This past year was difficult for many. Though I personally had a pretty good year, there was lots of distressing news that affected my friends and family. There were events too that were upsetting for a larger sense of humanity, worldwide and here in the US. The fallout of the presidential election and what it has exposed in the US will be be a continuous struggle in the coming year. If you have been in the fight for social justice, you have seen this coming. If this is all new to you, there is much we can do.
This past year was also a year of change and growth and love and community. For today I offer this--my top ten moments of 2016. Because in knowing there was loss there was also wonder. Neither cancels the other.
1. Moving Back to New Orleans
Driving to Andy's sister's house to pick up the keys, we rolled down the windows to hear the cicadas. At our new apartment, three of our friends--John G., Misha and Emily helped unload the truck in the late summer heat. It was the best welcome back I could hope for. Even if I immediately got sick in the following days.
2. My first trip to Yosemite
As we decided to leave Oakland, we planned our last few weeks there, doing the things we had wanted to. So, the day after our moving away party, we woke up early and drove to Yosemite. Brooke didn't even know what to expect so the moments we stood in the park, in the valley surrounded by giant rocks, away from the crowds, unable, any of us, to do more than look and breathe, was better than any postcard could have warned us.
3. Creative protest
Seeing photos of friends at the Trump Rally in Louisiana, dressed to look like supporters but then acting as a barrier between black anti-Trump activists and security, was the most inspirational small gesture I had seen. As we get older, I am grateful for the friends who are still fighting in all the ways we know how--this time using the advantage of blending in to aid others who can't.
4. River Swimming
Another adventure before we left California, Andy and I drove with Amy and Matt to a quiet river spot near Sacrmento. The water was cold but I decided river swimming is my new favorite--floating on my back, sounds muffled, bright sky, plus friends and sandwhiches and few others.
5. Loretta Lynch responding to NC "bathroom" law
"We see you. We stand with you. We will do everything we can to protect you."
I don't put too much faith into the words of government officials, but having the Attorney General speak directly to the trans community was encouraging.
6. Finding strength I didn't know I had
My body and I are still navigating our relationship. In an inversions workshop last spring, I discovered that the frequent plank poses have made it possible for me to lift my legs over my head while inverted. Not frequently, but I know I can.
7. Being Surprised by a Giraffe
The day after Christmas a friend offered us free passes to the zoo. I have mixed feelings about the zoo, and I usually find them too sad. But after both Andy and I were startled by this amazing animal walking towards us I was grateful for the constant reminder to be amazed at what nature has created.
When The Southern Letterpress sent an email to a bunch of letterpress printers a few days after the election asking us to use the tools we had to protest, it was exatly what I needed. Yes, the first draft of this was "FUCK YOU RACIST AMERICA happy holidays" but printing this with others in the shop at Bakerville and exchanging prints with Blackbird Letterpress and FItzgerald Letterpress, I am reminded of the best part of letterpress printing--making lots of something and sharing it.
9. Rejoining Blackbird Letterpress
Still the best job I've ever had. Generous, supportive, interesting and engaged co-workers and a friend for a boss. I am grateful to work for myself most days, but my 2 days a week in Baton Rouge are inspiring.
Have I ever told you how grumpy I am? This guy probably hasn't. He also stood on the top of a dangerously windy hill to watch a sunset through the clouds, packed and unpacked a moving truck full of stuff that was mostly mine, made 100 cups of tea, gone for many walks in the middle of the day, and listened to the catchy song stuck in my head a whole lotta times. All this year. Never mind that he long ago accepted that I don't sit down much and I have a lot of ideas in the morning. If he didn't keep cooking vegetables twice a day, I would subside on ice cream and good intentions. Thanks, Andy.