The unhinged politics of the day, the messy presidential campaign, the total ruin of Congress, has created a lot anger, recrimination, insults and division in the country. We see it every day on Facebook and Twitter. The comments to one another have gotten more intense, more contentious. As novelist Michael Cunningham once said, “You get tired, sometimes, of wit and intellect; everybody’s little display of genius.”
I’m guilty of that myself. And I don’t like it when I find myself feeling defensive, trying to convince others of viewpoints I hold, or attempting to counter theirs.
The political atmosphere in the nation has made us smaller, less. It has reduced us to quarrelsomeness and discord. My friends are courteous in their disagreements with me. And I honestly try to be the same with them. But I do see now and then on other posts some really nasty stuff, horrible ugly comments that are sneering and demeaning.
This past Father’s Day weekend was a nice and needed respite from all of that. I was in the country where nature lives in all of her grandeur, where I could hear birds singing and watch the deer feed behind the house, where the cattle silently grazed and baby calves looked bright eyed at me and then scampered off to momma. No screeching horns blaring or some deranged motorist shooting me the finger on the freeway because I was going 75 and not 90.
I found wonderful enriching companionship with my son Luke and Tere, but I also got to spend time with the dogs and the cats. Luke’s dogs Maggie and Gus are honestly two of the sweetest animals alive. When I sit they sit beside me or jump up in my lap. They want to be near me. And when I pet them they melt and murmur as if my touch conveys a love we both long for and cherish. The cats, Oreo and Yellow Cat, always so shy with me decided this time to interact. They let me scratch their necks and rub their faces and they curled around my legs like blankets of warmth.
Sometimes I don’t really need people. I need animals. I need trees and flowers and sunshine. I need rainstorms and frosty nights. I need the ocean. I need water and surf. I need cloudless skies and white sand. I need a night of shimmering stars. Alone with these magnificent influences I find peace and something greater than myself, something divine and sacred, something ultimate and but immeasurable. Call it God or a Higher Power or the Universe or The Light or whatever. I just know it reaches the deepest places in me and calms my fidgety wandering soul. It helps me see the sheer beauty of this world and of being alive.
I’m back now in the urban swirl, maneuvering my way through the demands of city life, of work and routine, of traffic lights and skyscrapers and yes the blaring noise of the news and its obscene stories of violence and greed and dysfunction.
But my country moments remain with me. The love of my son Luke, and the laughter I shared with him and his girlfriend Tere, the delicious food we ate that tasted so amazing, the stories we told, the swimming and the late night chats by the firepit—that all dwells within. And, against all odds and expectations, all darkness and despair, all the acrimony and harshness that life can sometimes be, yet the closeness of family, the glory of nature, and the mystery of Love’s presence around and within give balance and unity. For a brief time, which is all any of us get whenever we can, my heart is light and all is well.
© 2016 Timothy Moody