Late Autumn Wonderings

Late_Autumn_LakeAfter days of cloud (it is November), there are patches of blue sky, marking a perfect contrast to the burnt orange oaks and maples still holding their leaves. The ever-present November wind shakes the trees, stops, then returns. The freeze a couple of nights ago killed the front garden, yet the back garden, mostly prepared for bed, continues to provide veggies.

We’ve been keeping an anxious eye on goings on at Standing Rock and in the general election. The “mainstream” electronic media, PBS November_Fieldbeing the exception, has largely ignored Standing Rock; when they do mention it, they tell the story from the pipeline company’s and police perspective, ignoring Native history, values, and aspirations. Their coverage of the general election has been equally insipid, as they refuse to demand the candidates address the central issues we collectively face. They also, largely ignore the growing racism and violence from the political right. Being a household with Jewish, Welsh, Scottish, and Native ancestry, we find the threats, racist remarks, acts of desecration and violence, and mocking of disability deeply troubling.

Late_Autumn_RiverWatching the violence against Native people at Standing Rock on Twitter and Facebook is simply too evocative. I remember all too well watching the televised police attacks on civil rights workers in the south during the early Sixties. November 9, next Wednesday, is the anniversary of Kristallnacht or The Night of Broken Glass, the event that effectively began the Holocaust. Then there are my family’s repeated warnings Fall_Roadthat all governments are racist and dangerous for Native people. “Better to be invisible.” It is all too familiar, and we wonder where it will lead. 

As the beauty of autumn fades into winter, I wish for you and your loved ones safety, ease, and peace in these difficult times. Last_Leaves

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35 thoughts on “Late Autumn Wonderings

    • Hi Andy, the problem has really been with the mainstream electronic media. The absence of coverage on the major networks has been astounding. We get better coverage from Canada and from the BBC. The New York Times has done better than the tv networks for sure.

  1. Beautiful photos, Michael! I don’t have a TV myself, so I guess I’m out of touch with what “mainstream media” is doing. I do know that my 16 FB friends are all over the issue and very much in solidarity with the People.

  2. Wonderful photos! It looks like you have wonderful colours. Nice to hear you still have some vegetables in the garden. I fear things will not end well at Standing Rock. The trick to a truly deceitful government is to distract people, even make them think they are getting a deal, while stealing them blind. This is a tactic used for years by white governments and now employed more and more by many aboriginal governments. More proof we are more alike than we want to admit. Take care. Bob

  3. The mention of Nov 9 as the anniversary of Kristallnacht brought shivers – that will be the day after the election. My heart is so heavy, especially as I am working on a trauma education curriculum that seeks to incorporate structural and systemic violence responsible for so much individual suffering in the world. We are in the midst of it all…..
    I do hope that the prophesy will be fulfilled, that the black snake will be killed and the true rainbow nation will emerge from the victory.

    • I hope so too. My clients, my therapist, and I are all heavy of heart, and sometimes scared. Jennie and i presented at a conference in NYC this week. Anger and fear, grief and puzzlement seemed to fill the hall.

  4. The reality we are facing with this election and watching Standing Rock Protectors seems to be the nastiest “wake up call” the entire world needed. History repeats until we get it right. We can be better and do better. This post you write is crucial for others to read and understand, Michael.

  5. It is nice to see your beautiful colorful autumn, Michael. Even better, that you still have vegetables in your garden.
    I do really hope for a positive result with Standing Rock. Many talk about this, but I haven’t heard anything about same from the politicians in US. They are scared to talk about this, because right this topic can change their chance in the election.
    They need to tell, who they wish to support, so people car vote fairly.
    Wish you a peaceful weekend.

  6. I do wish I could find peace, Michael. But maybe feeling peace when the world is so brutal and nasty amounts to sacrilege and profanity. I dislike what I think about friends who support Trump even though I have always been able to work with and be friends with people who have political beliefs I don’t agree with. But, I have never seen a political candidate who demonstrates such toxic and immoral behavior and is so devoid of basic knowledge of world affairs: a candidate who threatens my values of justice and respect and whose world view so diametrically opposes how I interpret the U.S. Constitution. I feel a need to speak out but I fear unleashing the rage within me. I tell myself to disavow television and internet but too many people in the past looked the other way instead of confronting what was evil and unjust. Too many people today are woefully uninformed because they don’t know how to filter facts from propaganda – and refuse to listen to what they don’t want to hear, refuse to listen when facts contradict their beliefs. But I accept your gift of peace, Michael. I will continue to deal with the world by finding periods of peace while praying for a way to speak so maybe others will hear and respond when I need to confront wrong-doing. I might even use this comment as a foundation for a post.

