I walk slowly
and try to receive
what is already
Enough. I wish
I could remember
Yesterday, I was forced to transplant some of the zinnias (Benary’s Giant) and my marigolds (Queen Sophia) I have started from seed. Though dramatic futures await these giants and queens, at the moment, they are just little beings—green threads hoisting pairs of tiny ovoid flags. Nothing yet suggests the elevated future of the zinnias nor the latent bushy splendor of the marigolds which, God willing and they’re not eaten by those cute bunnies that frequent the Temple gardens, is in store. Now they are simply fragile bits of green, unbothered by their astonishing potential.
In the morning, I had put several pots out to receive the unseasonal warmth and nourishment of yesterday’s sun. I was concerned that the sun might be too bright, but I forgot to worry about the wind. When we returned in the mid-afternoon after a trip to Boston to celebrate my son-in-law’s birthday, the pots were overturned and the seedlings cast about on the ground.
I was upset with the wind and my lack of foresight, but the seedlings seemed to have no opinion about this matter of life and death—their tender bodies lay scattered, silent and strangely unconcerned in this most dire circumstance. I gathered them as best I could and began the delicate work of repotting.
You must handle them with care, these little fellows – the whole summer is nascent in their slender bodies. Grabbing by the tiny leaves is better than risking the tender stems. Then you suspend them over the dark plastic cell while you crumble soil to fill in around the suspended thread of a root. Now pack down gently to secure the vertical direction of the trunk and softly water.
I know all this fussing around is silly. I could more easily buy mature seedlings at a greenhouse and my careful tending does not help alleviate the oppression of black and brown bodies – does not restore the promises of freedom and equality enshrined in our constitution.
But somehow, I am deeply stirred by my kinship with these small green bits of being. The deep ache of my heart is soothed and I am surely touching God as I husband these insubstantial threads of coming-into-being.
This cool April morning,
I walk as a stranger
through my own garden.
There’s so much
over the long winter.
Moving slowly, I try
to see what I have
not seen before.
of its own accord.
This will take more
time than I had reckoned.
After the election, I had two fears: that Trump would lead the nation into an authoritarian state or that he would be so incompetent the country would suffer greatly. So far, we’re seeing much more of the later than the former.
Trump’s signature xenophobic executive order has been twice been blocked on constitutional grounds, his effort to repeal Obamacare was a thoughtless piece of legislation that even his ruling majority couldn’t agree upon, and his unbridled narcissistic tweets are not creating as much confusion for the opposition as they are for his own party.
In his incompetence and boorishness, Trump is reaching unprecedented levels of unpopularity for a President. The latest Gallup polls for the weekending April 2, show him at a new low of 38% approval ratings just to put this in context Gallup compares him to other recent Presidents at this point in their first year:
|Other presidents in March of first year||Barack Obama||63||Apr 2009|
|George W. Bush||61||Apr 2001|
|Bill Clinton||55||Apr 1993|
|George H.W. Bush||58||Apr 1989|
|Ronald Reagan||67||Apr 1981|
|Jimmy Carter||64||Apr 1977|
|Richard Nixon||62||Apr 1969|
|John Kennedy||81||Apr 1961|
|Dwight Eisenhower||74||Apr 1953|
The honeymoon is not going well. And I must confess, that given my antipathy toward the man and his small-minded, self-aggrandizing and deceitful ways, I am pleased. It appears that there are indeed some consequences to his wild and irresponsible actions.
But there’s no room for celebration. Though his Presidency and his power are somewhat constrained, he is still the President and is the leader of our country. We must still actively speak up against his policies to dismantle policies to protect the environment, to defund programs that enrich our country and support our most vulnerable citizens, and to treat the rest of the world as our enemy rather than our partner.
But the danger of the drift toward authoritarianism is still real. It looks like the Senate will vote today to decrease the number of votes required to confirm a Supreme Court justice. The obstructionism and polarization of our government and our country continues. This is what we must continue to address.
As I write this, I glance at the paper and see that we have fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base. While I abhor the Syrian government’s chemical attack on civilians, I am afraid that Trump will use an increased level of US aggression as a diversion from his incompetence and the incoherence of his policies.
Even though it is no surprise, I am quite undone by Tuesday’s Executive Order which rolls back most of Obama’s policies to fight climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuel. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the accepted scientific reality of global warming is baffling to me. Does he think that ignoring inconvenient information is enough to protect us from it? (See the NY Times editorial ‘President Trump Risks the Planet‘)
I feel sad, helpless and angry.
I sent a personal email to the White House and though it felt rather small, I suppose a snowflake doesn’t feel of much account when it descends—but enough of them together can easily close down business as usual.
I also went to the Sierra Club web site and sent another email from there. (And in the process put myself on one of their email lists.) The Sierra Club site had some small sliver an encouraging perspective:
Only an outpouring of public outrage can help turn the tide and defend the climate. We’ve seen it happen with the attempted Muslim ban, and we saw it last week with the disastrous attempt to repeal health care reform.
The good news is, Trump can’t just wish the Clean Power Plan away. Over a million Americans submitted public comments supporting it, and thousands rallied and testified at listening sessions and public hearings. EPA will have to go through the same process to turn back the clock.
EPA is also obligated to reduce carbon and other climate-disrupting pollutants because of their previous “endangerment finding” and orders from the Supreme Court, like in Massachusetts v. EPA.
Trump and Pruitt will try to pull a fast one with the climate, but we won’t let them. Send a message to them now demanding they keep the Clean Power Plan in place or replace it with something that reduces carbon emissions even more. Stand up, together, and we can defend our progress on climate change and continue our climate leadership.
Only by acting individually and together can we reverse the course of Trump’s stated intention to gut these many (and still rather minimal) protections to our environment.