In an effort to put a few positive moments into a recent week of mostly negative, James and I went for a woods walk on the Sewanee Domain. It’s something we don’t usually do because there’s so much work to do on our acreage, but this was a psychological necessity.
James pointed out this one spot:
Do you see anything wrong with it? To me, it looks exactly like the rest of what we were walking in. Quiet woods, leaf-coated earth. Trees and more trees.
But that’s the point. It used to be the site of the Sewanee dump. James, who roamed all over this mountain as a teen, remember several decades ago when it was piles of bottles and tin cans, rusted bedsprings, a discarded washer and dryer. And now it’s woodland.
This made me think of what’s needed in order for healing of any kind to happen. Time, obviously, but not just that. Some active effort to deal with what was there.
Beginning with the decision to stop adding more junk.
There’s something in this that seems to offer a lesson to us in this tumultuous year, as we try to heal some of the wounds caused–and revealed– by the election.
We need time, obviously. A little distance. Already, several weeks post-election, the emotional intensity has lessened.
But not simply time. Because I’m not advocating that we pretend the wounds–and the issues– aren’t there.
So we need to take a couple of active steps as well. For instance, each of us might think of some way to reach across whatever division we believe exists between us and whoever we consider “the other.” We might think of some positive action that would contribute towards our nation’s well-being.
But first we need to stop the trash-talking.
Which means that at a fundamental level, we need to recognize that differences of color or race or political affiliation need to matter less than the reality that we’re all human beings worthy of respect and compassion. That we’re all, well, Americans.
This is the hardest part, I think. Accepting that it’s up to us to make the decision to change our attitude.
Or end up with a ruined land full of junk.