Moonflowers, their large, soft white petals open only in response to the soft touch of moon glow. In the glaring heat of day they are closed up tight, locked away against the indignity of the harsh Texas sun.
There aren’t a lot of plants that flower at night – they’re a bit of an aberration. I suppose that’s why I love them. Feeling a bit like an aberration myself I like that nature herself appreciates a good weirdo too.
So this year has felt like one humongous aberration am I right? It’s felt too real, too fake, too horrible, too depressing, too dark. People are dying. I mean, people are always dying but now they’re dying more – and horribly – alone in hospital rooms with only nurses able to hold their hands. And we all, all of us, have this terrible burden of knowledge that we could have done more, as a country, to both prevent and mitigate these losses.
People are being oppressed and marginalized and pushed down. People are always being oppressed and marginalized and pushed down but now white people like me are going….Oh.No. This has been happening right under my nose. The whole time. THE WHOLE TIME I’ve been alive systematic racism has been happening globally but more harshly here in the USA. And it makes me feel scared. I’m scared when I encounter it, and I’m scared when I say something, and I’m scared when I write about it.
Fighting With A Hand Outstretched
I want to fight it. I want to fight ignorance and injustice while staying true to my natural positivity and assumption that people are, at their heart, good. All people. All Americans. All Canadians. All global citizens. All humans. At their heart, decent people only trying to do what they think is best for them and their children.
And then I remember moonflowers. Those aberrations whose flourish and purpose is by moon glow. When all seems darkest, they turn their faces to the moon and open.
There is strength, and beauty to be found in these dark times. I can see it in the young white kid in Alabama, the only one in his neighborhood who stood at the end of his street and held a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign and was threatened, and ridiculed, mocked and dismissed. On video. I refuse to pay attention to the worst of humanity showing the worst of itself and instead focus on this bright light of a kid who is shining despite the censure. I see it in the methodical outlining of the disparity of American incarceration rates in Michelle Alexander’s book ‘The New Jim Crow’.
I see it in our former first lady Michelle Obama whose authentic and generous sharing of her thoughts and feelings about this president and our current times has moved me to action.
I see it in the ‘Moms of Portland’ who are standing up to misguided private militia sanctioned by the president. In pink bike helmets and a fierceness only a woman would recognize.
I see it in every young black and person of color who refuses to let current circumstances diminish their fire and grit.
We’re living in a time when we’re told truth is not truth, when we’re lied to and pushed around and our fears are being capitalized on by a sociopathic mad man.
And yet…there is hope.
And still, if you look around, there are moonflowers out there blooming like fireworks on the darkest night of the year. These are the everyday people doing everyday things like delivering mail, making supper for their families, working two jobs so their kids can have a chance at a better life. They’re nurses like my friends Kirsten and Tina, they’re teachers like me and my friends Sarah and Natalie.
They’re the kids who say no to the negativity and despair pumping out of Washington right now like a sewer line that’s never been flushed.
They’re the people you and I know, who are refusing to be brought low, and are banking on ‘going high’ like it’s the last train to redemption. Because it might be.