Tag Archives: Trump anxiety

The Robin’s Feast

Robins on the Back Hill,
February, 2017

I witnessed a flock of Robins foraging in the leaf litter on my back hill today. I’d been wondering about robins since yesterday, how it was the brown/orange female robin flitting around in my front garden looked so well fed.

Peter Guren, the creator of the comic strip, Ask Shagg, answered my question, in part. In response to a reader’s inquiry about why robins don’t eat from a bird feeder during winter, he replied, “ Robins that don’t migrate will hang around and eat fruit in the winter.” That made sense; a few red berries, blue berries, still tethered to my holly and juniper shrubs, though a little spongy, lay in wait.

I write this post at my kitchen table with a sweeping view of the back hill. The out door thermometer reads 58 degrees, a February thaw. I cannot say what drew my attention up the back hill, beyond the erosion/planter inserts filled with green pachysandra, to the bank of exposed leaves. The leaves were moving—flitting, fleeting, fluttering, leaping, turning. It was as if I were witnessing a live video on camera. But what was propelling all that action?

I stood at the patio door to focus up the thirty yards where the scene was playing out. It took a sustained and conscious effort to zoom onto what seemed surreal, my imagination at play, when I caught sight of the red/orange breast of one, two, three, ten, twenty or more robins in a feeding frenzy. The sight of so many in the common search for food, their coordinated dance, the sense of their innate radar— food for nourishment beneath the melting of new snow, the moist leaves abundant with earthworms, beetles, spiders, and more.

My anxious gut fluttered with gratitude, a release of pleasure, uncoiling with delight, this 30th day of Trump’s presidency,  The robins had not flown south; they had stayed close to home, this homestead surrounded by oaks and American Beeches, the branched lily tree in the front garden which nests 3 to 4 chicks each spring.

Since President Trump’s 77-minute press conference, his rant of free association, my mind craved grounding, a way to sort and sift what I had heard, a way to make sense of what made no sense. The birds offered a lesson.

I am grateful to be reminded of what lies beneath the surface, to refocus, to shift attention from the chaos of breaking news to the quiet rhythms of nature, music, reading, reflective writing, and once again, list making. My friend, Rosemary, offered an interesting response to my last post. “I think of lists as containment, ways to hold in place (if briefly) what can otherwise roam wild in our minds.”

The flurry on this hill—at first sight—seemed wild, out of control. Brown, matted down, leaves were being propelled by an invisible force. Orange/red rounded bursts, grey wing- shaped pulsations, caused me to pause and focus more intently until the full sweep of what was occurring came into view. I am grateful for the lesson.

Patchwork Resistance: Mindfulness in Action

Grounded
Photo by Marv

I was literally spinning last week— an acute bout of vertigo. It happened, out of the blue, as I began my usual routine of stretches in bed. No sooner did my head hit the mattress when the walls began to spin. I sat up, too suddenly, setting off a rocket reeling spin and acute anxiety.

Like the fallout from Trump‘s presidency, this inflammation had been building. Mid-winter sinus pressure was not new. I hadn’t paid enough attention. The weight of my head was real and slowed me down. Twenty-four hour mindfulness (without exaggeration, even in bed, to avoid sudden motion) was necessary to hold off the spinning sensation.

I was grateful to move from bed to steam pot to my computer. I was grateful for Marvin’s presence to assure my safety.

I researched and began alternative anti-viral remedies. When I saw my doctor, she approved, and raised my blood pressure medication a tad. Thankfully, she is cautious and resonated with my self-diagnosis: “Trump anxiety.”

For weeks, I’d been sad. My clogged sinuses made sense. Not once had I cried.

Over breakfast, January 30th, I was served a plateful of gratitude . On the Boston Globe’s front page, the lead story —“A Stroke of the Pen, then 34 Tense Hours in Boston.” Journalists Ramos and Ryan told the story of a “patchwork resistance “in which two women, Susan Church and Heather Yountz, friends and lawyers, demonstrated how mindful attention and a willingness to step up can make a remarkable difference.

Both women are mothers: Saturday meant sports for Church and for Yountz, taking her son to an immigration rally on the Common. Given Trump’s order to limit immigration from seven Muslim-minority countries, “They knew they had to come up with a plan.” By mid-morning, the order was being enforced, and a citizen from one of the affected countries was put on a flight back to Europe.

These women worked together to carry their immigrant legal training forward. They acted—went to the airport and posted flyers in search of a person being detained. By 6:00 p.m., an Air France flight having just arrived,” they realized this might be their last chance to find someone.” In minutes, they overheard a woman, also waiting, speak of a case-by-case vetting procedure and recognized that these very people might be waiting for a loved one to be released.

They engaged a plaintiff, connected with ACLU lawyers, wrote the complaint, phoned a judge, coordinated a complaint suing President Trump, divvied up the pleadings, offered the case in court and waited. At 1:00 the  morning. of January 31st, four lawyers, three women and a man, won a temporary stay.

As I write this, I am grateful to feel less sad. Clear in head, I am steady on my feet and grateful that “patchwork resistance” in the hands of civic-minded citizens is making a difference. Case in point: though the seven-day Boston stay was not continued, later on the last day, a Seattle judge ruled to halt immigration across the entire country!