Notes on the Regime
It is Saturday August 1st. This afternoon my house was briefly emptied of children, though certainly not the attendant responsbilities that trail after them like spilled pollen. They are forever present, seeding themselves to the world.
I sat on my zafu, and lifted my spine, like a dagger. There is never emptiness. There is never quiet. But there is patience. It is patience I hone, an amateur sculptor of Time.
There is no longer a day, in the United States, in which a crisis does not occur. The fall came so quickly most of us long ago lost the battle to keep up, both with the information hurled constantly toward us like so many missiles as well as with our own, private absorption of a reality that is utterly surreal.
As the damage widens, our vocabulary shrinks. How interesting this is, that the more unusual our shared world becomes, the more repetitive the words are we use to describe that world. We must find familiarity somewhere, and what is more familiar than a language already known?
Fascist. Pandemic. The Libs. MAGA. Deep State. Covid. Coronavirus. Hoax. Vaccine. Mask. Numbers (ever rising). Hope (ever dying). Trump. PPE. Tests. Fauci. Failure. Spike. Spread. ICU. Spread. China. Spread. Fox News. Trump tweet. Black Lives Matter. Racism. Anti-racism. Racist. Racist-in-Chief. Protest. Protest. Protest. Schools. First Responders. Election.
That list, so short and yet so thoroughly encompassing of life in the U.S., has become our shared dialogue. We laugh at trump on Twitter, for a moment feel less alone with the mess of our minds, but we have allowed him to narrow everything in our culture, including communication itself.
While sitting today my thoughts circled around these words like a vulture. Like all of us, I sense the limitation of not only my intellect to contextualize the events of this world, but also – and more terrifyingly – a paucity of emotional depth to meet, absorb, and accept the catastrophe that is now our daily life.
After some time, a sensation slowly rose from the ancient base of my brain to fully bloomed consciousness.
Perhaps our language is limited right now because it is not language we need.
We need, at this moment more than ever, spaciousness. And a sense of space, in this country, right now, is a kind of grace. We must not keep it for ourselves, but offer it to others, freely and in whatever capacity we can.
There is a tightening claustrophobia in this country, brought on by fear, rage, and a sense that each day spins violently and increasingly away from normalcy, even basic decency, all the time. I do wonder what our world would feel like if we stepped back, not in retreat from our values, but from the futile need to hold on to comfort, to nostalgia, to control itself.