This photo is a reflection in the barn window. It’s a combination of the house, and woodshed and a view through the barn into the trees beyond the pasture. Those little squares in the woodpile that you can see the trees though…I have no idea how that occurred.
This photo, where things have been rearranging and are not where they should be, is an illustration of how our country seems right now to me. Between the pandemic, politics, and climate change, things are being reshaped.
My life, here in Upstate NY on our farm is in some ways far from so many of the troubles people are facing every day. And in another way, it’s a microcosm of it all.
Talking tonight to Sue Silverstein, our friend, and teacher at Bishop Maginn High School brings home to me how difficult each day is for so many people who have to work with the public. Not that Sue is complaining. She’s a warrior for the kids she teaches and would not choose to be anyplace else. But it’s through people like her and my friend Jackie who is a nurse in a hospital emergency room that I get a personal window into what people are dealing with everyday in a way I don’t have to experience.
As isolated as the farm can be, Covid has reached our town and the people around us like everywhere else in the country. And the politics of the pandemic lies just under the surface of every interaction.
I haven’t written or made art about politics or the pandemic in a long time. Partly because I want my blog to bring people something they can’t get anywhere else. I hope my pictures, videos, and writing bring some movements of peace or a bit of joy.
But the other reason is that for me to live my life, I also need to look elsewhere. I need to have hope. Not that I’m denying the truth, but I also don’t need to be constantly bombarded with negativity that I have no control over.
Poet Veronica Hallissey often writes about how humanity evolves emotionally one person at a time, by the actions we take in our lives. And it’s cumulative. Like taking part in building a cathedral that we’ll never see completed.
I like that idea. It gives me hope that my actions will have a lasting effect beyond me.
So when I start thinking the worst, I try to remember that I’m not going to be someone who changes the world in a great leap. But I am someone who can touch those around me in a positive way instead of a negative one.
For me, it can be as simple as wearing a mask, or being kind to the overworked cashier at the Dollar Store, making something beautiful, buying in bulk and refilling containers instead of throwing them away, or shopping at a local business whose politics I know are different than mine.
I see myself as a single stone in a Cathedral that changes with each generation that works on it. By no means perfect, but hopefully making the adjustments to reshape it into something beautiful.