    • Pat, These are difficult times, indeed. W went to NYC the morning after the elections. What a marvelous place to spend my birthday. We also presented at a conference. Lots of art and food! No time to check blogs. Stuck several times in cabs due to protests. I, too, am wondering jow to speak, and whether enough people will speak up. Be safe.

      • I have decided that I have to speak – but I will do it from first person. I can tell my story – how the election is affecting me, if (when) there are destructive policies how they affect me and the ones I love. My daughter asked me to go to the Million Women March in Washington with her, but I know I can’t because of my physical limitations. I missed the desegregation marches of the late 60’s because I had small children and not enough money. I have to use what I do have, my brain, and what I can do, write, to speak out.
        Happy Birthday, Michael. I guess you were a part of the marches. 🙂
        I hope you will find a voice that is right for you – because the only way enough people will speak up is if we each do.
        I was touched when you wrote “Be safe.” That seems to be the theme of my experience right now. I, too, wish you and your very diverse family safety.

      • Pat, I was too young for the civil rights marches but was active against Vietnam. I have no clue how to address the present quagmire. I seem to do OK making space for people to share their anger, fear, and hope, and I don’t know how to go about having a larger conversation. I also wonder whether new voices will arise to bring some sanity to a decidedly crazy moment. Like you, I do not have the physical stamina to do all that much….. Interestingly, we just returned from NYC, where we were stuck in cabs,in traffic, several times as demonstrations took place that disrupted the flow of traffic. Somehow we figured out what was happening, and decided the wait and cost were another way to support young people. Thank goodness for lovely walks in Central Park, and for good clinicians gathered together.

      • Maybe we can’t, and shouldn’t, bring sanity to this insanity. It is what it is and we need to call it out as such. Maybe you are in a good position to tell the stories of others – and how their stories are impacting you. What are the Native spiritual beliefs about late fall and winter? How can the spirit of your elders guide you?

      • Pat, I am not sure how to answer your questions. Native America has many beliefs, although the sanctity of the Earth is pretty much a universal belief. I am thinking how I can respond to all this, but ultimately there is only so much I can do. I am not sure there is anyone out there who would listen, other than those who already do so…..

      • I had to laugh at your last sentence. I just did my first unfriend on Facebook. I had tired of his posts telling us liberals to stop being crybabies and his telling us to tell him which of Trumps policy (?) proposals scare us or to shut up. I had hoped he would listen to some reason but he couldn’t hear and has no compassion. I have come to the conclusion that we need to talk to each other so we can focus in large numbers when we need to. If we maintain a wide base of connection, someone who has some power will hear. Young people will march. If you have a Facebook account I encourage you to join Pantsuit Nation. It is a group that started before the election and has exploded in numbers. It is a place to share stories so we can support each other and feel less isolated. As you know, fear isolates us. Also, please write for me because you open my mind to new realities and give me hope and inspiration.

  7. These are, indeed, tumultuous times of transition as seasons change and many come together to stand up to brutal militarized oppressive power, Michael. Your words remind us to live in the tragic gap between a troubling reality and visions of what could be, to take time to balance our hearts by appreciating moments of peace and beauty so we can continue to breathe out hope and kindness.

  8. I’m reading this after the election result is known and still find it difficult to believe in the result. Like Brexit here in the UK it seems like a protest vote, but also like Brexit, it seems to have opened the door for some very worrying rhetoric, where it’s ‘okay’ to voice views that would have been unacceptable not so long ago.

  9. A moving post Michael. I am afraid, I was not aware of the goings on at Standing Rock! They obviously weren’t eyeball-grab-worthy enough to gain traction with our TRP obsessed mainstream media.
    The resurgence of hate and this twisted nationalism isn’t exclusive to the US. I am aghast at how many educated, seemingly sensible people, even ‘friends’, believe in our ruling party’s divisive rhetoric. Your election result is only going to embolden more bullies across the world. All we can do is hold on to hope.

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