Graced by a heron

Dear President Trump,

Maybe it’s that it’s the Sunday at the end of a four-day holiday weekend or maybe it’s the time of year, but the day started out pretty challenging. First off, I overslept and was late getting to choir practice. Second, we didn’t have any of our actual tenors who can read music and sing well there this morning so our little section limped along unless the choir director focused on us and gave us a voice to follow. Neither of these things was all that bad, just kind of, sort of stressy.

After practice I talked with a couple of other women, one of whom hasn’t been around for a while so there was some catching up to do. Unfortunately most of it was sad as they’ve each been going through a lot with their families of origin and have had to set strong boundaries to protect themselves. I often find these situations tricky because I just want to be a supportive friend but everyone knows I’m a psychologist and so I end up doing all sorts of mental gymnastics trying to figure out if I’m coming off too therapist-y. I mostly listened (almost always a good bet) and made little encouraging noises interspersed with nods. I think it went ok.

Then on the way home (I didn’t stay for church today since I needed a break) I resumed listening to Michelle Obama’s book on tape and there was yet more heaviness. She had just gotten past the part where Barak was re-elected and then Sandyhook happened. I was already feeling sad and frustrated that we went from such thoughtful, dedicated public servants in the White House to you and your nightmare of an administration and then her recounting of that horrible tragedy just felt like too much, especially given the disgraceful utter lack of progress on gun control since then and your despicable role in carrying the rabid 2nd Amendment torch.

I made myself keep listening and the heaviness didn’t let up. In fact, for the first time in the I-don’t-know- how-many-hours of her book, MO warns the reader that things don’t get better. She went on to describe how a couple of days later a high school student from the South side of Chicago who’d gotten to march with her school in one of the inauguration day parades was shot and killed on her way home from school because she and her friends were mistaken for gang members. MO talked about how she couldn’t bring herself to go to Sandyhook with Barak but she did go to the girl’s funeral and met with her parents. She reflected on how like her this girl was and how if she’d walked a different way home or if she’d moved six inches to the left instead of to the right, she’d still be alive (assuming the assailant didn’t keep shooting). Through all of this was the clear message that we continue to let our children and ourselves down as we miserably fail to take care.

The saving grace for the day was that Laura and I took the dogs to Magnuson for a long nature walk. It was really cold and threatening rain so it was pretty deserted and we didn’t have to work too hard to keep the barky little dog in line. We’ve taken to doing an out-and-back to avoid the muddiest sections and today on the way back we got to see an enormous grey heron perched up on a 20’ snag. It looked absolutely majestic as it surveyed the pond below, scanning for lunch. Neither of us had ever seen a heron sitting up high like that and even though it doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to hunt, we figured it must know what it’s doing and we agreed that it was a balm for both of us.

May we be safe wherever we are, whoever we are.
May we be willing to lay down arms.
May we see that our children’s health and well-being is everything.
May we have the courage to be peace.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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