Writing in a Time of Peril: June 12, 2020

The US CDC reported 1.84 million total cases (14,676 new) and 107,029 deaths (827 new) – From Johns Hopkins daily update.

The US CDC reported 1.99 million total cases (20,486 new) and 112,967 deaths (834 new). The United States will likely surpass 2 million cases in today’s update – From Johns Hopkins daily update.

When Will the Crepe Myrtle Tree Bloom?

I am waiting for the crepe myrtle tree outside my window to bloom. It leafed later than the ornamental pear and maple trees. The clustered buds at the end of the slender limb are dry looking and rust-colored. I am worried that a deep pink frilly blossom will not emerge. The sweet peas, crocus, tulips, and azaleas have bloomed in their finest glory and burned out in the heat. Roses, geraniums, bougainvillea, and night-blooming jasmine are flowering and thriving, but not the crepe myrtle.  I have been looking forward to its coloring and constant flowering in the summer heat. I’m afraid it will not bloom.

The mourning doves begin to coo at precisely six-thirty in the morning. They perch on my shaded garage roof. After singing, they flirt and dance and flutter from branch to branch until they mate. I worry that the crepe myrtle tree is waiting for their courtship to be over, that maybe its blossoms might compete with their passion. But I hope that their singing and fluttering and mating will coax out the timid blooms. 

I am not hopeful, no matter how many people of color and white and people protest, run from pepper spray police advancing with weapons of war, and then return again to protest with their signs, singing, dancing, praying, teaching, learning, speaking up and out.

I am not hopeful even though politicians, police departments, media, clergy, former military generals, and high-level Pentagon officials support protestors and condemn the current administration.

I am not hopeful no matter how many photographs of our dead children, women, and men are named and shown and grieved again and again. Emmett Till, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carol Robertson, Denise Mc Nair, Travon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd.

All those before. All those between. All those coming.

I am not hopeful no matter how few Republicans whisper their tiny apologies.

I am not hopeful no matter what Nike, McDonald’s, Netflix, Amazon, Uber Eats, U Tube, and–and–and donate to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP Defense Fund, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and put out statements of support and new ads.

I am not hopeful when the U.S. Attorney General, the FBI, the DHS, the DEA, the Bureau of Prisons, the Pentagon, the Republican-led Senate, and the rest of the federal government are functioning in swamps of incompetence, corruption, silence, white profiteering, white dominance, and white nationalism.

I am not hopeful when voting access is closed, downsized, defunded, or blocked by dysfunctional voting machines, and it takes U. S. citizens six to eight hours to vote in the sweltering heat in Atlanta during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I am not hopeful when a global pandemic is being incompetently and ineffectually managed while people of color are dying in punishingly disproportionate numbers compared to white people.

I am not hopeful that the killing of black and brown people and their allies will stop.

I am not hopeful when the head of our state dog whistles –law and order–very fine people–when the looting starts the shooting starts–don’t be so nice. 

He is calling to arms and to harm the Alt Right, Holocaust Denyers, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalists. I believed Dylann Roof, who murdered nine members of a prayer circle, and announced he was hoping to spark a race war. I believe that’s this is the plan, before, during and after national elections, win or lose. 

I am not hopeful when hundreds of thousands are making the decision to risk the death from Covid–19 rather than continue to die from police brutality, poverty, mis-education, preventable illnesses, toxic living and work conditions, fear death walking, jogging or driving or riding or birding, or grilling or sleeping in your bed.  

But I am hopeful that the doves will sing and flirt and mate and coax the myrtle tree into bloom.

*

I receive the Covid–19 case and death count from Johns Hopkins each morning. I play the music that allows me to sink down into grief and lifts me again. I curious. What ethnic, cultural, and generational rituals and music allows anger, fear, and sadness, along with, promise’s ambitions, and joy’s wells of tears, to tell the victory stories of our beloved departed, and celebrates the precious lives of those of us left behind?

I surround myself with the music of Donny Hathaway, Angela Boefil and Sweet Honey in the Rock

Spotify Play List: 

I go down my to-do list of self-care: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home–except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear, grief, and rage into expression, action, and art.

I continue to chronicle these times.

A

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