October Mood

Leaves change, rain falls, the dog snuggles in her bed. I cook more, linger over pots of pasta sauce and stew. The furnace kicks in late at night as a chill settles over our house. And I can feel that autumnal mood take hold, the one where my most pressing desire is to be home, in a cozy sweatshirt, with my family.

This year, that feeling is particularly strong as we all search for a way to not be angry all the time. The Kavanaugh hearings have shattered any lingering respect I had left for our country’s Supreme Court Justice selection process. After nearly two years of an insufferable president and a majority in Congress that is completely indifferent to anything but their own desires, I want it all to stop. And by “it all” I mean privileged white men who have convinced themselves there is no other way but theirs, that their wants, needs, and religion are the only ones that matter, that their claim to some form of Christianity gives them authority to speak as holy people who know best and any who question them are simply misguided and unfortunate. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as we all know, is just one example of a systemic problem and there need to be more like Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to stop men like him.

I think about it all as I type on my laptop, keys tapping loudly from my determined fingers. I think about it all as I chop vegetables for dinner, the heft of my big chef’s knife a comfort as I thwack apart onions, peppers, potatoes. I think about it all as I walk the dog, text my kids, read through emails, pay bills, do laundry. Those damn privileged white boys who have never paid a big penalty for their poor treatment of others or their failure to admit their own shortcomings are running this country and how do I not be angry, angry, angry?

How does anyone with a conscience not be angry?

I think about the most radical acts I can do on a daily basis. There are always ways to protest, civil disobedience to be deployed, but perhaps the most radical thing I can do every day is practice spreading a sense of peace. It is a radical act to create a space that is compassionate, kind, nourishing and nurturing, and take that sensibility to the voting booth. It is a radical act to write down or speak all that I am grateful for: basics like food, clothing, shelter, and companionship; education, writing skills, access to ideas and experiences that differ from my own, chances to say something out loud. It is a radical act to decide that there is a way to turn things around even though it isn’t always obvious.

This is how I will not be angry.

And in choosing not to be angry, I choose to look for that which supports a better, more humane path.

Sometimes, a reminder to not be angry saunters right into the backyard. Over the weekend, late on Saturday afternoon, here was our moment of zen:

buck bedding down
This buck settled beneath our spruce tree and hung out there for nearly an hour, twitching his ears and chewing his cud.


The buck eventually wandered to our neighbor’s yard to snack on the corn they have out for squirrels, then came back to our yard to hang out under the spruce for a while longer.

A wandering neighborhood deer, surprising in our urban area, was quite a reminder that if we open up a safe space, something beautiful might walk right in. Can’t be angry about that.


Photos by KCMickelson


  1. Well written and nice turn of your story with the beautiful buck in your yard. Sorry to say, I could only think of those darn guys you and I are angry at taking their guns and shooting such a beautiful thing only to have the head mounted on the wall. Just like most of them put a notch in their belt as they brutality push their views, their bodies, their one sided old boys positions on all of us. How they proclaim that we are the problem (we being any man or woman who is not part of their group). Sorry- I am angry! I see this as a Minnesota, an American and an international living now outside the country. It is sad the image that now shadows our country in the international community. Sickens me as a veteran!
    Scares me as a member of the human race.
    Thank you for sharing your feelings in this blog and thank you for allowing me to comment. It is this sort of freedom and voice they are trying take from us.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is not always easy to remain compassionate in these times. Darn hard in fact. Just happy that so many of the Minnesota bloggers I subscribed to also have strong feelings about the current situation and are not afraid to write about it. I would feel pretty lonely and frustrated with my views if I hadn’t found this wonderful group of writers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this powerful and thoughtful piece, for attempting to shift us away from anger. When I listened to President Trump’s most recent mocking attacks on Christine Blasey Ford, I felt sick, just sick. Here’s the leader of our country acting, once again, like a big mean bully. All decency has vanished, not that it was ever part of his person.

    Today I will choose to see that beautiful deer in your backyard…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very happy to share this gorgeous creature with you today. And I appreciate your comments so much, Audrey. We need to keep on making the world a better place, need to continue to stand up to bullies no matter who they are.


  3. Beautifully put, and I mostly agree. I detest that culture and its power. I was never part of it and was never asked to join. I just wish that people would ask what makes one of “them” think they can act in ways that the vast majority of other men deplore?


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