Yesterday, as I left home, I snapped this:
Have a great day, she said. Don’t take all of this for granted.
Margaret Atwood might not be thrilled to know that in that instant I named this cow after her. Click To Tweet But it’s an honor, truly. I heard Atwood in an interview, speaking about The Handmaid’s Tale, in which she lamented the fact that women my generation and younger have no clue what women her generation and older went through, what they fought for so that we could live as we do today. They take their rights and privileges for granted, said she, because for them those rights and privileges have always been there. But what they must realize is that those things aren’t static. They can go away. We have to be vigilant to protect our freedoms for new generations.
Atwood’s right, of course (when is she not?). In one of my classes we’re reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and this same idea came up in a student’s presentation. She contrasted Iran in 1970 with Iran today using pictures that were kind of harrowing.
Images like this:
How does a society move this far backward? I hope America doesn’t ever personally find out.
But that’s me looking through the macroscope. The cow was speaking through the microscope.
Every day I leave the Triple F Ranch to enter the world of academia. In academia I spend a lot of energy in conversations about language, perception, and communication. I do a lot of critical thinking. In between classes I take forays into my writing life where I think about poverty, and justice, and hope and Jesus (and coffee and kids and fiction and memoir and Guideposts devotions). And sometimes I come home with a headache.
Yesterday was one of those days.
But when I pulled into my driveway, after topping the first hill, I saw this:
And I just felt so grateful.
Someone–some ones–went before me, carving out a space. My parents worked themselves through college–my dad the first in his family and my mother the second in hers–and then labored as educators in Arkansas, to have this place. To provide it–this place where I can come home, and be safe, and run, and laugh and love with my family, and re-gather my courage.
Gwendolyn Brooks says first fight, then fiddle. Civilize a space wherein to play your violin with grace.
I’m so thankful for those who fought for me to have this space.
I won’t take it for granted.
I’ll devote the bow to silks and honey and my students, and most of all to Stella, Adelaide, Harper, and Grace.
And I’ll keep fighting till everyone else has a civilized space.