|My "Haiku Garden," in Belton, Texas (2004-2007)|
|snowy earlyJanuary morning--dreaming of an herb garden here|
Gardening and writing have been my ways of dealing with troubling times, depression or emotionally-intense experiences--the writing since I was in 6th grade, when my parents gave me a five-year diary as a Christmas gift, and the gardening since I was a young adult in my twenties when Tom and I created our first shared summer gardens as students at Texas A&M University. Now I am 59-years-old, and I need the hard work and joy of gardening more than ever as we face at least four years of a Donald Trump presidency.
Every day as I read the headlines that worry me, I try to imagine the people who MUST read them with satisfaction, as they voted for Donald Trump for President of the United States--headlines such as these:
- U. S Spy Chief Defends Russia Findings that Trump Rejected
- Donald Trump takes another shot at U.S. intelligence, promoting Julian Assange's version of events
- House Republicans Revive Arcane 1876 Rule that could Allow Them to Slash Pay for Federal Workers
- Own a Home? Then You're going to Hate the Republican Tax Plan
- Donald Trump Nominates Wall Street Lawyer to Head S.E.C.
- GOP launches long-promised repeal of Obamacare with no full plan to replace it
- The hottest year in history sees the election of a new president who questions climate science
- House GOP rules change will make it easier to sell off federal lands
Who are these people, I wonder, who hate that 20+ million Americans now have access to health insurance or who think it's a good idea to turn over federal lands to states that are too often cash-strapped and therefore probably more willing to sell those lands to developers or oil and mining corporations?
I worry about friends my age who do not have employer-based health insurance, who depend upon the Affordable Care Act and the marketplace exchanges it created, for their insurance. I worry about a president who praises a foreign power and its authoritarian leader whose opponents have met with mysterious deaths or not-so-mysterious jail sentences. I worry about leaders who not only dispute but who mock and disparage hard science.
I worry about an authoritarian populist president who tweets his own outrage every day, for all the world to see, outrage which is sometimes even directed toward private individuals, and which encourages threatening behavior of some of his supporters.
But when the worry and outrage seem to overwhelm me, my well-tested methods of handling stress come to my aid: gardening, making things, and writing. I have also made my usual New Year's resolution to read more books rather than spending too much time online getting all worked up over Donald Trump's latest tweet. And I've made a recent pact with a neighbor to exercise together two or three times a week.
I worry about our country's being led by a narcissistic, revengeful, policy-ignorant authoritarian, but I plan to channel my outrage constructively. Yes, I will be resisting; I will be daily monitoring the news; I will refuse to normalize the bizarre and aberrant behavior of our new president; I will be writing letters and calling my senators and representatives to express my views. But I plan to remain sane while doing so. And gardening will certainly help me to do that!
|tentative plan for an herb garden|