The man looks tired. It’s in his face. He looks older than I know he must be. He moves with a new habit I’ve recently come to recognize: the mindless motion of a new father, keeping his child moving so they stay asleep. The baby is six weeks old. He stares off into space as he moves her. Lost. His mind doesn’t know where he is. His eyes dart around the room occasionally, and then land on the child sprawled out against his chest. He smiles.
We laugh in the rain. People are leaving, in between the weather, the wind, and the sun itself falling below the horizon. We stand there for a moment longer, watching the sunset pink fade to twilight lavenders and blues.
“If you want a picture,” you say as we walk back to the car, “you can just find one on flickr.”
I close my eyes and your typing sounds like rain.
I wake up to the birds, chirpping in their little ways from some unknowable place in the trees.
I wake up to the bird at the feeder outside my window. It’s wings flap like endlessly flipping pages in a book. Like an automatic card shuffler. It breaks apart the seeds and you can hear its beak working away. I shift to try and see it and my small motions startle it. Again, I hear its wings and a faint trace of brown or grey or red.
I wake up to the birds, crying and screeching. Are we all here? They ask. I want to raise my voice with them. I want to declare myself a member of their flock. I didn’t die in the night, I want to say, I am here.
Let’s talk about PRISM. Let’s talk about women’s rights and gay rights and trans rights, which really all come down to human rights. Let’s talk about why someone at Seattle Pride doesn’t know who Bradley Manning is and if or why that matters. Let’s talk about Perry trying to force a quorum in Texas to pass a bill that will lead to the closure of abortion clinics. Let’s talk about the Philadelphia public schools being closed down. Let’s talk about rape and debt and education and pay offs. Let’s talk about unemployment rates and health care, how doctors and insurance companies tell patients they cannot receive treatments; how doctors and insurance companies don’t know about treatments. Let’s talk about people choosing not to vaccinate their children, effectively making the statement “I believe that the chance a vaccine will cause my child to have autism or asthma is more important than the chance that my child will get sick and kill your child.” Let’s talk about plastic bags and tyvek wristbands, cork and bananas, fracking and the nutritional value in an ear of corn that you pick up from the supermarket, how our desire for sweet taste, or biological need for easy calories, has changed not just which crops we choose to grow, but the physiology and development of those crops themselves.
Let’s talk about how dinosaurs went extinct, and the passenger pigeon. Let’s compare them and define the value of extinction. Let’s talk about geological time scales. How the world moves and things move and the theoretical heat death of the universe. How rocks form and water moves. How life finds a way; how nature finds a way.
Let’s talk about the value of our individual experiences and our lives. Let’s talk about what matters to us, as species, as races, as nations, as people. Let’s look at our world and our lives and each other with thoughtfulness, care, and intention. Let’s ask ourselves what matters, why we are doing what we’re doing, and where it will lead us.