One of the blogging groups I follow is called Post-40 Bloggers who encourage the voices of older bloggers to write about their experiences and insights and things that matter to people as they age. They also have a lovely list of prompts to help nudge the creative muse so I thought I would take them up on this week’s prompt called “Outside My Window”.
Outside my big bay window the view opens up to a lovely garden, enclosed by a huge laurel bush and enormous cedar tree. Outside my window are flowering bushes and rhododendrons that bloom in gorgeous colors. There are birds and butterflies and rabbits and sometimes deer. There are raccoons and possums and neighborhood cats who wander through. There is my own grey cat lounging on the deck. Outside my window is clear, clean air, water gently bubbling in my fountain, peace.
From the perch of my very comfortable middle class life, I can imagine that the life I lead is the same for everyone I love. But If I look closely outside my window I can see friends and family and loved ones suffering from the weight of life and trying to get through the day. I can see sadness and depression and a lack of human connection. I can see how social media has ironically made us more lonely and less connected with each other and how those millions of images bombarding the senses can convince a vulnerable person that what they see in the mirror is not enough. I can see the desperation to feel strong and worthy and to grasp for that joie de vie inside. I can see the struggle of day to day and the effort to take the next step forward and many who cannot find the inspiration to do that. Sadly they choose to relieve the pain they feel only to bequeath it to the loved ones they leave behind.
Outside my window I can hear the echoes of crying children taken from their parents. The sound is universal and knows no language or religion or race or political party. I don’t quite know what is happening outside my window. This does not sound like the country I love or the values I hold dear. Outside my window children are being used as pawns in a big ugly political chess game. I am a first generation American. My mother immigrated here as a 4 year old child with her mother and 2 year old sister. I think with horror that if she came today she might have been taken from my grandmother’s arms with her tiny sister and moved into a detention center. Their only crime being the children of immigrants. Their parents are trying to come for a better life, fearing the life they have left behind only to walk into the fires of a very deliberate hell. It’s their punishment for hope.
Outside my window I see the Statue of Liberty having a crisis of faith. What does she stand for really? How many know she was a gift from France and so an immigrant herself? The very symbol of this country. Bring me your poor, your tired…. Are there tears running down her stone face or is she steadfastly staring down at this hatred and feeling justified for guarding the gates of America? Outside my window are things I do not recognize and things I greatly fear. I want to draw the blinds and hide in the safety of my privilege. I want to plug my ears from the crying children and pretend the peace of my garden is the peace of the world. I want to rest easy because my own children are safe and I do not need to feel the kind of pain those parents do. But that is an illusion. Every parent shares their pain. My privilege is an illusion and I am complicit if I do not speak out.
Outside my window are children fighting to change laws, marching against gun violence even as they are ridiculed and threatened and mocked. Yet they march steadfastly on, spurred by their own terrifying experience, by the memories of their slain friends, connecting with thousands of other children who have shared their terror. When did it fall on the shoulders of the children to change the world? Outside my window I see the shame of those adults who accuse these children of acting for their own gain. My heart, my heart, be still my heart. When did we get so jaded?
Outside my window, the Solstice transitions us from spring into summer. My apple tree is in bloom, tiny apples bursting from the branches that promise warm pies and tart cinnamon cobblers and cold crunchy sweetness. I see the budding sunflowers pushing up through the soil, fragrant rosemary bushes branching around the house, lavender bushes blooming deep purple, the delicate scent on my hands as I crush the buds between my fingers. The Buddha head in my garden beckons me to sit and ponder and give thanks for all I have. But my heart is troubled and there is not the respite I seek outside my window. Instead I pull the blinds aside and stare defiantly into the harsh glare of reality. I believe in the cycles of rebirth and renewal my garden shows me outside my window. Only there can I find hope.