I dream I stand on a vast stretch of deserted beach, shoreline stretching off to my right and left, the horizon flat and sharp. An empty pier reaches out over the water. All is quiet. All is still.
An inflated beach ball rests (waits) 30 or so feet in front of me, ready to be tossed, kicked, chased, bounced, rolled.
Freedom and play.
A great, big expanse of nothingness into which I am released-- unstructured, unplanned, all choice. Freedom and breathing room.
The ball has six panels--two white, two red and two blue. I kick it... it makes that familiar, plastic, echoing "thunk." I toss it into the water-- it bobs, turns, floats and comes back to me on slow, low waves. I throw it straight up... it comes back to me. I bounce it off the large boulders at the based of the pier... it comes back to me. I force it underwater... it pops back up to me.
Freedom = always returning.
I roll it away into the breeze... it blows back to me.
The beach, the ball, the experimenting-- all of this recalls childhood innocence, the free flow of play in a place I loved, the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Here I endlessly discovered both myself and the world.
I long for this freedom, the place of simplicity (free of complexity) the place of innocence (free of the knowledge of darkness).
The expansive emptiness of water, sand, sky, wooded dunes-- great possibility, great mystery.
Freedom: the return to simplicity and innocence, even for a brief period, a temporary return so that I return to" life" remembering that the beach and the ball are still real, still available, still true.
Tuesday was my election day. My ballot arrived, and I eagerly tore into it and voted (all four pages of it!), then mailed it off.
Yea! Election season is over, the season of endlessly repeated, intentionally misleading political ads, the season of culturally sanctioned rudeness, deception, name-calling and general immaturity, the season of divisiveness and sadness, disrespect and ill-temper.
I immediately emailed our local news outlets and political campaign offices across the country and let them know they could stop running their ads, sending their flyers, programming their robo-calls, and go home and do something useful, like bake cookies with their kids or play fetch with their dogs, or thoughtfully review their behavior.
I anticipated gratitude.
But no. The bombardment continues.
Why?!? Do you not understand: the vote is in; the deed is done; it's over. I voted, for God's sake-- yes, I voted, for God's sake.
What? Others have yet to vote? Oh, I see. Of course.
I guess I was having a "political-candidate moment," you know, where I slip into the delusion that I'm the only one that matters, the only one whose voice deserves to be heard...
Bend they must-- bend or die-- beneath an unexpected and unreasonable burden of fall snow.
We are all caught off guard.
The pines know snow, deal with it winter long, are experts at yielding, bow to its capriciousness, slough snow off long needles.
But the deciduous trees are unprepared, still preening, showing off, their grand canopies of green now a liability. They shiver beneath this surprise attack, snow and ice in a colorful mid-October. Refusing to bend, they crack, bleed, fall.