What a summer it has been.
My partner Mick and I had friends and family visit, traveled to Ireland, built a new deck, and welcomed our daughter back home. We experimented with a wild flower garden, continued yoga classes, felt lucky every time we bought fresh food at the local farmers market. We’ve increased our exercise, practiced generosity.
And we’ve tried to find as many ways as possible to do good things in spite of the current political climate here in the US. That means becoming more conscientious in our responses to hate, violence, intolerance. Traveling outside the US expanded our awareness of how much better society is when people in it operate from a base of common compassion and love. How? When anyone travels to a place where they know few or none others, where everything is unfamiliar, small acts of kindness take on a larger presence, make the difference between happy travels and terrible travels. Everywhere we went while traveling in Ireland, we ran into people who spoke with us from their hearts, who offered directions, suggestions, food, and conversation.
There is no excuse for making the world an unkind place.
Once back home in Minnesota, we tried to bring that sensibility along with us. How many around us can benefit from extending a spirit of generosity and niceness more often? Minnesota has had some rough going of late, especially around police behavior that has shaken our ideas of what it means to serve and protect. I can’t begin to tell you how sad I was to see coverage of the police shooting of Justine Damond splattered all over Irish television news programs while I was there. And the Irish coverage of Donald Trump’s rude and erratic behavior embarrassed me on a daily basis.
It wasn’t my intent when I sat down to write this post to veer off into politics. It never is, but somehow they come up everywhere. Divisiveness comes up everywhere. And it’s exhausting.
But I’ll tell you what: Mick and I both felt renewed after two weeks out of the US in which we often ignored the news in favor of hiking, sightseeing, or just sitting somewhere with a good Irish beer. And taking a few weeks away from One Minnesota Writer was a good thing, too. Everyone benefits from an occasional chance to renew themselves no matter what kind of work they do or life they lead. Writers and artists, doctors and nurses, first responders, teachers, mechanics, cashiers, mail carriers, dog walkers – all of us need time to shut off our minds and let ourselves be. Then, it’s even more important to return to whatever it is we do with our renewed selves.
We are on this planet not just for our selves, but for each other.
Let’s do some good work together this fall.
I have a new poem, After Baptism, in the late summer issue of The Linnet’s Wings, which is available here: www.thelinnetswings.org.
Gyroscope Review has kicked off a weekly series of writing prompts. Cultivate: Writing Prompts for Poets will tweet a new prompt every Sunday. Look for the hashtag #GRcultivatepoetry to find the ongoing series of prompts. The prompts will also appear on Gyroscope Review‘s Facebook page and Instagram feed. Have fun, do some brainstorming, and, after your resulting poems have had time to sit and be revised, submit them either at Gyroscope Review or one of the many lit mags out there that are doing good work.
DO A KIND THING
The end of summer has not been great for the people in Texas battling the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The Red Cross has always been there for people in these kinds of situations and they are there now. Want to help? Here you go: Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey donations