Occupatio,* or All That’s Missing

12 July, 2019

I am back. I have been away because, for several months, I was living someone else’s story. And the story was not mine to tell.1 

When I left, it was Winter. In the cold days of February, I thought about other topics I about which I might write. There were the cardinals that came close to the houses to glean some of the ambient heat, the reds of the males flashing against the greys of the sky and the clouds, the orange beaks of the females, warmer and more welcome than the sparking males. The flock’s calls and clicks that sound like notes from a wooden xylophone were equally bright — glowing coals of sound, equally cacophony and symphony. I could have written about the way they came close, but not too close, never venturing onto the patio, never coming under the shelter of the roof, but rather perching on the branches of the pink-bud tree that almost — almost — stretches it’s limbs under the overhang that shelters the patio.

I thought about telling how, years ago, the pink-bud became diseased and had to be cut down. There was debate about whether the unobstructed view or the shade of a tree was preferable. While we waited for the stump to decompose, new saplings twined up from the base of the old tree and flourished. After some years, it was decided that the new trees weren’t growing right, and the trio of trees were cut down. This time, stump killer was applied to prevent new growth. It didn’t work. The new shoots became a proper tree. And now that tree shelters cardinals in the cold and spills out pink and purple buds in Spring. 

  

Copyright Ruth FeiertagI thought about writing about the rain. The grey skies cast down unusually generous rains and soon there were thunderstorms with their rumbles and explosions and lightning shows. I stood Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019on the patio, under the overhang, watching the wildness, catching pieces of lightning with the camera on my phone.

 

And I thought about trying to articulate the strangeness of watching the heart of one season slide into that respiration of the next in a place that was not home, in a span of time that unspooled yet held still, of seeing Winter’s snows become Spring rains that greened the grass and persuaded the trees to cast on shawls of light green,CCopyright Ruth Feiertag 2019 then coats of darker verdancy. The mock pears shone white with their blossoms;Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019

 

 

 

Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019the cardinals paired off and set up housekeeping in the hedge by the patio and the tall bushes by the back bedrooms. The cardinals and wood doves came for the bird seed I put out; I began feuding with squirrels and keeping an eye out for rats.

 

 


I considered describing how I went to the tree nursery and brought home blooming plants in vivid hues and stuffed them into pots along the patio. Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019
Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019     Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019

 

 

I cast seeds wantonly into the pots and planters, along the back fence, in front of the house. The continuing rains washed the seeds into the soil and set the seeds to growing.

Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019 Copyright Ruth Feiertag 2019

 

 

 

 

I thought about writing about how time morphed into strange shapes and lost meaning and days were the same day and different days and it stopped mattering and time escaped altogether.

I “wrote” in my head, but got nothing on paper, nothing entered onto the computer nor on line. I was too enfolded in other matters, in another’s life, to write anything down.

And then, on 12 May, 2019, my mother died.

And her story become mine.

Sarah Feiertag, 1934-2019

 

1. Jenny Lawson blogged about this dilemma too, telling readers of her blog back in January, “I’ve struggled with what to say because I don’t know what to say. I am an open book and I write everything, but this isn’t just my story and I want to respect that,“ and “Turns out it’s really hard to write about emotional things and even harder when they involve someone you love whose privacy you want to protect.” 

See https://thebloggess.com/2019/01/17/im-struggling/and https://thebloggess.com/2019/01/23/im-back/.

If You’re Thinking About Not Voting

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MomsRising Postcard

 If you’re thinking about not voting, please think again.

To the under-thirty crowd: check out former president Obama’s PSA. Prove wrong everyone who says you’re apathetic, that you don’t care enough to be aware of what’s going on or to cast a ballot. I don’t think that’s true of your generation. I think you do care and want to make a difference. Perhaps some of you don’t think your vote can bring about change, but it can. Voting is an act that is at once a right, a privilege, and a responsibility. Take advantage of living in a country where you get to vote. Vote now so you can retain that right.

To everyone: If you think you can’t lose the right to vote, think again.1 Thousands and thousands of people are being disenfranchised by voter suppression laws and regulations. Vote for the American Indians in North Dakota; vote for the tens of thousands of voters being denied a ballot in Georgia because there’s an extra space between their names. Vote for the immigrants in Garden City, Kansas, where the only polling place has been moved out of town, a mile away from the nearest bus stop. Vote to help ensure every eligible citizen gets to cast a ballot.

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MomsRising Postcard

Vote because families are still separated, because children have forgotten their parents, because the president wants to reinstate this policy of separating even nursing infants from their parents,2 a policy that causes life-lasting trauma and because he now has a Supreme Court that will support this cruelty. Vote because children of both immigrants and citizens need protection.

Vote because women have the right to control their lives and destinies and need access to trustworthy health care, to birth control, and to safe abortions. Vote because we all need access to quality health care and we won’t get it from this Congress.3 Vote because our judiciary is becoming dangerously unbalanced. Vote to restore judges who represent the majority of people, not the fringes.

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ACLU Postcard

Vote because every child needs an education in a school without guns and with decently paid, dedicated, capable teachers. Vote because children die every day from a gun, because adults are shot every day as well. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, eight children die each day from gun violence; ninety-six people of all ages are killed by a gun — each day. And then there are the thousands (over fourteen thousand children; close to ninety thousand people total) who are shot every year but survive to live with the trauma and the often lasting disabilities and the expenses of having been shot.4 There was an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about how people are afraid to make their opinions known to others because our national discourse has become so uncivil, volatile, and threatening that speaking up can be dangerous.5 I understand that fear — in fact, I share it. But voting provides us a powerful means of participating in the conversation, of having our say safely, of making our voice be heard.

If you’re thinking about not voting, think again. Many of our recent elections have been close; your votes truly can turn a tide. Don’t let anyone say you didn’t put out the effort and missed your chance to have your say; don’t let others decide your fate.

 

1.
https://www.cjonline.com/news/20181019/iconic-dodge-city-moves-its-only-polling-place-outside-town

https://www.kansas.com/latest-news/article220286260.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/us/politics/georgia-voter-suppression.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/14/politics/democrats-voting-rights-georgia-north-dakota/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/us/politics/north-dakota-voter-identification-registration.html

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/native-americans-north-dakota-fight-protect-voting-rights/story?id=58585206

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/another-kansas-republican-scrambles-defeat-kris-kobach

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/kansas-midterms-kobach-voter-suppression.php/

https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article216228795.html

2.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-suggests-support-family-separations-after-earlier-practice-caused-outcry-n919866

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/10/13/us/politics/13reuters-usa-immigration-trump.html

https://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/immigration-family-separation-donald-trump-mick-mulvaney-november-2018-election/

https://theweek.com/speedreads/801760/stephen-miller-reportedly-pushing-new-family-separation-policy

3.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/republicans-lie-health-care-pre-existing-conditions.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/us/politics/republicans-health-care-pre-existing-conditions.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/10/12/trust-democrats-fear-republicans-health-care-obamacare-column/1602956002/

4.
http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics

https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-america/

https://www.snopes.com/news/2018/02/16/how-many-school-shootings-in-2018/

5.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-need-the-exhausted-majority-to-speak-up/2018/10/15/160440fa-d090-11e8-83d6-291fcead2ab1_story.html?utm_term=.7600813374aa