Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wearing my heron on my sleeve and an owl around my neck

I really don't like doves.  Mourning doves, in fact, are probably my least favorite bird, and somehow it irks me that their ridiculous coo-ing bird-brained-ness is the symbol for peace.  I love hawks, but I'm already reminding Aster and Dianthus, "There are no winners in war," every time they pull out the army men.  I'm no hawk.

Several times this year I've thought about blogging about bird symbols, but have gotten mentally caught up with the dove/hawk thing, to which I've started to respond, "Well, I'm a heron."  Which is a pretty meaningless statement because being a heron on policy issues makes no sense.  But herons, great blue herons in particular, have resonated with me for twenty years.  I see them as good omens or spirit guides or just something personally special (Wow-- it appears I wrote the same thing 8 years ago).

I've been wanting to blog about the election, but I am still too angry.  I've been wearing one of my two owl necklaces daily to remind me of the wisdom of choosing my words well.  And I've been losing sleep composing this blog post.  As I finally sit to write it, I find that I still can't.

I'll just say what I told one of my classes on November 9.  "There are people in our community who are fearful following the results of the election.  I sincerely hope their fears are unfounded.  Whoever you voted or didn't vote for (because statistically, it 's likely you didn't vote), it is all of our job to make sure those fears don't have a basis.  If you live by Christian values, now is the time to demonstrate them."

Which gets us to the heron on my sleeve in the title.  By "heron on my sleeve" I meant "heart on my sleeve," because it is a little too easy to see how I feel about things (except that I always smile, so some people can't tell, so I have to pre-announce to one of my colleagues when I am cranky) and by "heart on my sleeve" I also meant "safety pin on my chest".  I've been wearing a safety pin prominently each day.  Safety pins are a signal that I am a safe space, that people can talk to me regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, size, and that I will get involved should someone be harassed for who they are.  In yet another way that our country is divided, my social media feed is largely "post-safety pin" including some circles safety pin wearers are being mocked for doing so little, and the students on my campus are largely oblivious that the movement exits.

But I'm wearing my safety pin with pride.  I've been in contact with my congressman. I will register as a Muslim if it comes to that.  I urge you to join me.  True, it's a symbolic gesture.  But so are lots of things.  And little symbolic gestures can add up.

 Like votes.

Herons are lovely and graceful.  And then they are move and they are gangly and clumsy and awkwardly proportioned.  And then they are flying and they are funny looking and inefficient, but they are flying.  They are still and hard to disturb and nearly inactive.  And then they are fast and sharp.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

For Grandma and Kathleen

I cried a lot last week as the Cubs won the World Series.  Joy, yes, but also real sadness that my grandparents weren't alive to see this. And gladness that my parents were.  And concerns about the end times it foretold. (I jest.  I think.)

I will cry tonight as the election results come in-- however they do.

But as I've prepared my white linen outfit-- the closest I have to a white pantsuit, I've been very sentimental-- like I get about the Cubs, but angrier-- as I realize all of the sexism and misogyny wrapped up in so many things.  I'm pissed off about middle age and old women being invisible and apologize that I am just now recognizing the extent of this.

Yet Grandma, Mom, Kathleen, Jane, Darna, . . . you were never invisible to me.  Thank you that I've always had amazing strong women in my life (and thank you Dad for always appreciating that).  I pressed my linen pants and curled my hair this morning Kathleen; I know how you always hated Chelsea's; and Grandma I appreciate how you think that I should be wearing whatever is comfortable to vote and not worrying what Kathleen would think.  So I'm representing a long (but sadly not that long) line of suffragettes as I wear white to vote.  And Mom, the red shoes and the pterodactyl necklace are my Big Orange Splot you always taught me to have.

I took my sons when I actually voted on Friday.  We discussed the merits of Hillary Clinton and Gary Johnson  and the next day Gary Johnson was batting with the bases loaded in one of Aster's convoluted World Series play-by-play stories, perhaps with some college volleyball mixed in.  I love this.  There is so much disconcerting about the world they are growing up in, but my sons are growing up in a world in which female scientists are the norm, where the Cubs and Royals have recently won the World Series, and where women and libertarians are on the ballot for President.

Grandma and Kathleen,  I am excited to witness it for you.