A chill sunk in this week, the kind that move you to get out the flannel sheets and the fluffy house slippers. Allyson and I had gone without turning on heat or air for a good month, but we finally caved and turned the heat on, when the cold from the night wasn’t warmed enough by the heat from the sun. There’s a nice cozy feel when you turn the heat on for the first time. There’s a smell in the air of the dust burning off the awakening heater parts. It’s not a great smell on it’s on, but it carries so many memories and associations with it–your body remembers every time in its life that it was cold and then warmed.
Tuesday was Election Day, as I’m sure most of you realized, whether you voted or not, because there was a peaceful silence when you awakened Wednesday morning. You turned on your tv, and saw the more regular barrage of auto dealer and prescription medication commercials. “What’s going on? Why am I not being told about someone who’s going to destroy my children’s future?” They have done all they can. We should have at least a month of peace before we start seeing 2016 Presidential election ads. Of course, the news would talk about the election for the next four days, because for some reason, we feel the need to analyze something for weeks longer than the actual event itself. Thanks ESPN and cable news.
I did my civic duty at the polls and sported the sticker to prove it. I’m a bit of a begrudging voter. I do it, but I don’t really like it. I tire of how candidates send me messages sure that it is what I want to hear, when it really makes me not want to vote for them. It did feel nice to me, though, to take part in the process–to stand in line with people who I may not know who I may disagree with. I was offering my opinion and they were too, and it didn’t matter who we were, they took each one the same. Did I wish there were different people on the ballot? Most definitely. Did I wish I knew more about the candidates? That would have been very helpful. Am I disillusioned now because I feel like people pretty well only vote for what will give them more money next year, not thinking about what that does to 10 years down the road? That’s a bit of a leading question. Sorry.
The act of decision making can be a hard thing, especially when livelihoods and important things are at stake. I guess that’s why people get so passionate and even downright hateful when it comes to stuff like this. I think it’d be much better if we came to this with some humility, understanding no one is sure what the right answer is–we’re just doing the best we know how. But, for some reason, we think we need to vote for people who are strong, who have the answers, who won’t make a mistake (as if that’s out there). We forget that we are strongest when stand together and love and nurture everyone we can, even in our differences.
I think I will wonder my whole life if I’m doing the right thing with myself, if I’m in the right place, doing enough good. I only get a good picture of that, looking back on it later. There are things I’d like to change, but also things that I can’t believe the dumb luck involved. It was just me trusting a path I was on. I like to think in another life I was a nomad. I often answer that ice breaker question, “If you could do some other occupation,” or “if you won a million dollars what would you do,” with “I’d be a nomadic herder.” It sounds so great to me. I’d travel, I’d know the land, I’d be care taking, I’d be following, I’d wake up in new exciting places, I’d trust my instincts, but also trust something much bigger than me. These are the exciting stories to me, these great journeys: Abraham, Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Lewis and Clark.
This week, the moon has been very bright and very pretty. It rises up in the East just as this early night falls, and near dawn, it sets in the West. On Thursday morning, on my pre-dawn walk to the radio station, I saw that bright white globe there, inching towards the horizon. It was so pretty, I kept going to the window to see it get larger and larger as it moved towards the bottom of the sky. After the sun rose, I went out again, and didn’t see it at first. Then I saw it, sitting on treetops, barely perceivable, like a ghost. It got so hazy, I couldn’t see it set. Then on Friday night, as Allyson and I were driving to The Station for a burger, we saw it rising up again in the East, big and yellow, shining through the light, gray clouds.
My mom and I keep up this conversation via text message, letting the other know when a pretty moon is in the sky. I’m not sure which one of us started it or when, but anytime I see some kind of visually stunning lunar activity, I immediately think to tell my mom. One of the annoying bi-products of this correspondence is that I often get “Somewhere Out There,” this incredibly cheesy 80s anthem from the animated movie An American Tail, about a cute little immigrant mouse named Fievel. In the song, he’s singing about how looking up at the stars and moon, knowing that his loved ones far-away are also looking at those celestial bodies too, gives him some kind of comfort even though he’s far away. Somewhere inside me, there’s a sappy person who loves to torture the rest of me.
An American TaiI, from what I remember from 25 years ago, is telling a sanitized, cartoony version of immigration and how hopeful and painful it was. So many people have come here because they thought they had to, because something called them away to something new, something they hoped was better. I have such a restless spirit inside me. I want to see so many things. I want my life to be a good life, and there are times I’m not always sure what the right answer is. But, I go into that booth and cast my ballot for what is next, being led by my brain, my experience, and also a little voice I don’t quite understand. There are big decisions coming in my future, some I’m not quite ready to share with the whole world. But, it’s comforting to know whatever I decide, that big moon will come up over all of us, and when we really stop and look at it, most of us can’t help but feel something that feels real and true.