A gladsome Thursday to you all! Or, really, whatever kind of Thursday it may be. Or another day, if you’re reading this another day. Anyway. It’s July when I’m writing this and I hope it finds you well because I’ll be honest, it’s very much taken me by surprise.
I really didn’t expect for things to look like this current July, as I’m sure none of us really did. Unless, of course, we’re talking about our expectations from a couple days ago, in which case I imagine we were decently accurate. Things just keep being things and I’ve had quite enough. In all fairness, nothing bad has really happened to me personally so I’ve plenty to be thankful for.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve taken up my gratitude journal again and that’s been nice. I’ve been doing (most days, around) 200 push ups each day for the past two months. Getting out for mostly daily walks down to the shore. It’s been excellent, really, as sometimes in my head and lonely as I can be. I’m trying to focus on the good because apparently that’s the stage of pandemic that I’ve reached. At least for the time being. We’ll see how long it’ll keep up.
I would like to discuss a poem (since it’s been a while and you know I love discussing poetry). Though it’s from Emily Dickinson, it’s one that I was unfamiliar with until fairly recently. She did write like a zillion little poems, after all. Not knowing quite what to make of it, I did read a few explications that I found online which offered some good thoughts. Even when I don’t think quite like those writers, they can at least offer a good jumping off point for further investigation and personal musing.
It is a difficult poem to parse, certainly. I love and I hate its ambiguity. I can’t make heads nor tails of the situation. She definitely loves someone, they may or may not love her back, she may or may not tell them she loves them.
But I think even the least poetic among us can we appreciate this incredible way to say simply that the sun has set:
Withdrew the Sun—to Other Wests—
Part of me says that the poem is not merely speaking of the sun setting but that the conversation between the two has become so weighty that even celestial bodies cannot bear to witness it and flee into other worlds, other universes. That a question of love is too deep even for the sun to ponder. And so she is left to contemplate the moon, the sea, and the inexplicable relationship they share in the tide. And whatever answer she finds there, she at last whispers back.
Sometimes, I wish to see Other Wests, whatever they may be. But more, I think, I wish to hear a whispered ‘yes’ when I find one with whom we both could suffice.
Men, ah, men. Queer men, too. Yikes. Anyway. Me being forever alone was not supposed to be the point of this post, I do just really like the poem, okay?
I think it’s amazing to imagine the sun fleeing the power of love, taking its leave of Earth and going to other, extraterrestrial Wests.
I have only a small offering for our weekly dose of trying-to-do-something. It is simply a quotation from Ibram X Kendi’s currently very popular book, How to Be an Anti-Racist. I find it very challenging because I so often want to claim goodness by simply distancing myself from badness, not doing the work to make goodness happen in me and in the world. He says:
The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’
Do you, do I, allow or confront? Individual situations might not be quite so clear cut to us but the principle is clear. We are active or we are not. We are pursuing justice or we are not. We are racist or we are anti-racist.