Dark Times in America

Canada, here I come.

For the second time in two months, I’m off to Canada for some rest and relaxation. I took Mike to see Victoria for the first time in mid-June.

Next week I’ll visit Edmonton, a trip planned nearly a year ago. I’m visiting my “Boomdee Bestie”, a dear, dear friend whom I met through blogging. We laugh when we’re together, and everything seems right with the world. I’m counting the days.

kelly and alys in chinatown 2014

What I planned as a vacation, a holiday away from the mundane, now feels like an escape. These are dark times in America. Current events have laid me low.

Our parents raised us to be tolerant and fair-minded, kind and sincere. My Canadian mother and British father met on a blind date in the mid-fifties in Ontario, Canada. They moved our family to California when we were still in grade school.

All these years later, I still  long for the safety of home. Home was a place where nobody cared about a second-amendment right to bear arms. The idea of owning a gun was absurd. In a 2013 survey of 80 countries by the World Values Survey, Canada ranked among the most racially tolerant societies in the world.

Conversely, the States seem mired in racism and gun violence, with little if any progress toward a cure. One of our major presidential candidates wear’s his hateful, misogynist, xenophobic opinions proudly. When he says “Let’s make America great again” it has nothing to do with tolerance. He talks of building walls along the Mexican border,  profiling Muslims, punishing women’s right to choose and a myriad of other aberrant stances that could set this country back a hundred years if he wins.

This past week, police officers shot and killed two men of color with both incidents caught on camera. A four-year-old girl sat in the back seat of the car, miraculously unharmed. The video ends with her tiny voice comforting her distraught mother. “It’s okay, mommy, I’m here.” I sat alone in my car, listening to her small voice while her mother sobbed and I wept along with her.

A day later, as I tossed and turned in bed, further gun violence unfolded. A lone gunman shot a dozen police officers standing watch over a peaceful protest rally. When the long, terrible night was over, five officers were dead, several more wounded including two civilians.

I’m weary and sick and frightened, too. There must be a better way forward.

“Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the basic personal freedoms, the alleviation of suffering, and the opportunity to lead a productive life.” – Jimmy Carter

“Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.” – Dalai Lama

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

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32 thoughts on “Dark Times in America

  1. I can only wish you a safe journey, lots of fun with your friend and some time out from all the bad news. We also get down about what is happening in the world, and being politically minded we find it almost impossible to switch off. Take care Alys! (Maybe you should think about moving back ‘home’ once the boys are out of college…. 😉 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Cathy. I’m counting the days till my trip and looking forward to it with a full heart.

      You’re right about the challenge of switching it off. I rarely watch the news on TV and limit my exposure by radio but we don’t live in a vacuum. I’m limiting my social media time as well, and taking great solace in our blogging community. Thanks for being here and for being the wonderful person that you are. It’s so good to be getting to know you. xo

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  2. This is a very dark time in our country and around the world. We feel uneasy, especially with our responsibilities for our Robert and we are layering extra supplies in our home. At a time when strong, honest, just, and inspiring leadership is needed we two candidates who fall quite short. I feel that despair too, dear Alys. I hope your visit with your dear friend brings you both joy and laughter…..just forget all this for a few days…..sadly, it will still be here when you return. Rest and refresh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arms around you, Mary Elizabeth. You carry an extra burden and you do it with so much grace. Strong, honest and inspiring leadership sounds good to me. Perhaps Justin Trudeau could adopt us. He’s certainly winning hearts and minds in Canada and beyond. He seems so measured, so reasonable and so just.

      Kelly and I will have a wonderful time together. It will be good for both of us. Meanwhile, I’m passing out assignments to the boys to keep the birdbath’s full, the plants watered and life humming along. I’m so glad to know you, ME. xo

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  3. Why do politicians feel they have to play on our fears in order to achieve victory? Why can’t they do it by demonstrating how fit they are to serve, what generous, decent, intelligent and honourable people they are, instead of absolutely the reverse…? Have a great time in Canada, come back feeling refreshed and hopeful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kate, I received the Sisterhood book over the weekend and poured over every detail. You work is even more beautiful in person. I’m inspired (and daunted too, truth be told) by the talent in that book.

      I’ve concluded that the world of politics in an ugly affair. It’s necessary somehow to get elected leaders in place, but I can’t help think their is a better way. It sure isn’t working now.

      I’m looking forward to my time in Canada. It will feel like a real break to get away.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Amen Alys. Maybe we wouldn’t have this problem if our government wasn’t bought and paid for by big corporations and lobbyists. I doubt if anything will change for the better in my lifetime which is a sad commentary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joe, it is a sad commentary, but understandably how could you think otherwise? Every time we experience yet another violent act in this country I think “yes, this is it, this will finally bring about reform” but it doesn’t. Sandy Hook. Orlando. San Bernadino. Colorado. Dallas. With the plethora of smart phones, we now have graphic documentation of the hatred, fear, violence and the painful aftermath. It makes me profoundly sad.

      There is money to be made selling guns, bullets, and other paraphernalia, and just as many individuals that think the right to own a gun trumps *everything* else.

      Further, the level of racism that permeates many police departments and the communities that support them has to stop. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people of color to go about their day worrying about every move knowing that they *are*often judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character.

