Mute gospel

Party aftermath. #tulips #maidenhairfern

We are going to see Gran this weekend, and Kelsey and Alex are coming to meet us here for the trek to Ohio. We will be in the car more than we will be out of it, but I am trying to see this as a positive thing. When else will we have so much uninterrupted time to talk with the Grays?

“What is a farm but a mute gospel?”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”

Due to various reasons (Dylan Farrow, various other reports and anecdotes about rape, among them), I have been thinking about the rape culture that we live in. And how it is impressed on you, even as a little girl, that you are never truly safe. My default mode of thinking, even now, is to assume that all unknown men are evil (or mostly evil). And that’s how you keep yourself safe. You are always on guard, never trusting, always keeping them at arm’s length or further. Yes, it’s a sad way to live. Yes, I wish that wasn’t my mindset. But it is.

This is why, whenever I hear people say that we don’t need feminism, that the sexes are equal enough, I cannot hold my tongue (or my rage). Are we equal? Ask a man when he last felt afraid to walk to his car in a parking lot at night. Ask a man if he’s ever felt frightened to take a walk by himself. Ask a man when he was last nervous to walk on a heavily trafficked street or by a construction site or by an idling truck, waiting for a barrage of sexual obscenities to be screamed at him. Ask a man when he last had to fear sexual harassment from a boss, a coworker, an authority figure.

Yes, men experience rape, harassment, and violence, too, but I’d wager that it is not a reality that’s constantly lurking in the back of their minds — as it is for women. So tell me: If we were equal, would this be the case? Would rape kits go untested? Would victims of sexual violence be blamed for their actions? Would 1 in 5 women report having been raped in their lifetimes?

I don’t have a conclusion for this rant. I just had to put it somewhere, to file it in a long list of grievances at the state of the world.

It is not pleasant to live in fear. Ask Pyrrha; she knows.

Portrait of a lady. #germanshepherd #vscocam

My heart swells when I think about how far she has come. Come May, she’ll have been with us for two years. And what a different dog she is now! She is still afraid of many things, and she always will be, but this gentle, daily work of teaching her that she is safe and loved has been therapeutic — to both of us, I think. Even when the progress seems infinitesimal. Progress is still progress.

Prayed heartily

Some flowering bush
Some flowering bush in our old yard.

“No man has ever prayed heartily without learning something.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

My family is heading into this sadder, weightier Christmas time, but my heart is gravitating toward simple expressions of faith and comfort. I suppose this is what happens to all of us when we are so nearly confronted with grief and death. Small things resonate with me, like the verses from Psalm 4 (one of my favorites, probably because of the influence of Jennifer Knapp on my teenage self) that Guion read to me one night when I could not stop crying: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). And even silly lines from Sufjan songs: “Since it’s Christmas, let’s be glad/Even if your year’s been bad, there are presents to be had.” Hugs from friends and my boss. E-mails from people I rarely see. Lasagna with these wonderful women this week:

Left to right: Me, Audrey, Stella the terrier, Sarah, Rachel, Casey, Palmer, Kendra, and Lizzie. Photo courtesy of Lizzie.
Left to right: Me, Audrey, Stella the terrier, Sarah, Rachel, Casey, Palmer, Kendra, and Lizzie. Photo courtesy of Lizzie.

There is hope and joy. Wishing you both during this Christmas season.

If man would be alone

“But if man would be alone, let him look at the stars.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Indeed.

Hope you have peaceful weekends. Mine will be spent hovering over multiple calligraphy jobs, but I am feeling up for the challenge. Having the right equipment makes all the difference.

My momentum with Infinite Jest is slowing down a bit. I haven’t picked it up in a few days, and I feel that’s dangerous. I am currently stalled at page 666. That may also be dangerous.

To the attentive eye

chickadee
(c) Erin Boyle.

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”