Yesterday was the end of Daylight Savings time, reminding us that the names we bestow upon the hours are arbitrary, but it does seem to mark a shift. Darkness is gathering a little too soon, and in the gloaming I see the dun-colored grass, the gray road curving, the orchard filling with shadow.
We are on the eve of an election more disturbing and dispiriting than any in recent memory. There’s no need to rehash it all here. I have heard it described as a circus, but to do so seems to make light of its fundamental sadness and the problems that will follow, no matter what the outcome. At the moment I tend to believe (with cautious optimism, not certainty) that Hillary will win the election, but I’m worried about the Senate and the prospect of gridlock and spite if the Democrats don’t win more seats. I’m also concerned about the potentially violent responses of the lunatics. And I’m so angry at James Comey, who put so much at risk with his last-minute nonsense, and the antics of the FBI. But mostly I’m still stunned and disappointed that millions of voters in this country bought into this whole Trump con, that they are that gullible and that filled with hate and anger. It feels like a scorched earth message, a giant fuck you. I am disillusioned in a way I never was. I can’t shake it.
Then again, maybe all that has happened is that the decay that already existed has been rendered more visible, and just as with the foundations of a house, we need to shed light on the rot in order to repair and rebuild. And maybe, as has been said, we are witnessing the last reactionary gasp of an old order, a predominantly white male one with racist and misogynistic overtones, and maybe it’s a desperate gasp because their dominance has truly ended. Maybe this election is a test, and we will reaffirm the best in ourselves. We need to grow into our diversity and interconnectedness, address change in enlightened ways rather than deny and resist it, create solutions together. I wonder if civility can return to public discourse. I wonder if we can ever be nice to each other again. So much damage has been done.
In the meantime, I’ve been sick for a few days and perhaps that exacerbates my sensitivities, but even here in my own little neighborhood, I am experiencing a sense of alienation. (It certainly isn’t helping that my sound track has been Leonard Cohen. At this very moment I am hearing: I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game...from his new album, You Want It Darker.) But the demographics of this ranch are indeed shifting, the culture is changing from within and without, and I am trying to constructively contribute and pass on what I know while gracefully accepting that I am old-fashioned and irrelevant. It’s a lot of work, being here, and in exchange there is the wonder of it all, but I can tell that there’s a tipping point. It might be different if my daughter didn’t live so far away, but lately I see that as much as I love it here, this will not be a great place to get old. A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation on the subject of community and stories, and I am only now beginning to realize that it was part one of a farewell song. And maybe partly fantasy.
Well, more to come. Time changes. Cultures change. Moods change. Seasons of life change too. Let’s see how things shake out on Tuesday. And then let’s see what is constant that we can count on, and what we can be.