      I vote. I write. I speak up. Yet I feel helpless to make it stop; helpless to make things better.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Alys, I posted about these dark times, too. I’m especially concerned about the growing division; that if you are pro-Black Lives Matter, you must be anti-cop.
    Something has got to change!
    On a lighter note, I love your photos from Victoria, especially that one of the waves (I think I shared that with you on FB).
    The visit with Boomdee will bring joy to your heart.
    Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Laurie, I loved your piece and the amazing photos that went with it. I edited my post, above, to include a link back to yours. I agree with you on the divisions in this country. It is so polarizing.

      The visit to Edmonton will be a dream. I wish we were all getting together again soon. It would do our hearts good.

      Thanks for your kind words on the photo. It’s such a beautiful place, full of history, old buildings, wonderful architecture and flowers, flowers everywhere. Your camera would get a good workout. Thanks for being here. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m wishing you a wonderful visit with lots of giggles.Loved seeing all the photos from your visit to Victoria with Mike. I could go there a thousand times. As for the darkness, I had to stop looking at it because it hurt my heart so much I thought it might stop beating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Marlene. I wish you lived close enough to join us for a day or two. I know we would all have fun.

      I’m with you on Victoria and the gardens. It’s a warm, friendly, beautiful, serene island. I hope to go back and explore outside of the city.

      You are wise to stop looking. I need to do the same. I’ve been avoiding social media as well, while at the same time grateful for our blogging community. It feels like a warm, safe place. Hugs to you. Dear I hear that you had more showers? xo

      Liked by 2 people

  7. We live about 10 miles from the Canadian border and the jokes about leaving here and going there grown more numerous all the time, and seem less like jokes. I know no place is perfect but the US seems so thoroughly imperfect right now . . . my current mantra is “let there be peace, and let it begin with me”–it isn’t enough but it’s all I have control over. Have a great time with your pal–don’t talk politics or current events!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kerry, I didn’t know you lived so close to the border. Do you get a chance to visit? I’ve not been back to Ontario since we left home, but I’ve visited the west coast of Canada several times. It’s time for me to make a trip to the east coast. Let’s have tea.

      “Thoroughly imperfect” is a great way to put it. For a country with our wealth and resources, I feel like we can expect more. We certainly need more. I’ve been hiding from social media, keeping busy with work and sewing projects, the garden and walks and life. I just can’t take the shallow commentary of something so horrific. It’s times like this that I value our blogging community even more (as if that was possible). Thanks for weighing in, for sharing your thoughts and for being your wonderful self. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s Quebec that we are close to, not Ontario (although not so far from there either!) We live a short hour south of Montreal and, yes, go there fairly often. So, see? It’ll be pretty easy to just slip across the border if need be . . . . let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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  8. But if all good people leave…..I stubbornly keep on believing and working on ‘Love and Peace” no matter that my Dutch/Canadian sons smile and call me Hippy. I am happy you get a chance for a break and how exciting to meet up your Bestie Boomdee again!! xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johanna, I don’t think we should ever give up on love and peace. And I’m smiling, too, at the thought of your two boys gently ribbing you. Every time there is another horrific episode of gun violence in this country I think “this is it, we’ll finally find some kind of gun reform.” Then it never happens. Things that seem so reasonable, are struck down before they have a second to breathe. I am discouraged and sad. And as a country built on the backs of slaves, it seems we still have far to go to eliminate racism once and for all. Thanks for stopping by. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh man, I just typed the longest message and reached for the tele remote and lost it. Let’s just Skype? Wednesday AM. My 10am your 9am?

    I think you need the exclusive Boomdee hug-a-roe and STAT. Hang in there Bestie, I’m going to squeeze the daylights out of you xoxox I was just working on your room today. Coming together nicely (snicker)….no hints though…yellow….I want you to be surprised…new drapes….and comfy……fluffy pillows….oh, that’s it for now xo ❤ BTW, up there, in the photo….we fit together perfectly ❤ Love you Alys Milner Cutie (PM me re Skype K)

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    • Thank you, Karen. It will be wonderful to get away, and even more so to see a good friend.

      I wish I knew how to take these shared sentiments and turn them into real change. We’re long overdue.

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  10. Hello Alys! I’m here (finally) because I’m next on the Traveling Sketchbook Tour. Look at the goodies I’ve been missing! I’m totally jealous of your garden/gardening. I can’t get out to prune my poor rose bush because the air quality is too toxic for my system. How I wish I had a neighbor like you to help me out! (My guys are not interested in learning what needs to be done.) I know you’re having a great time in Canada. Wish I could visit the Butchart Gardens too. We live just down the road, about halfway between the Canadian border and Seattle. I feel as intimidated as you do about doing my turn in the sketchbook but I’m still looking forward to it!

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    • Hello Sue! I’m so glad to see you here. I take comfort knowing that I’m not the only one feeling intimidated by this traveling journal.The entries are gorgeous and inspiring one and all. I’m brewing ideas now and will let them simmer a bit, so you have some time. Truth be told, I’ll be sad to send the journal on it’s way. It is a treasure to behold. It also arrived amidst our national turmoil, so it was a welcome respite. I promise to send it to you with my own entry within the month, so it can continue to bring smiles. I’m sorry to hear your air is so toxic right now. Perhaps when I retire, I’ll buy a van and travel to homes to prune and weed in exchange for a a meal and a cup of hot tea and the good company of bloggers I meet along the way. I hope you make it to Butchart Gardens one day. It’s a treasure. Alys

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