You are This Universe and This Universe is You

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.

-Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate, Remember

I discovered Joy Harjo this week following the announcement of her naming as U.S. Poet Laureate, and I was torn between the poem quoted above and this one, Perhaps the World Ends Herewhich has been speaking to me, too. I’ve been having a rough time of things, a little bit. I’m doing this new work, which for the most part I really love but which sometimes comes with a lot of rejection and failure that is difficult to slog through even when the rejection isn’t of me. It’s not even meaningful rejection, just a lot of “sorry, this isn’t quite right, hope you keep trying!” After ten years of freelancing and writing and just generally pitching to mixed success, you'd think I'd be used to it, but every once in a while it still gets to me. It's hard, being rejected, even when you know better than to take it personally.

Alongside that issue, I’m really, really struggling with not feeling hopeless about the state of the world at large. It feels impossible that we’ll be able to survive this when the very idea that there’s anything to survive is so deeply politicized. I feel guilty for what things will look like when Ro is coming of age and completely powerless to prepare her for something so unknown. I feel like we’ve cruised right on past the point of no return and the only sign was hand-lettered on a scrap of paper taped to a stick. I know, logically, that some of these feelings are out of proportion, but it doesn’t feel like I have enough information, or like I can even access enough information, to begin to determine how much of it is reasonable and how much isn’t. How do you know how afraid to be about an uncertain future? How do we prepare?

And of course, I wrote just a few weeks ago about how I usually manage to approach that question with hope, but again, it's one of those things that sometimes manages to work its way under my skin and past my stronger defenses. Once it hits a tender place, whoosh, I'm all swept up in it. More often than not, a decent sleep and some time away from the internet helps me get reoriented, but it's still been tough. 

I don't have any brilliant insight today. I took Ro exploring in the woods down the street, where we found flowers and ducklings and a lovely little burbling creek. I showed her how to take pictures of flowers and we only managed to turn around and come home without a tantrum because I picked her up and spun around until she didn't know which way we were going anymore, like we were getting ready to take a turn at a birthday piñata. Which is, I suppose, appropriate, because it's the summer solstice, and she's a year and a half old today. 

We'll find a way through, and in the meantime all we can really do is find the best ways we can to live in the fact that there's not yet a map of what the way through will look like.

When You Get a Group of Heartbeats Together

Not in the Memory, but the Expectation