Two small things

President* Trump,

Just two small things for today’s letter….

The first has to do with what happened on my way home from my morning walk. I was coming up alongside the high school down the street when I saw a construction worker coming towards me on the sidewalk about a block away. I knew he eventually needed to cross the street to the build site where the other workers were already gathering and I thought about continuing on up the sidewalk so he’d have to cross since it obviously didn’t make sense for me to cross to where the other construction workers were and where he obviously needed to be. But I had another option, which was to climb the two flights of stairs up the hillside to the high school building. It wasn’t an option I was very happy about since the whole way home had been up hill, one of those slow, steady, up-grinds, but he didn’t appear to be listing in the direction I needed him to list and I wasn’t in the mood to play full-on chicken with him, so I capitulated and climbed the stairs. I was rather grumbly, but I dutifully thought about how I was getting a little more cardio in an attempt to make the best of it.

So the small thing itself was that at the top of the stairs I noticed a fairly mature tree I’d not noticed before. It’s not the ginormous maple on the corner that the high school students ritually adorn with toilet paper for home coming, but it’s the one set closer to the doors and the stairway. The leaves on this other tree caught my eye and as my not-fully-with-it brain ticked through possible tree-ID’s, I finally landed on the fact that this is a good-sized ginko tree and I felt the nicest little surge of positivity. Ginkos have lovely leaves and they flutter in the breeze in ways no other leaves seem to, but around here, I’ve only ever seen very young, spindly specimens so it was a treat to see a super sturdy one in such an unexpected place. The bonus, of course, was that I hadn’t wanted to be up there and had just been feeling snippy about yet another White man not yielding the sidewalk (when it totally made sense for him to do so) on yet another COVID morning. So it was a “count it all joy” sort of moment.

The other small thing has to do with the fact that yesterday morning I got an auto-notification from my blog that someone had left a comment in response to the 7/31/20 letter about the all-Black Manley HS crew team and Rep. John Lewis; the comment was “TRUMP2020.” I’ve had a couple such comments from people over the years and for some reason someone with the online handle of “TRUMP2020” subscribed to follow my blog a bunch of times several months ago (and so far hasn’t left and as far as I can tell, wasn’t the person who left the comment). I saw the comment during the work-day, so couldn’t approve it or respond even if I’d known what to say. And actually, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do – if I didn’t approve it, it wouldn’t show up and even if I did approve it, I didn’t have to respond. Well, I decided the civil, olive-branchy thing to do was to go ahead and approve it and to respond, so I said “Well, clearly we don’t see eye to eye on this, but thanks for reading.” This morning after my ginko-tree encounter I went through the next part of my morning routine reading the poem-a-day in my inbox and checking email and I saw that the person who left the “TRUMP2020” comment “liked” my response.

Like I said, these are two small things – neither is going to shake up anything much at all, but I’m grateful for them both. Balms are in short supply these days so it’s extra nice to have two turn up before 8am.

May we be safe to be open to possibility.
May we be willing to proffer (and receive) olive branches.
May we have the strength to not shut down.
May we accept random gifts from the universe.

Tracy Simpson

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