I’ve been in a slump for the past couple of months – what feels like political fatigue. Tears have taken up residence at the back of my eyes – clouding my vision with the slightest provocation. I am fatigued from the constant barrage of news stories of suffering caused by increased hate and divisiveness, from political policies aimed at self-preservation more than preserving and strengthening the common good. I am fatigued by those people who have put aside their integrity and common sense to follow false promises and lies for a better life when it is really about giving more to those who already have too much power and wealth. I am fatigued by having so much I want to say but not enough energy to put it into words – I am physically fatigued by my mental fatigue.
My last photography outing with friend Julie before JB and I left Michigan in the middle of October was to the Hidden Lake Gardens in the Irish Hills of southeast Michigan. This is a garden that is cultivated and maintained by Michigan State University to preserve the natural wooded ecology of southern Michigan. As we began our drive down the single lane past the small lake and into the woods I could feel nature soothing to my battered psyche.
We stopped frequently, even if there wasn’t a pull-off, and we lingered. My plan was to document all that is fall in Michigan to take with me to Florida where about the only changes in season is rainfall, temperature and humidity. On this last outing in Michigan I took many photos of fall but what pulled at me were branches. It was a perfect day in the season of early fall color to capture the grace of branches of fall color that stand out against the fading green of summer.
I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want to breath because each breath would mean I was closer to leaving this haven. I caught glimpses of the promise of a brighter and more gracious future even though so much of the world currently feels like a web of darkness, with greed, lying, disregard of truth, and ethno-centricity being accepted as being normal.
It was during this outing that I started to realize that I needed to focus on all that is good, all that is beautiful in order to balance my need to be aware of what is going wrong. I need to surround myself with friends with integrity and who care about others as much as they care about themselves. I need to nurture my soul and maintain my mooring through my faith in my God who I know is full of truth, love and mercy and expects the same from me.
And I realized that I need to work harder at sending out branches of gentle love, truth and caring so I can be a part of the solution and not the problem. I need to remain engaged but not let the boogiemen in the forest pull me down and fill me with hate.
Ailsa posted the Travel Theme: Branches and it fit nicely with these photos and stimulated my thinking about how the branches impacted my life. Thanks, Ailsa.