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klimt-a-arvore-da-vida

He asks.  I fumble.  Events crash past, plowing under a vocabulary both dated and outgunned.  My words like vestigial limbs grasp at an extinct terrain.

As we drive the short distance home, NPR wallops us with our nightly load of federal ordure. The new Congress just voted to pave the way for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Our representatives exhumed an old law which will allow them to slash the pay of any federal worker down to $1.  In a stage play of quasi-constitutionalism, those who ask the toughest questions wield no power.  The men in charge anoint a public opponent of civil rights as the nation’s Attorney General and an oil tycoon as Secretary of State.

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Action 4: RESIST

bread-puppet-resistance

Abandon plans for a democratic agenda.  Abandon hope for democracy at all.  The leadership of this country has shed any pretense of discourse about how best to govern.  Our leaders will seize, gut, silence, and reign.  They will topple any established checks on their force, and they will dispense with explaining themselves.  They will have no need to defend the twisted truths they spun as they advanced through a weakened democratic system into the control tower.  Why explain?  Why defend?  They now execute reality.

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Dear Blank Page

gorey-page

My Dear One,

It’s possible to ignore something for so long, it slips from awareness.  This happens even with the things we need to live.  By accident or luck, one of these lost things might tumble across our path.  We trip over it and pause to pick it up.  Oh, you!  I remember you!  We’re stunned that we’ve managed without it, yet skimming back over the time apart, we see, with absolute clarity, how its absence has hobbled us.

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Burrowing

making-waves

He slides into bed next to me, his left side far warmer than his right.  His chilled skin  presses in as he drinks from my heat.  “Can you put your arm around me?” He asks.

“Sure, scoot down.”

A shifting.  The sheets tangle and we kick ourselves back to softness.  Dark lingers.  December morning takes her sweet time stretching awake.  We wait her out.

“It’s funny how the neck is shaped,” he says in his dreamy murmur.

“How so?”

“It’s like it’s designed exactly right so someone’s arm can fit underneath.”

He snakes a leg over my left and under my right, snaggled toes seeking the pillowed weight of my calf.  He reaches the length of me now.  This has happened.  Ten years and here, with his hair tickling my jaw, his feet lie loose across mine.

The impression of the tiny beast still marks my skin.  His infancy thrums there, a damp comma curled into my belly and chest.

Continuity hides in the wardrobe of finality.  Once a devotee of context, now I read each moment as a complete sentence, unable to catch the breath at the end (and then, and then, and then. . . )  This is parenthood’s steady (or is it sudden?) erosion of fluency.  Weariness plays tricks on perception.  Serial appears as parable and the mind finds its relief in taking this moment’s story as the only story.

Our morning drifts on like this, as if nothing waits on the other side.  I fear this blindness and cherish it too.  Of course I know my boy will prefer his own bed soon, and then his own room, and then his own place in his own world (and then, and then. . .)

Now he creaks awake into the frosted dawn, this frosted dawn, and comes padding across the distance to find my warmth.  It can’t matter that I’d rather stay soaking alone in my private dream lagoon.  It can’t matter that we’ll both grump and fumble through our mid-afternoon exhaustion.  The only thing to do is turn back the blankets and unfurl the sash of my body.  A decade since he left it, and it fits him perfectly. For this fleeting forever, we fold into one.


Image: Rob Gonsalves, “Making Waves”

tupperware

Remember when water bottles and travel mugs were weird anomalies?  When you had  to clip your cup to your rucksack with a carabiner and then ask for special permission to fill it from the soda fountain?

Now even briefcases come with mesh pockets for portable hydration. Monday through Friday in every office in America, a rainbow of screw-top coffee mugs and metal-glass-plastic reusable water bottles clutters every working surface.

Far better than cluttering landfills, yes?

So what’s stopping us from doing the same with our food containers?

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vintage-phone

It’s old school.  It’s unsexy.

It takes under five minutes.

And it’s effective.

Use this call sheet as a script to make a call to your representatives on issues of concern.  Adapt it as you see fit.

Notice that the call sheet has tabs across the top.  In addition to scripts, you’ll see lists of representatives and other tips.  This sheet is merely a template created in the first week after the election.  As events unfold, the language and issues will change.

I’m embarrassed to admit that for all decades of armchair commentary — indeed, I still consider myself “radical” despite my unexceptional suburban existence — I haven’t actually picked up the phone to talk to my senators or representatives in a lifetime and a half.

Yesterday, I made the calls.   The action was straightforward and very simple.  It took no more time a walk down the hall to fill up my water bottle, and arguably went much further to quench my thirst.


 

 

 

congress-photo

Find out who represents you in the US Senate and House of Representatives as well as in your state legislature.  It’s easy to look them up with the Find your Elected Officials tool created by Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation.

Make note of who your representatives are.  Take a few moments to find out how they have voted on immigration, education, reproductive rights, environmental policy, health care, protection of marginalized groups, and other critical issues.

Most importantly, make note of their addresses and phone numbers.  Bookmark them in your browser and program them into your phone.  The only way they’ll be responsive to us is if we start putting our concerns in front of them.


 Image: Library of Congress