Thursday, October 29, 2020

This morning: dense fog, 35 degrees, and a pitched argument with the cat, who tried to sneak a semi-dead mouse into the house.

It's been a slow week, money-earning-wise, but at least I've been writing. Today I'll bake bread and keep barging forward into my essay. I did finish stacking the new firewood yesterday, well before the rains started, so that's an autumn chore off my mind. We're supposed to get a killing frost on Friday night, and I guess I should plan to spend my Saturday digging up dahlia roots and tearing out dead nasturtiums and marigolds. Good thing my front yard is still decorated with all of that cold-hardy kale.

Covid is spiking again in Maine; and though we are still in far better shape than much of the rest of the country, anxiety is rising. So much pit-of-stomach dread: terror about the election, terror about the virus; and a deep and growing distrust of a large portion of humanity, which has repeatedly revealed itself as both stupid and indifferent.

Stacking firewood, clearing out a garden, kneading bread dough, wiping down counters, sweeping a hearth, making a bed, fluffing a pillow, writing a line.

I embark on my daily rounds. I watch the rain fall. And when a pileated woodpecker lands on my neighbor's walnut tree, I feel as if I've won the lottery.


Ang said...

I just got back from the Ohio Valley. Trump country. Coal country. Steel mills in the process of being dismantled. Old coke plants crumbling. New cracker plant coming online to explode the oil into the components needed for plastics 1 through infinity. Oil rigs doting the landscape. Huge piles of coal still feeding the remaining plants. The smell and the din of industry at full throttle.

Lots of Trump flags but no more than second district Maine. Nearly everyone wearing masks. Conversations with more people than I planned on but everyone being polite to me. I am a coal miner's daughter after all and we look after our kin as long as respect prevails.

So why? The pride of the blue collar workers who built this country is real. The guys that went home at night, or in the morning, covered in dust and dirt their beat up lunch buckets banging down on the porch close to boots and later, clothes. Their kids and grandkids fed this pride of physical work at the dinner table. The liberals shafted them with contempt. Yahoos, hillbillies, rednecks. We let fucking Donald Trump exploit their pride by pitting them against immigrants and Blacks when all of them were once immigrants. Indeed all those old Italian clubs and Polish clubs and Lebanese restaurants and Knights of Columbus halls and VFWs and American Legions still line the neighborhoods that front the Ohio River.

Dawn and I both come from those scarred and blackened hills and came together over it. For reasons too numerous to list here we crossed over but sometimes we forget and start to fear. Take your next trip to the Ohio Valley. Ride down the WV side on Rt 2 crossing one of the many bridges and ride up the Ohio side on Rt 7. See what the Wilderness Society calls a NATIONAL SACRIFICE AREA. No wonder people are mad at what they believe are the elites personified in Democrats. We all benefited from this sacrifice and still do.

I know it's not this simple but I bring you impressions and news from the frontline. Do not fear the future. We have the strength and heart to go on and build bridges once the rubble is cleared. Humans have done it since time immemorial.

And thank you Dawn for sharing yourself so openly. You got game, girl!!

Joy said...

My lottery windfall is the blue jay sailing across my window from the woods to the pond, the blue so bright against the yellowing and browning leaves, the lonely branches.

Dawn Potter said...

Oh, Ang-- your post made me cry. Thank you. It's all true, true, true.

And Joy: your bluejay is my woodpecker. I'm so grateful for the world.