These are difficult times.
The hardest I’ve ever seen.
(It is what it is.)
I’m writing on Thursday, as usual, which means yesterday was President Biden’s inauguration, marking the end of one of the darkest periods in American history.
Honestly, I’m so sick of thinking about you-know-who that I’ll try to keep his name out of this column as much as possible, going forward.
It’s like Voldemort, when almost all the wizards in the Wizarding world preferred uttering “he who shall not be named.”
We’ll try that here for now.
Because this week, this moment, should be about new beginnings.
But I’ve seen mentioned with regularity on social media in the last few days, (and I’ve been telling people for weeks now,) much of America is suffering from PTSD.
All the hate, the constantly-aroused feelings, the unexpressed sadness, the repressed rage.
The frustration at our inability to do anything, on an individual level, to stop the Covid death count from going higher.
And higher still.
We’re now past 400,000 dead here in the US, and President Biden is predicting we’ll hit half a million corpses before too long.
How do we even process numbers like that?
Mostly, I feel numb.
The fight has left me for the moment, and I know many people who feel the same.
So this afternoon, after doing seven portfolio reviews in the morning for LACP, (which means I get to share more photo portfolios with you in the future,) I found myself empty.
I tried to look at a book submission to write this review, a book I’ll definitely feature soon, but my brain couldn’t focus on the words. (It required a lot of reading.)
Instead, I utilized my trusty trick of staring at my bookshelf, asking the heavens above for some help.
Would anything jump out at me?
Anything that might make me feel better, or give me the opportunity to share some peace with you?
Because if I’ve realized anything in the last couple of weeks, it’s that a lot of people read this column, and over the years have come to care about me, and what I write here.
Two weeks ago, I admitted I hit an inflection point in my marriage, and my wife and I would figure things out, or we wouldn’t.
No more dicking around.
In the 14 days since, (including 10 seconds ago, when a text just came in from a friend in Rhode Island,) the amount of people who have called or written to offer support, and check on me, has been one of the best things that’s ever happened.
Thank you so much!
Jessie and I decided we would not let all these external stresses from a crazy world break us up, so we’re forging ahead.
Still, the drama comes at us from other places, and just today, one of the people I reviewed went ape-shit, yelling and screaming, as if it were my job to eat the shit.
Please remember, the energy we put into the world affects so many other people. If you feel bad, and dump it on others, that creates a chain reaction.
After 5 years of incessant negativity from you-know-who, amplified 1000 times via Twitter, Facebook, TV, radio, and every other form of mass communication, it only makes sense that we’d all be wounded.
Ready for President Biden, his diverse team of professionals, and that amazing young poet, Amanda Gorman, to give us some positivity juice.
That, however, is only the electric shock needed to restart our hearts.
The real healing will take a while.
So, as luck would have it, I looked at my book shelf and spotted one of my all-time favorite books; “Cultivated Landscapes,” an exhibition catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Shout out to the Met!)
It features work from a show I once saw, of a collection of Chinese landscape paintings, which is a historical genre that has always inspired me.
These ancient paintings and scrolls are some of the most peaceful, meditative, quiet, lovely, magnificent pieces of art you will see.
The calming, Buddhist juju literally jumps off the page.
As bad as I felt when I opened the book, within minutes, I felt a bit better.
Because making art helps us manage our stress, and process our emotions.
It also takes our mind off things, for a little while.
And looking at art can serve the same purpose.
So no, it’s not a photo book today. But it is a gift from me to you. (Sharing something I care about, and love.)
See you next week.