May 9,2001

home

It's been a long time. I guess I haven't felt philosopical lately. Spring is creeping into Asheville, leaving its signature in pollen all over the car and in dandelions that threaten to take over the lawn. Incredible, I am griping in suburban-ese. Sheesh. I never thought I'd see the day. I'm still not enough of a grownup to clean the house on a regular schedule though. I'd rather lay in the sun and read.

It's been a strange few weeks. People from my past, distant and not so distant, are back in my life, causing me to go through shoeboxes full of memories and emotions, playing the what if game, brooding in contemplative silence for hours at a time. I've been spending too much time in bed. I've been having horrible nightmares. I've been revisiting ghosts I thought were dead and gone.I've been blindsided by anger and regret. I've been shocked by how many details I had forgotten, how completely experiences come back to me now, accosting all my senses. I think periodically I go through this, remembering, purging, comparing, measuring. I look at me then, and me now. At my friendships then and how they have evolved. I remember. I cry, and read letters and call people. I resolve to get back there, where I was reckless with my emotion, passioate about everything. And then it comes to me: I grew up, not cold. I have a family now, I take care of her above all else. Sometimes that means being less than passionate about my job. Sometimes that involves being cautious emotionally. Even on occasion I must do things I don't want to do. Bite my tongue when I want to say my piece. Walk away when my instinct is to fight. With age I've acquired tact, and the ability to compromise. It feels good.I walked to work today looking straight up into the fog, smiling and listening to my favorite song.

Something I'm struggling with today, this week, is how to reconcile my personal, familial existence and how good it is right now, with the general state of horrible disrepair the country is in. I don't know where to start, but I know finally that I have to do something. I have always believed in the silent, personal protest, a general rejection of authority when you can get away with it...I boycott, I don't eat meat,I walk. But I am finding that's not enough. I can't just sit by and watch capitalism take over the world, can't just silently grieve for the unarmed man (and the many more like him all over the country) shot by a police officer last month. We have to do something about this system. It must be torn down and rebuilt, it is corrupt all the way to the foundations. It can't be saved. For 200 years our system has been proving itself faulty, and the gap between rich and "middle class" widens more each day. I have said that I hate money, and the nasty behavior it brings out in people. I do. I have said that I want out. That the answer is to withdraw, to create a new community, a new system. Well withdrawing won't work for me anymore. Even if the governement were to allow it, which is doubtful, I couldn't sit by and watch the world go to hell. Even if it's just 100 people, even if no one listens...we have to,I have to, have a voice in this. I have to know I did everything in my power to make a change. It will never be enough, I will never cover all the bases-but I can do something. I can walk to work. I can not eat animals. I can teach my daughter to stand up for herself, to respect her earth, to make her voice heard. I can make a positive impact. I can encourage the people around me to do the same. At the very least, I can do those things. And then I can sleep at night.