God grant me the serenity to stay true to my nature and out of the fray. Help me to avoid getting caught in the snarling hailstorms of blustering blowhards.
I’ve been avoiding a lot of news and newsfeeds lately. I’m careful what I watch, who I follow, where I click. There’s too much negativity out in the world. I prefer fresh air, like-minded friends, and diversionary television.
So I take early morning strolls, comment on babies and good books, and watch Peaky Blinders and Dateline — shows where I can revel in my violent hidden tendencies with a giant bowl of popcorn and couple glasses of wine.
My morning walks are my salvation. They center my soul and keep me from losing my shit. I focus on the glory of God’s nature, not the gall of the human variety. There’s goldenrods and Queen Anne’s lace in the empty lots, and often deer — ears and hooves high and tremulous — crossing the stretch of asphalt round the back curve. There’s even a fat butterscotch cat who thinks he’s a lion. He leans into the hillside, stalking me, then bolts out in a daring display of puff and whisker. And then there’s the birds. So many birds. Starlings, maybe, or finches and wrens, weaving good morning ribbons in the air above me, the birdsong and banter restoring poetry and peace.
Nature makes it so much easier to forget the anxiety, stress, and claustrophobia I feel inside my world. Forget the unchecked egos, bitter orange lies, animosity and entitlement I see outside my world — inside television and computer screens. Forget the politicians heaving insults like planks from their podiums at press conferences. Forget the friends sliding insults like splinters beneath their fingers on keyboards. All aiming to injure. To maim. To show they’re better than the other person.
But sticking with my nature makes it easier to handle. Easier to sidestep the bile and settle the rancor stirred up in my soul. Stay true to my nature. I was born a pacifist, a lover, a nurturer. Give me calm, give me quiet, give me family. Give me the mornings with the mist on the river and a sliver of gold on the horizon and I will wait for the sun to climb. I will search for goodness and light.
But I can defend myself if needed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. If your aim is to dismantle joy, if your aim is disrupt peace and spread poison, I will take action.
I won’t scald you like the midday sun. That’s not my nature. No, in due course, I will slice you away like the poisonous deadwood and self-serving fungus you are. You will not poison me or mine. You will simply find yourself detached — from my heart and my country.
That is my nature — my violent hidden tendencies when push comes to shove. I hack off dangerous, parasitic infections and move forward.
As I sit here on my porch, fresh from my walk, my pruning sheers in hand, a crow caws somewhere off in its own dark wood. It’s what crows do. It’s their nature and they can’t change. The sky layers itself in whisper-gray felt, harbinger of the coming storm.
Follow your nature, and I’ll follow mine. Some things — and people — must be severed and left where they fall.