they make us cancerous. They give us medicine for all the disease they cause us so all we do is worry and band aid our shaking, limping mutated bodies and stay alive though it’s a half life. Talk about rebuilding community, eliminating loneliness, feeding and educating everyone.
Get these damn guns out of here. In this town children are snatching them from open cars. Where are the parents? Are they made useless by despair? Have they given up, the invisible till their spawn end up on the evening news?
Another press cycle begins as the crippled make the tedious trudge to the next presidential election. Will we notice the deflation, the anemia, dementia of ourselves as we make the choices that guide us forward? We are distracted by the affairs of weak men. We are guided to look away from the big picture to little pictures about little people and their pathetic or natural proclivities that are perhaps the worst of us.
Still, we go forward in small ways, in anonymity. This is as it should be and always was. We don’t need a megaphone and a platform to show us that.
But as the most powerful nation on earth influences the other superpowers that govern these small lives in our separate, intimate communal, we are bowled over, drowning in the sound and vibration of the doom broadcast through the sound and visual waves we flounder in, the undertow.
I know why the creatures came to me as the rain began to fall again. They are me and I am them and they and I know it.
Can’t you feel that too?